Over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to bring my novel Daedalus and the Deep to a wider audience. These days, with only one large bookshop chain existing in the South of England, and ever more pressure to make money, opportunities for indie-published authors to get their books into bookshops don’t abound. Enter, stage left, Daisy White and the ‘Booktique’.
The Booktique is just what the doctor ordered for authors lacking the marketing clout of a Harpercollins or a Penguin. I had certainly found it hard to get the book into any sort of physical space – my local Waterstones has stopped doing events for local authors (head office only wants star names) and although a small number of independent shops have responded enthusiastically, they can’t take more than a few copies, sale or return.
The ‘Booktique’ in an empty unit in the shopping centre at Horsham
The Booktique acts as a pop-up bookshop, appearing in empty units for a period of time, or in spaces such as shopping centres for one-off events. But it’s far more than a bookshop – essentially, the Booktique is a platform for its authors, organising marketing, PR, events… basically the things many indie authors are too busy or inexperienced to do much of themselves. Before each event, Daisy will hit the local media with previews and has been very successful at garnering coverage. There’s also a presence on social media, Facebook and Twitter, and the Booktique produces artwork and fliers to help the authors do their own promotion in support.
Copies of Daedalus and the Deep on the shelf at the Booktique
The Booktique started off doing one or two day stints, but has since secured some longer term runs. The most recent of these was in Guildford, and there’s another coming up in Cranleigh.
I’ve done several events with the Booktique now. I’ve sold at least one copy of Daedalus and the Deep at each, and generally three or four – not bad for a trade paperback costing around a tenner during a time when few people have much extra to spare. Around 15 have sold through the Booktique in the last few months – not much less than Amazon managed.
Me, during my reading at the Horsham ‘West Street Story’ event
The most interesting event I’ve taken part in so far was the relaunch of West Street in Horsham last November, following a renewal project. This was part of a whole day of events celebrating the history of the shopping street and the past in general. The Booktique shared a marquee with the local storytelling society, and the day was filled with readings and recitals. I did three readings from Daedalus and the Deep, as well as talking a little about the history behind it.
Two real, live book-mad teens who spent much of last Saturday afternoon at the Booktique
Through the Booktique I’ve also been able to chat to real people about the book and nothing beats the feeling of signing the first copy for someone who has just paid real money to read your book.
The next event will be at Cranleigh Arts Centre in Surrey, running from now until the end of February.
For more information on the Booktique go to www.daisywhitesbooktique.co.uk