Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Blues

If you are an author, is it better to write or shop? How about to sell? Black Friday is the best day to do a book signing... or is it? Last year, I signed my novel Rattlesnake Lawyer at a Barnes and Noble in ABQ and had one of my best days ever. People literally walked by my table, and picked up a book. Presumably they then went over to the cashier and actually paid for it.  

This year, I'm restarting my manuscript for National Novel Month, which I will work on over December. That's a story for another time, but I do my best writing in December.

But back to book signings on Black Friday.... While sales can seem easy, there is a strange energy in the air.  Even in a city like Albuquerque, people are rushing as if to catch a New York subway. Unlike other days, where I would have time to do a thirty second "pitch," shoppers are making their decision in a matter of micro-seconds. It's more about math than manuscript. "X bought me a 14.95 dollar gift last year. This book sells for 14.95. Therefore this book will be the gift equivalent for X."

There is a fundamental difference between Black Friday and other shopping days. People are buying books for others, and not for themselves. That can be a good thing, An author has to adjust their strategy accordingly. It is crucial to ask who the book is for. Make sure that your book is age-appropriate for the intended recipient.

As the Barnes & Noble is at the front of Coronado Center, it is sobering to realize that you are not only competing with the thirty thousand books in the store that also retail for 14.95, you are also competing with the six hundred other merchants in the mall. 

"Doesn't the Best Buy Mobile store have a deal running today, dear?"

If you are an author with a new book, and you can sign on Black Friday, by all means do it. It can boost your sales tremendously, and hopefully you will gain new readers.  Still, at the end of the day you will find yourself just as tired as the clerk at the Best Buy Mobile store...

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