book recommendation covers

Five Books from Indie Presses to Gift around Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day celebrates all kinds of women and the ones they care for. What better gift to give the mother figure in your life than the power of words? Here are some recently published books to either gift or buddy-read for Mother’s Day!

  1. A Girl is A Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Tin House Books)
  2. In this coming-of-age story, thirteen-year-old Kirabo wants to know who her mother is. She seeks the guidance of the local witch, Nuusta, to learn more about the woman who gave birth to her. Struggling with her own identity, Kirabo understands the importance of independence, family, and her culture.

  3. The Magical Language of Others by E. J. Kohr (Tin House Books)
  4. Told through letters between a mother and daughter, fifteen-year-old Eun Ji is left to grow up in California with her brother when her parents have to return to South Korea for work. Her mother sends years worth of letters to Eun Ji, but the letters are in Korean, which Eun Ji can’t understand or translate until years later. When she does, Eun Ji learns stories of her grandmother and her past growing up in South Korea. With the help of the generations of women before her, Eun Ji learns to accept her family, voice, and language and learns how it shapes who she is.

  5. Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (Autumn House Press)
  6. This poetry collection encompasses twenty-one years of poetry by the celebrated author Patricia Jabbeh Wesley and her role as a parent, woman, wife, sister, and friend. Wesley pours out her experiences of motherhood from both African and Western experiences and shows readers the depth of love and culture using the women around her.

  7. Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin Books)
  8. Libertie Sampson feels drawn toward the life her mother has set up for her: follow in her footsteps and become a doctor to practice alongside her. But Libertie can’t help but feel more drawn to music than science. Struggling with her identity as a Black woman and as a daughter, Libertie tries to find her place in the world and her freedom within it.

  9. Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer by Jamie Figueroa (Catapult Books)
  10. Brother and sister spend a final weekend in their childhood home after their mother’s passing. The two are forced to grapple with the history of their ancestors and the ones their family has lost, while Rufina must convince Rafa that his life is worth living.

Happy reading!

aerial shot of a wooden desk with an open book, notebook, ereader, and pair of glasses.

Three Tips for Marketing in a COVID World

As we approach two years of COVID restrictions and guidelines, we’re coming to terms with the fact that going back to “normal” may not happen, or at the very least, it will take longer than we originally thought. Being mostly virtual for the past two years has affected multiple industries, and publishing is no exception. Where book releases and author tours were once in-person at local bookstores, they are now virtual (or canceled), among other changes. This also means that the way marketers advertise books has changed as well. Marketing books has always been an ever-changing field, but now this fact rings even more true. Here are three tips to help you market your books during COVID that will help you reach a wide audience.

Social Media

Social media campaigns have seen much success in recent years, even more so with the increased use of social media during the pandemic. Instagram stories and well-made graphics tend to get a lot of views, comments, and likes, especially if a story is interactive. Snapchat stories also receive some interaction, but not as much as they used to. Short tweets on Twitter, especially with images or polls, also work, as do some Facebook posts. The key is to space your posts out between platforms and days so that you don’t spam anyone’s feed.

Virtual Events

In lieu of in-person book launches or tours, hosting events over Zoom or on other live streaming platforms has been successful. People still want to celebrate the release of new books, interact with authors, and attend readings, and while this can’t be done in the same way, an in-person event can happen, and virtual events can still pull in large audiences. Similar to a book tour, scheduling more than one date may be beneficial depending on how wide an audience you wish to reach. You may also want to consider running a giveaway during the event for books and other collateral or offering a limited number of signed copies online.

(E)Mailing Lists

Many publishers and authors send out emails a few times a month to advertise new releases, events, giveaways, and more. Email lists can be a great way to market your books and events as long as the emails have attention-grabbing images and headers, aren’t too long, and aren’t sent out too frequently. Email lists are great places to advertise book events, promote giveaways, and offer exclusive sneak peeks of book covers and previews of the first few chapters of a book.

Given the extended switch to virtual that we are all facing due to COVID, many marketing strategies within the publishing industry have had to become virtual as well. Finding the right combination of digital marketing strategies can be tricky, but this list is a good starting point when marketing your book or bookish event.

