Indie Bookshops Rule!

Book launch in the town that’s been home for the past seven years, or in the London borough that provided the setting and inspiration for my book? No contest – both of course!

‘The Tissue Veil’ was launched in Frome immediately after publication, with the support of friends and colleagues from the local community, but I still wanted to take my characters back to their East End roots, so approached the Brick Lane Bookshop in London’s East End with a view to holding a similar event there. The answer was yes, I could do this, providing I could guarantee a modest audience. Last week – April 27th  – I got my wish and introduced Emily and Aysha to a full house of thirty plus friends and ex-colleagues from Tower Hamlets College, Middlesex Uni and Southgate College, with background information and readings from both narrative strands of the novel.

Like Hunting Raven in Frome, the Brick Lane store is a small independent bookshop serving the local community – a service which includes supporting local writers and developing a customer base of readers through a programme of literary events. The shop is absolutely packed with fascinating stock, but two tireless sales staff quickly whisked away tables, carousels and displays, replacing them with seating and a refreshments table – and all between closing time at six o’clock and hosting my event at seven. We all crave our Amazon reviews and ebook sales, but for independent authors who struggle to get a foot in the door of the national chains, these businesses provide a vital link with the reading public through launch events, dedicated ‘local author’ shelves and book signings. We owe them our support; we need their help – where else will we learn the craft of promoting our books?

Brenda Bannister

Photo Credit: Brenda

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