Has Your Book Been "Skyed"?

A guest post by author and Indie Books Unleashed founder Crystal Klimavicz

For a new take on the indie and self-publishing marketplace, I'm honored to introduce Crystal Kilmavicz, author and founder of Indie Books Unleashed, a visibility service which aims to get more independently-published books into the hands of the readers who want and need them!

If you are looking for ways to get your book under the eyes of prospective readers, I suggest you use the links at the end of this post to contact Crystal and IBU - but in the meantime, enjoy this thoughtful take on book displays, art, wine, and Malcom Gladwell.

With love,
- Bryna 

Has Your Book Been "Skyed"?

As a writer and thinker, I am a huge Malcolm Gladwell fan. His books line a shelf in my study and I reread chapters often. How can you not appreciate the voice of reason when it encounters everyday life and sheds new light upon it? Gladwell encourages me to question the ways of the world, just as his ideas bring clarity and resonance to concepts in a delightful way.

In his latest novel, David and Goliath, Gladwell offers explanations of why being bigger doesn’t necessarily equate to being better. As always, he provides a number of examples, from the very battle the shepherd boy won against the imposing giant in Biblical times, to paintings from the late nineteenth century artists Monet, Manet, Pisarro, Cezanne, and Degas.

But what I found most interesting was a term that referenced these artists at a venue called The Salon. It was the largest and most prestigious art competition that was held in Paris in that day. No painter could submit more than three pieces and artists suffered numerous rejections. The aforementioned painters, although now world-renowned for their style known as Impressionism, were often shunned.

This was the only venue option for displaying artistic works for miles, and the worst possible scenario was to have one’s work "skyed" -  meaning the picture was hung high and close to the ceiling. The Salon was a three-hundred-yard building that resembled a barn, so if a painting was high up, the chances of that work being noticed and therefore winning the contest were slim to none.

I am a writer who considers herself a wannabe wine connoisseur (for we writers do love our wine), so this concept of being ‘skyed’ brought to mind the purchase of the wines, yet in a quite contradictory way. More often than not, the best and most expensive wines are displayed on the higher shelves. In fact, one can generally gauge in a wine shop that the caliber of wines decreases down with each shelf until the very bottom. (I will coin the phrase ‘bottomed’ to reference this and allow Gladwell to use it if he likes).

Furthermore, my ardent appreciation for good and reasonably priced wines, including Malbec’s and Old Vine Zinfandels, is only superseded by my love of writing, and therefore book displays are another antithetical example. The "latest and greatest" books are usually displayed at the front of the store on aisle caps, with the rest being alphabetized in their respective genre around the store.

If you are a published writer, you know that, as with artists, being a writer is a competitive business. It is difficult to be picked up by a publisher, and then equally challenging to get "discovered" and sell books. In the spirit of questioning how things are done (as Gladwell does), we could ask ourselves a couple of questions:

  • Should the least popular books be shelved up high, as with The Salon? Or should they be displayed down low, as with wine?

  • Given Gladwell’s stated theory of bigger not being better, should books be offered in the small, intimate setting of local bookstores and venues, rather than in larger stores?

Though current trend is unfortunately following in the direction of fewer free-standing bookstores, certainly the more bookstores there are available to prospective readers and buyers, whatever their size, the better it should be for all writers. 

Albert Einstein is broadly credited with the quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." This truth, and the above questions and quandaries all lead to the reason I founded a new program called Indie Books Unleashed. It’s a vehicle for self-published writers to get their books sold, read, and reviewed.

Before any of those things can happen, books need to be found, and Indie authors certainly face the most disadvantages. Bookstores can be overwhelming, and unless a customer walks in specifically seeking an author’s book, "skyed" or "bottomed" books may remain on the shelf collecting dust.

So how does a lesser-known self-published author get their books out into communities? By putting books in places other than bookstores - places where lots of people spend time! Easy access equals easy purchase, and IBU's community-based strategy offers real world discoverability for self-published writers. 

Books are meant to be read! And, as the author of three non-New York Times bestsellers who writes daily (and drinks my fair share of wine, as well), this much I know ...

Question: Which is your favorite Gladwell book and why? If you are self-published, share your success in getting books to readers in a challenging world.

Want to explore a unique and cost-effective way to share your book with readers? Check out Crystal's program, Indie Books Unleashed! 

Crystal Klimavicz is a sales executive turned writer and entrepreneur who has written three books, teaches writing classes, volunteers extensively, and sits on the Board for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). She founded a writers’ group on Daniel Island, South Carolina where she lives with her husband and two children. She has also created a new program for self-published authors that helps them get their books read and reviewed. Learn more about Crystal and her work at www.CrystalKlimavicz.com  and www.IndieBooksUnleashed.com