Thursday, June 23, 2011
Answering the question: where's the best place to buy your book?
Now there is a part of me, a big part of me, that simply wants to say - you want to buy my book? You do? For REAL!? SERIOUSLY!?!? OH MY GOSH, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, that is so awesome, just buy it anywhere, it doesn't really matter.
But, if I'm being honest, it does matter a tiny bit. What they mean, I think, is - I want to support you in the best way possible. How do I do that?
So today, I'm going to tell you. And while I'm at it, I'll try to shed light on some things the average Joe Reader may not know about authors and publishing and book sales.
Now, you might say, "But Lisa, I walked down to my local indie store, and they didn't have your book. How can I buy it if it's not there?"
I know this can be frustrating. I do!! But if you think about how many books there are and the amount of shelf space these days, it's not surprising that you may not be able to find every single book you want on the shelves. But here is the great thing - independent book stores WANT to serve you! They want to help you, so you'll come back again and again. So please - ASK someone to order the book for you!
This not only helps the book store, but it really, REALLY helps the author too. Because usually, if they're ordering one book, they'll think, well, maybe I should order a couple of more to put on the shelves. Do you get this? No? Okay, let me explain it to you.
Because of YOU, my books are now in a book store where they didn't use to be. THIS IS VERY GOOD! Because hopefully someone will be strolling along, looking for a good book, pick mine up, read the flap copy and buy it! If the book isn't on the shelf, it's impossible for that to happen.
Some of you are rolling your eyes about now, thinking, yeah, well, I'm not as lucky as those people in Portland or NYC or Pasadena - there is no independent bookstore near me. At all. So go suck on a pickle, Lisa, because you're rubbing it in my face I don't have a great book store like that.
Oh... sorry!! Come visit me and I'll take you to Powell's! :)
If you have a chain store near you (Barnes and Noble or Chapters or Books-A-Million), PLEASE go there and pick up the book. I love the chain stores too - they have been very good to me and my books! Sometimes it's more convenient for me to go to a chain store, and so I do buy from them as well. Spreading the love around is a great thing to do if you are lucky, like I am, and have lots of book stores near you. And again, if they don't have the book in stock you're looking for, please ask someone to order it for you, for all of the reasons above.
Another thing you may not know - sales in book stores are tracked very closely by an author's publisher. They want to know how many copies were sold the first week it was out. The first month it was out. The first three months. And six. And twelve. You get the picture.
These numbers come into play the next time we've written a book and want to try and sell it to our publisher. Sometimes, these numbers MAKE OR BREAK an author's career.
They also come into play when the New York Times is determining which books "hit the list." Now, it's a bit of a mystery how any of that works and what's necessary sales-wise any given week for a book to make the list. But I can tell you that sales from book stores the first week a book is out in the world are VERY IMPORTANT for this reason. If you love an author with all of your heart, the very best thing you can do is go out and buy the new book from a book store the week it is released. That right there is awesomesauce for an author. And if I could, I'd send every one of you cupcakes for doing that when one of my books is released.
I know some of you are thinking, but the landscape is changing. More and more people are downloading what they read. Believe me, I get it! And publishers should probably start paying more attention and putting more weight in digital sales. But for now, print sales from brick and mortar stores still matter the most as far as I can tell.
You've probably figured out by now - Amazon would be my last choice. But sometimes, I know the discount Amazon offers up is the reason people are buying books at all. If the choice is - buy my books from Amazon or don't buy them at all, guess what? I want you to buy books and support authors as much as possible! (Note: Another thing you can do is request that your library order a copy. Most libraries have a process in place to request titles to be ordered. Just ask one of the librarians next time you're in how to do that).
I do know more and more people have e-readers and they're just not going to buy regular books anymore. If that's you, then great - download the book and enjoy!! I thank you for that purchase as well, because I know you have thousands of e-books at your finger tips to choose from.
Sorry, this post got long, but hopefully it sheds light on why authors prefer you buy from book stores and why we love you a whole whole lot when you make that purchase the first week a book is out. For most of us, the NYT is a pie-in-the-sky dream, but your support the first week does make a difference for authors with a big push from their publishers and good distribution.
For other ways you can support authors, please check out this post I wrote a couple of years ago called Supporting Authors When Your Heart is Bigger Than Your Wallet.