Friends, family, and readers often ask why The Tin Box is found under "K" for Kennedy in book stores instead of face-out on those Hot Fiction or New Fiction displays done up at the front of every store.
It's because this is called "premier shelf placement" and I don’t get it. At least, not yet, anyhow!
Front-of-store placement must be paid for, whether its face-out positioning on promotional stands, end caps, new release tables in the front of the store, or placement in airport book stores. For those of you interested in more information on this, check out the following post at bigbadbookblog.com where it’s explained in detail.
That said, I couldn't resist posting today about my brother, who doesn’t care that I don’t get premier shelf placement. All he knows is when he walks into a book store (in any city, on any given day) he thinks my books should be face-out under Hot Fiction or else on a table reserved for bestsellers.
So he moves them.
All of them.
There are times when he’s sly about it, glancing furtively over his shoulder to make sure no one’s watching. But there are others when he simply grabs half a dozen and moves them, offering no explanation to the staff watching as he does so. Often, smiling charismatically, he tells them they should be doing it. “Now here's a good writer,” he’ll say. “She not a bestseller yet, but she’s gonna be!"
And then there are also times when he… lurks.
Picture this: A woman stands in front of the Hot Fiction display in a book store, frowning. My brother, who is married, but bored because his wife has left him alone for ten minutes, sidles up to her. “Looking for a good book?” he asks. “Actually, I am,” she admits. And then — PRESTO — he whips out a copy of my book and hands it to her. “You’re gonna love it,” he says. “Read it and tell all your friends.”
And so it goes.
Me, telling him to stop, and him, ignoring me as he becomes intimately acquainted with every bookstore within a hundred miles. Not that he limits himself to local bookstores, by the way, because even when he travels (as he’s doing this week) he often phones to tell me he’s been busy “promoting me” which is when my neck starts to itch and I find myself scratching my arms, breaking out in a nervous rash.
I just know the phone’s going to ring one day and it’ll be the "book police" who've given him a quarter and allowed him one phone call, and that’s when I’ll have to decide if I’m going to bail him out, or pretend I haven't got a clue who this guy is.