The B&N Brick Wall

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This topic contains 75 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  kajufa 9 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #329731

    CSachjen
    Participant
  • #526915

    CSachjen
    Participant

    I have spent half my life battling the obstacles that bookstore chains place in front of authors who use POD technology. Now, an entirely new and scummy twist. I’m heading out on a tour this summer where I will be bringing my own copies – thereby bypassing all issues of returnability, distribution, printing, etc. Right? Wrong. The first community relations manager I talked to said they are not allowed to have author appearances for POD authors. Period.

    I wrote back, “So you’ve banned all books by POD authors?”

    She wrote, “It’s not a ban. It’s a policy shift.”

    And, in fact, it’s not a policy shift at all. B&N has been fighting off new technologies ever since I’ve been publishing. With one major exception: my first tour, in 1995, when I booked 20 stores across the country. When B&N still had to keep up this veneer of caring about lesser-known authors.

    Anyways, I’m talking to Borders managers now, and at least they seem willing to take a look at the book. And I’ll still be calling a few B&Ns, because there are always a few renegade managers out there looking for events for their calendar.

    But God am I sick of this.

  • #526916

    CSachjen
    Participant

    I have spent half my life battling the obstacles that bookstore chains place in front of authors who use POD technology. Now, an entirely new and scummy twist. I’m heading out on a tour this summer where I will be bringing my own copies – thereby bypassing all issues of returnability, distribution, printing, etc. Right? Wrong. The first community relations manager I talked to said they are not allowed to have author appearances for POD authors. Period.

    I wrote back, “So you’ve banned all books by POD authors?”

    She wrote, “It’s not a ban. It’s a policy shift.”

    And, in fact, it’s not a policy shift at all. B&N has been fighting off new technologies ever since I’ve been publishing. With one major exception: my first tour, in 1995, when I booked 20 stores across the country. When B&N still had to keep up this veneer of caring about lesser-known authors.

    Anyways, I’m talking to Borders managers now, and at least they seem willing to take a look at the book. And I’ll still be calling a few B&Ns, because there are always a few renegade managers out there looking for events for their calendar.

    But God am I sick of this.

  • #526917

    Mikala Engel
    Participant

    You’re releiving them of all issues except the biggest one of all. . .you aren’t a writer who has a book coming from a large publisher, your book isn’t coming through a national distributor, and you don’t have a name a lot of readers will flock to the store to see. It isn’t about POD. Bookstores don’t care what technology is used to print the book, and almost assuredly stock books printed with POD on a regular basis, if they come through a large distributor. They do care about the size of the publisher, pleasing both large publishers and their distributor, and being able to bring a lot of buyers in just by advertisng your name. You can’t remove the “not enough profit” issue.

    From my experience, you can’t break through the wall at chain bookstores, at least not in worthwhile numbers. You have to come in through the front door. First you generate decent sales numbers, you find a way to have your book reviewed in places people notice, and at some point, sooner or later,
    usually later, after you’ve generated sales, you get a distributor.

    1995 was a long, long time ago, and the publishing world has changed dramatically. Tens or thousands of new writers are using POD, Amazon is selling a bazillion books online, the chain bookstores aren’t generating the profit they were in ’95, B&N stock is down somewhere around twelve bucks from ’95, and even with the issues you mention removed, the odds of a bookstores making enough of a profit to warrant a signing is almost nil. Multi-million dollar businesses make money from crowds, not from the few sales POD writers usually bring in. The chain bookstores are having to tighten their belts just like the rest of us.

    I don’t think it will be long before book signings, except those by the biggest of the bestsellers, will be a thing of the past, certainly outside of tiny, independent bookstores, if any survive.

    On the bright side, and a very bright side it is, a few years ago, a woman sold 60,000 copies of her book by going on tour, and she bypassed the chain bookstores entirely. She hit all the libraries, any and all groups and organizations she could find that might be interested, etc. She went to the source, rather than going to bookstores in hopes that the source would come to her. A large pubisher then grabbed her book, of course, and she sold a heck of a lot more copies going through the front door of the chains.

    At any rate, there’s nothing scummy about B&N not allowing POD writers in for signings. B&N is a business. A very large business. Like any large business, they have the responsibility of making a profit for the stockholders. The bigger the better. They have no responsibility at all to writers who don’t come through the system, and no responsibility to those who do come through the system, unless they sell a lot of books.

    I thonk POD writers concentrate way too much on bookstores signings, and not nearly enough on other, more receptive and productive venues.

  • #526918

    Mikala Engel
    Participant

    You’re releiving them of all issues except the biggest one of all. . .you aren’t a writer who has a book coming from a large publisher, your book isn’t coming through a national distributor, and you don’t have a name a lot of readers will flock to the store to see. It isn’t about POD. Bookstores don’t care what technology is used to print the book, and almost assuredly stock books printed with POD on a regular basis, if they come through a large distributor. They do care about the size of the publisher, pleasing both large publishers and their distributor, and being able to bring a lot of buyers in just by advertisng your name. You can’t remove the “not enough profit” issue.

    From my experience, you can’t break through the wall at chain bookstores, at least not in worthwhile numbers. You have to come in through the front door. First you generate decent sales numbers, you find a way to have your book reviewed in places people notice, and at some point, sooner or later,
    usually later, after you’ve generated sales, you get a distributor.

