Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oh Look, It's February -

- and I've got *just* enough time to post my column before kick-off!

(entirely kidding - y'all just knock yourself out with the TV, I don't much need it for the next few hours....)

From the February Heart Of The Bay, Newsletter of the San Francisco RWA chapter:

Now that the dust has settled from the arrival of 2009, I think a lot of us are looking around at our beleaguered industry with trepidation. By the time you read this the inauguration will be past us, and perhaps the country will be in a rosier mood that’s reflected in the economy, but even so it’s going to take a while to stabilize from this “correction.” January saw the loss of several bookstores near and dear to the hearts of our members, and many of our colleagues across the country are struggling.

At the January meeting I made a plea for everyone to remember independent bookstores when drawing up your book budget. Of course, we want to support all of our bookstores; several of the chains have been very good to romance, and a cash register ringing up book sales is a good thing whether it’s at the mall, Costco, or virtually over the internet.

But the independents are on my mind right now as I think about new authors. Selfishly speaking, my own debut will take place in 2009. But as I look around our chapter I see so many authors who are either newly sold or on the cusp of selling.

Who nurtures the newcomers? We do, of course. I don’t think there’s a writing organization out there that offers more peer and mentor support than our chapter. But we also rely on readers to discover our talent, and for that we need the partnership of book-loving merchants willing to read and hand-sell our work.

At a state-of-the-industry presentation I attended in December, the owner of a San Mateo independent bookstore cited the example of Michael Connolly, who was not an overnight success. It took seven books for him to receive wide acclaim. As the bookstore owner pointed out, word-of-mouth buzz was responsible for slowly building his readership. And that, friends, is not a commodity that you’ll find on the warehouse club book table.

You can start right here at home within the chapter by purchasing books from Dorothy and Teresa, our booksellers from The Book End in Newark. They’ll bring any book you wish if you email them by the Sunday before the meeting at

To close on a positive note, some good news is going overlooked in all the doom’n’gloom reporting: Nielsen BookScan numbers for 2008 show an increase in adult fiction sales. Yes, at .4 percent, it was tiny, but we’re in the black, ladies!

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sophie-I love that cover.