Beth Golay

Say As I Do: Kamila Shamsie

Say As I Do: Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie’s book Home Fire (Riverhead Books | 9780735217683) hits shelves tomorrow. Late last month it was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. I interviewed Shamsie for this Friday’s Marginalia podcast and while I had her on the line, I asked if she had a message she’d like to send to independent booksellers. Here’s what she said (as well as how to correctly pronounce her name):

 

 

“I love you. When I was in graduate school at UMass Amherst, one of the things that I loved most was we had in Amherst there was a independent bookstore called Wootton’s and they had readings by the graduate students in the UMass MFA program. It was amazing because one day you’d be at Wootton’s Bookstore [Amherst Books] listening to someone like Peter Carey or Michael Ondaatje, you know, these writers who I love. And then the next week you would have a chance to stand up and read in that same space. And Mark Wootton who ran it was incredibly generous to the MFA students. And I think that was the first independent bookstore I really loved and understood how the independent bookstores can be such an important part of a local community and how important they can be to upcoming writers. So I’ve always had a particularly soft corner for them.”

 

And here’s how she says her name:

Enhanced Shelf Talkers

This week I received a note from Patrick Battle, a bookseller at The Book Table in Oak Park, IL. (And not just a bookseller, he’s The Book Table’s longest serving employee.) Patrick wrote about a display idea he had for the store featuring Tom Perrotta’s Mrs. Fletcher.

“I enjoy coming up with alternative ideas to enhance the visual quality of our shelf talkers,” Patrick wrote. “Since a large part of the plot of Mrs. Fletcher revolves around text messaging, I decided to experiment a bit with the style of this particular recommendation with something I hadn’t tried before.

Patrick found an image of an iPhone online, removed the ‘screen’ images, and, with some fonts and a bit of digital magic, replaced it with this recommendation:

“This novel is a fine and fitting reflection of the ever morphing landscape of human relationships, and the difficulty of navigating its nuances as well as transcending the stigmas of its taboos. Perrotta ascribes a convincing amount of naiveté to each of his subjects, allowing their journeys to blossom (for better or worse) with an allure that borders pure magnetism. Their every victory and failure are in some way enlightening, particularly when their supposed principles are in direct conflict with their behavior. Perrotta also gives the impression that he shares some of the curiosity and vulnerability he so eloquently infuses into his characters, which invites us to grow and learn, triumph and fail right alongside them as we contrast their development against our own presumptions. This is a story rich in discovery, and a exemplary tale of people exploring the best and worst parts of themselves, enigmatic though their actual selves may be.”

He then printed the image on card stock and laminated it for use in the store display. The images–the display, the shelf talker, and Patrick doing a bit of cover reenactment–were collaged and posted on The Book Table’s Instagram account, which I’ve embedded below.

I love the coordinated campaign between the shelf talker, the display, and social media. It reinforces a message across multiple platforms while allowing the work to perform double-duty.

Good job, Patrick. Your reign as The Book Table’s longest serving employee should continue another day.

 
 

It’s #NewBookTuesday and Patrick recommends “Mrs. Fletcher” by Tom Perrotta! We have a limited number of signed copies, so grab yours today and beat the heat with a good read in bed! “This novel is a fine and fitting reflection of the ever morphing landscape of human relationships, and the difficulty of navigating its nuances as well as transcending the stigmas of its taboos. Perrotta ascribes a convincing amount of naiveté to each of his subjects, allowing their journeys to blossom (for better or worse) with an allure that borders pure magnetism. Their every victory and failure are in some way enlightening, particularly when their supposed principles are in direct conflict with their behavior. Perrotta also gives the impression that he shares some of the curiosity and vulnerability he so eloquently infuses into his characters, which invites us to grow and learn, triumph and fail right alongside them as we contrast their development against our own presumptions. This is a story rich in discovery, and a exemplary tale of people exploring the best and worst parts of themselves, enigmatic though their actual selves may be.” – Patrick #TomPerrotta #MrsFletcher #Scribner #SimonandSchuster #Fiction #summerreads #indiebookstores #bookrecommendation #booksellers #TheBookTable #bookstagram #newrelease

A post shared by The Book Table (@thebooktable) on

300 Seconds: Upcoming IndieNext Deadlines

Here’s a 5-minute marketing task. It’s time to send in nominations for the October 2017 IndieNext list. They are due tomorrow, August 4, 2017, at midnight Pacific.

Just a reminder… these blurbs do not have to be perfect. The folks at the ABA will even help with grammar and whatnot. Either email your nomination to indienextlist@bookweb.org or use the online form.

And if you’re feeling especially productive, nominations for the Winter 2017-2018 Reading Group List are due August 15, 2017. Send them to the same email address or use the same form above. (Look at you working ahead!)

My Favorite Tweet of Late

I really liked this tweet from Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Here’s why:

  • I love the use of humor.
  • I really like that it offers a ‘peek behind the curtain’ at the alluring lives of booksellers.
  • I like that it has broad audience appeal. Booksellers and non-booksellers alike will smile.
  • It’s a gentle reminder that there are books to be bought. Preferably sooner rather than later.

Follow Magers & Quinn on Twitter @magersandquinn.

One-to-Few Marketing

One-to-Few Marketing

In a recent post on the Buffer Social blog, Alfred Lua wrote why he thought engagement was replacing traffic and revenue as the future of social media.

“Social media is no longer a megaphone,” he wrote. “It is now becoming a one-to-few — and often one-to-one — channel.”

It struck a chord with me, and I remembered it about a week later when I was on social media.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Siobhan Fallon about her book The Confusion of Languages. I always ‘follow’ all of the authors I interview so I can tag them when I share the finished news features and podcasts through social media. Since I followed Fallon, I saw when she posted this on Facebook:

I immediately shared the post with a few friends who I knew had read the book. I wanted them to be able to follow along with Fallon’s game.

But why limit it to my friends? At your bookstore, a quick search should return a list of customers who purchased The Confusion of Languages and/or You Know When the Men Are Gone. A phone call or a quick email later, you’ve just shared relevant content with an audience who appreciates it.

One-on-one conversations do not have to take place face-to-face in the store. Neither do handselling or customer service.