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Chapter 47 Now Read This

Writing is hard work for authors. I know a few authors personally and even if they are writing in a genre they know intimately, it is still hard work. It requires discipline, creativity, and courage. The authors I know research pieces of their stories deeply so when they write they are not misspeaking or writing anything which would make an expert in their book's subject shake their head and say, "No, they just don't get it." Traditionally published authors go through edit upon edit and have their work check for continuity and now, sensitivity, as well as for grammar, spelling, and word choice.

I respect what our local, self-published or small press published authors do without a large publishing staff behind them. While I, like many other readers, feel like I might have a book in me, I don't know if I have the fortitude to research and write and take criticism from those who don't write. As a reader, I do know a good story from a weak one and one grammatical error or misspelling can stop me in my tracks. On a weekly basis I get requests from self-published authors to sell their book in the our store, Bookends. I feel very strongly about supporting our local authors and giving them a forum (albeit a small one) to get their book attention. I make it an absolute rule to read every book given to me for inclusion in the store and I will be honest with the writer if I think their book won't sell. I always give the writer my reasons for declining a book but my input is not always well received. What self-published writers don't seem to understand is that I want them to succeed, I want to be able to recommend and to sell their books.

Here are some of my guidelines for anyone who wants me or any other bookseller to read their book for possible inclusion in a store's inventory.

  1. Genre is particularly important when it comes to self-published books. Southern Stories, Mystery, Suspense, and History are big sellers. Books of Memoirs, Inspirational and Religious/Spiritual Journeys or Erotica are not a big sell. I usually don't accept any of these.

  2. Books must be professionally bound with the title printed on the spine. You should have paid for an ISBN number, have a barcode and a low retail price set on the book. People will not pay a lot for a unknown author.

  3. I strongly encourage all authors to have their book professionally edited. Make certain the person you hire for this job knows all the up-to-date accepted and best practices.

  4. If you want me to read your book to sell it, give me a free copy. Please don't tell me I can buy it on Amazon.

  5. If you want people to buy your book, send people to us.

Here are some of the local or nearby authors who have signed books at the store.

T.I. Lowe - Tonya lives in Loris, SC, is published by Tyndale Publishers and her books range from Women's Fiction to Coming of Age Novels. She is incredibly talented, writes extremely well, tells a good story, and her books are reasonably priced for sale.

Donna Everhart - Donna lives in North Carolina and is published by Kensington Books. Donna's books are "gritty southern fiction." Donna also is a terrific writer with some heavy stories to tell. Donna's books are also priced for easy sales.

Elizabeth Smith - Ann, as her friends call her, is self-published and lives in North Myrtle Beach. Her stories range from Romance to Romantic Suspense to Political Thrillers. Ann's books are well-edited, well written, with stories that are interesting and complex.

Henry Hack - Henry is both self-published and small press published (Black Rose Writing). Henry's genre is mystery and police procedural books. He served for 22 years in the Nassau County, NY Police Department so he kind of knows what he is talking about. He won the Silver Falchion Award for the best police procedural in 2017 and lives in North Carolina.

Thomas Kelso - Tom's books are a combination of mystery and medical which leans on his expertise as an orthopedic doctor. Tom is self-published and in 2020 his book, Hyperion's Fracture, won the Silver Falchion Award for the best thriller. Tom also lives in North Carolina. Tom's stories are interesting and well written.

Dana Ridenour - Dana is a former undercover FBI agent and her novels reflect that experience. Dana writes The Lexie Montgomery Series. Her book Below the Radar won the 2021 Feathered Quill Awards gold medal for best Adult Fiction and her characters are in development for television. She is small press published at Wise Ink.

Flora J. Solomon - Flora also lives in North Carolina and is published by Lake Union Publishing, an Amazon imprint. Her books are about the Philippines and the civilians and nursing staff who were trapped there during World War II. She too has won awards for her work.

Have you read any of these authors? What do you think?


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