    1995 was a long, long time ago, and the publishing world has changed dramatically. Tens or thousands of new writers are using POD, Amazon is selling a bazillion books online, the chain bookstores aren’t generating the profit they were in ’95, B&N stock is down somewhere around twelve bucks from ’95, and even with the issues you mention removed, the odds of a bookstores making enough of a profit to warrant a signing is almost nil. Multi-million dollar businesses make money from crowds, not from the few sales POD writers usually bring in. The chain bookstores are having to tighten their belts just like the rest of us.

    I don’t think it will be long before book signings, except those by the biggest of the bestsellers, will be a thing of the past, certainly outside of tiny, independent bookstores, if any survive.

    On the bright side, and a very bright side it is, a few years ago, a woman sold 60,000 copies of her book by going on tour, and she bypassed the chain bookstores entirely. She hit all the libraries, any and all groups and organizations she could find that might be interested, etc. She went to the source, rather than going to bookstores in hopes that the source would come to her. A large pubisher then grabbed her book, of course, and she sold a heck of a lot more copies going through the front door of the chains.

    At any rate, there’s nothing scummy about B&N not allowing POD writers in for signings. B&N is a business. A very large business. Like any large business, they have the responsibility of making a profit for the stockholders. The bigger the better. They have no responsibility at all to writers who don’t come through the system, and no responsibility to those who do come through the system, unless they sell a lot of books.

    I thonk POD writers concentrate way too much on bookstores signings, and not nearly enough on other, more receptive and productive venues.

  • #526919

    ljb1947
    Participant

    Take a look at JA Konrath’s take on bookstore signings on his blog. He has stated that they’re largely unproductive when it comes to sales. Not that you can’t do some, but beating your head against a brick wall doesn’t seem like a wonderful idea. Go with the indies (there still are some out there) and libraries. Get all the reviews that you can. Do virtual tours and interviews. These may well be more productive anyway.

  • #526920

    ljb1947
    Participant

    Take a look at JA Konrath’s take on bookstore signings on his blog. He has stated that they’re largely unproductive when it comes to sales. Not that you can’t do some, but beating your head against a brick wall doesn’t seem like a wonderful idea. Go with the indies (there still are some out there) and libraries. Get all the reviews that you can. Do virtual tours and interviews. These may well be more productive anyway.

  • #526921

    Carmela Jones
    Participant

    Bazillion? What the heck is a bazillion?

  • #526922

    Deminkspot
    Participant

    i gotta agree with all james has to say on this… don’t blame the stores for you not being ‘known’ or not having a book they think they can sell well enough to make a profit… they’re a business, not a charity…

    that said, the bright side he noted is a reality, too…

    wondo…

    Main Entry: bazillion
    Part of Speech: n
    Definition: an infinite number or very large exaggerated number

    …equal to ‘gazillion’ and ‘zillion’…

  • #526923

    Deminkspot
    Participant

    i gotta agree with all james has to say on this… don’t blame the stores for you not being ‘known’ or not having a book they think they can sell well enough to make a profit… they’re a business, not a charity…

    that said, the bright side he noted is a reality, too…

    wondo…

    Main Entry: bazillion
    Part of Speech: n
    Definition: an infinite number or very large exaggerated number

    …equal to ‘gazillion’ and ‘zillion’…

  • #526924

    paulc
    Participant

    There’s a reason why my list had no B&N stores in it and it looks like you found that reason. They’re useless. However, as you said, there are always going to be a few rebellious store managers who do care and will try to help you so keep trying and root them out.

    Good luck,
    Jai

  • #526925

    paulc
    Participant

    There’s a reason why my list had no B&N stores in it and it looks like you found that reason. They’re useless. However, as you said, there are always going to be a few rebellious store managers who do care and will try to help you so keep trying and root them out.

    Good luck,
    Jai

  • #526926

    mekano46
    Participant

    Michael, I’m sorry. You are allowed to complain all you want. Then, you have to use your creativity to find a Plan B. The writers I know have been having luck with virtual tours. There has to be other venues.

    Maybe you can tell us what your book is about and we can help do some creative brainstorming?

  • #526927

    superman13
    Participant

    Hey Michael –
    I feel your pain, I truly do. Although going back to that thread a few days ago re; “Book Tours,” I really question the value of most book store signings. At least that’s been my expereince. In general, I’d take a library book talk/signing over almost any book store event; same with talks to local civic organizations, writing groups, book clubs, school groups/classes, etc. Not only do I think you’ll sell more books in such venues, but you’ll have a better chance to win over readers as true fans, and I’ve found that the oppotunities for press exposure surrounding such “non-commerical” events is far greater than traditional book store signings. Don’t dispair, just change course a bit.

  • #526928

    superman13
    Participant

    Hey Michael –
    I feel your pain, I truly do. Although going back to that thread a few days ago re; “Book Tours,” I really question the value of most book store signings. At least that’s been my expereince. In general, I’d take a library book talk/signing over almost any book store event; same with talks to local civic organizations, writing groups, book clubs, school groups/classes, etc. Not only do I think you’ll sell more books in such venues, but you’ll have a better chance to win over readers as true fans, and I’ve found that the oppotunities for press exposure surrounding such “non-commerical” events is far greater than traditional book store signings. Don’t dispair, just change course a bit.

  • #526929

    CSachjen
    Participant

    Well, let’s get rid of one assumption: I’m pursuing every single venue and idea that I can think of, including indies, other chains, libraries, sending another manuscript to editors and agents. That said, thanks again James for the usual aimed-at-a-third-grader response. And I apologize to the publishing world in large for not yet being a celebrity, which seems to be your main point.

