Hal Zina Bennett, Ph.D.

Bestselling Author ~ Writing Coach

Hal Zina Bennett - Copyrighted photo by John Curry


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 spiritual/self-help market.

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 beautifully done.

"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.


All articles and images in this website are copyrighted by Hal Zina Bennett 2003-2014.  Written permission must be obtained before use of articles and images. Last modified: October 07, 2010