Indies First Homestretch: A New Facebook Page, Great Author Photos & More

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With the final Indies First bookstore and author matchups completed, more than 1,000 authors are officially signed up to work as guest booksellers in more than 400 bookstores across the country on November 30, Small Business Saturday.

The American Booksellers Association has just launched a Facebook page for Indies First, featuring author photos and videos as well as links to local press outlets covering the Indies First movement. Stores are encouraged to post links to their local media coverage, news of their Indies First successes, and photos of participating authors and staff on Small Business Saturday. ABA will also be adding more content to the page in the final days leading up to the event.

With just days to go, author-bookstore pairings have been completed, and among the newest additions are Candace Bushnell at Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, Connecticut; Dav Pilkey at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida; Cassandra Clare at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Massachusetts; Patricia Polacco at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore in Berkeley, California; and Bob Dotson and his wife, Linda, at Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut, which will also be welcoming local news outlets into the store.

Indies First has also made its way to Canada, the fourth country to join in the celebration following the United States, Italy, and Switzerland. Several bookstores in Canada will be welcoming authors into their stores for Shop the Neighborhood, which is Canada’s version of Small Business Saturday.

Take a look at the interactive Indies First store map on to see who else has signed up! Any bookstore wishing to appear on the map must contact ABA Industry Relations Assistant Anne Caldwell by tomorrow, November 27.

ABA is encouraging booksellers to send a final communication to the authors who have signed up to work at their stores to remind them about Saturday’s event, the time they’re expected at the store, and what they’ll be doing, be it hand-selling, gift wrapping, or greeting shoppers at the door. And if they’ve not already done it, Indies First authors should be reminded to add a buy button for indie bookstores as the top purchasing option on their websites. Newly designed Indies First buttons are available for use along with other shop local designs and text.

ABA members are reminded to snap photos of participating authors holding the Indies First tote bags, which were mailed last week to participating stores, and to post them on social media and on the ABA Facebook page. Photos should also be sent to ABA Marketing Manager Greg Galloway with the subject “Indies First bag photo.” Authors should be asked to sign this downloadable release form, giving permission for photos to be used for marketing and publicity purposes.

Last weekend, Indies First tote bags made an appearance at Miami Book Fair International (MBFI), along with special totes saluting the event’s 30th anniversary. ABA gave out nearly 500 Indies First bags to authors attending the fair, and more than 100 authors with their totes were professionally photographed. Many expressed support and excitement for the Indies First celebration of bookstores and authors, and the photos will be used to help promote the event. Author Sherman Alexie, the mastermind behind Indies First, also attended the fair. Today’s photo gallery features just some of the MBFI authors with their totes; a number of the authors who were at the fair will also be working at indie bookstores on SBS. Check out the Indies First map to see all the bookstore-author pairings.

Resources available to help booksellers promote their events include press release templates, sample social media posts and tweets, and Indies First logos in the Bookseller DIY’s Designs & Downloads. Booksellers can also follow #IndiesFirst on Twitter to watch the excitement grow.

When the celebration is over, be sure to provide ABA with a full list of the authors who participated in Indies First at your store. Given the strong positive reaction from authors, Indies First is likely to become an annual event; having as complete data as possible will be very important as ABA plans for the future.

Small Business Saturday is also the first day to start displaying and promoting this year's Thanks for Shopping Indie titles. (Promotional materials are available in the DIY’s Designs & Downloads). Displays should remain mounted through at least December 7 but can be kept up through the end of the year. Publisher offers continue to apply through December 31.