So, my diabolical plan to slowly take over the bookstore world one book at a time took another step forward today. 🙂 Last week, I visited Beazley Books in my first stop to get The Purple Morrow into the hands of local readers. This morning, I headed to M’as-tu lu?, a new and used bookstore that sells English and French books.
After the great experience I had last week, I decided to take my son along so that he too could experience a different sort of book store. As a family, one of our favourite outings is to visit the massive Chapters (Indigo) chain store, browse and buy books and then sit down for some hot cocoa and a snack. But I thought it would be nice for him to see what a smaller, home-grown shop was like—one where we can hear each other when we speak and where you can talk to the owner and feel welcome and appreciated just for being there. It’s amazing what a simple, “Bonjour!” can do.
M’as-tu lu? is co-owned by mother and daughter duo Michelyne and Melody. Today, I was greeted with a great big smile, wonderful enthusiasm and friendly conversation. It was nice to see the store promoting and selling books and art from other home-grown artists and that people were constantly coming into the store to browse—and buy.
Now, for those of you who don’t know much about Quebec, we’re located in a country that is bilingual—English and French—but the province of Quebec is French-speaking. Being an Anglo author (English speaking) then becomes something of a rarity. Lucky for me, I am the first Anglo author to contact the store and the owner very kindly offered to stock my book as well as post promotional materials like posters, bookmarks, etc. (which reminds me, I have to crack the whip and get my husband going on those!) Also, they referred me to a community newspaper, and after speaking with them, it’s possible they will interview me or review The Purple Morrow. 😀
All this to say that, so far, getting out into the community is a great experience. My son got dragged out of the world of Minecraft long enough to be exposed to a more personal side of the book market and seeing the benefit of local people helping each other, as well as getting to see his mother pursuing her dream of not only writing a book but actively getting it out into the real world. That strikes me as an invaluable lesson for kids growing up in a world where they are told they “can do anything” but don’t always have the means or know-how to do so. I also know he’s proud of me, and that it meant a lot that I invited him to share this experience with me.
So, what’s the purpose of this post besides blathering excitedly about another positive experience hoofin’ it? For one, these last two weeks have really built my confidence in the product I have to offer. When people see what you have to offer and value it, right away you stand up straighter with swelling pride. I love my book, but something profound happens when I see people respond to it, even if it’s just to the cover. Don’t get me wrong. Receiving feedback online is fantastic, but when you can see someone’s eyes light up in front of you… that’s something no one can take away. When I left Beazley Books and M’as-tu lu? I felt confident they would be enthusiastic to show/refer my book to a customer. Finally, I hope to encourage other authors to consider tapping into their local markets in addition to the online one. So far, I’ve seen they are open to supporting home-grown entrepreneurs. The worst they can say if you call or email is no. But what if they say yes?
Anyway, that’s my Hoofin’ It! piece for the week. Drop me a line and let me know what you think. Have you ventured out into the local business market for your books? Do you prefer to promote and market online? I’d love to hear your thoughts.