We started this blog with the idea of chatting about what happens in the months leading up to the publication of a book.  Sure, if you’ve been following Anna’s posts, there seems to be a lot of waiting. Waiting for edits, waiting for checks, waiting for cover proofs, waiting for ARCs. But while all this waiting is happening, there’s a lot of talk about marketing going on behind the scenes.  At Browne & Miller we believe that authors do themselves a disservice by thinking that marketing is the sole responsibility of their publisher.  The only way their book will reach its full potential is if they become involved. Publishers now look to authors to become active partners in their book’s success, and so do we!  We talk a lot with our authors about the idea of creating a community around them and their books. Creating a dynamic webpage, blogging, tweeting, becoming a member of writing groups, all of these activities can help get the word out about your book.  If you’ve been following Anna’s efforts you’ll notice that she has a stellar website that is up an running (a good six months before her book hits stores!), she blogs, she tweets and she is involved in writing communities such as The Tenners

The other element we talk with our authors about is the importance of getting to know local booksellers.  Local booksellers can really make a difference in sales – they can schedule signings, recommend your book to customers and book clubs….if they like you!  Here are 10 tips from an anonymous bookseller geared toward making you a great local author as published in Publishers Weekly. Some of these may seem like no-brainers, but if someone felt the need to write about them, someone out there has obviously committed one or more of these faux pas! Read on:

 

Soapbox: How to Be A Great Local Author

A bookseller prescribes 10 rules to stay on the good side of your town’s bookstore

By Anonymous — Publishers Weekly, 6/8/2009

  1. If you have a book coming out with a major publisher, and you happen to live in town, stop by and introduce yourself. We’re both going to look bad when your book is reviewed and we’ve never heard of either it or you. All you need to do is come say hi. We’re friendly. Also: don’t tattle to our rep about our not having your book. Booksellers, like elephants, never forget.
  2. Do not call or stop by more than once a week asking how your book is selling. Your enthusiasm comes across as incessant nagging if you check in with us hourly. If we need more copies of your book, we’ll call you. And if, when you call us, we can immediately identify you by you merely saying, “Hiiiiiii, it’s me again,” this does not mean we have formed a bond; it means you are stalking us.
  3. Do not ask us to recommend your book to book groups. Asking us to hand-sell your book is like asking us to tell you that you look really hot in those capris; you can’t force that kind of thing, and asking is just… awkward.
  4. Do not move your book every time you come into the store. We appreciate that you’re spending 80 cents on a chocolate every time you come in, but we’d rather be the ones in charge of where the books go in our bookstore. Putting your book on the bestsellers table isn’t fooling anyone.
  5. Do not ask for bestselling authors’ private information. Yes, a handful of them do live in town. Yes, we even sometimes have their home phone numbers and e-mail addresses. No, we will not put you in touch with them so that you can send them a copy of your book. And no, we’d really rather you not ask us to point them out to you the next time you are both in the store.
  6. Do not repeatedly ask each member of the staff if they have read your book yet. It’s like having to turn you down for a date, except in front of a whole lot of people, and on a weekly basis. If we want to read your book, we’ll read it. And you can be sure that if we love it, you’ll be the first to know.
  7. When you are in the store, do not try to talk customers into buying your book. If you overhear someone asking us for a great mystery novel, do not pipe up from several aisles away suggesting your book. Even if your book were a mystery—which it’s not; it’s a memoir about the year you spent herding goats in Italy—this is not appropriate behavior. (It still counts as interfering if someone asks us for a reading suggestion and you stand behind them wildly gesticulating or hissing the title of your book at us.)
  8. Do send people in to buy your book. A surprising number of authors have us go through the trouble of getting their books in, and we never sell a single copy. We support you; you have to support us back. Don’t tell everyone you meet that your book is available on Amazon. Amazon isn’t telling all of its customers about your book, throwing you a party, contacting the local newspaper on your behalf and dealing with your overbearing mother (see rule 9).
  9. Do not send your mother, friend, former babysitter, and/or neighbor to spy on us. We will not put your book on the counter, in the window, or in between Friedman and Picoult on the bestseller table just because your friend says we should. Especially do not have your mother offer suggestions about improving our merchandising and marketing skills; your mother is not managing this bookstore.
  10. Please respect our personal boundaries. Do not ask us about your book when you see us at the bank, out on a date or in line to pick up our antianxiety medication at CVS. This sort of behavior will ensure that your book gets speedily relegated to the darkest, cobwebbed depths of our bookstore and never mentioned again.
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