In my blind and stumbling journey to publication of my novel The Clearing, one of the waypoints is the book launch. I’m looking at all the options, reading how others have done it, and generally trying to get myself as well infored as I can. My publisher is on the other side of the world, so I’m kind of on my own for this one. Part of my research meant speaking to the manager of a large, big-box book store, whose name is not really important.
Quick set up: My novel is being published this fall, by a traditional publishing house. I’m not self publishing – and I’m not crowing here, just setting up the facts for the story. Anyway, I’m a rookie, so I have questions. Well, in I go and ask the manager if the store would consider setting up a table at my little book launch (which I am planning to have in a swanky local independent coffee shop), and be responsible for hawking copies of the book. That way it’s revenue straight to the store, and I don’t have to invest in the copies myself. I figure I’ll pull together an audience of about 60 people, most of whom I expect will pick a copy up. So I’m thinking a sale of say, 40 to 50 copies of any given title might make sense for them.
Right up until she said: “so if your book ever gets picked up and actually carried in our catalogue, then…” (Ah – see? She’s thinking I’m self published, and setting up this launch to flog my little book.) Now – self publishing: there’s nothing wrong with that (thank you, Kramer), but what I find really interesting is how I was treated after I said the words: “but I’m already in your catalogue – have a look there in your computer…”
Everything changed. Suddenly I was worth talking to. I got all kinds of great advice and she became just a wonderfully helpful lady.
What does it mean in the big picture? Probably nothing. She has an economic imperative, and she’s serving it. I get it. But note to self: like every other facet of life, it seems the class system is alive and well.
Funny, huh? Just another intersting little moment on the ride.