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Monday, February 3, 2014

Interview With A Bookseller



Learn more about KEPLER'S

Kepler's in one of my favorite Indie Bookstores. They are amazing with all they do for readers and writers. I met Angela Mann in 2009 when I published my first book and have kept in touch with her because she's one energetic and enthusiastic book lover. 

Angela's on the right. 
I've been fortunate to be invited to four Kepler's events since my debut, and each time I've had a great experience. When I asked Angela if she'd have time (she's one busy lady) to do an interview, she said yes. So here's Angela.


Lee: You carry a large selection of teen books in your store. How do you choose what books you’ll carry and what titles to feature in your store displays?

Angela: We work as a team. The staff of the youth department look through catalogs and mark what we would like to read, what we are looking forward to, and what we think we will sell well. We meet with publishers’ reps and then decide collectively what to carry, led by the buyer. Displays change all the time. Event books are displayed in the front window. There are seasonal displays (Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc.) and things that we just want to display (recent example: zombies and books to movies). Also led by the buyer.

Lee: I know you do so much to connect authors and readers. What advice would you give to new authors who want readers to find them?

Angela: Reach out to your local community: bloggers, other writers, YA book groups, local bookstores, local libraries, and schools. School visits are a great way to talk directly to your audience. Kepler’s has a wonderful program that connects hundreds of readers with new authors and titles every year. Bloggers do a great job of spreading the word about new favorites. Reach out to them. Send arcs. Let them host blog tours. Give interviews. Bookstores like to support local authors. Go to events of books in your genre, meet the authors and fans of these books, get known. Use social media. Twitter and facebook can connect you directly to your readers. Post photos on Instagram. Spend time getting your name out there.

Lee: Everything you've mentioned is right on, Angela. I participated in one high school event Kepler's organized and was blown away by that day with the teens. I'm looking forward to the next one you've put together at Los Altos High. Very exciting. 

Me at one Halloween event at Kepler's! Do I look kind of witchy?

Kepler's also organized a gig for me at Carlmont High. 




Lee: You do so many events at Kepler’s. Can you tell us what your most exciting events have been or your most effective?

Angela: I love all our events from story times for the very young to the teen panels. Each event brings its own momentum and energy. I’ve learned from each and every one of them. I hate to single anything out. 

But when I look back highlights have to be: 

*John and Hank Green for The Fault in Our Stars

*Anthony Horowitz for any of the Alex Rider events we hosted (he is so charming and we had an excuse to wear spywear!)

*The Smart Chicks tour (first of its kind)*

*Suzanne Collins for Mockingjay (and the two attendees we gave nerf bows and arrows and asked them to fight for first in the signing line)

*Marcus Zusak for the Book Thief (there was a mini earthquake while he was reading and we were so mesmerized we didn’t stop the reading)*

*Robin Preiss Glasser reading a Fancy Nancy story to a sea of little girls in tutus and boas and everything pink. 


*Neil Gaiman reading from the Graveyard Book on a stage full of gravestones (and unscripted a huge spider fell from the ceiling part way through the event)

*Terry Pratchett who came to Kepler’s just as he had been diagnosed with Alzheimers
*Salman Rushdie (because meeting a literary idol is a huge deal)

*Jimmy Carter (no explanation necessary)



Lee: Those are all fantastic! No wonder Kepler's is so famous. I know you have a new “look” at Keplers. Can you tell us how your store is organized now? Where’s that teen section?

Angela: The youth department is at the back of the store and the teen section is to the right with a table in the middle displaying the newest titles.

Lee: Easy to find, then. There are so many new books coming out each year. How many do you and the staff read on average each year?

Angela: I don’t know how many other people read – I know we all read a lot. But I keep tabs on what I read online so I can tell you that I read 81 books last year and 61 in 2012.

Lee: Now that's an impressive number of books, Angela. What are some of your favorite books of this past year? What do you look forward to reading in 2014?

Angela: Last year my favorites were Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Vicious by VE Schwab, Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, 5th Wave by Rick Yancy, Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, Splintered by AG Howard. There are so many I’m looking forward to reading in 2014. Cress by Marissa Meyer, Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, After the End by Amy Plum, Panic by Lauren Oliver, We Were Liars by E Lockhart, Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi, Mortal Heart (His Royal Assassins 3) by Robin LaFevers, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, Dorothy Must Die by Danielle paige, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, The Infinite Sea (5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancy, Armada by Ernest Cline, Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Ask and ye shall receive. Angela, you are over the top splendid. Thanks so much for taking time to do this interview!

So, readers and writers have you read any of these books, met any of these notable writers? Did Angela's advice for writers resonate with you? 


31 comments:

  1. That's cool the store is very involved with the community and with authors. Wish all stores were that open to events.

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    1. If they were, we might have more of them! Should we tell them about Kepler's?

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  2. That's a very informative interview. It's great to get a little of the insider perspective on things. And appreciate the advice as well :-) Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Angela. Glad you took the time to read Angela's super answers.

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  3. It was great to hear Angela's answers. I LUV how involved the indie store is with its authors. That kind of commitment and support is truly priceless.

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    1. It is. And I really do value them as a bookstore. We need more of these, right?

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  4. That's so wonderful to see how involved the store is with its community and with authors. Fantastic interview!

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  5. Sounds like a bookstore doing a superb job with its community, teens, and local authors!

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    1. They have a lot of foot traffic. That's what you need to sell books from stores.

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  6. What a great store! Thanks for sharing the interview.

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    Replies
    1. Tell your publisher to get you on these shelves!

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  7. That was really interesting. It's nice to hear from that side of the industry!

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    1. A really important side of the industry! Thanks, Southpaw.

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  8. I'm so happy you're giving your favorite local bookstore some press. I love my local bookstores. They're the best way to find books and meet authors.

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    1. You are so right, Theresa. We have to support them so they'll be around to support us.

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  9. She really knows her books! What a great interview. Thanks for sharing Lee!

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    1. Angela is wonderful. To know is to love her.

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  10. Fantastic interview! I loved hearing more about Kepler's!

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  11. Great interview. I loved hearing about Kepler's and Angie's reading tastes. I'm looking forward to many of the same books as her.

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    1. She's got quite a list! Good luck with yours.

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  12. What a great interview! And I'm woefully behind in my reading... So many books... and me, a slow reader.

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  13. My goodness! I think my brain just exploded with all the possibilities. What a great interview! Thank you for that.

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    1. Angela is a non-stop kind of gal. She always makes my head explode with her energy.

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  14. Awesome interview. Thanks so much to both of you.

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  15. Hey Lee and Angela,

    Are you ready for a comment from me? Some very helpful, handy tips in the interview. I got to know a little bit more about Kepler's. That is most enlightening.

    And always a pleasure to see you at your witchy best, Lee.

    That's it. Short comment by my standards. Great post! Thanks for sharing, you amazing celebrity, you!

    Your starstruckest fan,

    Gary :)

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    Replies
    1. Short, but greatly appreciated as always!

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  16. I love this post! Kepler's sounds amazing and I hope to be in the area one day so I can visit it! The authors who have visited blow my mind! I have never known of any bookstore that had Suzanne Collins. Lots of my favorites have walked through Kepler's doors- including you, Lee. Love the pictures of you!

    Yeah for Indie book stores. :)
    ~Jess

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