    And yes, indeed, bookselling is a business, but a business that happens to be in the marketplace of ideas and art. There used to be this tiny shred of the bookselling business that was open to ideas and good writing. I just wish good writing had anything to do with anything anymore.

    I continue on! Thanks for those of you who have offered me encouragement.

  • #526930

    bigiq
    Participant

    I think that any trend that distances new writers from the reading public is a bad one. We have an indie book store in our area that features local writers in a variety of events and signings. It’s a chance to discover new talent and a lot more fun than a celebrity book signing. I know that writing is a business, but without heart it might as well be Exxon.

  • #526931

    CSachjen
    Participant

    Thanks, G-Girl. I wish I would have put it that well. But I realize that I have put myself in peril, working at this troublesome end of the business. Funny thing is, once the tour is set up, there’s nothing I like better. I’m a road warrior, and I love meeting with readers. Fortunately, a couple of Borders managers have agreed to appearances, so I’m feeling much better.

  • #526932

    CSachjen
    Participant

    Thanks, G-Girl. I wish I would have put it that well. But I realize that I have put myself in peril, working at this troublesome end of the business. Funny thing is, once the tour is set up, there’s nothing I like better. I’m a road warrior, and I love meeting with readers. Fortunately, a couple of Borders managers have agreed to appearances, so I’m feeling much better.

  • #526933

    Amitola
    Participant

    michaeljvaughn – 2009-03-26 6:40 PM

     thanks again James for the usual aimed-at-a-third-grader response. And I apologize to the publishing world in large for not yet being a celebrity, which seems to be your main point.

    Was this really neccessary?  Did it help elevate the discussion?  Did it add anything constructive? 

    Or does resorting to personal attacks make you feel better about yourself?

    Personally, I think your comments were out of line.

     

     

  • #526934

    Amitola
    Participant

    michaeljvaughn – 2009-03-26 6:40 PM

     thanks again James for the usual aimed-at-a-third-grader response. And I apologize to the publishing world in large for not yet being a celebrity, which seems to be your main point.

    Was this really neccessary?  Did it help elevate the discussion?  Did it add anything constructive? 

    Or does resorting to personal attacks make you feel better about yourself?

    Personally, I think your comments were out of line.

     

     

  • #526935

    CSachjen
    Participant

    The party in question has made this forum a dumping-ground for his often dogmatic and overly long essays on philosophies of publishing. Responding to these diatribes without occasionally throwing in a gibe is an impossibility. I make no apologies.

    PS The “offended sensibilities” tone of your response is laughable. Come on – be real!

  • #526936

    CSachjen
    Participant

    The party in question has made this forum a dumping-ground for his often dogmatic and overly long essays on philosophies of publishing. Responding to these diatribes without occasionally throwing in a gibe is an impossibility. I make no apologies.

    PS The “offended sensibilities” tone of your response is laughable. Come on – be real!

  • #526937

    superman13
    Participant

    With all due respect, let’s all, please, have some.

  • #526938

    superman13
    Participant

    With all due respect, let’s all, please, have some.

  • #526939

    CSachjen
    Participant

    I gave back exactly the amount of respect I was given. And by the way, exactly everything I wrote attacked James’ arguments and opinions, not his person. Does that now amount to a “personal attack”? Let’s not go too far with this stuff, or we won’t be allowed to argue about anything.

  • #526940

    CSachjen
    Participant

    I gave back exactly the amount of respect I was given. And by the way, exactly everything I wrote attacked James’ arguments and opinions, not his person. Does that now amount to a “personal attack”? Let’s not go too far with this stuff, or we won’t be allowed to argue about anything.

  • #526941

    Amitola
    Participant

    I don’t presume to try and defend the “party-in-question”. That wasn’t my intent in my post. For one thing, every indication I have seen is that he is more than capable of doing that himself

    Nor were my “sensibilities offended”. I am not quite so delicate, thank you very much.

    However, I stand by my position that I think it out of line to dismiss another member of this forum’s offering as “aimed-at-a-third-grader”. You might attempt to say that is an attack of their argument and opinion, but it’s an “ad hominem” position: You’re attacking the messenger as part of your debate.

    Now, notice that I haven’t tried to dismiss you with name-calling. Instead, I am respectfully disagreeing with you. I urge you to take the advice of Mr. Yager and learn to adopt a similar stance when offering a difference of opinion.

  • #526942

    Amitola
    Participant

    I don’t presume to try and defend the “party-in-question”. That wasn’t my intent in my post. For one thing, every indication I have seen is that he is more than capable of doing that himself

    Nor were my “sensibilities offended”. I am not quite so delicate, thank you very much.

    However, I stand by my position that I think it out of line to dismiss another member of this forum’s offering as “aimed-at-a-third-grader”. You might attempt to say that is an attack of their argument and opinion, but it’s an “ad hominem” position: You’re attacking the messenger as part of your debate.

    Now, notice that I haven’t tried to dismiss you with name-calling. Instead, I am respectfully disagreeing with you. I urge you to take the advice of Mr. Yager and learn to adopt a similar stance when offering a difference of opinion.

  • #526943

    ljb1947
    Participant

    I see nothing disrespectful in James’ post. While he disagreed with you, in no way did he attack you or talk down to you, Michael. What he said may not be anything you want to hear. I can understand that. But if you would look at what he said for the excellent advice contained instead of getting defensive, you’d be better served, honestly.

  • #526944

    ljb1947
    Participant

    I see nothing disrespectful in James’ post. While he disagreed with you, in no way did he attack you or talk down to you, Michael. What he said may not be anything you want to hear. I can understand that. But if you would look at what he said for the excellent advice contained instead of getting defensive, you’d be better served, honestly.