Text reading "Promote your book on social media like the experts, for free." next to two books with covers that say "Book Promotion"

Book Mock-Ups for Beginners

Do you want to elevate your book’s marketing aesthetic, but you’re unsure how to make marketing materials and social media graphics like an expert? The answer is 3D book mock-ups! Less intimidating than it sounds, a “book mock-up” is the general term for a number of online templates that are designed to turn your cover image into 3D promotion graphics just like the professionals make. Keep reading to learn more about how to create book mock-ups, where to find them online, and suggestions on where to use them in your book’s marketing materials.

Luckily for marketing beginners and experts alike, most book mock-up generators are incredibly easy to use, free, and only have three steps. Usually, you just choose a 3D mock-up, upload your cover image, and download your mock-up. However, finding good quality, free versions of online tools like book mock-up generators can sometimes be challenging, not to mention that it’s nerve-racking to visit and download files from unfamiliar websites—but don’t worry! I’m sharing several tried-and-true 3D book mock-up generators in the hope of saving you that trouble. In no particular order, my trusted mock-up generators are:

Although each of these mock-up generators is a good option, not all generators are created equal. For example, Book in Motion’s Mock-Up Tool offers mock-ups that incorporate your cover image into an alternative setting in addition to making the cover 3D. Boxshot’s 3D Book Cover Maker, on the other hand, only provides users with a 3D image of their cover (with a transparent background), but their generator offers users more control over the final product’s camera angles and lighting. In other words, Boxshot’s 3D Book Cover Maker constantly renders a realistic model of your book, which allows for more camera, light, and shadow flexibility. Boxshot’s generator is definitely advanced and offers more options than some of the other mock-up generators listed above, but don’t be intimidated. After just a few minutes of playing with your cover in Boxshot, even those with no design or marketing experience will quickly grasp how easy it is to use the tool.

Regardless of which mock-up generator you choose, make sure that your mock-up choice is the best fit for your end product. For example, if you’re designing a tipsheet, it’s better to use a mock-up that makes the title 3D and gives it a transparent background rather than using a mock-up that nestles your book under a tree in a well-lit forest. The latter would be perfect for a social media post, though! Wherever you use them, book mock-ups are sure to elevate your book marketing graphics on social media, in launch emails, and in advertising campaigns so that your promotional materials are one step closer to looking like an expert’s.

forest full of green leaves

Asian American Authors of the Pacific Northwest

Exclusionary policies and widespread discrimination have historically made the Pacific Northwest unwelcoming for immigrants of every generation, often creating spaces where Asian Americans are unwelcome and unsupported. Recently, an uptick of hate and xenophobic violence has called attention to charities such as Stop AAPI Hate and #HATEISAVIRUS, which work to end systemic violence and protect Asian communities in America. A list of charities to support, including the ones above, can be found here. In the meantime, you can help uplift Asian American voices by supporting the works of Asian American authors who create and contribute to the richness, diversity, and culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Nicole ChungAll You Can Ever Know

Born in Seattle and raised in Oregon, Nicole Chung writes on adoption, identity, and her experiences growing up in a predominantly white town as an adoptee from Korea. According to Time magazine, “Nicole Chung delved into her own cross-cultural adoption to unpack our collective strengths and weaknesses when it comes to responding to our differences . . . opening readers’ eyes to the complexities of cross-cultural adoption, Chung makes a resounding case for empathy.”

Michelle ZaunerCrying in H Mart

Not only an acclaimed writer but also a musical performer under the moniker Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner’s debut novel, Crying in H Mart, is a memoir about grief and connection through the lens of food and culture. The Seattle Times called the novel a “warm and wholehearted work of literature, an honest and detailed account of grief over time, studded with moments of hope, humor, beauty, and clear-eyed observation.”

Jamie FordThe Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Author of Songs of Willow Frost and Love and Other Consolation Prizes, Jamie Ford delivers a “tender and satisfying” story of the parts of Seattle history that “we would rather not face,” according to Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. The New York Times best seller, The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, follows Henry Lee, the Chinese American narrator, as he navigates his past through the streets of Seattle. Ford himself grew up in Ashland as well as Seattle.

Linda TamuraNisei Soldiers Break Their Silence

Raised in Hood River, Oregon, Japanese American author Linda Tamura’s sophomore novel, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, explores the history of Japanese American soldiers in World War II who returned to Hood River after the war and were imprisoned in camps despite being American citizens. Tamura, author of Hood River Issai: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon’s Hood River Valley, is a professor at Willamette University and works to “[celebrate] the history of Japanese Americans and inclusion in Oregon,” according to her website.

