Monday, August 8, 2011

Where the @#$% is my book?

The messages began even before Making Waves was officially released. They arrived at odd hours, and they confused me at first:

I'm at WalMart in Booneville, Arkansas and it's not on the shelves. Freaking out!

The time difference meant it was 3:30 a.m. where I live, and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what someone might desperately wish to purchase at WalMart at that hour and why they thought I needed to know about it.

Once I stopped mulling personal hygiene products, I realized the person was talking about my book.

The messages kept coming via Twitter and Facebook and email and sometimes even text message. Often, people were letting me know the book was at their local WalMart or Barnes & Noble or Powell's, which delighted me to no end. The pictures made me swoon every time I saw Making Waves sitting there looking perky on the shelves of a bookstore in New Jersey or Montana or Ohio.

But the "it's not here!" messages made me nervous. As an author, I have almost no involvement in the process of getting my book from the publisher to the bookstores. I know, more or less, where it's supposed to be, but I have no idea how or when it's getting there. I like to imagine a giant pterodactyl swooping around dropping books haphazardly on bookstores around the country. The fact that pterodactyls have notoriously bad aim explains why the books haven't reached some locations yet.

My parents recently decided to take matters into their own hands. They hopped in the car on Friday afternoon and proceeded to drive around Salem, Oregon hitting every bookstore and WalMart in their area. If the book wasn't on the shelves – either because it was sold out, or because it hadn't been stocked yet – they asked to speak with someone in charge so they could request it.

The process led to a number of interesting conversations, including one where the clerk insisted a family member of the author came in and bought all their copies, and my mom tried to get the clerk to describe the person so she could figure out who it was (we still have no idea).

Obviously, my parents' approach is a bit intense. I certainly don't expect blog readers to strap on their SWAT gear and embark on a vigilante mission to ensure Making Waves is properly stocked in all stores within a 100 mile radius.

Still, I do want to ask that if you happen to be in a bookstore or a WalMart and you notice my book isn't there – ask for it.

Er, don't ask me. Ask the store manager. Ask the person in charge of stocking books. You don't have to fling yourself to the ground and beat your fists on the floor while wailing, "why? WHY?!" though if the urge strikes you, I won't discourage it.

But do let it be known that you're aware the book exists and that you'd kinda like to see it at your local store. It would mean a lot to me.

And to the pterodactyl. His aim improves when he has something to shoot for.


Joyce Tremel said...

It just so happens I have to go to WalMart today. I'll report back!

Jessica Lemmon said...

*straps on SWAT gear*

Put me in, coach!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I've been doing just that at B&N and Walmarts here in the Atlanta area. And am still waiting for my copy to come in. Hopefully, this week ...

Dianne K. Salerni said...

OMG -- I can totally see my mom doing that! Trying to get the store manager to describe the person who bought all your books, that is.

Jason said...

I did not know this about pterodactyls. What else in my childhood was a lie?!

Lucy said...

My guess is they sold out. This might just be a very, very good thing. ;)


Joyce, keep me posted! And try not to do too much bodily harm to the WalMart manager if the book isn't there.

Jessica, OK then, your mission, should you choose to accept it...MAKE SURE MAKING WAVES IS EVERYWHERE!!!

Susan, awww, thank you so much!

Dianne, my parents are adorable, that's for sure!

Jason, pterodactyls are very sensitive about their poor aim, so it's important not to draw too much attention to it. That's probably why you didn't learn about it in school.

Lucy, love your optimism!

Thanks for reading, guys!


Judy,Judy,Judy. said...

Do you know how much I love you? Lots. Having said that I must tell you, even you aren't worth a trip to walmart for me.
HOWEVER, I am driving the forty-five minutes to the town where the nearest BAM is anyway, today, so I'll make a side trip and see if your book is there.
Cause I bought it and I read it and it's a damn good, funny book!

Unknown said...

I just put the title of the walmart search list and this is what it came up with. I am thinking you might not like this.

Unknown said...

But the good news is that it does come up on barnes and nobles :) hope that helps

Matthew MacNish said...

I've been planning on doing this, actually, but haven't been in a Wally-World lately.

Ricky Bush said...

Great set of parents you have there. Sounds like they'd load their car trunk with your books and drive them to the stores themselves if needed.

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Hannah Hounshell said...

Um, not to burst any bubbles, but I work at a walmart and I don't know about the others...but we don't really have any control over which books we get as we use an outside vendor.

However, if enough people ask for it, I'm sure something will be done about it. Just make sure you speak to an actual manager and not a floor associate. We little people don't get much say in those kind of things. :)p

Also, I am ninety percent sure your book is at the walmart I work at. I will double check as soon as I can. :D

Hannah Hounshell said...

Well, I found it at my walmart. Looks good :D