Indies Put Their Passion Behind Debut Authors

We couldn’t agree more: “The relationship between booksellers and emerging authors is markedly symbiotic,” Elizabeth Knapp writes in Bookselling this Week, announcing the  lineup of fall titles for the ABA’s new Celebrate Debut Authors With Indies program.

Participating booksellers will give the 22 chosen titles special promotional attention in their stores, on their websites and through their newsletters and social media. Publishers nominated titles for the program, but final selection was up to booksellers, who took a refreshingly old-school approach:

“The chair of the adult debut authors committee, Betsy Burton of The King’s English Bookshop, said she and the other committee members discussed what lies at the heart of their business: good books and emerging talent. The eight booksellers began by rating the books with a one, two, or three, with one being the best. They then discussed the titles via group e-mail and by phone.

‘It really just seemed to pan out the way it does in life,’ said Burton. ‘The books that brought appeal across the board made the list. The ‘ones’ reflected the idiosyncratic tastes of the booksellers involved. We chose what we liked, not for what might sell, knowing that if we feel passion for a book, we will sell it.’”

We’ve had a chance to see the power of passionate bookselling up close since we launched Booktalk Nation, an ongoing series of author interviews via web and phone hosted by the featured author’s favorite independent bookstore. Among the great bookstores participating is Burton’s own The King’s English Bookshop, which recently hosted a Booktalk Nation event for Josh Hanagarne’s memoir The World’s Strongest Librarian. It was his debut.

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