Independent authors should do their research before pitching their books to bookshops, the owner of Dulwich Books, Independent Bookseller of the Year 2014, has told The Bookseller.
Sheila O’Reilly [pictured] this week launched a new section on Dulwich Books’ website, offering advice to authors who want their book stocked in her shop. She said that the section was motivated by the fact that the shop was receiving visits on a weekly basis from independent authors who hoped that the independent would stock their book.
“There is a lack of industry knowledge,” O’Reilly told The Bookseller. “You wouldn’t get the Penguin rep rocking up to the counter [and pitching their list unannounced]. Publishers work hard to make sure we stock their books, and there is not that understanding from authors. They feel ‘all my effort has gone into the book, you should stock it.’”
The online section features tips and information for authors, such as explaining the best way to contact Dulwich Books and detailing how the indie picks its stock. O’Reilly said there was a finite amount of space in her shop, and the story was the same for other indies, so each book stocked in store had to warrant its inclusion. Common problems include authors who “want you to pay immediately” for their book, “or they offer small discounts, or the books don’t fit on the shelf”, said O’Reilly.
She added that she hoped that any independent authors wanting to pitch their books would read the advice online before visiting the shop. O’Reilly plans to share the tips with other booksellers after the section goes live on Dulwich Books’ website, and hopes that they will add to it. “It [authors pitching books] regularly comes up as a story between booksellers,” she said.
“We could be quite helpful to authors.”