#Giveaway4Good Week 2 Challenge: Why Supporting Independent Bookstores is an Investment in Your Writing Career

During week one of my #GIveaway4Good Challenge, writers reported donations of $20,279 across 41 different charities  that support families in need. To see a complete list of organizations that were supported, click here


So, now let’s talk about the challenge for week two. 


OMG, you won’t believe how inspired I was by that reading on Amazon. 

Remember that question I had about my manuscript? I met someone on Amazon who had the perfect solution to my story’s problem. We’re going to form a writing group.

Amazon is hosting my launch party. Want to attend? 

These are just a few things said by no writer ever

I know, Amazon is cheap, convenient, and well, getting packages in the mail is a little like year-round Christmas. 

While Amazon might be a necessary part of your publishing career, this retail giant only cares about one thing:  your sales numbers. 

Fortunately, there are places where both bibliophiles and writers make the above comments. Let me introduce you to the independent bookstore. 

Independent bookstore owners and their staff are champions of their local writing communities. Their programs bring creative people together. 

They give debut and established authors places to host readings and do book signings. 

You might not know this, but supporting independent bookstores is an investment in your writing career. Building relationships with independent bookstore owners increases the odds they will say yes to your event request when your book is published.

If publication feels like a far-fetched dream, think about the authors you care about. Supporting local independent bookstores ensures they have venues for book signings and readings. 

At these readings and signings, you’ll have the opportunity to develop connections with the author and learn the stories behind the story on the page. This can make your reading of their work even richer. 

So, I’ve decided to make my Week 2 Challenge all about independent bookstores and the writers who grace their shelves.  

Here’s your challenge: 

  1. Buy something at an independent bookstore (ten-dollar minimum) and I’ll give you one ticket for this week’s drawing. You can buy anything from a book to a gift card. 
  2. Buy from a Black-owned bookstore and I will give you three tickets for this week’s drawing. 

Later this week, I’m going to send you an entire post on the importance of Black-owned bookstores, but for now, I want to share a quote from DeShanta Hairston at Books and Crannies, a Black-owned bookstore in Martinsville, Va. 

“Books and Crannies offers a community space for writers to engage and share a love for the craft. As a black-owned bookstore, we make efforts to upsell Black authors and book titles to help readers gain perspective of our stories and livelihood. My belief is that reading about Black culture helps bridge the gap to the understanding of blackness as a whole.” 

Black-owned bookstores provide a valuable service to all of us by lifting up voices that aren’t always heard. Often, these are the very voices we need to be listening to. 

If you’re thinking, but Lisa, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and I’m doing all my shopping online.

Did you know you can order on the web or call in your order to most bookstores? Many deliver or offer curbside pickup. They’d love to receive your web order or call. 

Or maybe you don’t know the name of the independent bookstore in your area. 

That’s what Google is for. 

But here are a few links to help get you started. 
The Best Independent Bookstores in the United States
50 Best Indie Bookstores in America
125 Black-owned Bookstores

This week’s prize is a 45-minute coaching session with me. Whether you’re just rolling an idea around in your head, struggling with the messy middle, or preparing to submit your work, I am ready to support you. Wondering what others have to say about my work? Check out my testimonials

You will also be entered into my grand-prize drawing for a one-hour coaching session (includes a 10-page manuscript review) with yours truly PLUS a spot in Jane Friedman’s self-study course How to Write a Book Proposal

How to Write a Book Proposal is a must-have for memoir and nonfiction writers. For fiction writers, the course’s exercises can be used to develop a marketing plan for your book. Or you can be the coolest writer around and gift this to your favorite CNF pal. 

If you’re struggling financially, or you’re looking for a second way to play, I’ve got some literary-citizenship options for you. 

  1. Share events or information about your favorite independent bookstore on social media and I’ll give you one ticket into this week’s drawing. 
  2. Write a review for a book you recently purchased and post it to Amazon AND Goodreads and you’ll earn one ticket into this week’s drawing.
  3. Post a review to Amazon AND Goodreads for a book published in 2020 and I’ll give you two tickets in this week’s drawing. 
  4. Post a review to Amazon AND Goodreads for a book by an author of color that was published in 2020 and I’ll give you three tickets into this week’s drawing. 

To enter this week’s drawing here’s what you need to do: 

  1. If you’re supporting an independent bookstore send me an email, with the name of the bookstore and the amount of your purchase. If you were able to pick your purchase up locally, send me a picture of the item for a photo collage I’ll create for my week three newsletter. 
  2. If you’re sharing independent bookstore information on social media, send me a screenshot. 
  3. If you’re writing a review, send me the name of the book and either a screenshot of the review or a link to it. 

 Send all questions and entries to lisa.cooper.ellison@gmail.com.

That’s it. 

Easy peasy, right? 

Wondering why in the world I’m going on a generosity tour right now?  

It’s all about the dopamine. You can read about that right here

 Keep writing and keep sharing your abundance with the world. 

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