Friday, May 04, 2007

Bookstore Insider Info

I had the first booksigning for Damsel Under Stress last night. Because, of course, things can never go smooth, just before I had to leave the house, a HUGE storm hit. Not as huge as the night before, so no hurricane-force winds, tornadoes or lightning, but really, really heavy rain. I hate driving in the best of circumstances, and especially in rain. In fact, in rain like that, I wouldn't have left the house to meet my own favorite author. But the storm turned out to be small, geographically speaking, and soon I was out on the other side. By the time I got to the bookstore, the sun was coming out and there was a giant rainbow arcing across the whole sky. It also turned out to be the night of a big Dallas Mavericks playoff game. I don't know what kind of fanbase crossover I have, but a lot of people in the area were pretty excited about it.

Still, there were people there! And while a lot of them were what I call preexisting friends (as in, from before the publication of Enchanted, Inc.), a lot of them were readers I'd met at previous signings or online. There were even enough people there to do a little talk and reading for, a first for me. A few people showed up because they'd read about it in the newspaper (including a couple of ladies who seemed to be under the impression that this was a book club and were disappointed to find out it was all about me. Odd.). On the way home, I dropped by the other B-word bookstore nearby and signed their stock, which then prompted the guy working there to put the books front and center on a table instead of spine-out in the back the way they were. I think my killer red dress with a deep cleavage helped there. I may have to hit a lot more stores to guarantee good placement like that. :-) Too bad I don't own too many things with a deep cleavage (and I think the majority of booksellers I run into are women, so that may not help much).

I learned from talking to the Borders staff that we need to be patient with the stores that didn't have the books on the shelf right away. They get in about a thousand books at a time in one big mass, so it's not like they can rush to the back and open the box that says the book's title on it. Then all of those books have to be processed before they can be put on the shelves. However, if you don't find the book you're looking for on the shelf, do ask for it and let them special order it for you if they're not planning to stock it. Although the individual stores don't get a lot of say in the initial order, which comes from the corporate level, if they get a certain number of special orders in a store, it will trigger the system to order copies of that title to be stocked in the store, and if the store staff become aware that there is demand for a particular book, then they can get into the system and manually order books for their store. And if enough stores in a chain do that, then I guess the person making the initial decision will look all manner of stupid. At least, in my fantasies they will (in my fantasies there may even be ritual suicides in shame, but that never happened to Fox executives, so I guess my wishes don't come true).

Now for more Great Blog Campaign stuff. Here's an interview with Katie Chandler.

Then on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, I chat with Tanya Lee Stone. I geek out about musical theater with E. Lockhart. And I talk writing with Kelly Parra. (I've had more stops on this tour, but I'm only sharing the ones with unique content that y'all might find interesting, since the tour isn't really designed for the same people to read all the blogs, but rather to spread the word broadly among a lot of different people.)

I'm about to head off to East Texas for the next leg of the book tour. For this stop, I get luxury accommodations at a nice little bed and breakfast where I get pampered like a member of the family (in other words, my parents' house). Booksigning Saturday at 2 in Tyler at the B&N!

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