Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly -- and the Beautiful

by Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett

I recently sent out a letter to the readers on my newsletter list outlining my good and bad fortune.  You see, the good was that my publisher paid to have my most recent book, The Walled Flower, get special placement in Barnes & Noble in February when it debuted.  (In the "step" displays at the front of the store.)

The bad?  That despite their best efforts, the book did not sell as well as it might have.  After all, most of my readers know me as Lorna Barrett NOT Lorraine Bartlett (which happens to be my real name).   It was the 2nd book in the series, while the next Booktown Mystery, Murder On The Half Shelf, will be #6 in the series.  I've had far more time to build readership in that name.  (And have had a terrible time trying to let those readers know that Lorraine and Lorna are one and the same.)

The ugly?  The books that didn't sell were likely to be stripped.  Stripped means the booksellers rip off the covers, throw the books into their Dumpsters, and then return the covers for FULL CREDIT.  Meanwhile, the author is (financially) penalized for the books that didn't sell. 

I went to every Barnes & Noble store I could and signed all the copies they had in hopes that the books would have a second chance at selling, simply because they were autographed.  But there's just one of me, and I only managed to hit 10-12 stores.

Thankfully, many of my readers around the country came to my rescue.  They went out and bought extra copies of the book from their local Barnes & Noble.  In fact, one of my readers, her sister and mother, bought FIFTEEN COPIES and gave them to friends.

FIFTEEN COPIES.  And gave them to friends.

I cannot fathom the kindness (and the financial sacrifice) behind such a generous act.

I am very, very grateful for the loyalty of my readers.

If you liked the first book and are still on the fence about buying the second, I hope you'll take the opportunity to do so soon.  Thank you for all who stepped up to rescue my book.  You will never know how your kindness has affected me, and I promise I will pay it forward.

Meanwhile, if you bought a copy of The Walled Flower and would like an autographed bookplate, I would be very happy to send one to you.  Just send your request to me at LLB(AT)LLBartlett(DOT)com, along with your snail mail address, and I'll pop one (and a few bookmarks) in the mail.

Thank you!


Aurian said...

I have bought and read both books, and thorougly enjoyed them. So I can recommend them to everyone who loves cozy mysteries!

Question: does this happen to all unsold books in America? Destroy them?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, yes. It happens on a daily basis and is heartbreaking. The publishers have decided it's cheaper to just toss the books than pay for return shipping and then storage. It's a terrible system, but nobody seems to want to end it because it's convenient. The waste is unthinkable, but ... as I said, it happens every day. When there's a big push for a book (and I'm extremely grateful they did it for me), and there are more books than usual, that means even more waste.

Another problem is that publishers don't like to tell an author too much about the promotion for their books. Recently Barnes & Noble sold hundreds of paperback titles for $4.99 from their online store. The publisher didn't tell the authors. Think how many books we could have sold if we could have gotten the word out to our readers?

Whalehugger said...

This is one of the reasons I love my Ereader - no paper involved. It also doesn't occupy a shelf and have to be rotated in book stores. I've read all of your series (including the Jeff Resnik mysteries) and enjoy lending the books to my friends to get them hooked on your work.

Anonymous said...

Whalehugger: Thanks for reading my books. I'm so glad you're enjoying them and spreading the word!

Anonymous said...

Even though I enjoy all of your books, I especially enjoy this series. This ripping off the covers of books and trashing the books has always bothered me. How heartbreaking it must be for an author to know this happens to her books.

Whatever name you use, I will continue to look forward to your next book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, llk10 retired. A writer never tires of hearing that her work is being enjoyed.

Kristin A. said...

Oh my goodness, Lorna/Lorraine. My heart goes out to you. You put so much work, effort, and heart into your books and to hear what might be in store for unsold copies of The Walled Flower must literally make you feel sick. I am sorry. I enjoy your books so very much and am rooting for you! I'm going to go pick up a copy for my mom for Mother's Day. I'll email you about getting a bookplate for her if you don't mind. She and I both love and support cozies.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kristin. I'd be very happy to send you a bookplate for your Mom. (And a few bookmarks, too!)

My Recent Favorite Books said...

I have your books on my to be read shelf, - they look so good!
and I love cozies! =)

Katreader said...

Destroying a book is such sacrilege to me. Too bad they can't donate those books to non-profits-psychiatric centers, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the publishers rip off the covers. It seems to be sacrilege. While I intended to buy this book, I never got around to it. Hope it's in my library.