The Devil Didn’t Make Me Do It, Dana Did

- by Sherrill Bodine

We’ve all been there – the decision moment – will this PR move help my career or is it a waste of time?

My “dark side” – you know, the little voice whispering, “I’ll be too embarrassed,” “What if they don’t want me,” “What if they say no?” – always stopped me from strolling into every bookstore in town to sign stock the week of my book release.

Recently, another voice spoke to me: “Until you connect with a bookseller, you are just another name on the shelf. The bookseller can be your most important promoter; they’re the ones shelving your book, positioning it on tables, and recommending it to their friends. They’ll only do that if they know who you are.”

That voice was my young, hip Chicago publicist, Dana Kaye.

I still wasn’t convinced until Dana’s voice was joined by that of my writing friend, the brilliant Ruth Glick ( Rebecca York) who added, “I didn’t want to do it either, but Norman made me.”

So with such sound advice and great support, I went on my first stock signing blitz. It was a crash course in Book Stores.

Not all Borders and Barnes & Nobles had the same number of my books. In some stores my book was cover out on the shelf – in other stores, unfortunately not. A few actually had my book out on a table with other new titles.

Nothing appeared to be uniform in any book store chain.

Except for two constants. Every manager seemed pleased we had stopped by and eagerly supplied signed copy stickers for all books I signed. This is the biggie – every book I signed was placed in a more prominent spot than it had occupied before I strolled into the store armed with my favorite pen and a smile.

By the end of my Stock Signing Blitz I had my answer. This PR move was not a waste of time.

I couldn’t ask for anything better – except what one charming manager told me when I asked if it was true signed books were never returned – she answered, “They almost always sell.”

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