Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wherein Dakota shouldn't be allowed to go out in public without aide of a keeper

So yeah, it's been a while. I used to blog on a reg basis, but it seems lately, I just can't keep up. I remember once thinking when the kids got older things would be easier. Ya know, they'd be self-sufficient and doing their own thing. Which meant I'd have more time for me.

Uh, no. As they get older they want to go more places, do more things, stay up later, go out with their friends and in general always need SOMETHING. Food, a ride, money, food, food, food. At least when they were little they went to bed at 8.

So lately, if it hasn't been one thing it's been another. Football, ROTC, dances, homecoming, parties blah, blah, blah. Add to that my work which, there but for the grace of God, I've managed to keep up with, and I'm shot.

However, my work is what led me to finally blog again. Today I'm going to talk about the secret, underground, untold story of a book release from a perspective I didn't know existed. The NY one. Decidedly different from the e-book one.

Now I love me some e-books which is where I come from. I love 'em because they're linear. In and out, baby. Written, edited, proofed, line-edited, pubbed in sometimes just under a couple of months if you're on the schedule. Easy-cheesy.

A NY book is much diff. it begins waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy back in ancient times when you get "the deal"--like a year and a couple of months prior to publication. So you get the deal, you write the book for like three months because it's longer than your typical e-book (well, longer than the typical e-books I've written), you send it in, you get some edits, you do the edits, you get the copy-edits, you send them back, you get one last shot to tweak, send it back again and then you get your ARC's. Still, you're like three months before publication.

Now, in these three months you need to be out introducing yourself to the nice folk who run places like Borders and the like. All lovely people, I'm sure. Though after they've seen me skulking in the romance section of the bookstore, hiding under my purse, trying to work up the courage to say hello, I'm not so sure they'll return the sentiment.

Anyway, this is called PROMO. And we all know how good I am at that. At first this was a dark mysterious path I wasn't walking because it freaked me out. With an e-book you post to your newsletter and your Yahoo group and go eat a box of Ring-Dings or something. Not so much with a NY book.

So in the time since I've written the first book and am now actually just returning the edits on the second, I'm learning all these things I need to do to promote my book. All of which are like having bamboo shoved under my nails and using cheap product. Snort.

I learn from my good friends Michele Bardsley, Diane Whiteside and my publicist Jessica that I must go to my local book stores and introduce myself prior to release, so that on release day I can offer to sign STOCK. Thus, if someone buys my book they'll have an autographed copy.

Now for those who know me, you know I love people. I love to chat. I love--end of. I love it when we can talk about YOU--or your lawn--or your personal grooming habits. I don't love the my book thing so much.

Knowing me as my friends do, they've kindly offered to fly and drive from all parts of the country to come hang out with me on release day and "help" me do this stock signing thing. It'll be a blast, Michele Bardsley says. We're going to have soooooooo much fun, my friend Renee George says. I'll drive, Ter offered.

Coo. I'm all in. I'm stoked to see my friends. I have some of the bestest friends evah. I then begin to hatch a plan. These nice people at Borders have NO CLUE what I look like, right? So why can't one of my friends do this for me and I'll wait in the car? LOLLOL. Seriously, how do these book people know I'm not some crazy person with a disease that compels me to sign other peoples books? My pic isn't in the back of the book--so they won't be the wiser, right?

Nooooooo, oh, no. I need to stop being the sissy-Mary I am and work it, my friends say.

Hookay. So in light of working it I'm losing sleep over this. Hair too. I'm getting wrinkles. but I'm determined to play and play well. I'm grateful to anyone who buys a copy--you don't even have to read it, if you opt out. Really. I'm just grateful.

So as a sort of stick my toes in the shallow end of the pool where the non-swimmers sit on the steps and watch the pros with envy, I dip my feet in. Just the other day in fact. I was uber-proud of me.

For at least a twenty seconds...

I'm all at the mall with my honeybunny R. He's getting one of those massages in those crazy chairs while I struggle to walk to my Borders Express. I say struggle because I'd just gone five rounds with some guy on Discovery Health who has an accent and does a workout that would leave a Navy Seal crying. I'm in AGONY. My eyelashes hurt. However, a girl does want to look good for this signing of the stock, yes?

I wander in, I hover by the romance aisle. I see many of my friends books on the shelf and wonder if they too have fallen for this "stock signing" gig. Then I wonder if they've just been yankin' my crank and there really is NO SUCH THING. But alas, I press onward.

I'm there, and I'm in. Suddenly, an employee saunters up to me and asks how I am and if I need help.

Sweet mutha.

So here's my opener, yes? It's like when the cute guy at school finally talks to you and you have the chance to wow him with yer prowess. Or not.

Dakota--I stick my hand out and say, "No, I don't need any help, but I'd like to introduce myself. I'malocalareaauthorandIhaveabookcomingoutinFebruary.
Justwantedtointroducemyself." Yes, I said it without commas, breaks in sentence and or periods. What-ev. Don't judge. Snort.

Nice bookstore boy--"Very cool. What do you write?"

Dakota--Duh. "Books..."

Nice bookstore boy--"Yeah, but what kind?"

Dakota--The kind you read... "Er, paranormal romances--comedy."

