So about three months ago or so, I had a dude come into the store and mention, in that offhand-but-not-really way, that he had a book coming out in a few months, and would be interested in maybe doing a signing or an event or something at the store, perhaps, if we’d have him.
The default response to people asking this, by the way, is a polite, non-committal brush-off. Authors don’t normally set up these sorts of things themselves — that’s what publishers and agents and the like are supposed to be doing with their wining and dining of the nefarious agents of the Home Office in New York. The only people who walk into a store and announce that they’re an author are either crazy or self-published, or both. And we don’t do self-published events.
So I hmm’d and haa’d at him for a few minutes, but the book wasn’t in the system yet, and I told him to come back a little closer to publication, and try and talk to a manager then.
Today, he stopped by the store again. His book comes out tomorrow. And he read off the title, and started talking to my manager about it. Huh, I thought, that sounds familiar. Wasn’t that on a table up here…? I looked; no dice. We were out. I wandered over to a computer and looked it up myself. Yep, it’d come in today, six copies, and… they’d sold out already? What the?!
Then I looked at the ‘sales rank’ figure. It’s a tricky metric; it doesn’t update all that often, and I have no idea if it’s just website sales or also takes into account store sales as well. That said, it’s pretty unambiguous at the top. His book was ranked 16 on the internal system. That can’t be right. I pulled up the website.
I was right; the number was wrong. His book was actually the fifth best-selling book on the website in the last 24 hours.
I walked over to the counter, where he was still talking with my manager. “So, are you the author of It’s Not Just Who You Know?”
“Well, let me be the first to congratulate you. Your book is number five on the website.”
“What?” His eyes got big as saucers. “Are you serious?”
“Yeah, it’s right behind Eat Pray Love as a bestseller!”
The manager pulled it up on the screen. He looked, and ran to the front door. “Honey! Come here real quick!” He brought in his wife. “Oh, man, this is awesome!”
“You want to call someone right now, don’t you,” his wife said, grinning as much as he was.
“I mean, I told everyone I knew that the book was coming out, but…!”
So he’ll be doing a signing later this month for sure, and we’ll be ordering a bunch more of the book. Man-hugs all around.