Once upon a time, we were a client publisher of Independent Publisher’s Group (IPG). Then, as we continued to grow, we embarked out on our own and now handle our own distribution in the U.S. Today, after that quintupled our sales, we began taking on our own client publishers that we distribute alongside our books. We take a look at what that means this week on the pod.
So you’ve written a book—now what? Your next step is to find your readers and get that book into their hands.
Eleanor Whitney, author of Quit Your Day Job, offers perspective, practical advice, and checklists for shepherding your new book into the wider world. Traditionally published, self-published, and hybrid authors alike will benefit from these accessible tools and frameworks. No matter what kind of book you’ve written or where you are in the writing or publishing process, you can always build a community of readers, strengthen your literary support system, and have fun doing it.
Combining her deep marketing and community-building knowledge, Whitney also interviews a variety of authors and publicists writing in different genres about what worked for them and what they learned the hard way. She walks readers through creating and executing a plan to promote their book on their own terms, with whatever resources and time they have available. She provides a timeline of promotional activities to consider before and after publication, while reminding us that publicity is a long game that you can begin well before your book is finished and continue long after its release. Ultimately, promoting your book is about connecting with a reader through ideas that inspire you both. And that is something we can all do.
Stressed? Hell yeah, you are. It’s part of living in this modern world. But you don’t deserve to feel like you’re constantly being chased by your monstrous, growing list of responsibilities—or, worse, like you have to say no to positive opportunities because you just can’t take another thing. Dr. Faith G. Harper, author of bestselling books like Unfuck Your Brain, Unfuck Your Boundaries, and Coping Skills,is here to help. Stress isn’t inherently bad for us, she points out, although our stress responses can really harm us over time if they get out of hand. She offers strategies for coping with intense feelings and overwhelm in the moment and for shifting our perspective, habits, and self-talk in the longer term to transform distress into helpful motivation, excitement, and action. She also walks us through understanding our physiological stress response and what happens when it turns into chronic stress and adrenal fatigue. The book is full of practical advice for understanding and managing your own stress response so that you can find solid ground and feel excited and engaged with your life again.
The first step of writing a book is figuring out who will read it. What else are they interested in? What attracts them to those things? What implicit assumptions are operating in how you think about people that will read your book? How are they harming you? How will they serve to determine the demographics of your reader? This week, we tackle all of this and more.
Can bookstores save the world? As bastions of culture, anchors of local retail districts, community gathering places, and sources of new ideas, inspiration, and delight, maybe they can. But only if we protect them and the critical roles they fill in our communities.
Danny Caine, author of the bestselling sensation How to Resist Amazon and Why and co-owner of the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, makes a compelling case for the power of small, local businesses in this thoughtful examination of the dynamic world of bookstores. At once an urgent call to action and a celebration of everything bookstores can do, Caine’s new book features case-study profiles of a dozen of the most interesting and innovative bookstores of today, from Minneapolis to Paris. Through a well-informed analysis of these case studies, Caine offers actionable strategies to promote a sustainable future for bookselling, including policy suggestions, ideas for community-based action, and tips on what consumers can do to help. A captivating read for any lover of books, patron of bookstores, or champion of the survival of these vital institutions, How to Protect Bookstores and Why makes the strongest possible argument for the importance of a resilient, inclusive, and progressive bookstore landscape.
Each month we’re featuring a new indie bookstore that we operate in solidarity with. This month it’s the Raven, a classical bookstore of many reboots, owners, and iterations. The Raven is now worker-owned and specializes in supporting its local community, while providing a safe space for people in risk and a series of local and national marketing initiatives. We talk to co-owner Chris this week on the pod!
For more from the Bookstore Solidarity Project, check out our interview about The Raven with co-owner Danny Caine here, and our podcast interview with Danny here! And snag a copy of How to Protect Bookstores and Why while you’re at it.
Create a loving, accepting home for your queer kid
This workbook is for parents and other caretakers whose child or young adult has come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, or any other queer identity. It includes nine weeks of accessible, thoughtful exercises designed to help you gain perspective, challenge your assumptions and fears, and better understand and connect with your kid. Drawing on his experience as a licensed mental health counselor working with queer youth and their families, Marc Campbell provides resources and real help for parents. The world may not always be kind to queer kids, but your home and family can be, and that makes all the difference. Whether you’re on board but confused or struggling deeply with learning about your kid’s identity, these exercises can help you do right by your child. By embarking on this workbook, you’ll increase your understanding of sexuality and gender, improve your connection with your kid, and learn to support them with love and acceptance as they navigate their unique path to adulthood.
Tell us a little bit about the store and your community: The Raven Book Store has been serving Lawrence, Kansas since 1987. It opened as an all-mystery store but has since expanded into a general interest indie with a strong focus on local books to serve the needs of this midwestern college town. We have one store cat, Dashiell, whose personality is as big as his belly. We love being in Lawrence, a community that knows the value of independently-owned small businesses.
What got you into bookselling?
I got a part-time job as a Raven bookseller when I was at the University of Kansas working on my MFA. I fell in love with bookselling and the rest was history!
What’s something about your store that you think will surprise people? 20-30% of our sales are online, and much of that support comes from people who aren’t in Kansas. We’re honored and grateful to have found so many supporters across the country and around the world.
What are some of you favorite ways your community supports your store?
There’s the usual and essential stuff like attending events, preordering books, posting pictures of the store online, and stopping into the store. But we love just as much the surprises, like people bringing us newspaper clippings or customers telling us jokes.
What are some books you can’t wait for people to read? There are too many to count! Our monthly staff picks are on our website, and they’re a great way to take the temperature of what the staff is reading.
How can customers who aren’t local shop your shelves? We’re open 24/7 at ravenbookstore.com!
Be sure to follow The Raven Book Store online on Instagram and Twitter @ravenbookstore.
Danny also has a slew of events coming up to promote How to Protect Bookstores and Why, so be sure to take a look at our events page to see if he’s coming to your town!
This is the question that just about everyone actually wants the answer to, beneath all of their qualifying questions: where are the jobs in publishing? Where is my job in publishing? So this week on the pod, we unpack the leverage of jobs, how to prepare yourself with job skills, and making yourself attractive in the workforce.