  • #526945

    CSachjen
    Participant

    I think my attitude toward James has mroe to do with his body of work. In the past year, James has told us that exclamation points are no longer to be used, that poetry is only poetry if it rhymes, and that present tense is an abomination.

    And yet, there are those on this forum who take his word as law.

    When I answer a thread, I answer specifically from my own experience, and I do not claim that my approach would work for everyone. To answer otherwise would be irresponsible; there are too many factors in play: genre, career path, quality of writing, you name it.

    James has one answer for everything, and that answer applies to all. That is why I usually ignore his answers, and why I occasionally take the time and energy to try to warn the folks on this forum to at least be skeptical as to his responses.

    He began his response by telling me that my main problem is I don’t have a national distributor or a major publisher. THAT’s the third-grade part. He went on to offer me no choice but to hide in some deep alleyway and live on corn chips until either 1) I become some sort of celebrity, or 2) a very powerful agent discovers my work. I prefer to at least try to get my work out there, futile thought it may seem, to try all avenues available to me, and meanwhile to try to persuade folks like B&N to change policies that unnecessarily hinder new voices. Also, this may seem odd to people, but it really isn’t about the money. If I go on a tour and have two hundred people reading my novel, I am MUCH happier than if I did nothing. My writing is having its second life in the minds of other people, and that’s all that I ask.

    But the really evil part of his view is that bookstore chains are businesses and therefore owe nothing to anyone but their stockholders. If there really is nothing to bookstores but money money money, let’s all just give up right now and stop this ridiculous enterprise of ours.

  • #526946

    CSachjen
    Participant

    I think my attitude toward James has mroe to do with his body of work. In the past year, James has told us that exclamation points are no longer to be used, that poetry is only poetry if it rhymes, and that present tense is an abomination.

    And yet, there are those on this forum who take his word as law.

    When I answer a thread, I answer specifically from my own experience, and I do not claim that my approach would work for everyone. To answer otherwise would be irresponsible; there are too many factors in play: genre, career path, quality of writing, you name it.

    James has one answer for everything, and that answer applies to all. That is why I usually ignore his answers, and why I occasionally take the time and energy to try to warn the folks on this forum to at least be skeptical as to his responses.

    He began his response by telling me that my main problem is I don’t have a national distributor or a major publisher. THAT’s the third-grade part. He went on to offer me no choice but to hide in some deep alleyway and live on corn chips until either 1) I become some sort of celebrity, or 2) a very powerful agent discovers my work. I prefer to at least try to get my work out there, futile thought it may seem, to try all avenues available to me, and meanwhile to try to persuade folks like B&N to change policies that unnecessarily hinder new voices. Also, this may seem odd to people, but it really isn’t about the money. If I go on a tour and have two hundred people reading my novel, I am MUCH happier than if I did nothing. My writing is having its second life in the minds of other people, and that’s all that I ask.

    But the really evil part of his view is that bookstore chains are businesses and therefore owe nothing to anyone but their stockholders. If there really is nothing to bookstores but money money money, let’s all just give up right now and stop this ridiculous enterprise of ours.

  • #526947

    Deminkspot
    Participant

    If there really is nothing to bookstores but money money money, let’s all just give up right now and stop this ridiculous enterprise of ours.

    …of course that’s what bookstores are there for, just like any other retail business!… sorry to say, that’s a fact of life… as it is in re agents and publishers… if it wasn’t about ‘money’ there would be none to pay the writer for his/her work, would there?…

  • #526948

    Deminkspot
    Participant

    If there really is nothing to bookstores but money money money, let’s all just give up right now and stop this ridiculous enterprise of ours.

    …of course that’s what bookstores are there for, just like any other retail business!… sorry to say, that’s a fact of life… as it is in re agents and publishers… if it wasn’t about ‘money’ there would be none to pay the writer for his/her work, would there?…

  • #526949

    CSachjen
    Participant

    But there must be an element of artistic evaluation, because when you are working in literary fiction – as I am – what you are selling is artistic quality and reputation.

    BTW, what I object to the most on this thread is my clearly NOT asking for advice – just blowing off some steam – and having y’all dump all this other nonsense on me. I feel like a freakin’ defense attorney. I am setting up this tour, come hell or high water, so all of these side issues are really not the point. What the point IS, is a powerful bookstore entity doing away with publicizing any book printed a certain way. It’s narrow-minded and stupid. I received the kind of commiseration I guess I was looking for from UC and Jai – who have undergone some of these issues recently – and yaknow? That’s all that I was really looking for.

    I’m like a working woman coming home to a husband who responds to my venting about a co-worker with a half-hour lecture on what I must do to fix the relationship.

  • #526950

    CSachjen
    Participant

    But there must be an element of artistic evaluation, because when you are working in literary fiction – as I am – what you are selling is artistic quality and reputation.

    BTW, what I object to the most on this thread is my clearly NOT asking for advice – just blowing off some steam – and having y’all dump all this other nonsense on me. I feel like a freakin’ defense attorney. I am setting up this tour, come hell or high water, so all of these side issues are really not the point. What the point IS, is a powerful bookstore entity doing away with publicizing any book printed a certain way. It’s narrow-minded and stupid. I received the kind of commiseration I guess I was looking for from UC and Jai – who have undergone some of these issues recently – and yaknow? That’s all that I was really looking for.

    I’m like a working woman coming home to a husband who responds to my venting about a co-worker with a half-hour lecture on what I must do to fix the relationship.

