Warning: Major Snark Alert
I had to go to Valencia Borders today to pick up a copy of Lost: Season 4 for the hubby. What could have been a mere annoying experience turned into material for my blog, so I'm grateful. Sort of.
By comparing my experience to that of an author at a book fair, I came up with a pretty good list of things to avoid if you want to introduce readers to your book.
There wasn't an employee in site. I know, because I checked upstairs and downstairs. And that brings me to my first point.
Don't chat with the vendor three tables down while potential customers pass on your book because nobody's home.
I eventually tracked down a living being behind the cashier counter. She had been off helping another customer. I'll call her Debbie, because that's what it said on her nametag. She was young and freckled with a cheery attitude. She's the herioine of this story.
I told Debbie that I needed someone to unlock the video display, and she called out to an employee who was stocking magazines. I'll call her The Dark One because she had black hair and she was mired in a muddy swamp of indifference.
The Dark One told me she'd find a mysterious "someone" to get the keys and help me, and she went back to placing new magazines in pretty rows.
Don't make your customers wait while you take care of incidental business.
While you're lining up your books and thinking, "If I can only get that cover flush with the edge of the table, I'll sell oodles of books!", your potential customer is thinking, "I really hate to buy a book and mess up her display. It seems so important to her."
The customer has options.
I went back downstairs and asked Debbie if someone, anyone, could help me. The Dark One stayed neatly hidden behind the shelves.
About five minutes later, Debbie came up. She told me she'd get the keys. She had another customer in tow who she was helping. True to her word, she returned, apologized for the delay, and released my video with her magic keys. And then she rang me up.
I didn't go to B&N because of the coupon. I knew my husband would flip if I paid full price, but my case is rare.
No one needs to spend money on your books.
Now, it's possible that The Dark One wasn't authorized to handle the magic keys. It's also possible that she suffers from a severe disorder that precludes her from mingling with customers or leaving her magazine stand.
My humble apologies to Debbie if my irritation leaked out my ears and infected her. And if you're wondering why I specified Valencia Borders, I didn't want to paint all Borders with the same brush.
I did learn one other truth.