SIBA wants its booksellers to Get In Bed With A Book Blogger!
Some people are just made for each other. You have the space, the resources, the access to authors, the access to books. She (or he) has the audience, the reputation, the reach, the Internet savvy and the voice. It’s a marriage made in heaven. Or at least, a really fun fling.
SIBA is encouraging its booksellers to seek out partnerships with book bloggers to enhance their presence on the Web and extend their online visibility, not to mention help turn the Internet from something that’s “work” to something that’s fun. This is what Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA and Rebecca Joines Schinsky of The Book Lady’s Blog (thebookladysblog.com, @bookladysblog on Twitter) have done, and from the looks of the pictures, maybe they are having a little too much fun!
“Kelly and I have created a partnership that works so well for us we want to share it with the whole book world in hopes that other independent bookstores and book bloggers will try it!” said Joines Schinksy, commenting on the mutual benefits of their relationship, “As the owner of an indie bookstore, Kelly is focused on connecting to the local and national book community, bringing in fabulous authors, and maximizing opportunities to grow her store. As a blogger, I’m all about writing content, getting the word out, and sharing news with my readers, who hail from all over the planet.”
Justice notes that the partnership is flexible in its terms. She allows Joines Schinsky to pick and choose from among the many author events hosted by the bookstore. In return for a chance to interview the authors (and a review copy of the book) The Book Lady’s Blog reviews and promotes the book and event via the blog and on twitter. Justice and Joines Schinsky also work together to promote books that the two avid readers are especially excited about, and have recently begun a book club on Twitter to discuss “under the radar” books they feel worthy of notice.
It helps that bookseller and book blogger are so simpatico. “Kelly and I know that together, we can reach more readers, promote more authors, and help more publishers than we can individually,” says Joines Schinsky, “We’re looking into some cookbook promotions as well where we make recipes, taste and share the results online.”
According to Justice, the key to the success of the partnership is that it has evolved naturally, without hard and fast rules, and that both partners have a good understanding of each other’s mission. Both see themselves as “literary ambassadors” for the Richmond, VA area—dedicated to exposing their city to great writers and great books. “We’re lucky in that we just “get” each other,” says Joines Schnisky, “Fountain Bookstore is about fun, escape, and celebrating books and the people who love them, write them and publish them. The Book Lady’s Blog is about these same things.”
The informal partnership has been good for everyone: The Book Lady’s Blog gets access to more books and authors, and can take advantage of Fountain Bookstore’s industry connections with publishers, publicists, and book media. Fountain Bookstore gets near-constant publicity from The Book Lady’s Blog, free content that is well-written and matched to the store strengths, referred traffic to its Web site and social media accounts, extra promotion for its events and an enhanced standing with publishers—who appreciate the fact that authors sent to the store will receive extra coverage. Fountain’s customers get to find out much more about books and authors than they’d normally hear from standard publicity. And Kelly and Rebecca get to run around town doing photo shoots. It’s a win-win-win.
The success of the partnership between Fountain Bookstore and The Book Lady’s Blog has prompted SIBA to encourage other bookstores to use it as a model to develop their own relationships with book bloggers. In order to help its members find bloggers in their area, SIBA is developing a directory of Southern Book Bloggers that it will help to “match” with area indie bookshops. Booksellers and Book bloggers who are interested in being a part of the project should contact SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*photo was taken by P.J. Sykes www.intheblackandwhite.com @PJSykes on Twitter
*bed was located in La Difference in Richmond http://www.ladiff.com/ @LaDIFF on Twitter
*Hair by Jamie Lewis
(All indie business people in Richmond, VA #rva)