18. December 2008 · Comments Off on Books, Books and More Books · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, General, Literary Good Stuff, Local, World

After a good deal of agonizing and back and forth with Angela at Booklocker, all three volumes of the Trilogy are up and in stock at Amazon – which is kind of a relief, since most fans who want to buy them on-line will buy them there, Amazon.com is apparently becoming the Walmart/Target/Costco of on-line shops. That is, in the sense that the place is mind-blowingly huge, and has everything imaginable and at a competitive price, but unlike them in the sense that it is completely automated and you can never find a real human when there is a problem. And also there are no senior citizens in a felt Santa cap and plastic gloves offering samples of chocolate cake or cocktail nibbles.

The PJ media rep very kindly added all four of my books to the Christmas Shop page for books. I might yet get some sales out of it, although it is hard to tell, other than the sales rank for them bobbing up and down like yo-yos from one day to the next. This week, being the week when the Trilogy is properly launched in the neighborhood where it all happened, a hundred years ago and more, the action is in local bookstores. Traditionally it’s difficult for POD books to get a toe-hold in brick-and-mortar bookstores, unless the writer buys copies in bulk and puts them on consignment. The wholesale discount from the retail price of the book is pretty steep, usually starting at 40% , and with a guarantee of return of all unsold copies – traditional bookstores have overhead and a budget, you know. Unless they have a darned good reason to stock a local author, and some assurance that those books will fly out the door, it’s consignment all the way. The economic burden is placed on the author to prove at his or her expense that the book will sell.

This time around, in writing about the Hill Country, I seem to have hit upon that winning formula. All my consignment copies for the launch event last week sold – all but a single copy of Book One – before I even walked in the door at the Twig. They have ordered five more of each, and bought them outright from Booklocker. This is at some expense, and without guarantee of return of whose copies with don’t sell… but last week proved to everyone’s satisfaction that they would sell. Hell, they took pre-paid orders from at least three people at the signing. Berkman’s Books in Fredericksburg have also bought outright no less than ten copies of each for a signing event on Friday and emailed me to say they wish they could afford fifty, for interest is getting pretty intense. There was a notice last week in the Fredericksburg paper, with a line at the bottom that the Adelsverein trilogy was endorsed by the local German Heritage Foundation. A bit of a thrill actually, for this may inspire even more descendents of old-time families in Gillespie County to buy a copy to see if I have made mention of their ancestors. A bookstore on Main Street which specializes in Texiana also wants to stock the Trilogy, and so does another one in Kerrville, which request came out of the blue, after the owners saw the notice. The first weekend in January, I will have a talk at Fredericksburg’s Pioneer Museum, for which the bookstore manager there has bought an amazing quantity of copies. He also promised to bring out some of the exhibits in the museum that had given me ideas for possessions of the Steinmetz and Richter families.

After Christmas, I will start on getting the Trilogy carried in other areas with a local tie-in. Yeah, an imminent depression/recession/economic reversal (or whatever the newscasters want to call it) is a heck of a time to start trying to sell books in a big way, but I note that it didn’t stop Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind.

I’d write a few hundred pithy words about current politics, with Obama, Blagojovich, and Caroline Kennedy, but I’m afraid it would all boil down to “what the hell did you expect, people?! Obama is out of Chicago machine politics, and didn’t I say so months ago?” I’ll give that dead horse carcass a couple of vigorous thwacks at a later date, but right now, I care more about my books and Christmas, in that order.

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