Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Real Fan

Let's face it. Mostly, I sell copies of Goals for a Sinner to people I know: my relatives, members of my various clubs and RWA chapter, and most recently, my hairdresser who owes me for all that overpriced shampoo I've bought over the years. Everyone enjoys the book, so they say. A few seem simply astounded to find it is a good read. Recently, an acquaintance stopped me in a parking lot to say she'd gotten it on her Kindle. That gave me a small thrill.

But, the best thrill of all came last weekend when I headed out of a bathroom stall after our HeartLA meeting and was introduced to Meredith's mother. Genuinely excited to meet the author of Goals, she told me how much she enjoyed reading her daughter's copy and had passed it on to a cousin. She can't wait for the sequel, Wish for a Sinner, which has just been assigned an editor. Here was a person who didn't have to say anything nice to me at all. Did I care we were talking in a restroom? No. Did I mentally gripe that she hadn't actually bought the book? No. The idea that she'd liked it enough to recommend my book to others made my day.

Frankly, I wish I could implant microchips in my books and see where they wander like stray dogs who find new homes. I know for a fact, they've been to a cottage in Maine, flown on airplanes, gone to the beach and the lake and the Grand Tetons. In fact, my books have traveled more than I have this year. As long as people are reading and enjoying, I'm happy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Signing Books at Barnes and Noble

Really, I didn't expect to sell many books, but gee, golly, gosh, here I am signing at Barnes and Noble, one of my favorite places on earth. After a friend told me they didn't have my book and I needed to go introduce myself, I did. The manager looked over the product, checked it on the computer, probably to see if the wholesaler carried it and if it was returnable. He cordially agreed to order a few copies for the "Local Author" table and asked if I want to participate in the group signing the next week. Well, yes!

So, I donned my football jersey again and had free foam football giveaways to go with the book in keeping with the Goals for a Sinner theme. I set up my post among the other e-pubbed and self-pubbed. The Civil War books and cookbooks (free samples given) sold like hotcakes. The young man with a children's book sitting next to me must have been related to half the parish because he had a line waiting. I sold five copies to friends. My target was six. Not too disappointed. I know how these things go. I did do better than the two women with poetry and memoir offerings. And enough folks chatted with me to keep me from being bored. It was an okay experience, and I was excited to have my book in one Barnes and Noble. A caveat, since we had to bring our own books and B and N takes a 40% cut of sales, I probably made only pennies that night. Exposure is important, I tell myself.

Checking my e-mail the next day, I get a letter from the publisher who contracted the sequel warning me not to deal with Barnes and Noble. Too many returns, no enough profit. Mea culpa. Too late now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Braving Barnes & Noble

I've heard all the horror stories about walking into one of the big book chain stores with an e-published book in hand, and if not being tossed out, then totally scorned. However when one of my friends tried to buy Goals for A Sinner at a B & N and was told by the manager I'd have to come in and introduce myself, I did. Hands sweating, heart pounding, my first stop was a nervous trip to their ladies room. Then, I sought out a manager, pulled my light romance from my bag, and began my pitch, mostly saying I was a local author and the story took place in Louisiana. He looked the book over, said it appeared very professional, and searched for it on the computer. I suspect he checked to see if their wholesaler stocked it. And then, those wonderful words, "Okay, I'll stock some." Was it available in e-format? Absolutely! Would I like to participate in a local author book signing in June, BYOB (Bring your own books). Sure. I left on wobbly legs.

Why did I succeed? The Wild Rose Press did put out a totally professional product-good cover and blurb and not a single typo in the text. B & N could easily order through their wholesaler and return unsold copies. Unfortunately, this won't be the case for the sequel since this option has been dropped. I stressed local author and locale. And somewhere in my blathering, I mentioned that the title was selling steadily on Amazon. I have no idea if that last competitive bit helped or not and in fact, was merely trying to justify myself as an author. Okay, the Lafayette, LA Barnes and Noble is the only big chain store to offer my book, but that is one more than none.