Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to stay warm at teh concert


Oh, hai. Im FLICKER! I haz told u how to stay warm in teh winter and how to go to teh concert. Now I will tell u how to stay warm at teh concert.

First, u must make sure teh coast is clear.

Good. No Frankey. Go to teh concert room. In teh winter, teh balcony is too cold. U must sit in teh orchestra to stay warm when u haz a concert of Mommie Michele's guitar music. Teh Frankey cooties from teh previous concert haz died, so it is safe to sit in teh orchestra seat. Be sure ur tummeh is warm.

Oh, how pretty is teh music!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Plot there was none, and laughter less

At the recent trade show of the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association, we attended an education session called "Independent Publishers and Independent Booksellers: Can We Talk?" From my posts about interactions with Minty and Ina, particularly Ina, you know that I attended in the session.

It was volatile. Booksellers were lunging over the tables toward the moderator, an independent author who called independent booksellers "you people" in the way a patriotic Frenchman might have said "Nazi" during the Occupation. Authors were lunging at booksellers, who, they said, couldn't sell a personal memoir priced to move at $39.95 if our lives depended on it. Independent publishers lunged at authors and booksellers, because have you ever tried to make a living in publishing in this economy? With authors and booksellers acting like thugs? Well, trying to work with you guys is pointless, just pointless.

By the time we were ready to talk productively, the session ended and we were all spent and panting.


It's been a great season for interactions with independent authors at the store.

A customer came in and recommended a self-published memoir that she was going to give members of her book group. The author would be in town for a talk with the book group, and the customer asked whether we'd be interested in hosting a signing before the talk. I told her I'd get in touch with the author and perhaps arrange a brief event before the afternoon's book discussion.

The author was amenable to a little lunch before a signing, and then an hour of meet-and-greet-and-sign before the event. I told her that we'd sell her books on consignment.

"How many books should I bring?" she asked.

I told her that 20 would probably be enough.

"Yes, but I've been selling only about five or ten at other events. If I don't sell all the books, I'll have to ship them back, and the cost will be more than that of the books."

"Well, then," I replied, "bring ten."

"But I get a bigger discount if I buy 20," she said. "Why don't I bring 20?"

"That's fine. Bring 20," I said.

She said, "But if I don't sell them all, I'll have to ship them back and the cost . . . . " I figured we could have gone on all day that way. We finally settled on ten.

We sold two.


An independent author I met at Mountains and Plains gave me an inscribed copy of his first book and assured me that it would rival Gone with the Wind as The Great American Historical Novel. I told him I'd read it and get back to him. Meh. It's not to my taste, but as Lincoln once said, people who like that sort of thing will find that it is the sort of thing they'll like. (See also the title of this post.)

But I digress. The author launched the book on last month and said that the demand for it was so great that the amazon server crashed for nine hours. (Now I begrudge no man his fantasies. We are all poets at heart. But if amazon had crashed for nine hours, it would have made national news.) I sent him a note saying that folks could easily get the book from their local independent bookseller instead of the Great Satan. He responded with the following note explaining why using amazon ultimately helps independent booksellers.
You and I concur on Amazon, Amazon is an impersonal, incompetent behemoth. On the other hand, Independent Booksellers are warm, personable and eyeball-to-eyeball. And that's my style too! Because I am much different than most authors, my eye is always to making the huge bulk of my sales through book stores. Unlike most authors, I do my ebook first, work out the kinks, begin to get my reviews, reader comments and set up a platform for the printed book. This leads to greatly increased media exposure of all types.

Let's face it, your job is alot easier with a book that is known, has great reviews and comments, which has some media exposure, and has some sales laurels. The only way to get that on the very first printing of the book is with Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Ipad or a combination. All that sets up the platform for the 90% part of the program, the bookstores.

For instance, with [title of book], you the Independent Booksellers now have the benefit of all of the above, not to mention six or seven thousand who are now reading the book and another 700,000 who are familiar with it through our marketing including emails, Facebook and points of influence. Another 500,000 know of our books through our web advertising on special targeted sites and the book being named book of the month on three large women's sites.

So now your bookstore and staff have a product that you can say is widely known, being read by many, is getting good press, has received truly exceptional reviews, comments and endorsements from big names and can be counted as the top selling "paper only" [genre] - not to mention #1 Mover and Shaker and #82 Hottest New Release on Amazon.
I'm glad we could clear that up.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Peacherine Rag

Presenting the St. Luke's Bottle Band, St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Park Ridge, Illinois, and "The Peacherine Rag" by Scott Joplin.