What makes for an effective partnership between a bookseller and book blogger? After six months of working together, Rebecca Schinsky of The Book Lady’s Blog and bookseller Kelly Justice of the Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia have plenty of good ideas – and even make it look fun. In fact, they’re planning to present a panel at this year’s Southern Independent Bookseller’s Association meeting on this very subject.
In today’s #followreader chat from 4 – 5pm ET on Twitter, our loyal #followreader attendees will get a sneak peek at what they have to say, and a chance to ask lots of questions.
For more background on Rebecca and Kelly’s partnership, keep reading.
And to join the #followreader conversation, here’s what to do:
- Just before 4pm ET today, log in to Twitter or whatever interface you prefer. (We recommend Tweetchat, which refreshes quickly and automatically loads your hashtag when you are in the discussion.)
- To follow the discussion, run a search for #followreader
- I’ll start by asking a few questions, before opening up the discussion to the group.
- To post a comment to the discussion, make sure that the hashtag #followreader is in each tweet you write.
Q&A with Rebecca Schinsky
How did you and Kelly decide to work together?
It evolved organically. When I visited Kelly’s store, where I’m a regular customer, I mentioned my blog and my background as an event planner at big box bookseller. Kelly and I were both thinking about social media programs for educators, so eventually we decided to work together on a workshop on media and technology to encourage reading among students. I’d also been blogging and tweeting about events at the store, so we decided to be more deliberate about it, and talked about how we could work together.
What were the most important factors in making your partnership work for both of you?
The voice of blog my blog is fun and sassy and playful, and that worked for the store, which has a great sense of play too – they try to make reading fun. Kelly wouldn’t have gotten in bed with me if she was concerned about how I would present myself or what I would say on the blog.
So the #1 key for booksellers is that it’s important to do your homework: look at local blogs, and ask the right questions about the traffic and exposure they get, what they’re willing to do for your store, in terms of posts mentioning events at the store and featured titles.
As a blogger, it’s a plus for me that Kelly has made me part of the bookstore family, and has opened her galley shelves to me. I even have a mailbox and shelf for galleys at the store!
What are the nuts and bolts of your agreement?
Kelly doesn’t pay me, and it’s not exactly a barter either. Mainly what I get is exposure to the community. The relationship with the store has really built my profile in Richmond. Kelly has also helped me build up more industry connections. For example, I joined Kelly on all of her publisher meetings at BEA.
For Kelly, a great strength of the Get in Bed with a Book Blogger idea is that I can cover an event at the store and give it wide exposure, no matter how many people actually showed up for the event itself.
Have there been any sticky areas for you or other bloggers and booksellers in this kind of arrangement?
We haven’t had any problems, mostly because we are open communicators. When there’s a new issue or opportunity, we run things by each other. Every now and then, an author reach out to me about an event at another store, because they know me and they want me to cover it. So I talk to Kelly about how to handle it. She’s never said not to cover it, but I may decide to just go to the event to support the author and not blog or tweet or about it, or I might post pictures. I think the most important thing is that she knows about those things before they happen.