Home > Uncategorized > Booksellers Need to be Passionate About New Titles

Booksellers Need to be Passionate About New Titles

An author gets a great idea.

He/She convinces the literary agent that it’s worth publishing.

The agent pitches it to the publisher.

The book is printed.

The publisher assigns a release date and begins a marketing pitch for that quarter’s sales.

The sales reps learn about the book at a sales conference.

The rep then takes the title on the road — along with dozens of others — and pitches it to you, the retail buyer.

The retailer can envision customers who would resonate and respond to that title and orders an initial quantity.

Weeks or months later, the book arrives in a shipment, and now the retailer must remember why it was that they bought in on that title.

Then the retailer must sell the book to frontline staff, full-time and part-time.

Then the staff must find the optimal place to display the title, and be prepared to highlight the title to the type of customer the buyer had in mind.

The customer has to catch the passion that way, way, way back the author had when he/she crafted the first chapter.

Then they have to decide that it will meet a felt need, and that it represents good value for the sticker price.

As long as their debit or credit card clears processing, the book is sold.

That’s not a difficult chain of events, is it?

Where I think the process can sometimes break down is that there can be a “dilution of passion.”  Unless the retail staff can catch the excitement about new titles — or strong backlist — nothing moves.  Buyers have to remember what drove them to select that title all those weeks ago. Sales reps have to communicate the same excitement that led the publishers to choose the title in the first place. The customer has to respond to what the sales associate is telling them, not because the sales clerk wants to make a sale, but because the customer sees this as the kind of thing they usually buy.

In other words, the customer at the very end of the chain has to catch the passion the author had at the beginning.

Put that way, it’s a wonder anything sells.

But when this works, it works well.

And when it doesn’t work, sometimes the customers find the titles on the shelves in spite of us.

And sometimes, the publisher puts enough effective marketing into place that even if a few links in this chain are broken, the book is still a success.

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  1. February 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    So then how does the customer catch the author’s passion with eBooks? The marketing chain of events is a little bit different, don’t you think?

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