Indies First Deemed a Success Thanks to 1000 Hand-Selling Authors

More than 1000 authors turned out for Indies First on Nov. 30, answering Sherman Alexie’s call to become a bookseller for the day.

You can watch the event unfold through photos posted by authors and booksellers on the Indies First Facebook page. (Scroll down and you’ll spot many authors you recognize, including T.C. Boyle, Pearl Cleage, Jon Scieszka, Isabel Wilkerson, and, we’re told, our very own Scott Turow looking sharp as he models the official blue Indies First tote bag.)

In post-event in roundups, Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness quoted enthusiastic participants. Shelf Awareness reported:

“Annie Philbrick, co-owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., spoke for many booksellers when she called Indies First and Small Business Saturday “a huge success”; for her store, that included coverage by Channel 8 WTNH News (and a “celebrity” appearance by BookExpo America show director Steve Rosato with a “gaggle” of kids).”

Before heading out to spend the day hand selling at five Seattle bookstores, Alexie talked with Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition, who asked him if he had even been a bookseller.

“No. Although, you know, when you’re a writer in this era certainly you are pretty much a salesperson,” Alexie replied. “As soon as the book is published, you become Willy Loman, flying through the air with all the other salespeople. You’re in the same Radissons and the Hyatts. So the job descriptions are similar.”

Comments: 1
  • Lan Sluder

    I support indie booksellers, but many of them don’t support writers. For example, the best bookstore in my hometown refuses to stock or sell my latest book because it was PRINTED by CreateSpace, because it is owned by Amazon. This book was published by an independent publisher, just printed by an Amazon company because it had the lowest price. I have published many books through “name” publishers, but I make more money from self-published books where the royalty on Amazon,, etc. is 70%, not 5 or 10%. Wake up, booksellers (and Authors Guild)! The world has changed. The online mega bookstores and independent writers can be friends with indie bookstores, but personally I’m getting fed up with incompetents who can’t run a business unless it’s protected with special pricing and publisher deals.