Give Your Customers A Break On The 14th

by Jas Faulkner 

cupid-valentines-day1 For those of you playing at home, I got to go to this rilly nifty sooper sekrit cabal of booksellers in Memphis a little while ago.  The main topic on the dias was the untold history of those who are charged with the care and feeding of visiting authors.  Chatter on the floor was all about the next big push: Valentines Day.  Some booksellers love it, especially those who either have a coffee shop or sell candy.  Others?  Not so much.

“Are you single?” asked one store owner from Kentucky.  I told him I was.

“How do I market so that people will come in on and around the 14th?  The month of February seems to be about people making a rare visit to get a gift and everyone else avoiding anything remotely heart-shaped.”

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Rants: Handlers and Liaisons Speak Out

by Jas Faulkner

How would these guys handle Miz Eudora’s requests? (HBO Pictures)


I got the email from Sam and Tab shortly before the first of the month:

Can you come to Memphis?  It’s a coven meeting and you’re invited!

Why yes, that is coded speech.  Sam usually sends her invitations to coven gatherings via owl or white mice in a pumpkin.   But seriously, the girls are secretive about their professional gatherings and for good reason.  In the early days of the event, they were sometimes overrun by wannabe writers looking for that magic something that would get them published and readers seeking galleys before their favourite authors’ latest hit the shelves.  The attendees are all booksellers except for the occasional guest from the book trade or an author or a book jacket artist or somesuch person who shares their insight and experience and usually brings some very sweet swag.   In return they get a smallish honorarium and a long weekend at the B and B.

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Resolution Reading

by Jas Faulkner 

The covers of the books in the window of Sam and Tab’s book store featured well-toned abs, beautified, decluttered homes, language lessons, and a few self-help titles.  For a characteristically grim touch, Sam dragged out a skeleton and had it seated in one corner of the window display reading Jim Fixx’s “The Complete Book of Running”.

Being the kind of person who will spend time looking at the titles on shelves in pictures, I sent Sam’s IPhoned photo to my email to get a better look.

“What you don’t see,” she said, “is the sign next to the cash register that says we’ll give them a coupon for half off a used book if they sign a promise to not bring them in for trade during the months of February or March of 2013.”

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The Hannah Interview

by Jas Faulkner 

Sam was laughing when I answered the phone.

“Open your email,” she said. “it’s not one of those screamie video things, I promise.”

Suffering for your art? Hannah knows better. She has  already figured out having written is better than writing.

It was a picture of a hand printed sign that taped to the front door of the store with a My Little Pony sticker.  It read: “Book sighing at the back of the store.  Free cookies with book.”

Tab’s niece, Hannah, was staying with her favourite aunts and it looked like she was back in business.  Whenever Hannah’s parents work took them out of town, Hannah packed her suitcase, filled an old knitting bag with her latest sketchbook, lozenge paints, brushes and her latest journal and supplies for her guinea pig, Darla Hood, Darla’s cage and carrier and head over to her aunts.  She found her parents’ penchant for digging up stuff to be tedious and preferred the glamourous world of books.

However, she was having none of this retail or struggling author stuff.  Her goals were twofold: she wanted to reopen Meg Ryan’s bookstore from “You’ve Got Mail” and she wanted to be a rich and famous writer of books with purple covers.  For those of you playing at home, Hannah is precocious eight-year-old.

“We had a signing last Friday.”

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