Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The December New Moon Is Out--Check Your Inbox

For those of you who currently subscribe to our email newsletter for booksellers, The Moon, you may have noticed a few changes.

We've streamlined the look, included new features, and christened it with a new moniker: The New Moon. As with this blog, our goal is to really connect with you, our selling partners, each month and offer support, guidance, and resources with the aim of helping you grow and thrive in this ever-changing market.

Our December issue of the New Moon was mailed this morning. This issue includes:
-Invoking the Holiday Spirit on a Budget
-Shelftalkers (Beyond Soul Mates, As Above Tarot Deck, I Saw Your Future And He's Not It, and Magical Qabalah for Beginners)
-January New Releases
-Llewellyn's Winter 2013 Catalog
-Indie Stores' Top Five Picks
-And Much More!

If you did not receive a copy in your email inbox, you can also view it here: The New Moon, December 2012 Issue.

You can also visit our website to subscribe to The New Moon, ensuring that it reaches you each month (please note that you will need to log in/register to be able to join our mailing list).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Invoking the Holiday Spirit on a Budget

Hi Booksellers,

Enjoying the holidays—and getting into the “spirit” of the season—doesn’t come easily for everyone. It may be especially tough for those who work in retail. Long hours, crowds of stressed shoppers, and pressure to make your year end financial goal can shred anyone’s nerves. After weeks of this madness, who’s got energy for fa-la-la-la-la?

Luckily, it’s possible to keep the Grinch at bay and actually enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. We invited author Deborah Blake to talk about easy, inexpensive ways to create a festive, uplifting atmosphere in your store that will influence your staff, as well as your customers. With a little luck, all this positive energy will result in strong sales, too!

Invoking the Holiday Spirit on a Budget
By Deborah Blake

The holidays are a wonderful time to run a shop—I know, since I manage The Artisans’ Guild, a not-for-profit artists’ cooperative shop that I co-founded thirteen years ago with a friend. We feature local and regional artwork and crafts, not books, but we face many of the same problems other small stores do at this time of year. In short, how can we be festive and make the most out of the sales opportunities—without spending too much money or ending up burned out and crabby?

Press Releases Versus Ads
Whether your store emphasizes Christmas, Yule, or everything in between, there are a few fun, simple, and inexpensive things you can do to make the most of the season. As someone who runs a not-for-profit, I am used to doing things on a shoestring. For instance, since we have no advertising budget to speak of, we use events and special occasions as excuses to put out press releases (which are free, as opposed to taking out ads). A guest author visit coupled with a fun giveaway might be just the ticket.

Inspiring Ornaments and Decorations
There are lots of ways to decorate on the cheap, too. Get in the holiday spirit by hanging evergreen swags (real or imitation). Make ornaments that double as advertising of your merchandise by cutting out pictures of book covers from your catalogs and pasting them on to poster board or cardboard. Hang each one from a red ribbon and fasten them to your swags, so people can see them and get inspired.

Write up a large “Santa’s List” of top ten gift ideas in the shape of a faux-scroll and hang it on a wall. And be sure to set up a display table with great books, and any other merchandise—but make it special by adding snapshots of happy people showing off their gifts. You can take advantage of any cute kids, animals, or staff you happen to know.

Add a Spiritual Touch
If you want to add a spiritual touch, you can set up a store altar with candles (if it is safe to do so) or tiny battery-powered tea lights. Encourage both staff and customers to light a candle for a wish for the coming year, or to send good energy out into the world. If you don’t want to use candles, set up a small tree, and leave cut out “ornaments” of paper in seasonal shapes for people to write their wishes on, and then hand on the tree. You can use this to increase your mailing list, if you use one, by combining the ornaments with a giveaway. Anyone who hangs a wish on the tree can be entered into a giveaway for a gift basket of goods from your store (or a gift certificate), and they must write their name, address, and email on the back to be entered.

Holiday Giving
In this especially tough year, you may want to use your store to help give back to those in need. Put out a basket to collect canned goods for local food pantries, and let everyone who contributes be entered into a giveaway for a book that has some spiritual meaning.

Help Staff De-Stress
The holiday season can be stressful for shop owners and employees, so don’t forget to do a little something special to make this fun but busy time a little easier on everyone who works at your shop. If you have space, a small altar set up for the staff can give people a place to de-stress and relax for a moment or two each day. Encourage everyone to add a small item with special meaning to the altar or table, or have everyone bring in a picture of themselves celebrating the season with family or friends. And feel free to light a candle every day for prosperity.

A Contest Starring Pets
For a lighter note, you can run a “Pets who read,” contest. Have customers bring in photos of their pets “reading” a favorite book that was purchased at your store. You can enter everyone in a contest and pick a winner at the end of the month, or let people vote for which photo they like the best. Don’t forget to include treats for the pet in with the prize!

Happy holidays!


Photo by John Mazarak
Deborah Blake is the author of six books from Llewellyn Worldwide, including Everyday Witch Book of Rituals (2012), Witchcraft on a Shoestring (2010),  Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) and The Goddess is in the Details (2009). She also has a regular column in the Witches & Pagans Magazine and has articles in many of the Llewellyn annuals. She lives in upstate New York where she is theoretically in charge of five cats and fifty artists. Visit her online.

Deborah on her favorite metaphysical store:
“I get most of my supplies from AzureGreen and I have for many years. They have a wide range of stock, good quality and low prices, and the nicest folks working there. They’re a small company and I love them.”

For more articles on keeping your cool throughout the holiday season, check out “Merry Blissmas: The Key to a Stress-Free Holiday” by Andy Baggott, “Joy to the Store: 5 Keys to a Happy, Sane, and Prosperous Holiday Season” by Tess Whitehurst and “Enjoy a Ten-Minute Bliss Break this Holiday Season” by Kala Ambrose.

Do you have a strategy for staying positive throughout the hectic holiday season? Please share!