Monday, November 05, 2007

Treasure Huntin' -- Jay

How many of you have ever been in a bookstore? Okay, hands down. How many of you have ever been in a bookstore and had a giddy person walk up to you, jumping up and down, pointing at the book in you hands, saying, “I wrote that. I did. I really did! Look, that’s my picture”?

Hmm… I’m not seeing many hands. But maybe you can still help.

What if that did happen to you? How would you react? Would you even want to be approached? Well, what if the author was able to contain himself and not jump around?

The past two days, at different bookstores, I’ve seen people walking around with my book. At both stores, when I first arrived, I immediately checked the teen section to see if they had copies of Thirteen Reasons Why. Then I went on my merry way, looking for a book that I didn’t write. At both stores, from several aisles away, my eyes somehow drifted back to the teen section…and I noticed that the number of copies had decreased by one!

So I went into full treasure huntin’ mode, stalking the aisles with shifty eyes, looking for someone carrying my book. It felt weird…and very cool…to know that my book was somewhere within that magical area between the bookshelf and the cash register. At the second bookstore, Robin was with me, and she caught the treasure huntin’ fever, as well. And both times, I successfully tracked down the elusive customer. But both times, I chickened out before approaching.

What would I have said had I approached? Primarily, I wanted to do a little market study. Why did they originally pick up my book? Was it the title? The cover? Was it recommended by a friend? Why did they decide to hold onto it rather than put it back on the shelf? Was it the premise? Had they actually read a few pages? But even more primarily, I just wanted to say, “I wrote that. Look, that’s my picture.”

Personally, I’d want the author to approach me. But is that just me? Would it be too weird? If not, then what’s a good icebreaker? Help!

- Jay


At 7:30pm on November 6th, my head will probably explode. Why? Because I’ll be watching The Goonies, one of the greatest movies ever made, on a big screen for a one-night-only event. (For those of you who’ve read Thirteen Reasons Why, the Crestmont Theater was inspired by the theater pictured below.)


Natalie said...

Go for it, Jay! I'd love it if I bumped into the author of a book I was carrying around in the bookstore. And being the nice guy that you are, you'll make a good impression, which will lead the customer to tell all his/her friends to buy your book. Provided you do no jumping, of course. Well, unless the customer jumps first. In that case, I suppose a few hops would be apropos.

Colorado Writer said...

Maybe you should have a Sharpie ready.

And because you are so naturally charming, you could softly say, "I'm the author of the book you are holding, would you like me to sign it?

And because you are so smooth, you could also say, "An autographed book makes a great gift, would you like two?"

gail said...

As long as I didn't see him peeking over bookshelves, ducking around corners, hiding behind magazine covers, lingering at the coffee counter, then yeah, I'd love to be approached. ;) I'd even ASK him to sign the book. And if he offered first, I'd be thrilled1


Laura said...

My wonderful husband gave me a wonderful gift...
YOUR book!!!!!!!

I finished it last night.... I didn't put it down, well except once to take a sip of tea... but otherwise I didn't put it down! BRAVO!!!
I love the premise, and the characters, and the whole darn thing!
Sadly, my copy is unsigned. : (
I would love to have an author introduce himself and sign my book! If only the author was in New York!

ara said...

Hi, Jay. I think your distribution must be picking up. I finally found your book (two copies on the shelf) in Borders (one of their San Diego stores) for the first time this last weekend. Why did I pick it up? Because I'd seen you on the blue boards and I loved your sequined suit at the SCBWI party (you dance pretty well, too, by the way). So that got me to pick it up: when I started reading it in the store, though, I knew I had to buy it. Great story! Awesome writing! And on a personal note, I was stoked to see in the acknowledgments that your agent's Laura R., since my agent's one of her cronies. Anyway, I can't wait to see what you put out next. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I read this and giggled at the visual of you looking like Waldo in the "Where's Waldo" series...

"Can you find the author in the bookstore children?"

