Daniel Handler Launches Upstream Initiative in Support of Indie Bookstores

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To encourage even more authors to support the ever-growing Indies First campaign, author Daniel Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket, has penned letters to his fellow authors and to independent booksellers to announce a new initiative called Upstream, which invites writers nationwide, including his comrades in Authors United, to partner with independent bookstores to sign stock of their books to keep on hand.

Read Handler’s letter to authors below, and see his letter to booksellers here.

Daniel Handler

October 15, 2014

Dear Comrades-in-Ink,

Whether or not you are an author published by Hachette (as I am), you may lately feel as if you are engulfed in a rather unpleasant flood — as if the fate of your books is whirling dreadfully out of your control, battered by the waters of some enormous South American river, the name of which I cannot remember at the moment. While all this fierce sword fighting rages on without you, you may find yourself feeling even more hapless and hopeless than authors usually do, while your local independent bookstore struggles with a similar feeling that it’s some sort of jungle out there.

As a tonic, allow me to suggest a new program, cooked up by assorted interested parties and named, after some tipsy debate, Upstream. The idea is to connect authors with their local independent booksellers to offer signed books as an alternative to, say, larger and more unnerving corporate machinations. Upstream was test-piloted this summer and is now spreading steadily, like optimism or syphilis.

How does it work? Easily, hopefully.  Here are some numbered steps.

1. Choose and contact a bookseller close to your home. If you cannot find one, the good folks at Indies First, coordinated by the American Booksellers Association, can be of service. They are quite excited about the launching of this new and hopefully enormous campaign.

2. The bookstore will order and sell your books; you will sign them. Perhaps you’ll stop by at regular intervals with your pen, or perhaps you can convince, with cake or gin, the bookseller to come to you.

3. Both you and the bookseller will promote this arrangement as best you can, spreading the word not only about an exciting source of signed books, but about a program anyone can join. Feel free to tell your publicist you’re participating. Upstream should be in full swing in time for the holidays, when signed books are good gifts for loved ones and distance acquaintances alike.

Will Upstream rescue us all from strife and worry? Of course not. But the hope is that it will remind both authors and booksellers of their local, less monolithic resources, and to improve general esprit de corps at a disheartening time.

With all due respect,

Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket

The Indies First page on BookWeb offers a wealth of resources to help stores partner with authors and create events.

For bookstores:

For authors and illustrators:

Booksellers should also check out the publisher offers available on a wide array of titles, including favorite hand-sells, bestsellers, and classic reads. Titles must be ordered between October 20 and October 31, 2014, and limitations may apply (a username and password are required to view the special offers).

To keep the spotlight on independent bookstores and Indies First, booksellers are encouraged to post about the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, using the hashtag #IndiesFirst and linking to the Twitter handles of this year’s Indies First spokespeople Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, @neilhimself and @amandapalmer.

Feature Upstream Stock on Your IndieCommerce Website

  • To create a new single product, stores on the Drupal 6 platform should follow this menu pathway:  Content Management > Create Content > Product
  • Stores on the Drupal 7 platform should follow this menu pathway:  Content > Add Content > Product
  • The page to create a product will ask for basic information (name, author, price, etc.), including an SKU. Note: The SKU should not be the regular ISBN of the item; instead, add an “A” or “S” at the end, for autographed or signed.
  • Drupal 7 sites will also find that the signed copies appear in search results.
  • Questions regarding adding signed Upstream stock to IndieCommerce sites should be addressed to the IndieCommerce team at staff@bookweb.org