Monday, February 18, 2008

Guest Blogger Free-for-All

I've invited Anonymous Publisher Rep and Anonymous Bookstore Buyer each to send me a guest blog post, and they (COUovereager foolsGH) have opened the door to my readers' questions. Go on, sic 'em.
Please remember to label your questions >to the rep<>to the buyer<.

22 comments:

Jill C. said...

For both rep and buyer,
what is the best way for a pb author to promote a book? How can we help you?
Thank you!

Joni said...

>to the rep>:

What, if anything, can an author in your territory do to increase your interest in reading his/her ARC, buy you coffee, or otherwise become a human being to you instead of just one more name and title in a long list for the season?

And how should we best get in touch, if so?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Independent Bookseller,

When my book was published last spring by a legit publisher, I offered to come in to your store, to sign, read, present, and do a very nice "program," etc.

Some of you jumped at the chance, but a surprising number of you couldn't be bothered and never even responded to the signed book I left behind at your desk. You couldn't have cared less.

I would have brought kids into your store, offering a similar program program that schools pay me $800 and up to do. Even if you didn't sell MY book per se, you would have sold the books of others or some kind of merchandise. And you would have a pro presenting a genuine educational program. Not some self -published twit. AND you could have returned unsold copies of my book.

I've done a lot of books. You were just too DAMN independent to follow up on a free offer for a great program from a veteran.

Let me tell you, it is really hard to feel seriously sorry for independent book stores closing left and right, when many of you are too damned independent to take authors up on our offers to give you meaningful programs.

And, BTW, all of the big chains DID take me up on my offer.

Call me, "not so sympathetic"

Sherryl said...

To the rep:
With so many books to present to booksellers every month, do you ever get a say in what you push? Or does the publisher tell you what titles need to be heavily promoted?
How does that gel with the bookseller who knows their own clientele?
I read a piece recently congratulating reps on knowing the sellers and what they need? Is this true? Or only relevant to that bookseller?

Anonymous said...

Buyer (or either really),

As an author and/or illustrator of a graphic novel for the educational market with no royalties, what is the incentive of marketing one's book oneself?

christine tripp said...

To the buyer:

It doesn't specify who you buy for, indy or chain sellers, but in any case, do you think it is too late for publishers to put their foot down in regards to the power the chains have, both in the US and Canada (Chapters/Indio in Can) over which books they will and will not take and why and even to them having the say in book covers, colours etc?
While I realize it would take publishers joining together in a ban on the big chains and millions lost by them, I feel that if the pubs would take such a stand and only supply to the indys for a short time, the big guns would perhaps back down somewhat and make life better for all of us.
Your thoughts??

ChristineEldin said...

To the rep: Why won't my husband listen to me?

To the buyer: How can I lose 30 pounds in 30 days?
*****

Okay, seriously.

To the rep: What do you think of the site LookyBook?

Also not sympathetic said...

Whoa, 11:32 Anon! I'm an author, too, but you're still rubbing me the wrong way. You're not necessarily God's gift to booksellers. Don't be so cheeved that all stores don't all the time want to give over their place of work for you to put on your dog and pony show. I'm sure it's a hassle for them, and one that's not always worth their while.

Anonymous said...

As a bookseller, I've had great authors come to my store only to have no one show up. As an author, I was prepared when the same thing happened to me, but here is my question for the bookseller.

I am a published author, from a real publisher. I even have pretty sticker on my book that says I got a prize. Is there any way I can get you to not treat me like a self-published weenie? I'd like to introduce myself, let you know I am local, and offer to sign any copies of my books that you have on hand. Your default response is to roll your eyes and assume that I'm a pushy wannabe. You get a lot nicer when you see the sticker, but by then, yeah, I'm kinda offended. Is there any way I can start us off on a better footing?

Anonymous said...

As a bookseller, I've had great authors come to my store only to have no one show up. As an author, I was prepared when the same thing happened to me, but here is my question for the bookseller.

I am a published author, from a real publisher. I even have pretty sticker on my book that says I got a prize. Is there any way I can get you to not treat me like a self-published weenie? I'd like to introduce myself, let you know I am local, and offer to sign any copies of my books that you have on hand. Your default response is to roll your eyes and assume that I'm a pushy wannabe. You get a lot nicer when you see the sticker, but by then, yeah, I'm kinda offended. Is there any way I can start us off on a better footing?

Wendy said...

For buyer: Maybe you can explain your job a little more? Some folks here are assuming you're the bookseller, but is that true? Or is it more like you represent the bookseller? Maybe it depends on the size of the bookseller's business...

For rep: What's the number one bit of feedback you're consistently getting from buyers that you think publishers should really heed?