Seriously though, there is nothing better than a signed copy of a book! I would totally welcome you and your "stalking" for a personalized copy anyday. I am sure anyone would be stop being shy and get out the pen!


aimes73 said...

As for the Goonies showing tomorrow night...I AM JEALOUS!

I would so love to see SLOTH on the big screen swinging across the water screaming "Heeeeeeeey Youuuuuuu Guuuuuuuuuys!!!"

Have fun and eat a Baby Ruth for me! :)

cynjay said...

If I were you, I'd have a handler (ie: Robin or Eve) casually mention to the book-holder that the author just happens to be standing over by the YA section casually thumbing through the competition. The handler might then suggest that the author would be happy to sign their copy, at which point the author smiles and whips out their sharpie.

Looks casual, yet planned to the nth degree.

Susan said...

I'd be thrilled to have an author whose book I happened to be holding approach me. And it would be a great story for the reader to tell their friends which means they'll be talking about your book to their friends and their friends friends and their friends friends friends, um, you get the picture.

SilberBook-Blog said...

Hey Jay -

As a guilty member of the "I wrote that Now Can I Sign It For You" Bookstore Stalking Club I can only say: good on the not jumping up and down part - but hey, as long as you don't follow them all the way home - it seems like a great idea to me!


Christine said...

Sounds like you need to approach the bookstore managers about doing some signings.

Disco Mermaids said...

Okay, okay, okay! I'll get over my chicken-self and say something to the next person I see carrying my book.

But if they freak out on me and call me a stalker, I'm gonna do another post and all of you are gonna apologize to me. Deal?

- Jay

Heather said...

I'd LOVE it if you stalked me in the bookstore! I love meeting authors. Let me know when you'll be in Vancouver and I'll conveniently go book-shopping! (It's not here yet, btw. ARGH.)

Erin said...

I would SO love to be addressed by an author in a store.

Anonymous said...

The Goonies is one of the best movies ever.

P.S. Your novel is highlighted as "The Cross-over Book of the Month" at Kepler's in Menlo Park!! It has it's OWN SHELF!!


Linda D. (sbk) said...

Of course I'd want to meet the author of a book I'd picked up! I think I'd be really upset if I found out I could have met the author but he was too chicken to speak to me. What a wasted opportunity for both of us!

Would you believe I pre-ordered your book and it only just arrived today??? Guess what I'm doing tonight? :)

krw3b said...

My only advice is to wait until AFTER they've bought the book to approach them. (Hiding behind the security posts and jumping out at them when they go to leave is a great idea.)

That way, even if you freak them out and they throw the book at your head and run, you've already got the royalty, baby.

Anonymous said...

Too funny Jay!

I have actually thought about this, wondering what it would be like to have a book on the shelf.

I've already thought, I should make sure I am dressed nicely, good hair day/ make-up.

Pen or sharpie available, and sit right on the floor waiting, waiting, waiting.

THEN...POUNCE! Just get real close, next to the person. Look at them while they are reading.


Look again! Wait for them to say, "Can I help you?"

Where you then reply, "Well now that you ask, I would love to sign your book and pretend I am the author, what do you say?"

I haven't even sold a book yet, but that's what I'm going do. I'm ready with a plan.

Now back to waiting, waiting, waiting, and ready for the POUNCE!


Anonymous said...

I would love being approached by the author!! I cant tell you how many times I am reading a book on the subway and fantasize about looking up and seeing the person who's picture is on the jacket. (Yes, I'm that big a dork!!)

Sheri said...

I totally agree with the approach. If you happened to be in a store that you have already signed the books, you could alway offer to personalize.

I know my boys and I would love it!

Stacy Dillon said...

I would love to have an author approach me! Like others have said, it makes for a great story, and lots of folks don't get the opportunity to have signed copies!

Maggie Stiefvater said...

*rolls eyes* The answer is too obvious. Simply offer to sign the book, and sign it "stalker." Cover all the bases.