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A blog for authors interested in making the most of their relationship with independent bookstores.


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Top tags: author liaison  independent bookstores  Shelf Reliance  tips  Baker & Taylor  benefits  Ingram  ISBN  marketing  new blog  or Bookazine  promotions  self-promotion  SIBA  SIBA membership  SIBA tradeshow 

SIBA Membership Benefits - Annual tradeshow is this month!

Posted By Amy Cherrix, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hey y’all,

We hope you know by now that partnering with indie bookstores is one of the best things you can do to help your book.

Of course we understand that you can’t visit to every indie. But there are plenty of ways to leverage your SIBA membership to the advantage of your book.

You’ve already taken the first step, by joining SIBA. So with today’s post, I thought I’d remind you what benefits are available:

1.     SIBA provides a list of its member stores – including contact names, email addresses, as well as phone and mailing addresses.

2.     Be a STAR:  SIBA operates a speakers’ bureau for authors, the Southern Traveling Authors Registrations Service (STAR) that is marketed to bookstores and their customers.

3.     Advertise:  SIBA has a wide variety of very cost effective advertising options for authors that can target bookstores and their staff, as well as consumers. eBlasts, banner ads, sponsorships, catalog listings, galley giveaways…we work with authors to help them create the biggest impact possible for their book while remaining in their budget.

4.     Attend the SIBA tradeshow! Ours is the largest regional book show in the south. It attracts hundreds of booksellers, exhibitors, and authors. It’s a great way to meet members, network with colleagues and

SIBA’s tradeshow is coming up September 18-20, in Raleigh, NC! Click here for all the details.




Tags:  benefits  promotions  SIBA membership  SIBA tradeshow 

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Not-So-Shameless Self Promotion

Posted By Amy Cherrix, Friday, July 3, 2015

Hey y’all,

This week’s Shelf Reliance tackles the tricky business of self-promotion. I know. The whole reason you became an author in the first place was the blissful solitude of the writing Batcave, amen. Oh, if it was really that simple. Yes, the Internet has made it possible to reach tons of readers from the privacy of your own home, but the best way to get your book out there is to put YOURSELF out there. But take heart. With a little planning, it’s much easier than you might think and hey, you get to meet book people. How bad could it be? So before you step boldly into the fray, here are some indie-friendly reminders as you start to build your grassroots marketing campaign:

1.     Be professional: Indie bookstores regularly field calls from a lot of authors. When I was a bookseller, I genuinely wanted to help, but I was also trying to answer phones, shelve new titles, reconcile baffling inventory lists, and actually sell books. Polite persistence is the name of the game. Take booksellers at their word when they say they are busy and make a plan to call back when it’s convenient.

2.     Be prepared: Have a press kit available for download from your website. (Do you have a website? If not, give some serious consideration to creating a simple one. There are tons of free options online via, and countless others. If you need more advice on websites, shoot me an email.) We’ll also talk about press kits here in an upcoming post.  

3.     Make your book available to indie booksellers: Channel sales through bookstores, rather than on your website or your publisher’s online store. Sure, you take a bit of a financial hit, but what you’ll gain in return cannot be bought—the attention, appreciation, and loyalty of skilled booksellers whose super power is getting your book into the hands of readers. I’d call that a win for everyone.

4.     Be aware of the indie market: Rather than touting “available at Amazon” on your book-related promo items and swag, say something like “available where books are sold.” Steer clear of citing your Amazon sales rank or big box store numbers. Avoid listing Amazon as the only outlet suggested for purchase on your website. Remember, SIBA strongly encourages authors to choose an independent bookstore (or two) as your bookseller of choice, and become an affiliate of those stores.

As ever, I wish you every success with your book, especially with marketing. Rest assured, the whole SIBA team is here to help along the way. Sound off  in the comments below with questions, tips and suggestions.



Tags:  author liaison  independent bookstores  marketing  self-promotion  Shelf Reliance  tips 

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Three Tips for Getting your Book onto Indie Bookstore Shelves

Posted By Amy Cherrix, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hey y’all,

You want to write books, but you want to sell them, too. It’s the number one reason authors join SIBA—to get their books into the hands of readers and onto the shelves of independent bookstores. How do you do it?

We are so glad you asked!

In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out byte-sized tips here on Shelf Reliance to help you partner with indie bookstores. We’re starting with the basics:

Here are three things you can do TODAY to start building partnerships with independent bookstores:

1.  Confirm that your book has a real ISBN (International Standard Book Number is the 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally). For more about ISBNs, click here.

2.  Be sure to get your book listed with, the database that most of the larger independent bookstores use on their websites. You can do that here.

Nuts & Bolts: As an individual you can use that link to submit a book and all the relevant data/images/etc. into the Indiebound database. It takes about 48 hours to be reviewed and approved. After that, it takes a little bit longer to populate throughout all of the indie bookstore databases that use IndieBound on their websites. Here’s the key thing to remember: once your book is included with IndieBound, it will appear in a search within those databases with each indie bookstore. Even if those stores do not stock your book, SIBA can still link to it, and people can find the listing to place an order.

3.  Verify that your book is easy to order. That means industry standard terms, and availability at a wholesaler like Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or Bookazine. Alternately, you can have a distribution deal with another publisher that lists with a wholesaler.


At the end of the day, it’s all about distribution and promotion in the real world. A listing on Amazon will only get you in front of INTERNET readers. But if you want to get your books in the hands of real-life browsers in your community bricks and mortar bookstores, avoid publishing under the imprints of competitors like CreateSpace.

Next week's tips will cover what to do once you’ve got your distribution channels in place. In the meantime, it's hot out there, y'all.  You should probably be somewhere cool, enjoying a good book.

Stay Indie Strong,


SIBA Author Liaison



Tags:  Baker & Taylor  Ingram  ISBN  or Bookazine  tips 

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Introducing Shelf-Reliance: A SIBA blog for authors

Posted By Amy Cherrix, Monday, June 15, 2015

Hey y’all,

Welcome to Shelf Reliance, a blog of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. What better way to capture the spirit of the independent bookselling community and authorship than with a nod to Ralph Waldo Emerson? We don't think he would mind. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” he wrote in Self-Reliance. And we think you’ll agree that the indie community has been slaying hobgoblins since long before publishing was a jungle.

The landscape may have shifted, but the independent spirit is on solid ground. 

Since coming aboard this spring as author liaison, I have been working to familiarize myself with what we do and how we do it. It has been a real education. Membership benefits are plentiful and some of the best ones are free. Indeed, membership really does have its privileges!

While no author is ever alone when they are a member of SIBA, empowering your book to do well on the shelves of independent bookstores means empowering yourself first. Our hope is that this blog is a place to harness the power of the individual in the interest of the whole SIBA community with support, advice and an exchange of ideas. 

 If you’re just getting your feet wet with SIBA or have questions about how to leverage your membership, this is a great place to start. Check back for tips, interviews, and advice about how to build permanent partnerships between indies and authors. We’ll sound off about everything from crafting marketing campaigns to scheduling book signings and writing flap copy.

Like a digital back porch, we hope Shelf Reliance will be a place to share successes, lend advice, and make you feel right at home in the SIBA family.


Tags:  author liaison  independent bookstores  new blog  Shelf Reliance  SIBA 

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