They are, in my opinion, the greatest places on Earth.
(Right up there with all those other greatest places.)
Ever wondered what it might feel like to walk into a bookstore and, for the first time, see a book YOU wrote sitting on the shelf?
And having made the decision to be a writer waaaaay back in high school, _____ years later, I finally got the chance.
My first book, on a SHELF. At a BOOKSTORE.
It was so.... so.... it was just soooo.......
Well, let me tell you what happened.
Small publishers like Cedar Fort distribute where they can. Before I signed I was told they could get my book into Wal-Mart and Costco. Not Barnes & Noble, but still, they're big respectable stores.
But, um. No. My book wasn't / isn't /won't be at Wal-Mart or Costco.
And a major chain like Barnes & Noble? This is dream stuff. My book definitely isn't carried there, except on-line where there is absolutely no risk to them.
So, it's left to the holdouts, the carriers of the torch, the (fireworks and canons and release the white doves!) Independent Bookstores of the West TM.
(Just kidding. That's not a real thing. And I can't even superscript TM.)
Cedar Fort distributed my book to a number of small independent bookstores throughout Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. Not only was I unfamiliar with the store names, but also, none of them appeared to be close to me.
Then my dear friend and writing-buddy, Cheryl, dropped by my house last week and told me she had picked up copies of my book at Deseret Book. As far as independent bookstores go, this is a famous one locally, and I had no idea it was there.
To give you an idea, this is a store that has seen the likes of David Archuleta book-signings. I know! Right!?
Well, actually I know because I image-searched Deseret Book, and David Archuleta book-signings kept popping up. And also I'm his biggest fan which is the other reason I know.
With happy hearts and too high expectations, that night -- about the time Bridgette should have been going to bed -- we both donned our gay apparel and went in search of personal history.
Second, let's cover something.
This is my book.
In case an actual picture isn't enough, I will now describe it to you. The cover is red. It has colorful shards of pointy glass on the front as well as bright yellow & white typeface.
It shouldn't be that hard to find.
By design alone, it should have been easy to locate.
Now, it's time to play
(shout it with me)
FIND THAT BOOK!
No seriously. See if you can find it.
I guarantee it's in the pic. Not only that, it's on the nearer side of the photo where the image is not yet obfuscated by distance and distortion.
Now, I know what you're thinking.
"What? You thought you were gonna be on that prominent entryway table? The one pyramid-stacked with shiny new releases, twinkling lights and hand-embroidered snowman doilies?"
No, no. Don't be silly.
And just so you know, I've also never imagined anyone recognizing me in public and asking me for a signature. Or interviews with The New York Times. Or hordes of paparazzi dogging my steps.
Never crossed my mind. Not even while I was typing that.
I get it. I'm a first time author lucky to be published at all, let alone gratefully picked up by a mid-sized independent book distributor. It's only an okay book. I admit that. I embrace it.
You'd think the store might like to display my book in an obvious enough fashion that it looks more like a bunch of books than an empty hole on the shelf.
You know, for business purposes.
So, that was a big clue to those of you who are still searching for my book in the photo. Look for what you thought was a small empty space.
Time to get silly.I did finally locate it. Bottom shelf.
Right next to a famous Christmas author actually!
And that's when it hit me.
Why should best-selling Richard Paul Evans get all the face time?
So, after a quick *officially-first-pic* with my book and my tiny fry....
Bridgette and I rearranged.
I mean. Bridgette did it. Alone. I didn't even supervise.
(I so rarely do.)
See! That's so much better.
Not quite resting-on-hand-embroidered-doilies, but more... perspicuous.
Also, notice how it suddenly looks like I've sold more books than Richard Paul Evans?
Bridgette's a genius.
they kicked us out we left of our own free will and volition, I hit up one more Deseret Book.
I'm not sure which Deseret Book store Cheryl had visited earlier that day, but she told me there were only three of my books left on the shelf (which I'm pretty sure was post-her-purchase, so that was awfully nice of her).
That's why, when I entered Deseret Book #2 not long before closing, I actually thought it was possible that the truly empty holes on the seasonal shelf represented my sold-out piece of Christmas fiction.
Bwa-hahahaha! Can you believe I thought that? Oh but I did. And it was SO SUPER EXCITING!
Until I asked a helpful employee, in fear, if they were even carrying my book.
What's it called, oh yes we carry it, where is it, I don't know, let me look it up, here it is, says we have 6 on the shelf, it's not there, that's odd, could you have sold-out, our system would have said so, then I wonder where it is, well did you check the other seasonal shelf?
The other seasonal shelf?
Why no. No I didn't. You've been so helpful.
Yes folks. The other seasonal shelf is about three rows back. And my book was there. On the bottom. In a corner. Fully-stocked. Available and invisible.
I didn't have the time, inclination, or space to put them all face-out this time, but I grabbed one more picture with Bridgette before management approached me with handcuffs and we bolted (the other store had called).
BTW: the lady who took this photo picked up my book! And then she had the guts to put it back right in front of me. But by the time I left, she had picked it up again and was carrying it around with her. Way to go decisive-stranger / new-best-friend!
So there you have it!
My book! On a shelf!
This whole publishing enterprise has been one of amazement. And seeing my book in a store was no different. I experienced a wide-range of emotions but mostly amusement.
And the greatest thing?
In one short week, my book really WILL be on a special table near the front of the store!
It may be marked 75% off... but hey! It will be unmistakably mine!