So I got a letter from my publisher yesterday informing me that there are 1900 copies of my last hardcover sitting in a warehouse and asking me if I wanted to purchase any of them for a buck a piece.
It didn’t bother me that 1900 hard covers didn’t sell. I know the realities of the business. The trade paperback came out in April and is well stocked in the few stores I’ve visited lately.
But the idea that the books were just sitting there about to be dumped seemed like a wasted opportunity.
Last year, I was on a trip and took along a copy of my novel to give to a friend. When I met her she had already bought my book and so I took the copy I’d brought back to the hotel room with me. When it came time to pack, on a whim, I left the book in the hotel room hoping the next guest might like it.
Two weeks later I got email from a woman who got my address from my website which was printed in my bio on the back of my novel. She wrote that she’d found the book in the hotel room, had read it, had loved it, and wanted to tell me how much it moved her.
Last night that incident and the remainder letter fused.
I’m going to buy up about 500 copies of Sheet Music, which takes place in Greenwich CT, where I live, and give them to the one big hotel, the three B&Bs and the one boutique hotel to put in guests rooms the same way they offer chocolates or baskets of fruit.
Almost every novel takes place somewhere. Or has a theme that connects to a city or event. There’s a match to be made. Potential readers to seduce.
If 50 of the guests who see Sheet Music in their room actually read it and like it – that’s 50 more potential readers for my next book.
Maybe this is just another blue sky idea that is too hard to implement on a broader scale.
But why can’t publishers make deals with hotels to put books in rooms for guests to peruse and even pilfer?
Why can’t we use the extra books to make introductions?
And that’s just one idea of what to do with those extras.
I just refuse to believe that there aren’t many more missed opportunities like this that might be great ways to build buzz.
Maybe I’m too optimistic.
But it sure beats being a pessimist.