Friday, November 30, 2012

What “Shopping Locally” This Holiday Season Means to and for Authors

by Sophie Perinot

In the run up to the holidays I’ve been noticing a lot of “shop locally” buzz. I like the idea, really I do, but I’ll admit I am a shop-from-my-desk gal (yet another distraction from the WIP). That started me thinking about putting a desk-chair-potato (oops) writer’s spin on the “shop locally” theme. What if this year, we who love stories and make them, used our holiday shopping to support fellow writers?

Our writer friends are both “local” and a “small business.” Surprised? You shouldn’t be. You just have to think about it the right way. Chances are if you write, then—like me—you have dozens of author friends. They may not be “local” in the geographical sense but they are VERY MUCH part of your creative village. My author friends support me all year long—here at FTWA, online in Facebook groups, on the threads of AgentQuery Connect, with a well-placed tweet when I am ready to lay my head down on my keyboard and give up. I know many of them far better than I know the shop owners in my area and—here’s the kicker—like those shop owners, WRITERS ARE SMALL-BUSINESS PEOPLE.

We forget this sometimes but we (writers) produce a product and bring it to market. Whether their wares are offered through a major publishing house or at Smashwords authors have to sell books or they don’t get paid. And most of your author friends (unless you know JK Rowling or Stephen King) are “mom and pop” sized businesses. Once their writing expenses are subtracted from their earnings they likely have to hold down another job to make ends meet. They are not Amazon or Walmart. They aren’t even 7-Eleven. They are the corner store, whose owner is left at the end of many a day wondering how much longer it makes sense to keep doing this. So when we support our fellow writers we are supporting small, independent businesses. *warm fuzzy glow*

Sounds like giving the books of authors we know as gifts is the right thing to do then—the right thing for us. “But,” you ask, “can I support my fellow authors and still get the people on my gift list something they’ll enjoy?” I know why you are asking—we’ve ALL been victims of a gift that was more about the giver than the receiver (like that time Aunt Irma gave you a llama in Chile in support of her favorite charity, not in support of yours). Yes. Yes we can. I am here to assure you that ...

Books are more than a noble gesture—they actually make awesome gifts. If your gift list resembles mine, the folks on it have a wide variety of interests and personalities, but there is ONE thing they pretty much all have in common—they read. How perfect is it then that my writer friends create in a wide variety of genres? Regency and steampunk romances, literary novels, YA, historical thrillers, a novel of the Iraq war, I know writers who write it ALL. Looking at the output of my author acquaintances, there is literally something literary and appropriate for everyone on my gift list this season. There are also books in every price—from the complete set of the Folger Shakespeare Library editions of the bard’s plays ($6 a pop, more than thirty titles) that my daughter covets to the $0.99 cent e-book that might be a nice holiday “tip” for your pet-sitter.

So shop locally—from your desk or in your neighborhood—buy a book (or ten) by an author you know and send it to someone you love, like, or just owe a Secret-Santa gift. You won’t have to worry about size or color and you’ll support an entrepreneur and the future of your art.

Sophie Perinot's debut novel, THE SISTER QUEENS, tells the story of two 13th century sisters who became the queens of England and France. She wants you to know that it fits conveniently in a Christmas stocking (see picture)! 


Jemi Fraser said...

Great idea! I love buying books for my friends and family - and it's awesome when I can tell them I 'know' the author!! :)

Angela Ackerman said...

This is exactly what I was thinking. You should stop by my blog tomorrow...I think you might be interested in our fun plan for celebrating the holidays. :)

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