It’s hard to convince a bookstore to sell your book.
Back in 1993 an editor I know was in Chicago for a sales meeting, and stopped by my store—The Children’s Bookstore—with her marketing director. We went out to lunch. She told me that Barnes & Noble hadn’t been stocking many of her children’s books, so her team had come up with a clever strategem to bypass the B&N buyers. The editor and her marketing director had visited the B&N branch on the Upper West Side of New York City, and surreptitiously placed several books they had published right onto the B&N shelves.
I was surprised, and asked how this would benefit her company’s children’s books. She said that perhaps when someone attempted to buy the books, and the Barnes & Noble cashiers scanned the barcodes on the books, an automatic process would add the books to the Barnes & Noble inventory system, triggering a re-order!
Ahem. I do not know if this strategy works, since I don’t work for Barnes & Noble. But I can say that no publisher or author need revert to such a method when it comes to The Carle’s bookstore.
Last month I revealed we’re pushovers when it comes to pushing local authors. This month I hereby reveal that if you’re a professionally published author suffering from non-locality relative to Western Massachusetts, there’s a way for you to push your books onto our shelves as well, without convincing me (the quirky, picky bookbuyer-cum-gatekeeper).
All you have to do is be willing to energetically promote the museum online, before and after your visit.
Hands down, the author who has done the best job at following through at this quid-pro-quo offer has been Melanie Hope Greenberg.
I met Melanie during a discussion on Roger Sutton’s blog. When she figured out that I run the shop at The Carle she asked if I would sell her books. Since she had decided to start marketing herself energetically online, we agreed that she would run an event here and then blog about it.
Melanie extended the impact of the write-up on her blog by reminding her Facebook friends of her visit here, several times (citing the narrative link to her blog). Then when we set up her signed books on a page of our online store, she posted this link in several places, and then even compiled a list of all the links on yet another page of her website.
I would say that any author who will promise to do such an energetic job of promoting the museum, post-visit, would be very welcome to come here to promote their book—and we’ll keep the book on our shelves in the future as well.