Here’s a little note to all the writers out there who are attempting to get their books–self-published or otherwise–into independent bookstores: While social media may indeed be a useful tool in which to market/promote yourself/your work, it’s also a trap that prohibits you from making real, honest, contact with the booksellers who will sell your work. Don’t allow yourself to believe that it has usurped the more professional form of contact that bookstores for years have relied upon. Phones still ring in the store, and if they don’t, well, then you don’t need to worry about that store. The mail, despite rising costs, is still delivered, and stores also receive a type of mail known as “electronic mail”. You might even want to utilize the non-social media aspects of the internet, and find that store’s web page. Even Google would suggest that route, and if it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for you.
Now, this all may sound straightforward and obvious, but the volume of writers who abstain from protocol in favor of the easier, less research heavy–and let’s face it–lazier route is staggering. It’s as if the advent of social media has awakened schools of sleeping bats in caves that have been isolated from the whole of history and time. They just fly out, screaming their little bat heads off, and drop their query poop all over you. Case in point:
Usually, snark is to be expected from booksellers who find themselves annoyed by this type of query. Close the bookstore, and the snark level will rise like the tide before a hurricane. Combine the above with a “note” that looks as though it were written by a texting high-school student and you may as well curl up in a ball and wait out the assault. The one thing you can expect is that any bookstore you contact through Facebook in this manner can be crossed off your list. You will never be taken seriously. You will never get your book in that store. Much like agents and editors, a bookseller is swamped by requests on a daily basis. The crap will be sifted and tossed aside without a second glance. Take your queries to booksellers every bit as serious as you do to agents and editors.