Author Power: A Different Kind of Distribution

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August 2012
by D. Patrick Miller

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Take a stroll down the sidewalk of the Sonoma Marketplace, and right next to the Whole Foods grocery you’ll see a distressing sign of the times. It’s the empty storefront of Bookends, an independent bookstore that served the Northern California farm-and-winery town of Sonoma for 32 years before closing in the fall of 2011, citing death by Kindle and other heartless forces of modern commerce.

Just on the other side of Whole Foods, you’ll find another, more encouraging sign. Inside the Barking Dog coffeehouse, there are three shelves of neatly arranged books, all signed by local authors, each with a simple typeset description attached that includes what town the author lives in. There’s no clue to the origin of this minibookstore until you notice a letter-sized sign saying Buy local authors’ autographed books here!—and a small-type note saying that authors who want to join the show on the shelves should email one Jeane Slone.

Slone is the self-published author of two historical novels—She Flew Bombers During WWII and She Built Ships During World War II—the first title a winner of a Next Generation Indie Book Award this year. She’s also an activist with the 250-member Redwood Writers Club. Slone manages a coffeehouse and gift shop bookselling network comprising about a dozen retail outlets in Sonoma County, selling books for about 90 authors besides herself. But she admits that the original inspiration for her guerrilla-style marketing effort was less than altruistic….IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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