I’m home for two days to deal with the bane of the traveling author’s life: dirty laundry.Â But then it’s back on the road next week.
Book tour is a great way for authors to get an up-close look at how your book is selling (or not selling), and inevitably there are frustrations galore.Â Publishers probably think authors whine and exaggerate when they complain about books not being displayed where they should be, but we’re the ones out there on the front lines, and we can spot the problems thatÂ our publishersÂ in NYC can’t see.Â
Take, for instance, the problems with co-op compliance.Â I’ve blogged about this before.Â When a book is on “co-op” it means the publisher has paid money for the books to be displayed at the front of the store.Â This is the most powerful marketing tool a publisher can buy, but sometimes they don’t get their money’s worth.Â Sometimes bookstores don’t put the books where they should.Â On every single book tour I’ve been onÂ (and I’m on my 11th one this year) I’ve seen numerous instances of noncompliance, and it drives me crazy.Â I’ve heardÂ industry estimates that theÂ non-compliance rate is as high asÂ 40%.Â
Imagine paying for a dozen ears of corn, and only getting eight in your bag.Â Yeah, you’d feel cheated, wouldn’t you?
This tour has been no different.Â Last Tuesday, co-op for BONE GARDEN was supposed to start in Barnes and Noble.Â The first three days, I visited four stores in three cities.Â The book was at front-of-store in only one of those four stores.Â Â When I inquired about their placement, the clerks were very friendly and quick to correct the situation, and they admitted that BONE GARDEN had somehow slipped through the cracks.Â
By Friday,Â thingsÂ were looking much better.Â Every Barnes and Noble I visited that day in the Boston area hadÂ the book in the correct place.Â Â ItÂ just took a little longer — four days — than it should have.
I’m curious about what other authors areÂ experiencing.Â Is anyone else seeing the same problems with co-op compliance?