Monday, 11 August 2014
After The Writing Comes The Hard Part - Promotion!
Some towns had several of them, each with a unique personality. These characterful emporiums were places where you could spend hours searching closely packed shelves for a portal into another country or era. An always helpful lady presided who possessed an uncanny ability to find whatever you wanted within seconds. Time meant nothing within its walls and all that mattered was that special book which would take you to another place and time.
Then something happened. RPM [Retail Price Maintenance] on books was abolished, and the larger booksellers began giving the things away. Well not quite, but for the price of two books you could have three. Then within what seemed liked days of publication, books found their way into the ‘bargain basket’ located inside the door and marked down by 70%.
These days the majority of readers buy their books online, or better still, download them! Inevitably, the independent bookstore caved under dwindling profits and only the large chains survived. Getting an author’s work into these places is virtually impossible unless you appear regularly on TV and the few still existing independent bookstores use a website called ‘The Hive’ where you order a book online and collect it from their local bookstore.
I inquired as to how one gets a book into a bookstore and was told that if a reader wants my books, they can order them through the store - but that doesn’t answer the question of how an unknown author informs the reading public their book exists in the first place?
Apparently, the print and paper books stocked in the large chains come from a very small list of famous, or celebrity writers selected by a secret panel of hobbits in a permanently locked room in the Ministry of Magic. OK that’s an exaggeration, but it certainly feels like it when as a poor struggling author, I'm trying to get them to consider stocking my books!