Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Borders and Book (Reviewers) etc

I have had the most successful morning for a while, and am feeling full of the joys of autumn. Let's hope that some of that good luck rubs off on me, as I have an interview this afternoon for a part time job. This will be my first interview for a while.

It has got to the point where I have to return to work, since it has become clear that book sales alone will not sustain me! Now the book is on sale or return, it may take even longer than usual for the money to come in - since royalties are always paid somewhat in arrears. Gardners order books from Richard, and they in turn supply to the book stores. Book stores take 3 months to pay Gardners, with the option of sending them back, after 6 months or so if they don't sell ..... So, then you get the other problem - the possibility that I might actually end up owing Richard money and having to pay back the royalties that I do get .... I don't want to start thinking about that though ....

This morning I actually managed to speak to the New Press Department at Borders ! I spoke to very nice lady called Claire, whom I wrote to in September with some press releases and other information on the book. She confirmed that it has all been received, and that yes, my book is on the system as available for their stores to be ordered. Contrary to what I had been told by the stores themselves, only 2 currently have stock - Lakeside and Kingston upon Thames. She did not mention how many copies though have actually been sold.

She did confirm though that authors are in fact free, once their books are accepted, to ring any Borders or Books Etc Stores, in the same way that they can with Waterstones. Books will then have to be ordered through the Buying team at their Head Office. Most of the time they will order from Gardners, at a maximum of 40 percent discount, which is the terms at which my book is supplied. Birmingham then had no right to demand a 60 percent discount when I spoke to them back in August, or whenever it was.

She also though said, and this is the crucial bit, that she will mention the book to the actual Buying team, with a view to them giving it a bit more of a push to get it into some of their stores ! This is superb news. I asked for her email address, realising that it is very difficult to get these people on the phone, given my previous difficulties, and have made a note of it accordingly in my own little pink book ....

I then started to ring a few of the local Borders branches, starting with Brighton. I spoke to their MBS Manager, Rob O'Connor back in August, and he asked me to send him some information. At the time he indicated that he would definitely be interested in stocking some copies, but I never did get back to him to see whether he actually had. Well today he is not in until this afternoon, and I have that interview to go to, so I suspect it will have to wait for another day.

I then though telephoned Croydon, and they agreed to order some copies. Last time I spoke to them I got a very snooty book seller, who didn't have a clue, and told me they did not sell many MBS books or deal with POD authors. I found this strange when I happen to know that Sue Rule, who has written an excellent fantasy novel, published by Authors OnLine Ltd, did very successful book signing there not that long ago. I know Sue well, since she was the one who tried to get the Authors Direct group going. We had to give the idea up in the end, since we all had such different books, and could not arrange times to get together to discuss anything.

I then though spoke to Wimbledon, and they too ordered some copies. After that I spoke to Uxbridge, under the guise of ringing to check how the sales were going (they told back in August that they too would be ordering copies). It seems though that the books did not arrive, and for some reason, the missing order wasn't chased. Good job I rang then, as they have now ordered some more.

Following that a somewhat less helpful phone call to their branch at nearby Gatwick Airport, and then a somewhat more helpful call to Paul.

He had some bad news to pass on in that one of his other writing friends has passed on after a heart valve replacement operation. They think she contracted a strain of MRSA. He is not in a good way himself, so we couldn't talk for too long - he has a bad case of sinusitis and is doped up to the eyeballs on all sorts of drugs - lucky him!

I wanted though to tell him about Borders, and get some of his newspaper contacts. He was very pleased and willingly did all he could to help. I now have then contact details for most of the book reviewers at our National Dailies and some of the Sunday papers as well - The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, The Guardian G2 Magazine, The Guardian/Observer group, The Sunday Times Literary Editor, The Times Book Reviewer, The Telegraph, The Sunday People and last but no means least, The Spectator magazine.

I need to make sure my pitch is perfected though before I start to approach them, so will work on that this afternoon, and hopefully be ready to start writing and talking some more ....

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