  • #526951

    paulc
    Participant

    There are those of us who use this forum as a way to connect with other writers, give and recieve support, and make friends that understand our passion for writing. There are others who use this forum as a way to stand on a pedestal and talk at people because they have “major” experience and they know best. Then there are those who like to gaze at the people on the pedestals and worship.

    Michael, despite the fact that you have a great deal of experience in the publishing world and are a writer who is dedicated to his art, you’ve always been down to earth, approachable and friendly. You’ve never used your experience as a way to lecture others but to encourage them. You also use your experience to stand up for others and challenge the naysayers. These are many of the things I like about you and the reasons I respect you.

    You also never give advice to anyone unless they ask for it. Amen to that.

    Jai

  • #526952

    paulc
    Participant

    There are those of us who use this forum as a way to connect with other writers, give and recieve support, and make friends that understand our passion for writing. There are others who use this forum as a way to stand on a pedestal and talk at people because they have “major” experience and they know best. Then there are those who like to gaze at the people on the pedestals and worship.

    Michael, despite the fact that you have a great deal of experience in the publishing world and are a writer who is dedicated to his art, you’ve always been down to earth, approachable and friendly. You’ve never used your experience as a way to lecture others but to encourage them. You also use your experience to stand up for others and challenge the naysayers. These are many of the things I like about you and the reasons I respect you.

    You also never give advice to anyone unless they ask for it. Amen to that.

    Jai

  • #526953

    Deminkspot
    Participant

    But there must be an element of artistic evaluation, because when you are working in literary fiction – as I am – what you are selling is artistic quality and reputation.

    …what the bookstores and chains are selling are simply books… period… and the books that are expected to sell the most copies are the ones they will stock… and, like it or not, self-published books put out by ‘vanity’ publishers of any sort, who exercise no quality control whatsoever and will print any book that the writer will pay them for [before or after it’s printed] do NOT generally sell well enough for the bookstores to afford to give them shelf space…

    …if you were a bookstore owner and not a writer, you’d see the logic in that… i’m a writer, but i also know the business end of writing, so while i might not like the reality i see, i still can’t let myself ignore it…

  • #526954

    Deminkspot
    Participant

    But there must be an element of artistic evaluation, because when you are working in literary fiction – as I am – what you are selling is artistic quality and reputation.

    …what the bookstores and chains are selling are simply books… period… and the books that are expected to sell the most copies are the ones they will stock… and, like it or not, self-published books put out by ‘vanity’ publishers of any sort, who exercise no quality control whatsoever and will print any book that the writer will pay them for [before or after it’s printed] do NOT generally sell well enough for the bookstores to afford to give them shelf space…

    …if you were a bookstore owner and not a writer, you’d see the logic in that… i’m a writer, but i also know the business end of writing, so while i might not like the reality i see, i still can’t let myself ignore it…

  • #526955

    CSachjen
    Participant

    Jai, you are a godsend. I don’t know what I did to deserve your support.

  • #526956

    CSachjen
    Participant

    Jai, you are a godsend. I don’t know what I did to deserve your support.

  • #526957

    xenie
    Participant

    Sorry to hear a big, bad retailer stomped all over your art. The writing life certainly isn’t an easy life–I feel for you.

    I noticed that your book is on indigo.ca (our Canadian version of the big, bad B&N) so I was just wondering if you’ve given any thought to trying to do something up here?

  • #526958

    xenie
    Participant

    Sorry to hear a big, bad retailer stomped all over your art. The writing life certainly isn’t an easy life–I feel for you.

    I noticed that your book is on indigo.ca (our Canadian version of the big, bad B&N) so I was just wondering if you’ve given any thought to trying to do something up here?

  • #526959

    ljb1947
    Participant

    Michael, when you post, like it or not, people are going to respond the way they want to. There’s no point in getting bent out of shape about it. Do you really think someone was attacking you or something in this? Good lord, I think everyone who has responded has sympathized even while telling you that’s just the way it is. You want to know how many rejections I’ve gotten in the last year? And the year before that?

    Yes, corporations are in it for a profit. That’s the way it is. If you didn’t know publishing is an industry, I’m afraid I have to tell you that it is.

    Maybe if you had said, “Please don’t respond to this” no one would have. But you didn’t. And I think you are the one who is dumping all over people who were TRYING to be nice to you.

    See me respond to another one of your posts? I don’t think so. But good luck to you anyway even if you have acted like a bit of an . . . well, whatever.

  • #526960

    ljb1947
    Participant

    Michael, when you post, like it or not, people are going to respond the way they want to. There’s no point in getting bent out of shape about it. Do you really think someone was attacking you or something in this? Good lord, I think everyone who has responded has sympathized even while telling you that’s just the way it is. You want to know how many rejections I’ve gotten in the last year? And the year before that?

    Yes, corporations are in it for a profit. That’s the way it is. If you didn’t know publishing is an industry, I’m afraid I have to tell you that it is.

    Maybe if you had said, “Please don’t respond to this” no one would have. But you didn’t. And I think you are the one who is dumping all over people who were TRYING to be nice to you.

    See me respond to another one of your posts? I don’t think so. But good luck to you anyway even if you have acted like a bit of an . . . well, whatever.

  • #526961

    fotojunkie
    Participant

    michaeljvaughn – 2009-03-30 4:35 PM
    My readers love my work, critics love my work, fellow writers love my work, my work has won cash awards, my work has been previously published by three different non-vanity presses, so to leave my novels unpublished just because I can’t find some agent who will give me the time of day, well, that’s just stupid.

