Wednesday, June 28, 2006

They do it too in America!

I was reading this totally hilarious article the other day in the Star (it isn't online, otherwise I'd post it), and it seems most American authors are publicity whores too!

In fact, they do things like:
1. Shifting their books from the bottom shelves to the 'Hot and New' section, and getting caught by the store manager for doing it too
2. Handing out leaflets and flyers
3. Email their entire high school alumni to say 'Buy my book!'
4. Get their friends and relatives to post fake good reviews on
5. Check 200 times a day for reviews and sales charts

The reason? "You've worked incredibly hard on this book," says the article's author. "It's only natural you want to see it do well."

So I'm not the only one! (See my post on Begging, Pleading.) Though I must say I have NEVER done 1,2, 4 and 5. (affects holier-than-thou pose.)

What I did this week was check Popular Ikano (yes, they have my book right in front now! Sold out to only 1 remaining copy too) and Kinokuniya (yes, they've put it on the bestseller racks now.)

I wonder if I'll be this way about my 2nd book.
(I think I'll be.)


Ted Mahsun said...

haha... I wonder if No. 2 would work. Sounds like something I'd do if I ahd a book out.

btw, Lydia posted a link of the article (not at the Star though) on her blog.

Xeus said...

Dear Ted, as you know, I'm very slowlah....very busy workingloh....but I've also read Dean Koontz talk about posting fake reviews. In fact, some of them post negative reviews about a rival author's book on Amazon!

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, sigh... the things we do for our books. But I've never posted fake reviews on Amazon before. (strikes holier-than-thou pose too)

Congrats on being on the bestseller rack in Kino!

Xeus said...

Dear Lydia, let's make a pact. I post good reviews for you and you post good ones for me! Anyway, I'm sure Kino's bestseller rack doesn't mean anything...they put books there they want to push.

Yvonne Lee said...

See, Lynette....your hard work's paying off now.

So happy for you and yes, FYI, you need to keep tab when your title hits the best-seller list.

When mine went up the list, I didn't know about it until someone told me they chanced upon it in The Sun and I scrambled to search for the dated papers. That was for the Kino best-seller listing (published in The Sun, every WED).

When it went up at Popular, also I didn't know until Lydia saw it and I went to Popular's website to down load it later.

MPH I Utama, it went to be no. 2 but, I can't assess to it as it was posted on the wall and not in the newspapers nor website. A bit susah but I managed to get it posted ( all the 3 ratings) on my website (Thanks Boss, if you're reading!)

See, Lynette, bookstores also don't tell you when it hits best-seller but if you've helpful friends, it helps.

And believe me, the solid proofs are important. Reporters asked for them as they don't take by word of mouth that yours' a best-seller until it is really listed.

Sorry, long winded :) Will keep tab for you too :)

But after you get your listing, you belanja us and celebrate, can?
Mamak oso boleh!

Xeus said...

Yvonne, yours is a true bestseller. No doubt about it. I actually doubt I will ever hit the bestseller charts in any week because it's Malaysian English fiction, and this genre is not known to hit the bestseller charts. I however may hit bestseller status IF I sell more than 1000 copies in Malaysia alone. That's quite achievable, I think.

Do you know how many books you sold in Kino the week you hit No.2? And MPH as well? They go weekly, right? Because Rodney tells me Da Vinci Code sells by the thousands.

Yours is a success story everyone can only dream of and hope to emulate.

BTW, where is it in MPH 1 Utama that they post the local bestseller list? I can't find it (only got foreign bestsellers and Malay bestseller etc.) No local writer's bestseller list?

(When it comes to bestsellers, you are the expert!)

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, as far as I know there is no local writer's bestseller's list. They're all lumped with books from the rest of the world.

Yvonne Lee said...

