Thursday, November 09, 2006

Serendipitous Self-Promotion

Yesterday Shawn, Mason and I made a foray into the Valpo Barnes & Noble. Shawn has actually been looking for a fantasy novel by C. E. Murphy called Urban Shaman and Mason is easily amused by the Thomas the Tank Engine books and toys they have in the children’s section.

I, meanwhile, like to go to scout.

I snoot around to check the bookshelves see who of my friends in on the shelves and in what qualities. Then, I check to see if they have any copies of *my* books. When I don’t find my books, I usually don’t bother to make a fuss. I mean, I know how I would feel if some irate author came up to me while I was just doing my barely above minimum-wage job shelving books in a box chain store demanding to know why thousands of copies of her precious, important novel is not displayed prominently. I would think she was a diva. I’d roll my eyes, make nice, and put her name on my mental list of people not to go out of my way to help in the future.

Anyway, I’d found a couple of copies of WebMage by Kelly McCullough and a copy of Barth Anderson’s Patron Saint of Plagues. No Tall, Dark & Dead. I shrugged and went back to play with Mason. Shawn came up to me and told me she couldn’t remember the author of Urban Shaman and wondered if I’d be willing to ask someone if they had it. Shawn is shy and I’m not. We tend to do a lot of our division of labor based on this fact. So I was happy to ask after the book.

The clerk said that they had a copy of Urban Shaman and, on a lark, I decided to ask after Tall, Dark & Dead. Turns out the reason I didn’t see it on the shelf was because someone on staff was reading it in the break room. She told me she could fetch me that copy. I stopped her and sheepishly admitted that I was the author. I told her that if someone was actually READING it, I didn’t want her to take it from them.

She showed me where to find the other book, we chatted about various other books that we liked. She up-sold me on the sequel, and we parted ways.

Mason had found a book on bugs in the children’s section so we hung out for a few moments decided if he liked it enough to make it a worthwhile purchase. While we dithered, the clerk came up to me and asked me if I’d be wiling to sign their copy of Tall, Dark & Dead. I happily obliged, and she told me that she’s “stolen” it from the staffer who was reading it decided to buy it for herself. She also informed me that she already placed an order for another copy.

I was honored. Thrilled, even. And, I’d made a sale. All self-promotion should be so easy.

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