Write From the Heart Newsletter
An Occasional Publication Produced by Write From the Heart Seminars
* Exploring New Paths for Creativity & Spiritual Development
Publishing News from Denver
by Hal Zina Bennett
I've recently returned from signing books at the New Leaf (book
distributor) booth at the International New Age Trade Show in Denver. This
is a trade show attended each year by bookstore owners from all over the
U.S. Publishers, book distributors, and others show up twice a year--once
in Denver, once in Florida--to show their wares and network. It's kind of
a scaled down version of Book Expo America, focused on the
If you're an author I recommend that you attend either the Book Expo or
INATS at least once every 3 years. It's a chance to see what is being
published and to talk with publishers or their representatives to find out
what's going on in publishing.
I signed nearly 100 copies of my novel, Spirit Circle, and had a chance
to talk with booksellers from about 20 different states. That's a very
informative thing for authors to do. You learn, for example, how many
people know about and are reading your books, and that can be greatly
rewarding. At the same time, shaking hands with the people who sell your
books is invaluable. They'll remember you and tell their readers about you
and your latest creative brainchild. And that's how you get your books in
your readers' hands!
One theme I picked up on is that everyone--authors, publishers and
distributors--are getting fed up with some of the big chain stores'
sometimes-vicious corporate policies. I won't go into details but the
result is that it is increasingly difficult for authors to get their books
seen by mainstream publishers because of the pressure the chainstores put
on publishers to produce more and more "commercial" books.
On the plus side, there's more energy going into reaching out to the
small, independent bookstores and their more intimate reading communities.
The most noteworthy effort to help independent bookstores build their communities
is a new program by New Leaf book distributors. It comes in the form of a
beautiful full color magazine that goes out to all the bookstores New Leaf
serves. There are about 6 articles per issue, with informative ads about
current books. The magazine is called "Evolve," and it is
"Evolve" and other programs are aimed at helping both
booksellers and readers learn more about unique books that transcend the
more commercial and "vanilla" offerings of the corporate
controlled chains like Barnes and Noble and Borders.
There's growing awareness among publishers, authors, booksellers, and
readers that many smaller independent bookstores are positioned to offer a
unique sense of community. The independent bookstores that are really
succeeding, and which are ones who are building their own unique
communities, with a newsletter, author appearances, and special amenities
for their customers. And businesses like New Leaf distributors are leading
the way toward a freer and more open book world than we have seen since
the advent of the big chain stores.
Bookstores that I see as models for the rest to follow include:
Tattered Covers in Denver, CO; Boulder Books in Boulder, CO; Transitions
Bookplace in Chicago, IL; Aunties Books in Spokane, WA; Book Passage in
Corte Madera, CA; The Bodhi Tree in Los Angeles, and Renaissance Bookstore
in Portland, OR. All of these have developed strong communities, have
author appearances and workshops on the premises, and definitely reach out
to their customers. If you live in or near any of these, be sure to visit.
And buy a book or two!
Trade shows of the kind I describe are available throughout the United
States. Keep an eye out for one near you. Visiting these shows as a writer
is invaluable. It's the best and fastest way I know to get introduced to
the business part of the reality you're involved in as a writer.
Catch up on other newsletters Hal has published
Visit his website and go to the page titled "Newsletters."
You'll find several past newsletters archived there. Click
here to visit Hal's website.