Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shelf-life support system

Thank you guys for the congrats and celebrations for HELL WEEK. Mom and I went to the nearest Barnes and Noble and I signed stock and she put the stickers on. The nearest Borders didn't have their copies out yet. The computer said they were "on the way." Yay!

Which reminds me to tell y'all something--As a reader, there are a ton of authors I love that don't get nearly the attention and bookseller love as some high profile books do. Stores have limited shelf space, and if you figure half of that is taken up by Twilight books, and half of what's left is taken up by Gossip Girls books, that leaves a small space for everyone else. I'm not bitching about that--it's just business. Those are what's selling, so that's what's going to be in the store.

However, here are some things you can do to help an author you like stay alive on the shelves:

1) If the book isn't out on the shelf, ask about it. It might be sitting in a box in the back (happened twice to me), they might be out of stock. Booksellers do notice who's getting asked about, and it generates buzz, which generates book orders.

2) Talk about the books to your friends. The best marketing in the world is word of mouth. (Or word of blog.)

3) If possible, buy your favorite authors' books when they first come out, even if it has to go in your to be read pile for a bit. The first two weeks of sales are the most important for accounting reasons I don't completely understand, except that, again, this generates "buzz" that makes bookstores order more books.

4) Don't forget your library! If you have a small book budget, you can do the same thing at your library. If they don't have the book you're looking for, request it. They can get it from inter-library loan, or they may buy their own copy(ies). Just like booksellers, librarians pay attention to what readers ask for.

5) This kind of goes without saying, I hope, but always be polite in your requests. :-)

I mention these things not (only) for selfish reasons. A lot of readers, if they don't see what they're looking for, will just go home and order it from Amazon.com. But before you do that, asking about the book at the store can make a difference. You can help the authors you enjoy by letting your bookseller know you love them!

ANyway. I celebrated Book Release Day with a piece of cheesecake. Banana Cream Cheesecake form the Cheesecake Factory. Yay for cake!

Then it was back to work. Because in the end, that's the only thing an author can control--writing the next awesome book!

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