Little Engines, Indie Bookstores, and Chug, Chug, Chug…

thankspreacherConfession: I’ve never read The Little Engine That Could. I’m pretty fluent in the classics, too, just not children’s classics. The only books I saw before going to school were the Louis L’amour books my father read. Even so, you can’t live in this culture without acquiring some Cliff’s Notes version of the story, or at least a faint memory of a cartoon train with an affable smile on the uphill chug… “I think I can, I think I can.”

My editor has used the Little Engine analogy more than once referring to my post-publishing adventures. A more sophisticated author might poo-poo this comparison but all I can think is yes, I hope so! Then I imagine the smile on the cartoon engine getting even toothier. So far, I’ve beat the odds.

I am in post-publish limbo; I’ve launched the book. Now’s the time to roll out my multi-million dollar advertising campaign.

*crickets, wind in the grass, and a distant bray*

Things included in my public relations budget: Social media is free. Kind of amazing in this world, but such an asset. This week my Facebook Author page passed 600 likes. Answered with 600 thank-yous. Stable Relation and my blog, Relaxed and Forward, both owe a huge debt to social media. In the old days it would have been called free advertising.

I check my sales numbers online every day, while I swat a few flies. It’s full-on fly season in the studio. While in Limbo, the main job is thinking up creative PR and trying to position yourself to be ready if something happens. It’s keeping a lighthearted optimism and celebrating each tiny win. Then it’s the back-handed fly swat, while I check my Amazon page for new reviews.

And of course, I still beg for reviews every day. They are the gift that keeps on giving. (Please leave a review if you haven’t. Then Google will have to notice that I’m still smiling and chugging along.)

I got a message from my friend Max. She went into an independent bookstore in Monument, CO, called Covered Treasures and bought a copy of Stable Relation for a gift. Get this; they had it in stock! (Chug. Chug-chug.) Max was going to recommend me for their local author section, but they had already added me, after a review in the Gazette by Bill Radford. They even told her it was selling fairly well. CHUG.

Max, thank you so much remembering my book and mentioning it to them! Like Tennessee Williams, “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.”

The wonderful book lovers at Covered Treasures took a risk and invested in my book. It’s the first time I know of that Stable Relation has been available in a brick-and-mortar store and I’m so grateful.

Small business is always an act of faith. In a world of huge corporate chains and online giants, an independent business has to have a healthy dose of the Little Engine That Could commitment to survive.  Especially an independent bookstore. And chugging along is easier with friends.

So locals, please consider dropping by and thanking them, and maybe picking up a book while you’re there. This week they are having a book event with Sandra Dallas, one of my favorite–ever since The Persian Pickle Club–authors.

Covered Treasures is located at 105 2nd Street in Monument, CO 80132. Here’s a link to their Facebook page. Give them a click if you think indie bookstores are special. Or just because my LIKE of them is bigger than one click can express.

Do you have a favorite local indie bookstore? It’s a good time to thank them for being there. If you’re on the Stable Relation train with me, you might mention a great indie-published book you know…

As for me, this week I’m going to do something I’ve never done. I’ll be walking into a bookstore I’ve never visited before, looking at a book that used to only exist in my mind. What a world.

This blog is free, and it always will be. Free to read, but also free of ads because I turn away sponsorships and pay to keep ads off my site. I like to read a clean page and think you do too. If you appreciate the work I do, or if your horse does, consider making a donation.

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Anna Blake

0 thoughts on “Little Engines, Indie Bookstores, and Chug, Chug, Chug…”

  1. I did not know about this book store in monument. I love stores like this. I will have to go and check them out at lunchtime one day. Wonderful to see they are carrying your book.

  2. Chug, chug. I’ve loaned my copy to yet another friend. A couple of my FB friends have ordered it on-line. It is such a wonderful book. I always ask that they leave a review and help to promote Stable Relation.
    I have a buddy who will be in your neck of the woods within the month. She says she wants to contact you and meet in person. She was blown away by Stable Relation. She says she will contact you once she knows when she’ll be in your area. Her and her husband are traveling in their motorhome to see some of our national treasures. You and your book are considered one of the treasures! Her name is Cindy, in case she gets in touch.
    I’m doing my best to share your lovely book.
    Laurel “Sunset” Renz


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