Friday, January 28, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Booksellers & Authors

I know I have been quite the absentee hostess of late. It turns out that starting a new blog just before the holiday when one works two jobs, one of them retail, is kind of a bad idea.

In any case, I have half a dozen unfinished entries that I hope to bang out shortly. In the meantime, I want to link y'all to today's entry at the Book View Cafe, written by Laura Anne Gilman. I had thought about doing an entry on book signings, but Ms. Gilman offered a great summary on the experience from an author's point of view. I particularly liked this bit:

"If you sell [only] one, and manage to make the staff think you’re just an utter delight, then they will be more likely to hand-sell your book – and your next book, and the book after that."

I cannot stress how true this is. Years ago, there was a local author (not a romance novelist) who so thoroughly pissed us off with his antics, we pretty much banned his book from the store. He used to repeatedly have his family & friends order multiple copies into the store, but then they'd never pick up the books. I would come in and find his book shoved onto displays, replacing titles that were supposed to be in FOS. As a result, we kept one copy on the shelf and sent the rest back. Didn't matter how many arrived in the pallets, we kept one and just threw the rest on the returns desk. Do you think we ever hand-sold his book? Hell no.

To contrast this, I'd like to mention Nelson DeMille. Mr. DeMille was friendly with our old GM and so he used to do signings in the store whenever he released a new book. We used to get a ton of people at these events and Mr. DeMille would stay until every single person got an autographed book. At one signing, he stayed half an hour past closing. He was also always polite and courteous to the staff. Many of the staff started reading him as a result and now when someone asks us for a mystery rec, Mr. DeMille's books are usually at the top of the list.

Motto of this story? Be nice to the people who are the gatekeepers of your books.