Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Armchair BEA: Networking... In Real Life

So today's topic is a positive "real life" experience with books.

I feel like I have so many. I come from a town that is NEVER on author tours. In fact, the closest town that actually had author signings was about three hours away. Back in my early bookseller days (when I was still in college), Harlan Coben's Tell No One released. I had a chance to read an ARC and loved it. I mean, loved it! But very few of our customer base would really splurge on a hardcover by someone they weren't familiar with. Except one lady. She bough it thanks to my recommendation and went home and emailed Coben, telling him that she'd never heard of him but a bookseller recommended his book and she thought it was wonderful.

He replied and wanted to know where she bought the book, excited that a bookseller was handselling his work. I emailed him and introduced myself.

A year later, Tell No One was out in paperback. By this time, a few more of my coworkers had also read the book and it became our bookstore go to handsell. I don't remember how many copies we sold but at the time we were able to track the individual sales and they were kind of spectacular for one store! Again, Coben sent out an email just to say hi and I was able to tell him about the store rallying behind the book and the amazing sales.

A few years later, the store three hours away was hosting Coben on his tour. My friend and our so's packed up and made the three hour trek to Houston to meet Coben at Murder By the Book and get our books signed. And when he learned what my email handle was, Coben remembered me!

Now I live in an area that gets fabulous book signings and I make an effort to get out to as many as I can, dragging hubby when I think it's appropriate and inviting friends along. I've even had a chance to meet fellow blogger Vickie at one such event.

A great book can do so many things and sharing a great book is a pretty exciting feeling. I don't have that extra oomph that I got as a bookseller, actually seeing someone buy a title I've recommended, but I think the blogging community as a way of sharing things we're passionate about is just as useful. If only one person reads my blog a year but goes out and buys at least one book they've read about here, then I've accomplished what I set out to do -- continue to share the books I enjoy and support an industry I feel strongly about.

I was lucky enough to participate in World Book Night this year too. Handing out 20 copies of Stephen King's The Stand was fun and I sincerely hope that each person who received on went home and ended up staying up all night reading!

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