Self-published authors have resorted to “buy my book” tweets for so long that social media is a minefield of useless book commercials. But one purposeful–albeit off the cuff–tweet from an independent bookstore led to an exponential increase in sales.
According to Book Web, Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky, reached out to author Shea Serrano after he directed his followers to Amazon. Rather than disparage the retail website, the bookstore’s tweet aficionado simply suggested that Serrano remind his large fan base that indie bookstores could use a little support, too.
Serrano answered the call. He tweeted to his 100,000+ followers to order his book from Carmichael’s, complete with link to the store. Within a matter of hours, Carmichael’s had over one thousand orders for the book, more online orders than they usually receive all year. There were so many orders, in fact, that Carmichael’s had to call in reinforcements from its other locations to help fulfill the orders.
Book Web went on to explain how the original store tweet came about, largely after the sender began following the author on Twitter.
“Twitter sort of provides a unique opportunity to talk one-on-one with people who aren’t in your circle or friends, let alone anyone that you’ll ever meet in your life, and get a one-on-one interaction,” said Mark Schultz of Carmichael’s Bookstore in the interview. “I encourage anybody, whoever it is, to say what’s up to somebody on Twitter. You never know what will happen.”
This is only one story about one bookstore benefiting from one author’s efforts at support, of course. Other authors have famously selected smaller retailers for their book launch parties, impromptu signings, and other events. The takeaway is that authors, especially those who self-publish or who gain some measure of success at their efforts, can do good things for bookstores by lending their support publicly. The request to support indies doesn’t stop at the page, but rather at the cash register.