The Indies First Campaign
Indies First is a national campaign of activities and events in support of independent bookstores, first envisioned by author Sherman Alexie in 2013. It kicks off each November, on Small Business Saturday (November 28, 2015), when independent bookstores host authors as honorary booksellers throughout the day to help sell books, share recommendations, sign stock, give readings, and more. Many publishers offer Indies First specials to ABA member stores.
A major aspect of Indies First is authors linking to local bookstores, or to IndieBound.org, for book sales, and all stores should request that visiting authors, for Indies First or other events, link to an indie from their webpages.
Cheryl Strayed, the bestselling author of Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things, Torch, and the forthcoming Brave Enough, is the 2015 official spokesperson for Indies First. (See her appeal to authors here.) Other authors who have spoken on behalf of the campaign include Kate DiCamillo, Neil Gaiman, and Amanda Palmer. In 2014 Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) began Upstream, a bookstore-author partnership that connects authors with their local independent booksellers to offer signed books.
Bookstores and Authors: Here’s How to Participate on Small Business Saturday:
1. Contact a favorite local author or illustrator to come to the store on Small Business Saturday. (The store might also be contacted directly by an author or illustrator; any arrangements with them are yours to make or not.) Stores that don’t know or have an author nearby can consult the Indies First Author and Illustrator Index for a list of who would love to participate, and then reach out directly.
2. Add your Small Business Saturday and event details to the Store Indies First Activity Registry so that it can be publicized on the Indies First map on IndieBound.org. Bookmark the Event Registry page and return there to edit or add to your event details. Please allow 48 hours for the Indies First map to reflect your submission.
3. Promote, publicize, and photograph! Use store marketing newsletters, websites, and social media outlets (#IndiesFirst) to further the Indies First message and highlight your event. Encourage your visiting authors/illustrators to do the same. ABA would love to hear feedback and see pictures from the floor.
Authors and Illustrators
- Please join the Indies First Authors and Illustrators Registry by completing this form. Names will remain in the Registry for all future Indies First activities. If you’re friends with your local indie then contact them directly and volunteer to come to the store, or find a store local to where you will be on Small Business Saturday.
- Link to an independent bookstore for the online sale of your books. Ask your local store if it has an affiliate or linking program and how you can join. Or link to IndieBound.org and tap into a national network of e-commerce sites.
- Use your social media outlets and tell your readers about #indiesfirst, @indiesfirst.
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