In the future, bookstores will sell books that have a little button on the cover. When you press that button, a 3D hologram of the author will be able to tell you about their story and why you should buy their book.
Until that day, it’s up to the booksellers who do an important job. A lot of parents walk into bookstores with this line, ‘my son/daughter loved Zac Power/Twilight, is there another book that’s JUST like that one?’ It’s easy for a bookseller to point at the next flashy and shiny book in the series, but they really love reading books. Awesome booksellers share this passion with customers with their beaming recommendations, and no, they’re not reading off the back of the blurb. 🙂
So how do booksellers keep up to date with the latest books? I went to a CBCA sub-branch meeting, where the booksellers dished out the goss.
With over 4000 children books being released each year, it’s a daunting job for booksellers to choose what books they’ll stock on their shelves. Some series will walk off the shelves themselves, but for books with unknown or new authors, they’re taking a risk.
The publishers try to help. Each publishing house has a representative, who come out to each bookstore with a slideshow of their latest releases. They have a minute to convince the bookseller to choose their books. Even then, each rep has over 300 books to talk about each month, so they’re flat out too. But in most cases, if a book stays on the shelves for a few months, they can return them back to the publisher. *Phew*
So many books, so little time…what makes the difference? The cover. Yes, you can judge a book by it’s cover after all. Picture books need to have a suitable format too, whether it’s hardcover, softcover or board. As for novels, booksellers will try to read the first few chapters and see if it hooks them in. Great books will sink their teeth into readers in a couple of pages.
Promotions are vital for new release books. Posters, badges, bookmarks can be sent to a bookstore for a promo attack. An author doing interviews via print, radio, TV or the Internet will attract sales. But authors who can make it into their local bookstore will make a huge difference too. Not just to rearrange the shelves so their book is right in the middle, but also to chat with the booksellers-point out how fabtastic the book is. Booksellers appreciate this personal touch, and they love authors signing copies too. They DO NOT like authors who rush up to customers and shove a book in their hands, yelling ‘BUY MY BOOK IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!’
I swear I wasn’t going to do that…well, I wasn’t going to be shouting it neways heaheahea 😉
So if you’re a writer, walking into bookstores and dreaming where your first book is gonna be (if you are doing this, don’t leave gaps in shelves for your imaginary book, I got told off for doing that kekeke), say hi to the people who work there. They get to read all the latest books, be around books and talk about books they love!
They’ve really got the best job in the world.