    Welcome to capitalism, my friend. Or what’s left of it.

    An agent’s primary job is not to love your work, it is to sell it. A novel is not a magazine article, it is not a blog, it is not a twitter, it is not a warm fuzzy feeling. It is a massive investment of time and money, and if you can’t convince an agent that a modest fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the 6,742,581,369 people on this planet will want to spend $24.99 for 100,000 of your finest hand-picked words, then yes, you’re screwed.

    Oscar Wilde – died bankrupt
    Thomas Jefferson – died bankrupt
    Edgar Allan Poe – died bankrupt
    Emily Dickinson – sold her first volume of poems 4 years after she was dead.

    Don’t know how long the all-time list of broke writers is, but I’m pretty sure it goes way past 4. I don’t want to see Michael J. Vaughn or anyone else around here on that list. But geez – if you wanna crack B&N then figure out the proper way to do it. I’m not the only one who’d gladly spend $24.99 on your book. But you have to give us a good reason.

    Good luck, you’re not the only one who wants to scale the wall.

  • #526962

    fotojunkie
    Participant

    michaeljvaughn – 2009-03-30 4:35 PM
    My readers love my work, critics love my work, fellow writers love my work, my work has won cash awards, my work has been previously published by three different non-vanity presses, so to leave my novels unpublished just because I can’t find some agent who will give me the time of day, well, that’s just stupid.

    Welcome to capitalism, my friend. Or what’s left of it.

    An agent’s primary job is not to love your work, it is to sell it. A novel is not a magazine article, it is not a blog, it is not a twitter, it is not a warm fuzzy feeling. It is a massive investment of time and money, and if you can’t convince an agent that a modest fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the 6,742,581,369 people on this planet will want to spend $24.99 for 100,000 of your finest hand-picked words, then yes, you’re screwed.

    Oscar Wilde – died bankrupt
    Thomas Jefferson – died bankrupt
    Edgar Allan Poe – died bankrupt
    Emily Dickinson – sold her first volume of poems 4 years after she was dead.

    Don’t know how long the all-time list of broke writers is, but I’m pretty sure it goes way past 4. I don’t want to see Michael J. Vaughn or anyone else around here on that list. But geez – if you wanna crack B&N then figure out the proper way to do it. I’m not the only one who’d gladly spend $24.99 on your book. But you have to give us a good reason.

    Good luck, you’re not the only one who wants to scale the wall.

  • #526963

    paulc
    Participant

    Some people have expressed reservations as to whether or not book signings are worthwhile in the way of selling books.

    I’ve always looked at the situation differently. I never look at book signings as a short term way of selling books. I look at book signings as a way of gaining exposure and being able to influence word of mouth. Someone who has met me, even if they never heard of me before, is more likely to talk about me and my book then someone who never met me and never heard of me. Those who are self published as I am are hardly ever given any space in the media but when you have an event in a local area then you can get a foothold in the media by promoting that local event. I’ve had many articles about my book in local papers because of my events. It’s also about the people I meet and the connections I make. I did a small book signing in a tiny bookstore in Shreveport, where I met a college professor who happened to be from my local area of Dallas/Fort Worth. Because of that meeting, I have now done many paid speaking events at her college in D/FW, where I was able to advertise my book and gain more exposure.

    I did a series of paid speaking events there just this Monday and Tuesday where I not only sold several books, I also increased the number of people interested in my work, my goals and my platform. And it all came from a tiny little book signing in Shreveport where I was on book tour.

    Jai

  • #526964

    CSachjen
    Participant

    This has been the most useless and infurating freaking thread I’ve ever begun. But perhaps I can redeem it by following up Jai’s insightful story with one of my own.

    I had this awful signing for my opera novel, “Gabriella’s Voice,” in Columbus, Ohio. Hotter than Hades, scam artists at the bus station, no hotel vacancies, and all the customers acted as if I had leprosy (Oooh! It’s a writer – run!). So I got the heck on outta there. But a year later, an opera student at Ohio State found my book, thought, “Hey, this book’s about a young opera singer!” bought it and wrote an amazingly perceptive review on amazon.com. I got her email address and have been corresponding with her for five years now. She also wrote another review for the book on an opera website, theoperacritic.com, which is one of the best things anybody ever wrote about one of my novels, period.

    We’re just planting seeds, that’s all. And it’s better than doing nothing.

  • #526965

    paulc
    Participant

    You never know what’s going to come from an event, even if it feels like it wasn’t a success. That’s something I’ve learned from my travels around the country. Just last week I got a order of books, not from a bookstore I did an event at but an independent bookstore I happened to walk into as I was passing through a town in Vermont. The lady there and I started chatting and then she came to my signing at the Borders that evening. Now she’s regularly spreading the word about my book.

    Jai

  • #526966

    CSachjen
    Participant

    Awesome!

    I also find that it’s a continual learning process for me. I had a half-hour talk with a marketing guy at a Borders yesterday (it’s amazing just to get that much time with one of them), and got a real feel for the challenges that he’s facing. We’ve cooked up some interesting angles for my appearance, and I look forward to consulting with him further as I call the other stores. It also occurred to me that I could act as something of a consultant for him, so he could understand where authors of different types are coming from when they’re looking at marketing a book.

  • #526967

    djmuzc
    Participant

    I went to a book talk at B&N in Virginia this past Monday night. Mark Kramer, a Harvard Professor who co-wrote “Telling True Stories” sat in a small circle with 5 of us and asked, “How can I help you get your work published?” As a newbie to the “actual putting your stuff out there world” that experience was immeasureably helpful to me. I want to thank all of you book signing veterans for the time you give to us little people.

