I went to two Barnes and Nobles in Denver – back in the trenches. The two managers were really nice people but one had no idea I was coming and the other thought I was coming the following week. I had contacts at each so I knew they had been called. But I guess they either get a lot of calls like this or they don’t take them seriously, or the writers usually don’t show up so they don’t take them seriously.
Jana, at the Glendale store, was especially nice, did remember my name (yeah!) but thought I was coming next week. She found an empty table and let me give her my spiel. She sounded interested and promised to read the book – I gave her one of my precious few ARCs – and she said she’d pass it on to other staff at the store. She told me she would put it with the rest of the ARCs they have.
I smiled at that and pictured a cavernous room filled with overflowing ARCs, signed by the authors, gathering dust.
“The process,” Jana told me, “Is I can send a note to the buyer and say I liked the book, in the hopes of getting it into the store, but that’s it..” I told her that would be wonderful. Every voice in the wilderness of book-land shouting out my name is a good thing. Thanks, Jana. Five minutes in Glendale and I’m out the door. I’m realizing at this point that I should have tried to go to more stores. I’d somehow thought I’d be at each store at least 20 minutes. What was I thinking? Well, if I’d really been thinking I’d have known it would be me pitching and them nodding and then moving on. No one had read my book yet. What else could they do?
At the Down Town store I met Manny, who spoke to me for ten minutes – ten minutes. He seemed genuinely interested. When I gave him the gift he smiled and said, “Chuck Palahniuk (of Fight Club fame) brought us handmade jewelry as a gift. It was really cool so thanks for bringing this.”
“I brought a mug,” I said. “It has a quote from the book on it.”
“Yes,” he said. “I see.”
A book-seller at the checkout desk, Miguel, motioned me to come over. He asked me about the book. He was curious. I gave him a mini-pitch. He wrote down my name and website address and said, “Thanks! It looks good.”
So the evening ended on a high note.