Thursday, September 22, 2005

Spoke too soon...

Note: Kensington told me I should sign at this bookstore...

Left Long Island at 4:30pm.
Knew I would catch mad traffic getting to Newark and did. But didn't think it would take two and a half hours. Holland Tunnel is a bitch.
Get to Penn Station in Newark.
Get to bookstore.
Clerk stares at me when I tell her I'm there for booksigning.
Looks at calendar. The date is circled with my phone number.
They don't have a single copy of my book in the store.
I turn around and go back to Long Island.
Total time traversing the LIE and Manhattan bridge, four boroughs, and two states: four and a half hours.
Total books signed: 0

Life on the road...Ya gotta love it.
Tomorrow will be better though. I KNOW this bookstore.


Anonymous said...

Just curious, does anyone handle make sure the events 1) know an author is coming, 2) have books on hand, 3) publicize the event? Etc... Or is that something you have to handle as an author?

Sherri said...

Also, as long as you are going to Baytown(February) why not visit NuWorld books in Beaumont TX or one of the Houston bookstores. I'd push for Beaumont... I'm sure the owner would publicize the heck out of an appearance.

Lawrence said...

That's a good question. Normally, I set up the booksignings in conjunction with my publisher. They have specific stores they want me to sign at, so we work together. My publisher then makes sure that the books are there, as long as the bookstore follows through with their order. The trouble is that bookstores are just like any business as they are as good as their owners. You can call, remind, and coddle most owners, but it all depends on the owner. I think my experience sort of exaggerates the whole "unprepared" thing because in the past five years, this is the first time this has really happened.

During my first tour, Kensington had a set up of tour escorts (little old ladies who take you to a gig) and I told them that I didn't want that. For me, it's better that I rent my own car and get there, and have them invest that money into publicity.

As for publicity, Kensington does two things for their authors (normally). They normally set up telephone interviews for reporters around the country, and they buy co-op advertising. Co-op ads are ads split between the bookstore and the publisher. They are expensive, but a bargain for bookstores, IF they actually use them. A lot of bookstores don't like to use them because they have to fill out paperwork. And you can always tell, from the second you walk into their stores, which bookstores don't take advantage of co-op.

So again, my philosophy is that the publisher is going to do nothing, and that I have to take responsibility for everything.

Lawrence said...

Send me info about the Beaumont store and I just may do that. I speak during the day at the Exxon gig, so I could do an evening signing at that store.