    Claryce

  • #526968

    killykilly79
    Participant

    “if you can’t convince an agent that a modest fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the 6,742,581,369 people on this planet will want to spend $24.99 for 100,000 of your finest hand-picked words, then yes, you’re screwed.”

    I’d rather spend the $7.99 on paperback. 🙂

  • #526969

    Janette
    Participant

    I hear the show’s pretty much run by Barnes, who is a real jerk. Noble’s a super nice guy, but he’s kind of a doormat. Local tiny bookstores are really cool. There’s one here called read it again and again that supports the local authors.

  • #526970

    Mark Lewis
    Participant

    I often compare writing to the music business, and sometimes writing comes up short. Michael doesn’t need to be told how the business works.

    Johnnie Johnson was a legend–possibly the greatest blues piano player ever, but he wasn’t a big name. Like most of the St. Louis blues musicians, he struggled to make a living. But there is a reason he is in the rock and roll hall of fame. He’s in there because big name musicians like Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Ron Wood realized he was special–even if the public never noticed.

    Musicians have the biggest egos on the planet, but most musicians understand that fame is hit-or-miss, and respect in the music business isn’t earned based on the size of your wallet. I play every week with a guy who works with some of the big-name people when they come to town. I’ve never seen Emmy Lou Harris tell him how to play guitar.

    Why do so many writers feel the need to be insufferable? And in writing, it often seems to be the mid-level “name” writers who are the worst.

    Perhaps it’s because music is a more collaborative business. Or is it just because writers have a innate need to pontificate? (Yes, I know…the physician should heal thyself.)

    Jeff C

  • #526971

    ljb1947
    Participant

    And, Jeff, some writers often simply refuse to admit the possibility that possibly, just possibly, they DO need advice and should listen to it. It is amazing how FEW people actually do KNOW IT ALL.

    However, one must assume that Michael is an exception and does know everything there is to know about the publishing business. That’s what he says and I’ll certainly take his word for it.

  • #526972

    Janette
    Participant

  • #526973

    paulc
    Participant

    Jeanne, I thought you said you wouldn’t post on anymore of Michael’s threads? And you totally missed the point on Jeff’s post.

  • #526974

    kajufa
    Participant

    Ryamond, are those your cats? I happen to love cats so your picture is very cute!!

  • #526975

    kajufa
    Participant

    leikec – 2009-04-07 10:09 AM I often compare writing to the music business, and sometimes writing comes up short. Michael doesn’t need to be told how the business works. Johnnie Johnson was a legend–possibly the greatest blues piano player ever, but he wasn’t a big name. Like most of the St. Louis blues musicians, he struggled to make a living. But there is a reason he is in the rock and roll hall of fame. He’s in there because big name musicians like Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Ron Wood realized he was special–even if the public never noticed. Musicians have the biggest egos on the planet, but most musicians understand that fame is hit-or-miss, and respect in the music business isn’t earned based on the size of your wallet. I play every week with a guy who works with some of the big-name people when they come to town. I’ve never seen Emmy Lou Harris tell him how to play guitar. Why do so many writers feel the need to be insufferable? And in writing, it often seems to be the mid-level “name” writers who are the worst. Perhaps it’s because music is a more collaborative business. Or is it just because writers have a innate need to pontificate? (Yes, I know…the physician should heal thyself.) Jeff C

    Jeff, I see exactly what you are saying.  Don is a professional musician.  When musicians get on the playing floor together, i.e. a gig or to jam, hey are all equals sharing through music.  Everyone just has to be respectful that they are in a group and need to participate as a group member.  When they want to work on music, they generally go and find their musician friends to play. 

    Writing is so solitary.  I’ve never heard of a writer saying they wanted to write now, and then went and found people to write with.  Sometimes our egos do get in the way.  I personally like to hear from people who have been in the business for years and those who have not. For me, it paints a more complete picture of this whole writing publishing thing. 

    As for B&N- I heard an events coordinator from Copperfield’s speak a few months back, and she said that they also do not shelve self published books, but they do allow book signings where the author brings their own books and sells them there.  She also said that most bookstores don’t shelve self published books. But, people can market their work without BN- look at Jai, she did it and she is successful, and so is Michael. 

  • #526976

    Janette
    Participant

    Susan – 2009-04-07 2:52 PM

    Ryamond, are those your cats? I happen to love cats so your picture is very cute!!

    No, it’s my picture commentary on this stupid fight. Since cats are fearless and merciless warriors, it adds a touch of irony.

  • #526977

    Amitola
    Participant

    The image is appropriate — if nothing else, trying to keep this thread organized is like trying to herd cats.

    I naively chimed in to try and help get the claws put away, but the hissin’ and spittin’ continued….

    I probably should have just asked if anyone wanted cheese to go with all the whine.

  • #526978

    ljb1947
    Participant

    It’s pretty obvious to me that talking to Michael is a waste of time, so I won’t bother. I was addressing Jeff. And no, I didn’t miss the point of his post. He commented that Michael didn’t need advice which is what Michael himself said. I’m happy to take their word for it.

    Susan, I have heard the same thing, that writers can have signings at B&N and provide their own books. I’ve also seen blogs where authors talked about doing exactly that.

    j_joshi – 2009-04-07 2:22 PM

    Jeanne, I thought you said you wouldn’t post on anymore of Michael’s threads? And you totally missed the point on Jeff’s post.

