The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Indie versus Big Chain Booksellers

During my hike around Lake Michigan I visited independent bookstores along the lakeshore. I love indie bookstores. The people who own and manage and work in the indies are knowledgeable about literature and they love books.

And I love books.

I was a reader long before I was a writer or hiker, so I know the value of a good bookstore. And there IS a difference between a big chain or online bookseller and the independents.

I live in Battle Creek where the only bookstore is a Barnes & Noble.

Do I go there? Yes.
Do I buy books there? Rarely.

It's great for my little town to have ANY bookstore (B&N wasn't even here when I moved here), so I support it by buying coffee and games and greeting cards and music and movies and newspapers there.

And my book is on the shelf there, which I appreciate.

But I buy most of my books from independents either nearby or in communities around Lake Michigan.

On my website, you'll see a link to buy my books from Brilliant Books in Suttons Bay, Michigan. I have partnered with Brilliant Books because it's a great indie and I launched my book there.

That's another thing that the indies do:
they support emerging writers.

If you are a writer and you buy your books on Amazon or at the big chains, you are jeopardizing your own future as a writer because it is the indies that will work with you to build your career. Just as the smaller publishers will take a chance on publishing you before the big New York houses will.

"I'm not an economic priest. My bookstore is not a confessional. I'm tired of handing out 'Hail Locals' to guilt-riddled shoppers. If you bought a Kindle as your sole reading device, you have cut out your local bookstore when there are options for e-readers that don't eliminate indies. It's your choice, but don't come whining to me that you really want to shop local, but you have to be 'smart about your money.' I agree, you should be smart about your money. You should know that local businesses hand out thousands of dollars worth of donations and items to schools, organizations, and clubs throughout your community every year. Maybe shopping local isn't a priority for you. Fine. Talk to Amazon about donating a silent auction item for your son's school trip to D.C. and ask for a discount on books purchased for your school district. I'm sure Wal-Mart would sell your dance recital tickets or put a bucket on the counter for summer camp applications. Maybe Costco will supply the food for a fund-raiser, but I doubt it."

Mara brings up a good point about e-readers. If you use a Kindle you can ONLY get books from If you choose a Nook (or other e-reader), you can buy your e-books from many indies that sell e-books.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tales from the BOOK TOUR...part 5

I have been going to a variety of venues on my book tour. Bookstores are the obvious first stop for an author with a new book, and I've been to many great indie bookstores so far (and have many more scheduled through the next few months).

A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach has taken me to less traditional book tour stops.

I've been to senior centers, retirement communities, the Inland Seas Education Association, Kingman Museum, Cottage and Lakefront Living Show, several libraries, and a fundraiser for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Coming up, the book will take me to REI Stores in several states to
lecture about my adventure and my favorite gear from my hike. I'll also share my secrets for keeping my feet happy for 1,000 miles.

(Okay, my feet were pretty UNhappy for the first 400 miles or so until I learned these tricks.)

Here's a bit of video from the tour this month. A big thanks to Sunset Retirement's Waterford Campus for hosting a reading/signing and for choosing me to be their featured speaker at a dinner that evening. Also in this clip, The Nature Connection Store of Kalamazoo had me sign books during the city's monthly Art Hop. Then I did a reading and signing at Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, Michigan. I had a fantastic time!

Breaking news:
A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach was just named a finalist in the
Science/Nature/Environment category of the
2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monday Night Live

I was featured on Monday Night Live, a cable access talk show in Kalamazoo hosted by the charming Keith Roe.

Mr. Roe is Kalamazoo's own James Lipton,
and Monday Night Live is his
Inside the Actor's Studio.

That's how I felt being on the show. Gloria Tiller was also there (as she is every second Monday of the month) with Keith. Gloria is the owner of Kazoo Books in (where else) Kalamazoo!

Click HERE to view the episode.

I had a lovely time on the show. A big thanks to Keith and Gloria for the energizing conversation about writing, the publishing process, and my adventure of walking all the way around Lake Michigan!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

NPR Piece About the Great Lakes Fish Hatcheries

Invasive species are eroding the food web and both native fish and "planted" fish from hatcheries (like Chinook salmon) are struggling to find food in the Great Lakes.

Here's a short piece from NPR about the situation.