E. J. KohA Lesser Love

Poet, translator, and winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award for her memoir, The Magical Language of Others, E. J. Koh lives in Seattle and was raised in and around diasporic Korean communities, according to LSU Press. The poetry collection A Lesser Love touches on romantic, platonic, and familial love, as well as the parent-child relationship.

Ruth OzekiA Tale for the Time Being

Described by the author as a “particularly Pacific Northwest kind of book,” A Tale for the Time Being follows teenagers Nao in Tokyo and Ruth in British Columbia as they piece together mysteries of the past, unraveling family history and the conflicts of Japanese culture. Ozeki, the author of All Over Creation and My Year of Meats, is a Japanese American filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest. According to The New York Times, A Tale for the Time Being is a “delightful yet sometimes harrowing novel . . . many many of the elements of Nao’s story—schoolgirl bullying, unemployed suicidal ‘salarymen,’ kamikaze pilots—are among a Western reader’s most familiar images of Japan, but in Nao’s telling, refracted through Ruth’s musings, they become fresh and immediate, occasionally searingly painful,” with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calling it “beautifully written” and “intensely readable.”

Shawn WongHomebase

Homebase, a coming-of-age story set in California during the 1950s, follows Chinese American teenager Rainsford Chan as he comes to terms with the truth of the Chinese American experience after the death of his parents. Shawn Wong, a Chinese American author and professor at the University of Washington, also wrote American Knees and has co-edited several anthologies.

Why Transparency Matters in Marketing

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 16:00:00 +0000

When it comes to marketing, the way we choose to communicate and present ourselves plays a huge role, especially in the current age of technology where consumers are inundated with ads and information every five seconds. As marketers, we want to make sure that the consumers within our targeted demographics choose to come to us for their needs, wants, and interests. If we want consumers to choose us, then we need to give them a reason to choose us. Many professionals have found that “playing it safe” with professional language and business jargon can actually alienate their audiences. If you are considering your audience for your social media posts, articles, and other marketing platforms, it is important to be able to engage with them. With the onslaught of advertising, the most successful businesses and individuals are the ones who engage with their patrons in ways that are authentic and fun. Consumers often choose companies that they can trust and that they feel connected to. Transparency goes a long way with current and future customers.

The marketing industry has a bit of a bad rap for being sneaky and manipulative, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you are probably going to get a lot more long-term business by being upfront and honest about your business practices than you are if you leave your consumers feeling hoodwinked because they didn’t read the fine print. So what is transparent marketing? Shel Holtz defines transparency as “the degree to which a company shares its leaders, employees, values, culture, strategy, business processes, and the results of those processes with its publics. It’s the opposite of opacity, in which companies operate behind closed doors and shuttered windows.”

We all know of situations when companies have been less than transparent in their businesses. One example might be when Wells Fargo created millions of accounts on behalf of their clients without their consent. The company addressed these concerns with an ad called Earning Your Trust that came across as being less than sincere to consumers. When Uber was associated with sexual harassment charges, they released their video, Moving Forward, to address these issues. The more Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, engaged with the issue head-on, the more consumers were able to trust that their concerns were being addressed and taken seriously. According to a study done by Label Insight, “94 percent of those surveyed are more likely to be loyal to brands that are transparent. The study also found that 56 percent of respondents would stay loyal to a brand for life if it was completely transparent.” Transparency is always important, not just when faced with negative publicity.

Think of all the brands and companies that you love. I can bet that near the top of the list of reasons why you love them is the fact that you love what they stand for and what they do. People love Starbucks because they strive for ethically sourced coffee. Toms grew in popularity because not only are the shoes comfortable, but they represent a cause that people can get behind (while getting something for themselves as well). Another example is the Spark Notes Twitter account, which has branded itself with a humorous, snarky tone that lends itself to authenticity. Transparency is becoming the standard of marketing—it’s what consumers want to see.

Social Media Book Giveaways & You: Why Giveaway Culture Matters

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:00:13 +0000

Online book giveaways are becoming pretty standard in the publishing industry’s marketing toolbox—so much so that readers have come to expect them. Giveaways familiarize readers with book covers and copy, increase the number of reviews they receive, generate pre-publication social media presence, and build loyalty around both the author and the publisher.

