March and April Bookstore Planning Guide

This planning list may be for Booksellers, but Authors -- read to learn how much work some of your local independent bookstores put into hosting Authors for Indies Day. The best thing you can do to help 'your' bookstore on AFI Day? Bring your own crowd. Tell friends and family, and ask them to drop by to join the celebrations, meet other authors, or just to say 'hi'. 

Remember to follow Authors for Indies on social media:

    Things to do in MARCH

    1) Line up all your authors, illustrators, and other guests. Face painters? Musicians? SPCA? Local politicians? Ask your mayor to come shopping for books. Is there any politician who won't claim they love books?


    2) Begin sharing about ‘your’ authors, guests, and planned activities. Do this on your website and social media. Tag with #AFI2017 and we will share as well. Do this until AFI Day!

    a) Create a Facebook event page and update it as more authors, guests, and activities are confirmed.

    b) Remind authors and guests to do their part on social media, blogs, e‑newsletters, and word of mouth.


    3) Plan your games and events. Need some creative juice? Download this list of event ideas from real booksellers


    4) Plan your displays.


    5) Order in authors’ books and the books authors will hand-sell. Be realistic about your ordering. Order the titles you think will sell, order only as many as you think will sell. If you prefer to stick with your existing stock, ask authors to either come in to the store or look at your web store and pick from books you already have. Or have a chat by phone.


    6) Contact publishers/distributors to negotiate terms – discounts, free shipping?


    7) Ask your reps for free books to give away on the day and any other freebies they can provide.


    8) Plan your food and drink. Consider partnering with a local restaurant, bakery, or bar. Maybe they will donate treats or coffee if you hand out coupons for their shop.


    9) Connect with other bookstores in your area to see how you can work together.


    10) Make sure your staff is informed and on board.


    11) Talk up Authors for Indies in your March newsletter. Make sure you list your AFI events in your Events Calendar


    12) Create a list of local media you want to attract and arrange for media sponsorship or coverage in your area from: localradio, newspapers, websites that cover events around town. Free ads? A news item? At least a listing in the Events section.



    Things to do in APRIL

    1) Send out press releases (customizable press release will be available on the website by April 1)


    2) Start handing out Authors for Indies promo materials: flyers, bookmarks [see note below]


    3) Ask staff to promote the event to customers every day.


    4) Make sure your store is well staffed for April 29


    5) Feature Authors for Indies Day in your April newsletter.


    6) Follow up on press releases sent to local media in March.


    7) Tweet every day and post on Facebook at least once/week. Retweet and share other stores’ news. Let’s create a Canada-wide buzz.


    8) Put up signage and decorations:

    a) Ask authors to write a few sentences about the books they’re recommending, to put on shelf-talkers

    b) Print and put up AFI posters and write in your authors’ names (downloadable files will be available by April 1).


    Things to do 48 hours before and up to APRIL 29

    1) Make name tags for authors and guests


    2) Contact visiting authors 48 hours in advance to confirm their visit – day, time, and address.


    3) Get draw box and prizes ready if you’re having a draw.


    4) Set up shelf-talkers and in-store book displays with signage about Authors for Indies Day.


    5) Make other store signs, if needed.


    6) Send cheery note out to customers the day before.


    7) On The Day: welcome authors & guests, give a quick tour of your store


    8) On The Day: have authors sign their own books for customers, and for the days following.


    Want to print off this list? Click here to download the PDF version of this planning guide.


      [NOTE: Feb. 26] At this point in time, we are trying to get sponsor for bookmarks and shelf talkers. Worst case, files for promo materials will be on the website for you to download and print.