Preordering from stores, and personalizing books

I'm such a beginner at this that I didn't realize it happened, but it's possible to get a signed, dedicated copy of a book by ordering from a store where the author's about to do an event. I discovered this at "M" is for Mystery, when Ed the owner brought out a pile of books already ordered and paid for. Some had post-it notes inside with what the nice buyer wanted written in addition to a signature. After I signed and dedicated, the books were shipped to their new homes.

It occurs to me if anyone would like a copy of Pericles Commission with a personal dedication, it's possible to do it by ordering from one of the places I'm about to be. Obviously it's more expensive than BookDepository or Amazon, but you'll get it faster it seems, and there's the dubious extra value of me having signed and dedicated it. If anyone does this (or has), let me know if you like, so I can recognize you in the stack.

If this is interesting, here are the phone numbers of the stores. (I hesitate to suggest this because it looks like pure advertising, but there might be value for some.)

Seattle Mystery Bookshop (on tomorrow, you better hurry for this one) 206 587 5737

Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. 858 268 4747

Aunt Agatha's in Ann Arbor: 734 769 1114

Centuries and Sleuths in Chicago. 708 771 7243

Here's a question for you: I've thought about printing book plates, so that anyone can ask me to sign a book ordered from anywhere at any price. Just email me the dedication you want and I'll post you the plate to stick in your copy. I'd have to charge the postage cost, or I'd lose money on every sale, but it has the advantage of letting me sign and dedicate a book to anyone, anywhere. Would this be interesting to people?


Mike Mullin said...

I personally don't care for bookplates, and at events where the bookstore I work for has been forced to do them instead of having the author sign (cough*Neil Gaiman*cough), they significantly hurt sales.

Perhaps a better approach would be to partner with a local store and let fans order signed and personalized books from them. You could visit occasionally and sign all their orders and let them muck about with the shipping.

Gary Corby said...

Thanks Mike, that's a very useful perspective. I didn't realize Neil Gaiman had done plates.

I love your idea of using a local store, and I'd do exactly that, except for one minor logistical issue you might not be aware of...I live in Australia.

LQQ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LQQ said...

Hi Gary,
I think boiler plates are an OK idea – it's nice to think an author is contactable.
I prefer the idea of ordering from a store you are about to visist. I am half-thinking of cancelling my Amazon pre-order.


Gary Corby said...

Hi Seth, you have a few days in hand to decide. Keep an eye on the date so you contact a store I haven't reached yet!

I just noticed, in passing, Steven Saylor's made the same suggestion on his own web site for his next store event, so it seems this is standard practice. Debut authorship is a learning experience.

Sean said...

I think I prefer to have personal, face to face contact with an author if I get them to sign my purchase.

Gary Corby said...

I suspect a lot of people would feel the same way, Sean. But since you live in Adelaide that's probably not going to be a problem (eventually)!

Philangelus said...

Gary, I called Aunt Agatha's and ordered from them. Thanks for the great idea!