Independents Miss Sales

Authors love the independent bookstores. Some of these store are disappearing around the country because of the competition from the big box name brand retailers but whenever I can, I love to shop and support these bookstores. I hope you have a bent of preference toward these stores. Why? The people in the stores generally love books. They handsell a lot of books to customers who walk into the shop and are unsure what they want to read.

I was fascinated to read this article in the current Publisher’s Weekly from Debbie Macomber and her long-time editor Paula Eykelhof called Romancing the Store. It points out the value of romance fiction— the largest selling genre of fiction saying, “There’s a simple reason for this: series romance has provided a way in for unknown female authors other publishers are not willing to take a chance on. Even now, bestselling authors of the future are honing their talent in series romance, publishing book after book, learning their craft, establishing their audience…Unfortunately, they’re doing it without the support of many independent booksellers, who refuse to carry series romance. It seems an odd decision, given that series romance is not only wildly popular, but also greatly influential in shaping commercial fiction.”

It’s a shame that the independents are ignoring series romance according to these authors. Here’s another interesting detail in this article, “Many independents ignore some of the most popular books available to them. Stocking series is an opportunity for booksellers to expand their customer base—especially since the evidence shows that more women than men read fiction. In fact, one recent study said the ratio is two-to-one. And romance is fiction written almost exclusively by and for women.”

As I pointed out several weeks ago, Publisher’s Weekly had a cover story about Debbie Macomber called How They Do Debbie. Since the cover story, Debbie has made additional news signing to write her first nonfiction book with Faith Words.

Reading-Between-the-Lines-cRecently I was reading the Romance Writers Report—a publication from the Romance Writers of America. Because I know Debbie, I read the side bar in this magazine labeled, “What is Debbie Macomber reading?” I sat up and took notice when she mentioned writing a quote (her term for endorsement) for Rick Hamlin’s Reading Between The Lines. Why? It’s a book I had acquired for Howard Books and releases next month but I had not seen this endorsement. Rick Hamlin is the executive editor for Guideposts—one of the top 25 circulation magazines in the United States and this book marks the first romance novel in the Howard Books line of fiction. I tracked down this endorsement so you can read it:

“I’ll confess I approached Reading Between The Lines with a bit of hesitation. I wasn’t sure how well a male would do creating romantic fiction yet I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Endearing and touching in turns, Reading Between The Lines will capture the romantic heart. I was captivated and charmed and you will be too.”

–Debbie Macomber, New York Times best-selling romance novelist with over 60 million books in print and author of Susannah’s Garden

Whether you know it or not, this type of endorsement is rare. The bestselling authors are constantly asked from people they know and people they don’t know for these types of endorsements. In this case, you can tell Debbie read the book before she wrote her endorsement—another time consuming issue for these authors. If you enjoy romance books, I highly recommend this novel.

Early tomorrow, I travel to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference so my writing in these entries over the next few days may not happen. I’d encourage you to go to this page at Annie Jennings PR and download these free MP3 teleseminars and listen to them. I’ve not heard them but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

5 Responses to “Independents Miss Sales”

  1. Jerome Says:

    Terry, I ran across something yesterday that I didn’t know existed. For a very nominal fee, an individual can create their own on-line bookstore. My aunt and uncle have one and I didn’t even know until yesterday!

  2. Mary C. Says:

    I was doing my “homework” and checking out faculty for the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference…this blog caught my attention for two reasons – because I am attending the Philadelphia Conference (for the first time) and also because I enjoy Debbie Macomber’s books… Terry, where do you get all of your energy? I checked out, too. What a blessing to writers to have your expertise so readily available! Maybe I’ll run into you at the Conference…Safe traveling to you

  3. Terry Whalin Says:


    There is always something new out there. Yes, I knew people could create their own online bookstores. The question is always how are you going to drive traffic to that particular location–and can you succeed with it? There is a high failure rate with many of these efforts.


    Thank you for the kind comments–as far as my energy? I work hard at it–every day and there is no substitute that I’ve found. Also I try and take care of myself, work out, read the Scriptures and achieve balance–not easy for any of us. It will be great to meet you in Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to it.


  4. Heather Gemmen Wilson Says:

    August 12 – and no blog entry. How am I supposed to broadcast to your readers that it is your birthday today? 🙂

  5. Heather Ivester Says:

    I’d love to read Rick Hamlin’s new book. I’ll look around for it. One of my favorite romance novels happens to be written by a man — A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks.

    And Happy Birthday a few days early! 🙂

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