Daniel Handler urges authors, indie stores to pair up for signed copies

In a letter to writers, Handler detailed the plan for the program Upstream, which would have authors supply signed copies of their book to a local store.

Stephen Chernin/AP
Daniel Handler is the author of the 'Series of Unfortunate Events' series, among others.

Author Daniel Handler wants to bring together independent bookstores and the authors who live near them.

According to The Bookseller, Handler and “assorted interested parties” have created a program called Upstream that aims to have writers link up with indie stores for signed books. As Handler mentions in his letter to authors, his books are published by Hachette, which is currently involved in a dispute with online bookselling giant Amazon. 

“Whether or not you are an author published by Hachette (as I am), you may lately feel as if you are engulfed in a rather unpleasant flood – as if the fate of your books is whirling dreadfully out of your control, battered by the waters of some enormous South American river, the name of which I cannot remember at the moment,” Handler writes in his letter. (If you’re recognizing the writing style, Handler was behind the “Series of Unfortunate Events” books that he released under the name Lemony Snicket. He is currently writing a series detailing the adventures of fictional author Lemony titled “All the Wrong Questions.” The most recent book in the “Questions” series, titled “Shouldn’t You Be In School?,” was released this past September.) 

Handler wrote that “Upstream was test-piloted this summer and is now spreading steadily.”

He suggested that authors talk with a store near them and that if they can’t find one, “the good folks at Indies First, coordinated by the American Booksellers Association, can be of service.”

“Both you and the bookseller will promote this arrangement as best you can, spreading the word not only about an exciting source of signed books, but about a program anyone can join,” Handler wrote. “Feel free to tell your publicist you’re participating. Upstream should be in full swing in time for the holidays, when signed books are good gifts for loved ones and distance acquaintances alike. Will Upstream rescue us all from strife and worry? Of course not. But the hope is that it will remind both authors and booksellers of their local, less monolithic resources, and to improve general esprit de corps at a disheartening time.”

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