Jocelyn said...

To The Buyer:

- What is involved in the decision to place a certain title cover-side-out instead of just shelving it (showing only the spine)?

- What is the average time that a title remains that way?

- What is the busiest time of year for books to be bought/sold?

- How are author signings arranged at stores? Does it have to be through the agent/publisher or is it bad if the author tries to manage that him/herself?

- Not exactly up your alley but is it bad to bring treats/food for either the employees or potential customers at a books signing? I have heard it advised both ways.

Anonymous said...

For the bookseller:

What happens when someone (not me) calls up and special-orders a book (not mine) that's not on the shelf and then doesn't pick it up?

Does that book (again, not mine) end up just being shelved? Or does it go back to (not my) publisher?

Thanks!

Joni said...

For the rep (although any input from bookseller or, for that matter, EA is welcome):

Is there a rationale for how a book's release month/date is selected? What are the decisive factors? As in films and the Academy Awards, are some months more likely to result in breakout or award-winning books than others, and if so, when and why?

Anonymous said...

Buyer: I'd love to hear about your hard choices. Like is there a certain kind of book that you personally love but know from experience you shouldn't order it because it never sells through? Or a book you can't stand but order anyway because it sells?

Anonymous said...

EA, maybe this is a question for you. Why are editors so disinclined to inform authors about the progress of their books? The first time I asked my editor what the print run for my books would be, she said, "We don't tell authors that." Why not?

On the one hand, we are told that we need to promote our own books. On the other hand, I feel as if they are trying their hardest to separate the "creative" from the "sales". Is it because they are afraid that we can't be professional? That we will find out that some author author had 5,000 more copies of her book published, or that there was some ad buy that we didn't get, and we are going to make a childish scene?

If so, should they continue to keep authors from the facts? Or should they expect them to grow more professional? If they got more into the marketing and sales, would the authors be less good as the "creative?"

Anonymous said...

To the rep:

I appreciate your taking questions. I’ve been doing this for years and I still don’t know where the landmarks are on this road. I do get that an author/illustrator should, one, produce a good book and, two, be polite and considerate to the pros at the publishing houses who -- let’s say who often do not have the resources to do all that they would like for all the books on their list. Say then that an author/illustrator has made good faith efforts at steps one (Starred reviews! End of the year lists!) and two. What then can we do on our own? What then can we fairly expect the publisher to do? What is the publisher doing behind the scenes that we don’t know about? What can we do to make it easier and more likely for the publisher to do more? Thank you.

Ann Panders said...

Is it because they are afraid that we can't be professional? That we will find out that some author author had 5,000 more copies of her book published, or that there was some ad buy that we didn't get, and we are going to make a childish scene?

Yes, yes and yes. Haven't you been paying attention? Authors are whiney babies who can't be trusted to blow their own noses and should keep quiet and be grateful that their editor turned their misguided manuscript into a gem and the publisher gave them a couple of thousand dollars as a gift--I mean, an advance.

Anonymous said...

oops, ann, my bad. i came over from read roger and posted before i read the archived posts.

Anonymous said...

To Anon, 2/19, 10:18:

You are totally off base. It has nothing to do with thinking I am God's gift. It is the total lack of courtesy with regard to even responding OR it's really like Anon, 5:38 said--Seeing this:

"...default response is to roll your eyes and assume that I'm a pushy wannabe."

I understand that people are busy. We all are. These programs keep me from writing, don't forget. SO give me phone call and gracefully decline. Be gracious. I was when I schlepped in to your store.

Just don't let me hear moaning and groaning about lack of sales and about losing business, when you treat sincere authors like snake oil salesmen.

Still not so sympathetic said...

But you weren't asking for "gracious declines" in your original post. You were lambasting booksellers for being "too damned independent to take authors up on our offers to give you meaningful programs," and wishing bankruptcy upon them.

Do you see how that could come across as sounding... entitled?

Anonymous said...

I didn't see any reference on my part to "wishing bankruptcy" on too-independent independents anywhere in my post. I jut claimed growing lack of sympathy--lack of sympathy for the plight of the "woe is me" hand wringing with regard to being eaten alive in the book selling industry.

Let's face it: if a bookseller is really feeling squashed like a bug by the chains, then perhaps being welcoming to local authors and events is something that might be warranted to generate business and traffic--and good will. Instead I have found that many (but not all, thank goodness) seem to embody a certain snobbishness. And they seem to revel in it.

Yes, I should have been more exacting in my post by further explaining that those that didn't "take me up" on my offer, did not even bother to respond, period.

Still--Bad attitude. Bad, bad attitude. Shame on them.