  • #526979

    Mark Lewis
    Participant

    I like muenster, sliced thin.

    And you haven’t seen a real cat-fight until you go to the religion thread.

    Everyone bares a claw occasionally, Johnny, even those who are enamored with their self-congratulatory witticisms…and I gladly admit that the remark that could be seen as another pot/kettle moment for this writer.

    Jeff C

  • #526980

    CSachjen
    Participant

    I was told that the ban on POD stuff was a recent change. I do recall B&N had self-published book fairs before, which seemed like a good idea.

    Anyways, now that I’m done venting, I’m off to other options, and have managed to get some appearances at Borders Stores, which seem pretty open to the idea (and especially like the fact that I’m bringing my own copies). No luck with indies at all.

    Among the many mini-threads on this maxi-thread, I note a regular one regarding the giving and taking of advice. I will listen to advice, but I will always question it, and kick the tires, and seek other opinions. This doesn’t mean I know everything – far from it. This means I’m a skeptic, and, further, have to tailor all this advice to my own aims and experiences.

    However… especially in the writing world, there seem to be a whole lot of people who want to pursue power by finding positions as grand advice-givers. Those people I’m very wary of. I question their motives.

    Sorry this all got so feisty – but hey, we’re writers. We’re bound to argue.

  • #526981

    kajufa
    Participant

    Now, Michael, why would you kick the tires???!! They didn’t do anything!

  • #526982

    paulc
    Participant

    jrtomlin – 2009-04-07 4:20 PM It’s pretty obvious to me that talking to Michael is a waste of time, so I won’t bother. I was addressing Jeff. And no, I didn’t miss the point of his post. He commented that Michael didn’t need advice which is what Michael himself said. I’m happy to take their word for it. Susan, I have heard the same thing, that writers can have signings at B&N and provide their own books. I’ve also seen blogs where authors talked about doing exactly that.

    j_joshi – 2009-04-07 2:22 PM Jeanne, I thought you said you wouldn’t post on anymore of Michael’s threads? And you totally missed the point on Jeff’s post.

    Ohhhhh, so you got the point but decided to ignore it. I see.

    And posting on someone’s thread means you’re addressing that person, whether you like it or not.

    Jai

  • #526983

    Janette
    Participant

    j_joshi – 2009-04-07 5:35 PM

    j_joshi – 2009-04-07 2:22 PM And posting on someone’s thread means you’re addressing that person, whether you like it or not.

    Jai

    Pardonez, but I pride myself on my ability to be so off topic that the response can in no way be contsrued as meaningful conversation.

  • #526984

    paulc
    Participant

    raymondstary – 2009-04-07 9:57 PM

    j_joshi – 2009-04-07 5:35 PM j_joshi – 2009-04-07 2:22 PM And posting on someone’s thread means you’re addressing that person, whether you like it or not.

    Jai

    Pardonez, but I pride myself on my ability to be so off topic that the response can in no way be contsrued as meaningful conversation.

    Yeah but that’s just you, Johnny. You’re special.

    Jai

  • #526985

    CSachjen
    Participant

    This is funny! But believe it or not, even our messier arguments get me to thinking. The main problem at the start of this thread was that no one here could possibly understand the extremely complex reasons that have led me to this book tour. Put very briefly, I sent this novel out to every editor and agent in the country before I decided to self-publish it. And now I’m more or less just doing what I can to give it a chance for some weird, unheard-of miraculous word-of-mouth. I’ve also entered it in a contest. You do what you can for your babies. And meanwhile, with each bookstore event I have an additional chance to win a book review somewhere, get an interview, at the least talk to a few people who have never heard of me. Plus, I love nothing more than a good road trip, and I’ll get to see some friends.

    And then I write another book (like the one I’m finishing as we speak), and then I send that one out to editors and agents.

    I get the feeling that some of the folks here assumed I had gone with self-publishing before anything else – and yes, that would be quite silly. You have to try everything.

  • #526986

    CSachjen
    Participant

    This is funny! But believe it or not, even our messier arguments get me to thinking. The main problem at the start of this thread was that no one here could possibly understand the extremely complex reasons that have led me to this book tour. Put very briefly, I sent this novel out to every editor and agent in the country before I decided to self-publish it. And now I’m more or less just doing what I can to give it a chance for some weird, unheard-of miraculous word-of-mouth. I’ve also entered it in a contest. You do what you can for your babies. And meanwhile, with each bookstore event I have an additional chance to win a book review somewhere, get an interview, at the least talk to a few people who have never heard of me. Plus, I love nothing more than a good road trip, and I’ll get to see some friends.

    And then I write another book (like the one I’m finishing as we speak), and then I send that one out to editors and agents.

    I get the feeling that some of the folks here assumed I had gone with self-publishing before anything else – and yes, that would be quite silly. You have to try everything.

  • #526987

    fotojunkie
    Participant

    Cats are great warriors. I’ve never been let down using one in any hostile situation. But I’ve been a professional Refuse To Be A Victim Assisted Feline Defense instructor for more than 50 years, and I would caution everyone to take a class (1st photo) to know how to properly use this kind of domesticated ammunition.

     

     

  • #526988

    fotojunkie
    Participant

    Cats are great warriors. I’ve never been let down using one in any hostile situation. But I’ve been a professional Refuse To Be A Victim Assisted Feline Defense instructor for more than 50 years, and I would caution everyone to take a class (1st photo) to know how to properly use this kind of domesticated ammunition.

     

     

  • #526989

    kajufa
    Participant

    I see somone likes playing with Photoshop…..

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