Adopt a Bookstore

Dear Booklovers,

Whether you are a writer, a seller, publisher, editor or reader, if you love books, then you must love bookstores, too. Right now, among many in America, our local, independent bookstores are facing a crisis. It’s not their first, of course. They rose phoenix-like in recent years after surviving the onslaught of online sales and the 2008 recession. The questions is: Can they survive again?

An event like this was something we could hardly imagine beyond a work of fiction. We are all doing what we can to navigate this pandemic, trying to remain healthy and safe with social distancing, city and state lockdowns, and non-essential business closures. But our small businesses are essential to our communities. Bookstores, in particular.

Bookstores are vital to the literary industry. They have hosted us for events and launches, they have recommended our work, put us on their shelves; they are our champions. For their neighborhoods, they often serve as friends or extended family, a comforting space to roam and discover, and provide trusted advice on what next to read. They are the special beating hearts of our communities. They are truly special places.

We know their value to us professionally and personally, but their value economically is also crucial. A larger portion of money spent in independent stores stays in the local economy than a chain store; zero dollars are kept in the community from an online retailer. Yet, many of us are quick to link to Amazon out of habit, convenience or a desire to reach the most readers. Now, in light of this crisis, we need to turn our focus toward saving our local booksellers. We can start today by adopting bookstores and doing what we can to drive business to them.

If you are an author, poet, journalist, editor, publisher, podcaster or blogger, please reach out to your fellow booklovers and ask them to join us in this endeavor. The request is simple: Encourage our readers/audience to set aside the one-click habit and make the effort—the investment!—in their local bookstores by buying books through them during this crisis and beyond. Send links to the stores’ websites, their stores (for physical copies or audiobooks), or a link to IndieBound (e-books, hard copies and audio). Many local bookstores are offering online, phone or email sales with home delivery, curb-side pick-up or mailed options. Make your online community aware of this, too.

While the L.A.L.A. Society is focusing on Los Angeles and the surrounding communities, please encourage booklovers throughout the US to do the same. If authors in every city and state participated in adopting bookstores, perhaps the blow to those small businesses will be softened, and more will be there to open their doors to us when this is over. For that to be a possibility, we need to shout this out as soon as possible and as often as possible.

We love our bookstores. We love our bookloving community. Thank you for doing what you can!

Sandra Ann Miller
Author/Founding Member of the L.A.L.A. Society

Writers’ March


Join Los Angeles Local Authors in dedicating 1 hour each day to your writing throughout the month of March. Whether it’s progress or polishing, let’s see what these 31 hours accomplish.

New to writing? This is a great time to start! Rather than focusing on word count, allow yourself to set aside 60 minutes daily (a solid hour or broken up to fit your busy schedule) to your writing project (novel, memoir, short story, poetry, etc.). Share your experience with everyone by tagging your tweets and Instagram posts with #LosAngelesLocalAuthors #WritersMarch.

Festival of Books

We happily survived (and thrived at) the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books and were utterly overwhelmed by the wonderful response to our organization. Local authors Heidi Mastrogiovanni, Patricia Smith and myself (Sandra Ann Miller) had the pleasure of meeting many other authors, aspiring writers and booklovers interested in collaborating with the Society to grow a larger, louder voice for Los Angeles local authors. We are excited for what’s next.

L.A.L.A. is busy planning the Society’s event calendar, anticipating an active year with author meetings, reader events and writer roundtables. If you haven’t already, please sign up for the newsletter so you’ll be informed of what’s coming up. (Please also follow BookSwell, which lists upcoming literary events in L.A. so you don’t miss anything.) If you’re more into social media, we are more active on Twitter at the moment.

We’ll have our next author meeting on May 18th to further discuss our needs as a group so we have a better plan of action to engage with readers and bookstores, and support up-and-coming writers. A password to the Eventbrite page will be provided in the newsletter. Please feel free to reach out via the Contact page if you missed the newsletter (out on the 25th) and want more information.

We are also planning to go back to the Festival of Books next year and encourage all local authors to participate however they can. While we’ll have limited space, we will offer opportunities to show at our booth. There is also the Independent Author Pavillion offered at the Festival that provides a more affordable option. We also hope to collaborate with other groups in Los Angeles so we can direct visitors to other like-minded booths. (We greatly enjoyed being a few “doors” down from the folks at Made in L.A.)

The Festival is a big weekend with a lot of activity and requires a good deal of energy. For those planning on attending in 2020, here’s my best advice:

  • Sign up early to save on the cost and start saving now (this is not an inexpensive event; be ready to request a booth/pay for it this December)
  • Plan out your costs (from tablecloths to additional signage, swag and books, there’s a lot to get…don’t forget bookstands)
  • Get promotional items that are easy for people to pick up as they pass by (bookmarks, business cards, postcards, buttons)
  • Invest in items that will help you get noticed by  and you can use again (like a standing, retractable banner)
  • Announce your attendance when the booth has been secured and regularly up through the Festival dates; you’ll have a lot of competition
  • Get plenty of rest before (they are long, active days) and get there early on Saturday (traffic getting in is nuts, Sunday was a little easier)
  • Wear comfortable shoes, comfortable clothes (layers!), and be camera ready (everybody Instagrams)
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks (you probably won’t be able to leave the booth much)
  • Have a friend/colleague or two to help out/cover the booth when nature calls
  • Invest in a trolley (like this) for easy transport; have all your items in boxes or bags for quick loading and set-up
  • Have a sign-up sheet (or two) and pens ready for people to leave their information (having one at either end of the table helps for when there’s a rush; legal pads work great for that) as well as a container for those who want to leave business cards
  • Powerstrip for phone charging, music playing
  • Square or other credit card option to make for easy purchasing
  • String, tape, scissors, hand wipes, tissues, paper towels, sunscreen, hand lotion, band-aids, etc.
  • And the Starbucks on campus is NOT on the Starbucks app so if you order on that to bypass the line, you’ll have to cross the street to pick up your needed caffeine (and you will need extra caffeine on Sunday)

The vendors we used were:

  • Vistaprint (business cards — for each book, cheaper than bookmarks; postcards, also cheaper than bookmarks; retractable banner — the economy version worked just fine in the sun, save those dollars)
  • Sticker Mule (buttons)
  • Amazon (tablecloth, bookstands, trolley)

How did we do? More than 200 postcards were taken, 180 buttons (sadly, I didn’t do a tally of business cards), and more than 115 authors, writers and booklovers joined our list (with more signing up through the website, thank you!). We’re thrilled that so many people were interested in L.A.L.A. and learning more about the authors here in Los Angeles, whichever side of the book they’re on.

We’re excited to get to know you, too.