Hi! I think it's true that which genre ( Fiction or NOn) your title falls into can make a difference.
Mine was under the Non-Fiction (my TSIC is a collection of humorous happenings on board) on the Kino BS listing. It was there for about a month, from no. 8 to 6 to 4 then no. 2, I was told. (Lucky thing I got hold of the paper which stated it was no.2)

But in Popular, it was best-seller under Fiction (?), together with all the mat salleh best-sellers (see my website).

In all honesty, I wasn't able to find out how many copies sold in a week to be named BS.

Frankly, in comparison with MPH, Kino didn't layan me much when I tried to ask for figures. " Sorry, can't reveal the numbers, " when I called on the phone to ask what the stock was for my title. Maybe because I didn't say I'm the author.

Local books, if you want to compare with int'nal BS, a bit susah laaa.. When Tash's book came, with so much hype, of course his books sold like hot cakes. It has all to do with publicity and the fact that it is int'nal BS.

That also made stores anticipate by ordering by the hundreds. Here, if one local book is ordered by a hundred, can say the store is very " hor bin" or very confident of the author oredi ;)
But that has season. Ask Rodney. Whatever naysayers say, about a title being a hot-for-the-moment thingy or not, if you can hit it off when it first comes out, it's better than never to hit it ever, betul?

But for the record ( some people are curious and ask about this), my title sold 6 000 copies in over 8 months ( last update from my boss) and is going for the 4th print run ( btw, if you see the fresh print, please check the additional endorsement page! Some more got my favourite cartoonist's endorsement, hehehe...)

Then again, I was told that 6000 reflects the copies taken by the retailers from our distributor but how many books actually left the stores to readers, must wait for ALL stores to tally their latest updates together (very susah....even the stores themselves don't update the computer on how many books sold by weekly basis, some stores, I mean. some are frank to tell me that they didn't update yet!)

PS, I think a good rule of thumb of whether a book has been a b/s or not is to check the copyright page. See the date first published and the gap between first print and subsequent reprints. The more frequent, the healthier laa. I think).

For the exact number that your title sold in that week, you check with the retail manager lor...
It helps if she's your friend laa...Some are very reticent to reveal figures, believe me.

I knew of one who told me he took in 100 but actually only 50. I found out from my distributor later. This is called, "Si ai bin". In his store, my books were sold out and took damn long time to be replenished. You know why? The distributor refused to give his outlet books because he didn't pay on time!!!! I was damn sore because his outlet has one of the higher traffic, tourists' place but unfortunately, ppl couldn't buy there.

The lesson here is, book selling involves too many 'moving parts'. There must be synergy from all parties, author's gungho attitude, active distribution, retailers who are active in paying the distributors on time,in order to get their stock, the display effort in stores, the promotions by 1)author 2) publisher 3)stores 4) media.....oh, yes, one more, I personally believe that book cover is VERY VERY important.

If at first sight it turns me off at the store, then can "ki hor lan liao"! ( This is not to say that my TSIC cover is soooo great laa. Really, I'm still trying to get my dream artist to do my second book cover, if my publisher allows).

You still got lots of potential to push the book and trust me, I'm also helping your book to sell. See I placed it at my music studio for in-house reading. Hope don't kena gasak by some cheapo parents!!Or I'll have to buy again lor...


PS, MPH I U, poster of BSL is at Entrance 1, behind the pillar. Ask Rodney or his staff laa.

Xeus said...

Aiyo Yvonne, very good postlah. Can I post this on my next blog or not? Very useful reading!

For my book, I was told they also almost sold out the 3000 1st print run copies already in 1 month. But like you, this is from distributor to bookstore, we don't know how many from bookstore to readers.

I only know how to check the MPH computers for stock. E.g: I know I sold 41 copies in 1 Utama last month. For those that don't display leftover stock, like Kino or Borders, I very shylah to ask counter.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly gripping stories I must say !!!

bibliobibuli said...

amazon got wise to fake reviewers - one day they revealed all the e-mail addresses and an embarrassingly large number had been written by the authors themselves ... at least now the reviewer has to have a valid e-mail address