How are you?

Honestly, how are you? These days my neighbors and friends and I ask this to each other with a lot more sincerity than we used to. I truly want to know how you're doing, so drop me a reply!

My family is still all right so far, though I often feel I'm not doing enough to help during the pandemic. Fortunately, one small way to help did land in my lap, and I'll share it with you! It doesn't even have to do with sewing masks or studying virology. (Thank goodness; I'm really no good at either of those.) It has to do with supporting independent booksellers.

Pictured: The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle

Independent bookstores are the best, aren't they? Sure, Amazon has convenience and low prices on its side, but it doesn't have the character, atmosphere, or personal customer service of all those thousands of unique brick-and-mortar stores. Besides, given the news lately—in which Jeff Bezos is poised to become a trillionaire, when meanwhile many small businesses are in danger of going bankrupt—I think you'd agree it's best to support the smaller businesses where we can.

So what we do is: whenever possible, buy books through independent booksellers, not through Amazon! A site where you can do this easily is And if you need ideas for books to preorder:

Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort During the Time of COVID-19 is the helping-out opportunity that fell into my lap. It's a collection of essays and poetry by a truly dazzling list of authors, and all its net profits will go to BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, to help keep indie booksellers in business. I'm donating copyediting and proofreading services to the project (though my mind is shrieking, "I'm not worthy to alter the words of those amazing writers!"), and I can tell you from the pieces I've seen so far that it will be a lovely and compassionate anthology. Buy it for all your friends!

Lava Red Feather Blue: what's this?? It's available to be preordered in print! Hurray!

Preorders may seem pointless; why not just wait till the book is available and order it then? But they do have a purpose! Preorders let the bookstores know there's interest in a book, which helps boost the amount of advertising they're likely to do for it upon its release, and can even increase the number of copies they'll order to display in the store. Which, needless to say, helps the author. Do it for mine if you're so inclined, and do it for other authors you like! Preferably through an independent bookseller, of course, not through A Certain Site Named After a South American River.

Finally, a fun idea to help local bookstores is to buy a gift card from them, either to use yourself or to send to a friend. Everyone knows someone who could use a boost right now, and a surprise bookstore gift card is a lovely one to get.

That's all for today. Wishing you as much peace and enjoyment as circumstances allow.

Take care,

Copyright © 2020 Central Avenue Publishing, All rights reserved.

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