Certain publishers, of course, have the distinct advantage of resources that allow them to go all-out for their giveaways. (Penguin, I’m looking at you. Penguin Random House recently held giveaways for 25 bestsellers of 2016, a 50-book library in the genre of the reader’s choice, and a collection of 75 Little Golden Books. They don’t do these things halfway.)

Regardless of the size of the company, publishers’ social media accounts are constantly promoting their most recent giveaways. Giveaway posts on social media can also serve as a reminder to readers that they’re an actual business. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the publisher you follow on Instagram actually sells books and doesn’t just take pretty pictures. I mean, when I take pictures of books with a latte and post it on Instagram, it looks pretty much the same as the social media content of even the biggest publishers. Jumping in once in awhile to say that readers can enter win a free book also works as a reminder to buy books.

Publishers use a variety of methods to market their giveaways. They may offer book-themed goodies like a tote bag, or a book for both you and a friend you tag in comment to spread the word, or an entry if you follow them, or an entry if you share a post, or an entry if you join a mailing list, or all of the above. The same basic principle always holds true; giveaways are driven by numbers. How many people can you get onto your mailing lists or to follow you on social media for each book you give away? Small publishers are generally unable to hold these massive book giveaways to generate readership, social media buzz, and mailing lists. And from this strictly-numbers view, it seems as though there is no value for small publishers here at all—it’s just too costly for such little influence.

But I’d argue that there is a value to participating in book giveaway culture that doesn’t initially come from generating numbers: showing a willingness to engage and give and create a tangible connection with readers, an excitement that only getting a book gift in the mail can offer. Perhaps a smaller publisher’s goal is not lengthy additions to their email list, dozens of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, or their cover shared far and wide across social media platforms, but simply strengthening the relationship between a publishing house and its readers.

Small publishers don’t need to give away fifty free copies of their books (as in a current giveaway of All the Light We Cannot See from Scribner). Book giveaway culture allows for offering just a single prize from a small publisher to have an effect. While mailing lists and Goodreads reviews won’t skyrocket as a result, giving just one book away creates the same possibility for that tangible connection with a publisher, the same pre-publication hype, and the same magic of getting a fresh new book in the mail.

How to Brand an Imprint

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 16:00:38 +0000

Publishing houses employ some of the most creative people around, and that creativity often extends further than just choosing the right books to publish. Marketers in publishing are challenging perceptions in a traditionally conservative industry by implementing targeted branding strategies. Branding is one of the most essential components to a marketing mix, and is usually recognized as an image or symbol companies use to differentiate themselves from other companies.

Brands today reach a lot further than just a symbol, and have a considerable impact on consumers. Brands are particularly important because they don’t only serve as a function to define a company selling a product—they also, more or less, serve as a tool the consumer uses to define themselves. Brands typically function to offer a lifestyle, and consumers who want to identify with that lifestyle will buy the brand. In publishing, the role of branding has not always been so clear, but publishers have recently made strides in creating brand identities for their imprints. When it comes to branding in publishing, there are a few key factors in creating a successful brand identity.

Design

Design is an especially lucrative aspect of branding in book publishing. It sets the tone and allows for an expectation from your readers. Publishers use design as a way to appeal to potential readers and to differentiate themselves from competitors. Consistency is a crucial component in the branding strategy in general, but in the design in particular. Consistent design in books, collateral, and marketing materials helps to establish an identity that readers will recognize and trust.

Voice

Voice is a considerable aspect in the branding mix, and it influences every other aspect of the brand. Branded voice comes from somewhere: the values or the mission of the publisher, a targeted approach to reaching a demographic, or even a real person. Any voice could be created, and voice can suit the publisher in any way they want. Voices can be fun, loud, serious, or professional. Like everything else in branding, the voice should be clear and consistent.

Engagement

Once a publisher finds their voice, they should use it to engage. One of the best ways to build a brand in publishing is through engagement. Today, social media allows for imprints to easily engage with their readership. For businesses large and small, social media is ubiquitous in marketing strategies, and publishers are using social media to show off their creativity. Publishers like Melville House use social media platforms like Twitter to engage with their readers, share information about their titles, and throw some occasional shade. The Riverhead Books engagement platform of choice is Instagram, where they share images of their beautifully designed books.

