Clever Author Tricks, Or How Booksellers Feel About Turning Titles Face-Out

February 3rd, 2006 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

Bookseller Chick, who is somewhere on the West Coast, but probably not Pasadena as she never speaks of her home in terms that imply sheer perfection, answered reader questions this week. She deigned to address the issue of authors who turn their books cover out (or their friends who help do this), drive-by signings, and chocolate as bribery.

We are pleased to see her stance on bookmarks and other important issues. And we are pleased to note that rudeness still doesn’t pay (at least not well):

What appears to happen (and what has happened in my store) is that friends and authors turn their books out over other books. It’s my job to find books for customers and when someone has put one title in front of another it makes my job harder. Not only do most customers not look behind faced-out books (why would they), but people can be weird about asking for help, so I might end up losing a sale because the book my customer wanted was behind yours. I might even miss the book because the face-out looks legitimate. This type of face-out gets fixed immediately if I notice it, and makes me an unhappy bookseller due to the possibility of missed sales. There’s nothing like the feeling of kicking your own ass when you realize that the book the customer asked you for—the one you couldn’t find after several minutes of fruitless searching—was actually behind another book.

Go forth, learn how to be a good author who makes booksellers happy.

File Under: Marketing For Introverts

2 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Feb 3, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for posting this. It has always bothered me when my author friends congratulate each other for “promoting” their own books and those of their special friends by arranging them to appear more prominently on bookstore shelves. Has your book been relegated to the bottom shelf? Move it up! Is the unworthy book next to yours hogging space by facing out? You can fix that in a jiffy and make your book face out! I’ve seen authors on message boards thank each other for moving books to where they’ll get more attention. Why does nobody realize that by “promoting” certain friends we’re cheating others?

    Have these authors never heard of the Golden Rule? Would they want people to put books in front of their books?

    I’m not even going to touch on the unspeakable rudeness of rearranging products a retailer has shelved according to her own purposes, except to say that sometimes the selfishness of my fellow authors quite takes my breath away.

  • Bookseller Chick // Feb 4, 2006 at 8:48 am

    No, not Pasadena. Thank you for the highlight. I enjoy the issues and news you choose for your blog, and am delighted to be included (also to see that some authors out there agree with me).