Saturday, June 10, 2006

Begging, pleading

A big thanks to everyone for linking me and leaving comments - John, Yvonne, Sharon, Ted, Yvonne...!

I must say I learnt a lot about book marketing from my friend, Yvonne Lee. Hence the title of today's blog: Begging, Pleading.

I was reading the Asti Spumanti Code (I know, don't bother asking why), a parody of the Da Vinci Code; the former which I found truly atrocious. But one thing struck me about the main Tom Hanks character - whenever he would go to a bookstore anywhere in the world, he would ensure his books were well displayed on the shelves.

I find myself doing pretty much the same thing too.

And how do the books get there?
Back to my title: Begging, Pleading.

Your publisher's reps will definitely beg and plead and use whatever relationship they have with the purchaser. But don't forget, they market 100 other titles, and you might not be too high a priority on their list. So it all comes back to you - dear author - to beg and plead.

I was on leave for the whole of last week, and I went Begging and Pleading all over. A typical Begging, Pleading mission would go like this:
"Please give me a good display. Please, please, pretty please."
"Please put my posters up. Please, please, please."
"Please put my books up front in the Hot and New Section. Pl...." Uh, you get the drift.

The results of all that Begging, Pleading? It really works! Sometimes within minutes. Not only have I made new friends with the store people, various VERY major bookstores - both in Malaysia and Singapore - have given me:
1. Pillar display space with giant poster
2. Front rack display space
3. Hot and New display space
4. Front table at entrance display space
5. Cash register display space
6. Poster at entrance display
7. Sometimes all simultaneously in the same store!
I don't always get it, of course, but more often than not, I do.

Don't forget, the store managers genuinely want to help Malaysian authors. So a big thanks to Yvonne, the best author-marketeer I have ever known.


Sharanya Manivannan said...

:) Congratulations on getting your book published, and all the best - your "begging and pleading" experiences really do say something about how willing to get involved and work hard pay off!

Ted Mahsun said...

It's all about thick skin huh? I too shall hound those bookstores... well, once I get a book published...

*goes back to his writing*

bibliobibuli said...

i saw a pile of your book in Times BSC in the most temting location in the shop - the part where all the hot new desirable books are, and was very happy for you

Xeus said...

Dear all, thanks for the wonderful comments. It's true that it's all about thick skin and hard work getting my skin to be that thick :)

Just another struggling writer - The Eternal Wanderer said...

I'm impressed by your research efforts in the course of writing your "Dark City"!

It's certainly got me interested in getting your book soon...when my paycheck arrives that is. :D

As they always say, "Ask and plead and more pleading will get you what you want!" Or rather, I just made that up :D

Hope your books will sell like hot cakes! I'll definitely be linking to your blog!

Anonymous said...

I once bumped into a writer some time back. He went: "My job as a writer is to write. Promoting is not my job. Why should I stress myself?"

Here's hoping this elitist lad (and those remotely like him) reads your enlightening post. =)

John Ling

Xeus said...

Dear Wanderer, thanks so much for your kind comments :) Fiction writers don't really get that much in SE Asia, so it's never for the money, but to ensure as many people read your books as possible, and to pay back all those who invested so much in you i.e: publisher, book stores. It's their livelihood, you see.

Dear John, someone told me the very same thing just the other day. And I told him, "If you truly want to make a living out of writing, then you have to promote your own book. All writers do." I'm not making a living out of writing, and yet I do this.

Lydia Teh said...

Hi Xeus, welcome to the blogosphere. Yvonne Lee told me about you but I've read about your book in the papers and on Sharon's blog too.

I hope all that begging and pleading will result in more book sales. I'd been rather lackadaisical with my book promo and will certainly take a leaf from Yvonne's books for my next title.

All the best!

Yvonne Lee said...

Lynette, I've been visiting bookstores (as usual, doing the PR-ish 'hi how are things, err....are my books selling....' la di da, y'know) and yes, your books are displayed at many main entrances. The Star has done a good job in drawing publicity too.

I believe, we local writers are excited for you and yes, you need to strike while the rod is hot!
But experience has taught me to balance enthusiasm with sensibility....though I don't take rejections personally, I also don't pester till annoyance drips.

John, thanks for reminding us authors that we should shed the " S'cuse me, I'm an author, not a salesman" egoism.
I remember Oon Yeoh said, writing is not the difficult part, selling is. Which is why I also agree with Teh Mahsun that sometimes, it's OK for authors to be afflicted with the elephant-skin syndromme.

Here's a toast to the success of your book, er...I mean sales.

Xeus said...

Hi Lydia, I have always wanted to meet you. You are quite famous!!

Thanks for your kind words, Yvonne. You have taught me a lot. I guess I'm a natural salesman, having been in the marketing and sales line for 10 years! I can NOT NOT promote something I'm affiliated with :)

Lydia Teh said...

Famous!? You make me laugh...

I also need to put on thick skin cos my next book is coming up soon! I'm looking for a book title. Pls head over to my blog to see if you could help. Tks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Xeus, I live overseas, is there any way I can order your book? on amazon maybe?


Xeus said...

Yusof, thanks for the support! My book isn't on Amazon yet because I'm currently negotiating rights for UK/US/European publication. This will take some time. But MPH and Kinokuniya have websites where one can order books. I'm not sure they ship overseas though.

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