If you read the comments to the previous post, you know I went to a couple of independent bookstores on Saturday and inquired about them carrying my books. I chose poorly, it seems--these stores were more into literary books. And science fiction. And, well, graphic novels.
But not romance. Their romance sections were tiny, and I immediately knew I was in trouble. One woman said romance readers in the area get their books at the chain bookstores, discount stores, or at the grocery. Independents simply cannot compete with the discounting.
Well, in my unrealistic mind, I envision independent bookstores stocking small press romance--the books you can't buy at those other brick and mortar outlets. One of the owners showed me the catalogs she receives from which to order books. It's a hassle to her, finding time to go through all the catalogs and decide what to buy. Our books, of course, aren't in any of those catalogs. They might as well be invisible. I might as well have been invisible.
I didn't handle the conversations as well as I should have--so, much of the disappointment I felt afterward was my own fault.
I did meet a couple of very interesting store owners who feel passionately about books. And there were other customers in the stores, so I guess what they're doing is working for them. But I do wish things had gone differently. I believe customers would give small press books a chance if they actually saw them on store shelves.
I'll likely go to more independent stores before long, because I refuse to believe this is impossible. And because I think independent booksellers are, as a group, cool.