Somehting to think about . . .

Hunger and the fear of failure . . . when you hit the wall, the only way left is up.

~Lorelei Bell

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winners Win, Losers... take another road

Lorelei @ book signing for Vampire Ascending
at BORDERS before it closed a few months later
With my second book in the series I was apprehensive about securing a book signing with the OTHER bookstore. I knew what they would say, and it was that everyone who wanted a book at the book signing would have to pre-order and pre-pay for it. Which I thought was a tacky way of doing business in a big store. I felt tacky having to tell everyone this. "Hey, by the way, if you want one of my books to be at the bookstore the day of my book signing, you have to pre-order and pay for it right then." Because they don't want to order it and not have you show up--dear God they'd be out ten bucks (or whatever they paied for the copy)!

But I put out the announcements, I sent off letters and emails explaining what needed to be done and all the other information such as when and what time etc. That was four or so weeks ago.

Now come down to two weeks before the event, and I get an email from store personnel who was handling my book signing telling me that no orders have been made. No one has bought my book (pre-paid for it, that is). It didn't surprise me. And after I got over the news I mulled over what I should do.

The thing is I wasn't angry at anyone but the store--the big greedy corporation who has made this decision to not allow anyone with a small print-on-demand book to take up room on their shelves and God forbid they might go under for ordering a dozen books for a damned book signing for a LOCAL author.

I didn't tell my husband until the next morning. I hate hitting him with such news after a long day, so waited until this morning. I told him we'll just stay home that day. I was to be there from noon until 4 pm. I didn't like the idea of being held captive for so long in one place, but now I won't be.

I didn't rant back at the person who was coordinating this book signing. I tried to keep it on a professional level. I did tell her I wouldn't be stepping into their store ever again. I felt as though I was treated unfairly. Actually, I felt as though I were treated like a beggar.

I told them that I sold 20 copies of Vampire Ascending  the night of my last book signing in Borders.
20! That's pretty damned good for an unknown author. Julie, the bookstore manager of Borders absolutely loved me. I brought in people. Some walked out with 2 books, and one (my niece) bought 3! One for herself, one for her sister, and one for a friend.

The thing is they think they've won. They haven't. Eventually this book store will go the way of Borders. I promise you, it will. Those people will be out of a job too. The e-books are here to stay. We who want books--the kind with real paper pages--will be forced to order on-line or buy at Walmart, or Target, or your local supermarket. Gak!

Since this isn't about ebooks, I'm not going to go into my opinion on them right now. What I will say is this: I'm glad that I got to enjoy at least 3 book signings in a real book store because it looks as though those days are gone. I will find places or ways to sell my books to those who want a physical copy. I haven't lost anything. I would make more money by selling the book hand to hand than through royalties, actually. And the bookstore is the real looser in the end.


shelly said...

If you ask me, I think you're right. AT my local B and N, I see less and less books.

Marissa Farrar said...

Sorry to hear you had to cancel, Lorelei. Unfortunately everything you say is true. Book stores will be a rarity in the future. Perhaps us indie authors need to be a little more inventive about where we do our book signings. After all, we'll be around for a long while yet.

Lorelei said...

Yes, Shelly. I don't know what they are thinking, but like I told the lady, it's their loss, not mine.

Marissa, thanks. I'm trying to figure out how to start up a very low budget place where I take and place orders for print on demand books. A tiny building, like one of those espresso shops you see parking lots? Take peoples orders, charge them a little extra and make some money on the side. You think it might work?

Dora Dee said...

Well I just lent my copy of Vampire's Ascending to a neighbor who has a twenty-something daughter and a niece. She's not into Vampire's, etc.,rarely goes online and is not tech-savy, and at first she shied away saying that she's not into vampire's but I told her it's not what she's expecting and asked her to read the first page. After she read it, she said she liked it and would give it a go. If she doesn't, perhaps her daughter will become curious (I'm pretty sure the cover will attract her - or should I say 'thrall' her) and she'll start reading it. You see where I'm going with this. Who knows? It wouldn't hurt. Let's hope she likes it and orders Vampire's Trill. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Lorelei said...

Hey, Dora, you never know. One friend tells another friend and that's how you get word-of-mouth going. Good job!

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hi, Lorelei. I read this when it landed in my inbox and was saddened to hear of what happened. You are always so upbeat. I could really feel what was simmering beneath the surface of your tone. I hope you're feeling better about it now.

I have some small book stores in Fresno which I have been meaning to speak to. What I have been doing is library events. I've done three so far: one on my own and two others with two other writers from KRL. We've got one next Saturday and another that we have just rescheduled for May.

The big boys just gave me paperwork, so I moved on. We do what we can do, right?


laughingwolf said...

one would think brix-n-mortar bookstores would welcome the traffic a signing would bring, especially with buyers likely to take other books home, too! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

[tony hunt, on fb]

Lorelei said...

Yeah, Jimmy. I got over that pretty quickly. I think I'm lucky to have had Borders still for my two frist books. I really don't need these guys to sell books. I sold 2 to a friend the next day.

Thanks for your support.

-Tony, exactly what you would think. But no. I guess they don't need that sort of help. They've got the Nook.