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Tag Archives: Indigo and Chapters Bookstores

Tales – good and bad – from the book promo trenches

Sharon A. Crawford channelling Dana Bowman from Beyond Blood

Sharon A. Crawford channelling Dana Bowman from Beyond Blood. Shane Joseph photo

Still promoting my Beyond books. But when you do this you also need to help other writers promote their books. It is only fair as we are all in this together.

And sometimes that can be fun as the photo at the left shows. Cut line explains it briefly but more on that shortly. First I need to mention the downside as other published authors may run into this, if not with this bookseller, but another one, or two.

Up to last week, my encounters with booksellers have been amicable and polite. All had said they would at least see about carrying my Beyond Blood in their store. One even opted to carry a copy of each Beyond book. A couple of others I have to follow up on but they are part of a big chain, which has been helpful at other branches, so we will see here.

Now the bad and the ugly. I have also been approaching independent bookstores, but the latest venture there has left a sour taste in my mouth. Last week I entered Ben McNally Books in downtown Toronto. I always like to check to see if they already have a copy of my book. Ben McCally Books has a weird book placement system. No books by category – no signs either at the top of the bookshelves. Mystery,science fiction are all placed in with all fiction – alphabetically by author. So be it if that is the way they want to do it – their prerogative.

I approached the owner, Ben McNally about carrying a copy of Beyond Blood. As always, I stated it is not self-published but is published by a small Canadian trade publisher and handed him my business card and now that I have more – a couple of bookmarks. He barely glanced at them and said, ” Sorry, no.” He looked about as sorry as a person arrested who shows no remorse for his crime.

Being a former journalist and naturally curious, I asked “Why?”

He said he didn’t want books by small trade publishers.

So, I three him my kicker:

“Indigo (big Canadian book chain) has them in their stores.”

Then, I turned and left the store.

And you know, there weren’t many other customers in the store. Which says something.

I went directly to the big downtown Indigo store and what a difference. Manager very interested in carrying my Beyond Blood in that Indigo store. Indigo Chapters online has carried both Beyond books from day 1 for each, including print copy and e-copy (Kobo). Also this downtown Indigo bookstore is very busy – lots of customers. Because of the positive response, I bought a book there to give as a gift to a friend.

What goes around comes around.

And that brings me to what goes with the photo at the top.

I have started doing brief skits featuring Dana Bowman, the main character in the Beyond stories. I give Dana instructions to talk about herself and to read a bit from Beyond Blood.

Dana being Dana doesn’t listen. She does talk about herself some – but connects it to talking about me, her author. Dana claims she is instrumental in writing the Beyond stories. Oh, to a certain extent. I’ve been told I’m channelling Dana. I don’t mind her talking about writing and some of my quirks – if related to writing, but she can leave my plants out of it.

And when I say to read, she needs to read from Beyond Blood. And that hair in the photo above, taken by the editor at my publishers at their fall book launch, November 21? Dana has short “boy style hair.” Now she has decided to grow it somewhat. Really?

But the skit went over well at Blue Denim Press’s book launch. I was happy to bring along a few friends and to pre-promote the book launch and the authors launching their books, Shane Joseph and Chris Canniff, including reviewing their books in the two previous posts on this blog. The launch also had a Flamenco dancer and her husband providing the music on his guitar.

The funny thing here is Michael, the husband, used to come to my East End Writers’ Group when he and Lesley lived in my area. So did Shane when he lived in Toronto. And I knew Chrit from Canadian Authors Association Toronto Branch.

See, we writers are all connected, so we need to help each other.

Certain booksellers need to learn that too. Then they might get more business.

Dana Bowman will be making one more appearance before Christmas on Dec.4 and Sharon A. Crawford will have her Beyond books for sale at the Toronto Heliconian Club Art and Gift sale, Saturday, November 28. See my Gigs and Blogs page for more info.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Beyond Blood into bricks and mortars bookstores

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Sometimes we focus on promoting our books through social media only. Sometimes we focus on e-copies only.

Let’s not forget that many books still come in print too. Sure they are available online, but sometimes the bricks and mortars bookstores can be a selling resource too.

And it may not be as difficult to get them to carry your book. Especially if you have a distributor. Especially if you do events with writing organizations that you belong to – and those organizations are sponsoring an event in a bookstore.

Not trying to turn back the clock here. There are other instances of media that didn’t disappear just because something new didn’t come along. Think TV. Think radio. Think print newspaper and magazines. They have just all changed and expanded on how they present. But some variation of the original still exists.

Back to bookstores. First, my Beyond mysteries series are not self-published and my publisher through the distributor (Ingram for those interested) has had my books placed online at various bookstores – Barnes and Noble in the United States for example, and Indigo-Chapters in Canada. But anyone can go in any bookstore and order in a copy of Beyond Blood and/or Beyond the Tripping Point. The bookstore will just order through Ingram.

That’s not exactly in the store, though. Here’s my story on that.

I belong to Crime Writers of Canada. Every April CWC holds the Arthur Ellis Short List party at one of the main Indigo Bookstores in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As part of the celebrations, CWC published authors are invited to read. Well, not all members, but 12 to 16 or so – first to sign up, first to read. That means Indigo has to order in print copies of these authors’ books. Any not sold at the party go into the bookstore’s section. It really helped that Beyond Blood was available through Indigo Chapters online.

Indigo/Chapters is a bookstore chain in Canada and once in one bookstore (especially a big one), it helps to get the book in others. So I’m doing this now. So far I haven’t had to go into a big spiel to pitch my book – at least with this chain. With other smaller independent bookstores – chains or not – I may have to use the competition angle.

It also helps that I write in the mystery genre. Mysteries and romances are selling well, in Canada, at least.

Meantime,  you can get e-copies of Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point online at my publishers at http://bluedenim.skemantix.com/books/beyond-blood/. Print copies and e-copies – Kobo – available (among other places) at https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=Beyond%20blood%20and%20Sharon%20A.%20Crawford

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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