About 20 attended the meeting in the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle. Rosemary Jones, author and longtime board member/ web editor for BPNW, organized the meeting as a way to introduce BPNW members to the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA)–a nonprofit trade association representing the interests of literacy, free speech and independent bookselling in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. As president of the board of PNBA, I had the opportunity to talk to the group about how bookstores and independently-published authors can work together.
It was delightful to reconnect with local authors and publishers I’d met before (including Lori Barnes from Idyll Arbor, Bob “The Gentleman from Finland” Goldstein, and Wendy Hinman, author of Tightwads on the Loose). I also loved meeting new and new-to-me authors like Faith Marshall, William Vaughn, and Kim Burkhardt of Active Change Press. They were an excellent audience. I emphasized how important it is to independent bookstores for independently-published authors to take steps to ensure we can get their books through our regular distribution channels like Partners West, Ingram, and Baker and Taylor– because we do not get our books from Amazon. Rosemary did a fantastic job providing specific resources to ensure everyone knew how to make their ebooks available through Kobo, how to get distribution through the channels indie bookstores use, and how to put an IndieBound link on their sites, among other tips. Why, yes, I did recommend everyone read the NW Voices column about self-publishing by Mark Holtzen. I also pointed out that linking to particular stores and IndieBound on their websites really will make them friends in the independent bookselling world. We all can make choices to help keep the literary ecosystem rich and alive so we can continue to have bookstores to host events and booksellers to champion their books.
I was very impressed with Rosemary’s in-depth knowledge and the group’s eagerness to connect and learn from each other. BPNW is providing a great service for independently published authors and independent publishers. I was happy to be a part of it.