flagrant self-promotion – update 6 (aka, rule #3: call ahead first)

[this is really just a leftover moan from last week, but for purposes of full disclosure of the *ahem* joys of this unemployed writing life, and to emphasize the recent issues with iUniverse, i am posting it]

it’s depressing to see that the last of these self-promotion posts was made on April 10th, though more depressing that the experience related therein is distinctly different (and far more positive) than the one i’m about to relate. ah, well, these things must happen, right?

ten days ago, i left my job. nine days ago, my wife and i started right into a long-planned long-weekend, including two Dave Matthews Band concerts (NY[Saratoga Springs] and MA[Greatwoods/Tweeter Center/Comcast Village/Whoever-Owns-It-Now]), some long-overdue visits to CT and Boston to visit with some friends, a job interview for me, and a day of hitting as many Boston area bookstores as humanly possible in an attempt to spread my book’s exposure outside of Maine (and since it is set, at least in part, in the Boston area, I thought it might be a nice hook).

Overall, this was a very good thing, and we even managed to squeeze in a day of time at home to catch up on the laundry, the garden, and the mowing(woohoo!). However, that last bit about the bookstores turned out to be the lowest point of the whole deal. from the beginning it fell apart.

  • i forgot the directions to the Borders in Burlington.
  • at the Burlington Barnes & Noble, i was told that they had no listing anywhere in their databases for the paperback version and that the hardcover was not stocked in the B&N warehouses, in addition to not showing unavailable through Books In Print. i would have to contact their corporate office to figure out the paperback gap, and there was nothing to be done about ordering it until it became available again.
  • we continued on my list of potential bookstores toward Medford and a store that seemed to be an excellent fit from its website. except it was boarded up like in some kind of third world country, between the humming local businesses packed all around it.
  • after that lovely surprise, we hit a Waldenbooks in a mall in the direction of the concert. of course, as was then to be expected, the manager found the book unavailable in her systems, and could not therefore order it. i knew it was futile, but i was right there and had to try.
  • finally fed up, and actually near one of the last public payphones in existence (apparently), i called iUniverse and was determined to get an answer. until 15 seconds into the call when the line went dead because of the massive thunder and lightning storm that suddenly exploded outside.

the moral? well, as the title implies: call ahead first. i know i should’ve expected the ‘unavailability’ at Borders (and therefore Waldenbooks) and B&N (and therefore B. Dalton), but i wanted to believe that iUniverse was working on it and getting the problem solved. as i’ve described elsewhere, however, this was not so (and, for reference, it is still not so).

this isn’t all about iUniverse, though, as i really should’ve called B&N in the first place to see if they follow any specific corporate guidelines to taking local authors (such as requiring all books they sell to be stocked in their own warehouses before putting them on their shelves – i still have to research this one), and i should’ve called the independent bookstores on my self-made tour to make sure a)they were in businesss, and b)they would be willing to carry a copy or two of a fantasy novel from a local, self-published, POD author whose books can’t be returned for credit.

ah, learning experiences. gotta love ’em.