There are other considerations when it comes to branding, like creating merchandise or offering programs like writing workshops and contests. Publishers and marketers creating a unique branding strategy choose which components of the branding mix will best serve their respective imprints. Regardless of which aspects they implement, going forward with clarity and consistency will always be the most important asset in branding.

Email Like a Professional

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 17:00:05 +0000

Over the course of the year, along with learning how to market books, I’ve picked up a few tips about how to market yourself. After all, the hiring process (which we are all heading toward!) is usually just marketing your skill set to an employer’s needs. One of the keys to success in the quest for employment—whether finding a new job or retaining your current one—is undoubtedly professionalism. It’s almost like good design; it’s recognized by a few when it’s good and noticed by all when it’s not. So, I think it’s time to get down to brass tacks and talk about professionalism and email.

Emails are the bacon fat clogging my productivity levels, and I bet they are clogging yours too. Sticking to the successful formula of the Four Cs of Copyediting, I’ve come up with my own Four Cs of Emailing.

  1. Clarity — This seems straightforward, but making your point and making it as clearly as possible is supremely important when dealing with hundreds of emails per day. This applies to both text and organization. So when you can, enumerate your points, make a bullet list of deliverables, and otherwise use a messaging hierarchy to call attention to the pressing details of your email.
  2. Coherency — Yours. Are you thinking straight? This means, are you angry or annoyed? That tone rarely works in your favor, and often you end up saying things you wish you didn’t. When you get a message or have an interaction that you think requires a, let’s say pointed, response, I highly recommend NOT sending it. If you need to get your thoughts out in email-cum-journaling, save it as a draft, shut down your computer, and look at it again in a couple hours.
  3. Concision — This means cut down on your use of Reply All and CC in order to declutter inboxes. Ask yourself, does anyone need to know my response to this email? Will my response affect the work of another person in this email chain? Based on what I have to say, is there someone who is not included who should be? If I don’t use Reply All, will I need to repeat myself? Is the information useful to someone else? Is the information of a more personal nature (isolated from colleagues in the email chain) where I can reply to only a single boss or comrade? Will my reply confuse people who don’t need to take any action? Have I been explicitly asked to include a colleague in my communications?
  4. Correctness — Be a professional, both in person and online. Grammar, tone, prioritization, and interface matter regardless of the communication form. Taking a lesson from the unfortunate woman who was fired for sending an email in all capital letters, the way you compose your emails is just as important as the content within.

Don’t get me wrong, email is great. It allows for instant communication and the archiving of conversations, and it cuts down on the number of face-to-face meetings that eat the narrow holes of “free time” in our calendars. But we all know the feeling of opening up your inbox, trying to wade through your emails, only to reemerge and realize two hours have passed. It’s up to us to make the emailing process as enjoyable and efficient as possible. Be courteous, be considerate, and above all, be professional. Now get out there and write some emails!

Are Big Books Better? Why the Long Novel is Here to Stay

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:00:08 +0000

I recently noticed that novels seem to be getting longer, so I did what any twenty-first century inquiring mind would and googled it. My search uncovered Publishers Weekly‘s “Fiction Gets Supersized” (2004), The Millions‘ “Is Big Back?” (2010), The Daily Beast‘s “Are Books Becoming Too Long to Read?” (2012), Salon‘s “Why We Love Loooong Novels” (2013), Vulture‘s “When Did Books Get So Freaking Enormous? The Year of the Very Long Novel” (2015), and The Independent‘s “If This Is the Year of the Mega-Novel, It’s Going to Be a Very Long 12 Months” (2015). It seemed safe to conclude that long novels are having a moment, yet it led me to wonder why that might be.

