Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Any Booksellers Out There?

I'm in the final stages of my pre-publication publicity push, and I've learned so much as I've gone through it, so I thought that in addition to answering questions on the blog, I'd also chat about what I'm doing publicity-wise, if you guys are interested in such things.

One of the critical things I've discovered is how invaluable booksellers are...the actual folks who toil at your local store or behind the counter at your nearby Barnes and Noble. Your marketing team can do a hell of a lot for you, but at the end of the day, the folks in the stores are the ones who have influence over buyers and can keep your book in front of readers for a longer period of time than you publisher might have anticipated in their co-op space purchases.

To that end, this week, I'm starting to head out to local stores to introduce myself, talk about the book, and hand out my few remaining galleys. We get the actual book in a few weeks, so once I've burned through the last of my galleys, I'll hand out books. It's an interesting process, and something that, until I was published, I'd never even though about. But check out this article from yesterday's NY Times: pounding the pavement really can help.

Obviously, I can only get to so many local stores, so if you're a bookseller or if you're pals with a bookseller who might be interested in reading a galley, shoot me a note. I only have a few left, but I'll drop one in the mail.

Writers: have you found that this one-on-one, personalized marketing has really helped? I'm curious to hear about how other people have done this in the past. And booksellers: do you truly take note when an author shows up and awkwardly mumbles an introduction? I'm a really outgoing person, but I feel a little self-conscious doing this!


Susan Johnston Taylor said...

Welcome back, Allison. Here's a new question... when sending clips, would you go for the clip that is the most impressive or best reflects the style of the publication you're querying? I know that blog entries are not really clips (or are they? technically, it is a "writing sample") but I've occasionally used them if I think the editor will appreciate my style, and I make sure to mention the magazines and other publications I've written for. Would a print editor scoff at this?

Larramie said...

Allison, any bookseller would be flattered to have you take the time to personally stop by. Go for it! You'll make friends and influence people.

Anonymous said...

I have chatted up a few bookstore owners. What I find interesting is how often they are asked to recommend something- so it never hurts to have met them, been nice and told them about your book. It helps it to stand out in their mind. On the other hand- if you are rude (not that you would be of course) they remember that as well.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I felt VERY self-conscious doing this, but I was always amazed at what a great response there was from booksellers.

Best of luck...how exciting!

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Alyssa and Eileen - Who did you introduce yourselves to at the store? (Or is that whom?) Do you just walk up and introduce yourself to the people at the counter? I'm clueless!

Anonymous said...

Two tips I've heard are:
1) If you offer to sign copies of the book, the shop then can't send them back and they have to sell them! (This might only work in Australia.)
2) Whenever you're in a bookshop, find your titles and face them out on the shelves (i.e. have the cover facing out instead of the spine). This generally means very rudely turning other people's books in and may produce bad karma. But more people will pick up your book and flick through it.

Unknown said...

Not sure about that article. It was more like greasing palms and kissing butt than pounding the pavement. Best of luck to the fellow all the same.

As for yesterday's entry, I've been a lead title recipient here in Australia, but it was nothing like what Stephen Hall experienced in NY. If only... Top billing on the publisher's website and that was about it. "Lead title" was a marketing term to placate writers more than anything else, I found.

Unknown said...

Oh yeah. Good advice Chloe. I'm forever facing up my books on shelves. It's also true that if you sign the books, a retailer can't return them. I'm forever signing books as well!

Anonymous said...

Allison, a couple of years ago I interviewed Phil Keoghan (host of The Amazing Race) for a magazine article. He had also recently written a book called No Opportunity Wasted.

He told me that when he had gone back to New Zealand, where he's from, for a vacation, he drove around the country and he stopped at every bookstore he saw along the way to introduce himself. Don't quote me on this, but I believe he said his book had risen to #1 on the New Zealand bestsellers list by the time he left the country.

Of course, he already had some name recognition, but he definitely felt that his personal efforts made a big difference.

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Eliz- I've interviewed Phil before too! Isn't he wonderful?