Saturday, September 16, 2006

Does bookstore display matter?

You bet it does!

Example: Was walking in 1 Utama yesterday, when I noticed the new MPH bestseller list. And I was over the moon when I saw Dark City at

No. 2 in the Humanities section (after The World is Flat)

No. 5 in the overall Bestseller section

I believe (not sure) this list is for June, July, Aug, seeing that the last list was posted in June.

Now, I believe the reason for the book's success in 1 Utama (It's sold over 110 copies there to date), is because of the wonderful display. The store manager is extremely supportive and he gave the book a pillar+poster display across the magazine section for 3 months, not to mention cash register display and also eye level display at the local section.

Contrast that to MPH MidValley, where the book was selling well for the first month when it was at the Hot and New section in front. Due to lack of space, it was relegated to the Malaysiana section, and thereafter, sold slowly. A lot of friends have complained to me they can't find the book in MidValley!

Nevertheless, together with Yvonne and Lydia for moral support (thanks girls!! We're truly formidable when we're together!), last week I've begged MidValley to give me a pillar+poster display too. They so kindly agreed, and my publisher has since printed an updated poster for them. It's up to me to follow up next week.

(MidValley's bestseller list is particularly important because that's the one that goes into The Star every week.)

So everyone, do make sure your books are displayed well. If you can't concentrate on all bookstores, just make sure you target the MPHs in MidValley and 1 Utama, Kinokuniya and Popular Ikano. These bookstores sell the most books. And if you have time, go down to the airport and target the bookstores there - books there seem to move with the speed of lightning.

Meanwhile, dear Sharon is having a reading this Saturday 23rd Sept in Bangsar (please see her blog). She's asked me to do a reading as well. I keep asking her, "Am I too low brow for your group?" But she won't hear of it! So I thought of reading 'The Resistance', simply because it's the shortest!! Is it a good choice?

I've also typed the entire Klue interview down below, because it's easier to do that than to wait for my husband to do a hi-res scan.


Argus Lou said...

Xeus, read out the sex bits! That's never too 'low brow' for lit folk - they're often simmering with sexual tension just below the sophisticated sheen. ;-) (Wear a dominatrix ensemble, too! Or are you too shy?)

Are you supposed to read the whole story? If you're allowed to read only a couple of pages, how about 'The Maid'?

As for 'The Resistance' - by merely listening or half-listening, they might wonder what it's all about or get the wrong idea.

Xeus said...

Hee hee, I wonder what Sharon would think of that. (I'm not really shy, as you know, just pretend to be :)

I must ask Sharon. I don't really know either whether I'm supposed to read the whole story. I don't want to put anyone to sleep!

You've got a point. Lydia and Yvonne didn't get the Resistance either until I explained it.

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Yvonne Lee said...

Yo....good for you! Yes, we need good display for our book and do you know that some big groups actually pay for space ?

Xeus, we're lucky in that we got free strategic space because ( firstly, must mention the goodwill of the store managers) our books are widely mentioned in media( yes, the store managers did mention that that's a point too).

Sadly, it's a sale, no review, no review, no sale, no sale no publicity, no display....and it's a chicken and egg story too.

My suggestion is this, make sure you write a book that has wide public interest...( no laaa....I'm more humble than to choke myself with the phrase..."Make sure you write a DARN GOOD BOOK!......hehehe)

If your book can capture the public interest, the media will follow, the bookstores will also know. Betul ah?

Anyway, looks like I can't be there for the next reading but I'll be there in thoughts and wishes, ok?

BTW, I have updated my website, especially MEDIA section. It's been one year and more than 40 highlights/interviews on! God's grace.

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, Agree with Argus. Resistance is not suitable lah. If you want to tittilate, read Scarlet Woman. The response at the end will sure be "eewww...." Coup of the Century is also a good choice or One if by Land. As your article on visiting prisons have made it into the papers, a reading of One may tie it up nicely.

As Yvonne says, it's a chicken and egg situation. You first-time authors are really savvy about such things. Into my 3rd book and now only I'm getting into the groove. Tch.. moving at the speed of steam engines.

Congrats on making it to no. 2 at One U!

Ted Mahsun said...

Xeus, in the last session, one of the Snapshots writers didn't want to finish reading her story because she was afraid that she'd go over the time limit, but the audience asked her to finish anyway. So I think, just read the whole story lah.

As for low-brow stories... there was a gay sex story that day which the audience seemed to enjoy, so I think the question of low-brow or high-brow doesn't really come up... hehe!

Anyway, sorry to say I can't come that day lah... man from streamyx coming to set up connection that day and can't reschedule. Grr!

Xeus said...

Yvonne, your updated site is wonderful! Wah, Prestige asking you to review cars eh? I read your article yesterday as well in the Star. Waiting for the Rhinoplasty one to come up.

I also saw your Eve and Adam one originally last month in the magazine itself. A toast to the best author-marketeer in Malaysia!

I think Lillian said "Damned" instead of "Darned" :)

Don't expect you to come for the reading one....a lot of people will be there oredi, so no need la. Only scared those events where people don't come one.

Xeus said...

Lydia, will take your advice. Maybe I'll read One if By Land since Ted says they like gay sex stories!

No 2 is Humanities section only lah, General section No.5. Rodney was so nice, he scanned the list and sent it to me.

No problem, Ted. Like I said to Yvonne, plenty of people are usually at readings (the readers themselves), I'm only afraid for my author appearance sessions!

Yvonne Lee said...

Hey, thanks for correcting me! ( Can't tell you how much I appreciate the 'private coaching' *wink wink* ....sure, am also waiting for rhinoplasty story to appear.)

BTW, I think Scartlet Woman will be a fantastic read for Bangsar....wish I be there coz I want to see the facial expression of the audience when they found out who Scarlet Woman really is!

Please blog about the reading, can?

Xeus said...

OK, I will do the Scarlet Woman :)

Argus Lou said...

Xeus, not The Scarlet Woman! It's too obvious; the ending is telegraphed way ahead of time. Shashi thinks so, too. 'One If By Land' or 'The Maid' or 'Incident at Monkey Gorge' are your best bet -- even if you don't get to finish reading the whole story, they'll stir up curiosity -- and sell several more books.

Xeus said...

Argus, I think I'll ask Sharon to pick! Oh when I get there, I'll ask the readers what they like: "Do you want a gay prison story?"

Some people, like the NST reporter, only liked those kind of stories that telegraph themselves way before time!

But I think this reading group wants something different, right?

Argus Lou said...

Yes, ma'am. It's a tad unfair to label 'One If By Land' a gay prison story though as it's not apparent till the very end.

Now Sharon Bibby will have to read the book first!

bibliobibuli said...

really looking forward to your reading!

low-brow high-brow ... tell a story well and you will have respect whatever your genre!

i like the idea of mixing up different types of writers in a session