Bookseller Tips & Tricks: Asking Authors to Link to Indies

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Frustrated with the tendency of authors and publishers to default to Amazon links when promoting their books online, Sue Roegge of Chapter2Books in Hudson, Wisconsin, decided to begin reaching out to culprits through Twitter.

“I wanted to put the information out there,” she said, adding that she has talked with several other booksellers about authors looking to indie bookstores for stops on their book tours, but still linking to Amazon for book purchases. For Roegge, this is crossing a boundary.

Roegge keeps her reminders polite, professional, and informative, and in return, she hasn’t had any negative responses.

“I try to put it out there as matter-of-fact as possible,” she said, adding that she tends to start by asking authors if they’re aware that a link to their book on IndieBound exists. “You might be telling them for the first time. I find a lot of the time they aren’t aware of it.”

For example, this past October, Chapter2Books tweeted at an author, “This link allows for pre-sales from indie stores and they mail books just like Amazon…but also benefit the towns they’re in.”

One tip she gave Bookselling This Week is that booksellers should take the time to find the book on IndieBound and send authors the direct link to “catch more flies with honey.” She also makes sure to include the publisher in her tweet, as they will sometimes follow-up on the issue directly. “It has nothing to do with sales; it’s more about the education,” said Roegge.

“[Publishers are] really starting to know the importance of not defaulting to Amazon. It’s just not necessary anymore,” she added. “It wasn’t before and it’s certainly not now with pre-order capabilities and e-commerce.”

Roegge also urged booksellers to be sure that the author they are tweeting at is in the U.S., as authors and publishers from different countries have different shop-local options.

Finally, Roegge noted that her role as Chapter2’s co-owner makes it easier for her to reach out to authors directly on Twitter and that stores should interact the way they feel is best. “I’m a mom-and-pop shop, so I can’t speak for larger stores or someone who might have to answer to a manager or owner,” she said.

Booksellers can visit for a flier detailing why authors — and others — should link to indies.