Nice bookstore boy. "Cool. When's it coming out?"


Nice bookstore boy--"Suh-weet."

Dakota--nervous, anxious, wishes floor would swallow her up. "Uh, yeah. Suh-weet. So anyway, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself and I hope to see you in February." Or never again if the Gods are kind and don't want me to humiliate myself further.

Nice bookstore boy--"Well, just so you know. I'm not here permanently. My REAL job is at Starbucks at the Stonebriar Mall. I'm just here for the extra cash for Xmas... I'm working the register, but sometimes I help on the floor. So I won't be here in February. You should talk to the MANAGER, but good luck, anyway."


So here's a tip from me to you. If you have a book coming out and you go do this precursor to the stock signing thing--which I'm not entirely sure truly exists because it would be just like my friends to snark me, point and laugh--CHECK to be SURE you're talking to the right person. Like the MANAGER of the bookstore.

Not the guy who has a better gig at Starbucks, but who was lovely and ultra helpful nonetheless.

Off to conquer more cashiers :)

Dakota :)


  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger Selena Illyria said…

    You are adorable and will be fine and your book signing. Sending You Big Hugs.

  • At 12:01 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    WOO HOO.. I am SOO proud of you !

    And of course I will drive I willhave Claudio (aka GPS) with me

  • At 4:22 PM, Blogger Brandy said…

    You did great! And you may even have won over a new fan! (Always look for the positive. *g*) I'm sure in some way it will get easier.

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger Erin the Innocent said…

    The point is - he was nice right? I bet the manager type person is nice too. (Congrats on talking to someone *g*)

  • At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Becky said…

    You know that at least Michele and Terri (I don't know the others) are going to drag your beauty queen ass up TO the manager and introduce you to him/her, right? You're doomed. Hilarious and sweet but doomed nonetheless.

  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger FerfeLaBat said…

    You Blogged!!!! I never did do the stock signing thing.Are you sure it's important? I've heard horror stories.

  • At 9:42 PM, Anonymous ~Linda~ said…

    Wow you blogged and conquer a sales clerk. It's a proud day!!!
    You will do us proud girl, at your signing.
    Sending huggs!

  • At 8:59 AM, Blogger Kim said…

    erKay. I think I conquered blogger!

    Did you at least tell the temporary stock boy your name and title of TAW?

    Lemme tell ya, the bookstore managers ADORE local authors. They love when you take them bookmarks, coverflats and most especially when you sign stock. Trust me, they are going to grovel at your feet*g* And you should offer to do a booksigning! Wouldn't that be loads of fun?

    holding breath as I hit submit.

  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger Dakota said…

    LOLLOL--yep, I blogged. Just been busy and haven't had all that much to add to the blogging community...

    and you say horror stories.

    I LOVE horror stories--do tell.

    And thanks everyone else for suporting me@!

    DC :)

  • At 9:02 AM, Blogger Dakota said…

    Why no, Kim, no it would NOT. LOL

    I'd be a HUGE disaster. No one would show up--I'd cry. However, I'd love to know more about the grovel thing.

    Do they like you to call ahead--or just show up?

    Oh, and ya done good!

  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger Dakota said…

    Oh, and yeah, Ferfe. I hear it's important. I'm all about people. You know I love me some people. I just don't want to have to talk about my book and love me some people. yanno?

    DC :)

  • At 10:22 AM, Blogger Kim said…

    Yes, call ahead. Oh, the grovel thing.

    bookstore person: Yes, wonderful amazing author, we'd love for you to sign stock. Our readers love autographed books.

    DC: wide eyed and speechless

    bookstore person: we'll even put your books up front so all our customers can see they are signed. Can I get you a coffee or scone?

    DC: still wide eyed and speechless

    bookstore person: this is so great of you! WOW! An actual author right here in our store. Can we get you a massage while you sign? Bet your shoulders get sore. Meet Sven our massuesse.

    Now, doesn't that sound exciting and fun? Oh, and take those "signed by author" stickers too so your books get noticed. Those little gold stickers are like a homing beacon ;)

  • At 10:34 AM, Blogger Dakota said…

    Kim--where does one get yon stickers, my friend?

    And what does one say when they call ahead? I mean, what if that particular store doesn't have your book and isn't planning to? Would this not be cause for me to crawl under a ROCK? LOL

    DC :)

  • At 10:47 AM, Blogger Dakota said…

    And doomed, Becky. Yes, yes. I'd agree. But doomed is IN my color wheel. Tee hee :)

    DC :)

  • At 5:12 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    The one place I know to get stickers is You could go in with a couple friends, order a crap load and split them. I'm sure there are other places but I don't know where they are.

    And for calling ahead; call all your local bookstores about a week before your launch, by now you should have been in their store a few times and have a rapport with them, remind them your book is coming out on Feb 5 and would it be okay to come in and sign their stock. Not only is this great for customers but it forces the b/s to get your book out on the proper release date ensuring some compliance. Its a twofer!

  • At 10:28 PM, Blogger Dakota said…

    wait, I have to go there BEFORE and intro myself.

    but -- but -- did you not just read the trouble I encountered in just ONE store? And I haven't even found the manager yet...


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