Act Now to Pair Up With Authors for Exciting Indies First Events

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Booksellers are snatching up big names and popular local writers to add to their event rosters for Indies First events on Small Business Saturday, November 29. And the list of authors and illustrators who are hoping to team with an independent bookstore for Indies First, Small Business Saturday, and/or Upstream continues to grow.

Stores looking to pair up with authors for any of these initiatives should visit the Author/Illustrator List to find all of the writers and artists offering their support. The hundreds of volunteers include adult as well as children’s authors, such as Edan Lepucki, Leigh Bardugo, Owen King, Gennifer Choldenko, Sergio Ruzzier, Amy Zhang, and Rebecca Petruck.

As plans develop, booksellers are reminded to enter the details in the Indies First Activity Registry so their events appear on the national consumer map on

Authors who are interested in supporting independent bookstores and Indies First can sign up to volunteer here.

Among the stores that have already enlisted volunteer authors is Decatur, Georgia’s Eagle Eye Book Shop, where owner Doug Robinson is hoping to see Indies First make the same impact as in its inaugural year. “Last year our same-day sales were double what they were the previous year,” Robinson said.

Fifteen authors — Mary Kay Andrews, Lynn Cullen, Carmen Deedy, Carolyn Dingman, Marc Fitten, David Fulmer, Jessica Handler, Joshilyn Jackson, Collin Kelley, Hank Klibanoff, Charles McNair, Tom Mullen, Vicky Schecter, Jedwin Smith, and Renea Winchester — will be donning an Eagle Eye apron and name tag and recommending their favorite books to customers on Small Business Saturday.

“At the end we’ll give each of them a goodie bag — we’re using the Indies First bag — and we’re going to put some nice things in there,” said Robinson. “They’re giving up their time, and we really appreciate it.”

Plenty of books will also be on sale at Eagle Eye as the store took full advantage of the Indies First publisher specials offered last month. This year, Eagle Eye is bringing back its Wheel of Deals, which customers will spin at the checkout counter to see what additional discounts or prizes they will win to go along with their purchases. The store will also be reminding customers to take advantage of the American Express Card Member Offer, which allows the cardholder to earn up to three $10 credits in return for shopping at small businesses on November 29.

Eagle Eye will also be taking part in the North Decatur Small Business Stroll. A map will lead consumers on a tour of seven businesses participating in the stroll. As shoppers visit each store, they can share a photo of themselves at the store on social media, have their map stamped, or make a purchase, then return to the boutique where the stroll began to collect a goodie bag with coupons, gift certificates, and more.

Portland, Oregon’s Broadway Books has already enlisted Chelsea Cain, David Shafer, Brian Doyle, Karen Karbo, Brian Benson, Ben Parzybok, Natalie Serber, and Whitney Otto as Indies First volunteers, and has additional authors in the works. The store will be scheduling authors throughout the day, matching up personalities to create camaraderie, which “made for a real party atmosphere,” last year said co-owner Kim Bissell. “We have connected with a whole bunch of local authors here in Portland,” and each has offered the store a list of their favorite picks that they plan to hand-sell on November 29.

Bissell recently joined Sally McPherson as co-owner of Broadway Books, as Roberta Dyer makes her plans to retire. “We have a great literary community. Roberta has built quite a name for our store and quite a connection with our local authors,” Bissell said. “Last year Indies First was the third biggest day in the history of the store.”

Buttonwood Books & Toys in Cohasset, Massachusetts, has plenty of authors on the docket for Indies First, including Larry Lindner, Margaret McLean, Susan Cooper, Thomas Mickey, and Julie and Virginia Freyermuth (and their dog, Norbert).

This year, Buttonwood is looking to ramp up energy for the event by doing a lot more advertising, getting the word out earlier, and having more authors. The store is currently running a promotion with surprise sales through Christmas for customers on its e-mail list and will likely share an additional treat with those customers on Small Business Saturday.

Children’s authors will be appearing early in the day, and adult authors later in the afternoon, but authors will be in the store throughout the entire day said co-owner Arna Lewis. “We want it to be an informal setting where people can come in and talk with the authors,” who have each selected five to 10 of their favorite books to recommend. Topping the festivities off with raffles and refreshments, “We’ll keep it exciting,” said Lewis.