Salon writer Laura Miller implies that long novels are popular because one can be “swallowed up by a long novel, immersed in the world its author has created in a fashion that no other medium can rival.” While a shorter novel can certainly be immersive, time dictates that it simply cannot be as wholly immersive as a long novel. For example, assuming one reads at the average pace of two hundred words per minute, reading a short novel like Zora Neale Hurston’s 63,783-word Their Eyes Were Watching God would take 5.32 hours, while reading George R. R. Martin’s 298,000-word Game of Thrones would take 24.83 hours. It’s the difference between going on two dates with someone versus twelve. Plus, George R. R. Martin’s novel is part of a much longer series, which, if included, extends the word count to 1,770,000 or, put another way, 147 hours. In this case, it’s the difference between spending a day with someone versus spending a month with someone. Moreover, Game of Thrones was made into a successful HBO television series, which allows readers another avenue into the world he built so completely. This kind of extensive worldbuilding led me to wonder if the long novel is thriving because of the ways people consume media today. In other words, are worldbuilding and binge-viewing leading to longer novels, series formats, and binge-reading?

Market research supports the notion that readers are indeed binge-reading and that books may have better sales if all of the books in a series are made available at the same time so that readers have the opportunity to binge-read. Long novels are able to support the “Netflixication” of media, with the most iconic example being J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The seven-book series (comprised of three short novels and four long novels) has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has spawned a successful movie franchise, along with computer games, toys, and even a theme park. Narrative incubators, like the approximately five-thousand-page Harry Potter series, are able to capture the attention of readers who can find the series in multiple ways across multiple mediums, from Lego Harry Potter on an iPad to a print version of one of the books in the library to Rowling’s Pottermore on the World Wide Web. Of course, not all novels can replicate the success of Harry Potter, but well-written and compelling long novels have the potential for promoting binge-reading and -viewing by creating worlds just as comprehensive as Harry Potter.

Long novels are not for everyone. They require a bigger financial and temporal investment from the writer, the publisher, the reviewer, and the reader. Not everyone is willing to spend the kind of time or money a long novel demands. Yet the long novel lends itself to literary immersion and detailed worldbuilding, which, in turn, facilitates the practice of binge-reading—a viable sector for market growth. In considering the future of the business of book publishing, it’s imperative to heed changing media-consumption practices. These practices suggest that the long novel not only encourages binge-reading but also provides an opportunity for growth and profitability because the long novel is able to meet the demands of readers who grow increasingly accustomed to instantly accessing captivating and complex stories. Finally, the long novel’s propensity for worldbuilding allows for the possibility of the propagation of the storyline into other formats, thus increasing the profitability of the book and making a well-written and compelling long novel worth the gamble.

Books Outside Bookstores: Selling to Specialty Stores

Sat, 21 May 2016 00:00:48 +0000

Earlier this year, a friend and I were feeling particularly flush and went into a boutique well out of our price range. Among the silk gowns and hand-stitched shoes and ornate jewelry was one book—a paperback of watercolor drawings of trees commonly found in Canada. The connection between this illustrated paperback and a seven-hundred-dollar dress still eludes me, but I certainly started paying more attention to books featured in non-book retail locations.

Here’s what I’ve learned: books are everywhere. Art books are in shoe boutiques, coloring books are in grocery stores, and Anthropologie now has an entire section for books and stationery. How do these books get there? Who chooses what is displayed next to the fishing nets and knives? And how can we at Ooligan Press cash in on this?

Specialty stores can really boost a book’s sales for a number of reasons:

  1. Visibility. With hundreds of thousands of books published each year in the United States—not to mention the video games, movies, and TV shows that all clamor for our attention—it is increasingly important to be seen. The majority of a bookstore’s stock will be shelved spine out, and any single title is easy to miss among its brethren. But among shoes or clothes or jewelry or homegoods, every book is a bit more remarkable and definitely more noticeable.
  2. Association and Audience. Subtle as it is, the books in a specialty store are imbued with a certain value based on that association. We naturally assume the books to have the same tone and appeal as the store. And when that principle is flipped on its head, you’ve got a built-in target audience.
  3. No Returns. The dreaded right of return is an inherent risk and par for the course when dealing with traditional booksellers. A sale made to a specialty store won’t come back to haunt you three months later. It’s a bit of solidity in an ever-shifting landscape.

As the incoming marketing manager, I’m really excited about the possibility of selling to a specialized market. For a small press like ours, this kind of visibility and recognition can really boost our sales and our brand name. We have some really exciting titles in the works for this year, and I’m glad we’re having conversations about how they will perform in a gift market, in a sporting store, or in a museum—all places that are a bit off the beaten path. Who knows. Maybe you’ll walk into a boutique and see an Ooligan book next to your new pair of shoes. I sure hope so.