Indies First

Indies First returns for 2014 on Small Business Saturday, November 29, when authors will again be handselling at their favorite independents.

Indies First is the brainchild of Sherman Alexie, who asked his fellow authors to "be a superhero for independent bookstores [and] spend an amazing day hand-selling books at [their] local bookstore." He also urged authors to make an indie bookstore "buy" button the first choice on their websites. The inaugural Indies First event was held on Small Business Saturday 2013, when thousands of authors volunteered as guest booksellers at their local independent bookstores.

Next, Indies First supported Children's Book Week with Indies First Storytime Day, and again, authors and illustrators were encouraged to participate by one of their own, Kate DiCamillo. Hundreds volunteered as story hour readers at local indies across the country.

Propelled by the enthusiasm of authors, illustrators, and booksellers, Indies First has become a national movement.

Indies First is ongoing! Booksellers should urge all authors to join in, to participate on Small Business Saturday or other event day, to make an indie the first choice for online sales of their books, and to use social media to promote their favorite local store, all year long.

Booksellers! To participate:

  1. Contact a favorite local author or illustrator to volunteer. (The store might also be contacted directly by an author or illustrator; any arrangements with them are yours to make or not.)  Stores that don't know or have an author nearby can consult the Indies First Author and Illustrator Index for a list of creatives who would love to participate, and then reach out directly.
  2. Add your event details to the Indies First Event Registry so that it can be publicized on the Indies First map on Bookmark the Event Registry page and return there to edit or add to your event details. Please allow 48 hours for the Indies First map to reflect your submission.
  3. Promote, publicize, and photograph! Use store marketing newsletters, websites, and social media outlets (#IndiesFirst) to further the Indies First message and highlight your event. Encourage your visiting authors/illustrators to do the same. ABA would love to hear feedback and see pictures from the floor.

Authors and Illustrators! To participate:

  1. Please join the Indies First Authors and Illustrators Registry by completing this form. Names will remain in the Registry for all future Indies First events. If you're friends with your local indie then contact them directly and volunteer to come to the store.
  2. Review the suggested guidelines for participating authors and illustrators here, which include how to link to an indie for the online sale of your books.
  3. Spread your indie support via your social media outlets (#IndiesFirst) and share, share, share.

That's it! Questions or comments? Please be in touch with us: