Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Worst Case Scenario for Authors, Pt. 1

It's occurred to me in the months I've blogged here, I've offered advice on how to catch a publisher's eye by not doing certain things that would automatically send your work to the reject pile. Given my experience today, I realize there aren't many tutorials on how to handle crises once you have been published. Perhaps tonight we'll amend that.

Scenario One: You are a published author preparing for a booksigning. You arrive at the venue and find the store was unable to order your books, and you have no books of your own to carry in.

What to Do: First thing, don't panic, and don't pitch a fit. How you respond to this situation could carry throughout the store (especially if you're tearing your hair out and cussing some poor clerk) and perhaps the rumor mill. Whatever the reason for the books being unavailable is not necessarily a reason to go home, especially if you're expecting readers. A bestselling author, published with NYC, once confided this happened to her - rather than turn around and leave, she stayed for her appointed time at the store and informed readers she had "sold out" of books. Luckily she had promo on hand to distribute and sign, giving readers a reminder of available titles to order.

If you are concerned about the availability of your books when doing an event, particularly if you must travel a long way, consider bringing books "just in case". Depending on the bookstore, you may be able to sell them on consignment. If not, you have a copy of your work to present an impromptu reading for people who do arrive to meet you.

I'll cover more "worst case" topics in later posts. Meanwhile, if you've been in this scenario before, please share your solutions.

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