Perhaps it was the 76-degree weather today, but I started thinking about the summer. Our Vermont location often finds visitors from all over the world during this delightful, and short, season. Often these visitors are authors, traveling with their families. Know that we are always thrilled to meet authors; without you, we would have nothing to sell. It’s embarrassing to get blindsided and get caught with low stock that we would love to have you sign. Below is my wish list for all the traveling authors who like to visit independent bookstores.
– If you know that you’re likely to visit a store, give us a call and introduce yourself. Tell us when you’re going to come by and that you’d love to sign stock. Most bookstores need a week to get stock. Two weeks gives us a chance to order from your publisher and get a better discount.
– Customers who might have an author staying with them: please pop by the store and let us know. We had a lovely customer interaction a month ago. A good customer came by the store and told us that Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife, was going to be visiting him. She didn’t want to a full-on store event, but wanted to sign stock. The customer gave us a month’s notice and we got a case of the book for Paula to sign. Less than a week after she signed there are only three signed books left.
– If you just happen to pop by wanting to sign stock, please don’t be disappointed if we are out of your book. This happens and being scornful (as has happened, in the past) is not helpful when there’s nothing to be done. We are keeping track of around 30,000 books we stock in store on any given day.
– Please don’t get mad if we haven’t heard of you and have yet to stock your book. All stores are bound by space and time limitations. Tell us about your book and then let us decide if it’s a good fit for our store.
– Please carry your favorite pen with you. Bookstore pens are forever running out of ink at the most inopportune times. I hate the furious scramble behind the register while everyone looks for a Sharpie that has ink.
– If you’d like to do an in-store event while you’re here, please don’t call two weeks before you arrive. Good events take six weeks to plan correctly. The schedule can be moved up, of course, but less time means less marketing and that usually translates to fewer attendees.
– Allow us a moment to gather ourselves. Every once in a while some one comes to the bookstore who is a staff favorite. We get a little breathless when this happens. We do pull ourselves together, eventually.