Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Anonymous Accomplishments

Every once in a while being anonymous sucks. A coworker just did something that may have garnered her minor celebrity in a certain niche audience as well as result in sales for our store, and due to my anonymity I can’t be all, “So-in-so kicks ass and is great to work with. By the way, come by your X at our store.”

Well, that’s not true. I can tell y’all that So-in-so kicks ass. I just can’t reveal So-in-so’s name.

Here’s to So-in-so.

The downside of anonymity also means that when someone I’ve talked to via this blog walks into my store, I can’t reveal myself, which puts us in a rather unequal power relationship. I know who they are (after they’ve introduced themselves, of course. I don’t go around memorizing your author photos), but they don’t have a clue about me. To them I’m just another bookseller.

At first I didn’t think this would be an issue, but after a near miss or two where I walked in minutes after an author had left I began to worry. Don’t think about it, I’d tell myself, the world’s not that small and your store is kind of hard to find. They’ll never come in when you’re actually here.

This was a fluke.

Then an author walked in, went to his/her section but couldn’t find his/her book and introduced his/herself. Never say never, I’ve learned.

The topper was that the book was mis-shelved.

Kill. Me. Now.

(Maybe anonymity is a good thing.)

But back to So-in-so, who is my first step in book world domination. The master plan being to get all my coworkers pimped out into some book niche: YA reader writing YA reviews that garner publisher attention, History buff getting us in with the Academics (Why yes, you can order books in bulk. How many do you need for your seminar?), the Manga Gals continuing to work their Manga magic (I think they have world domination plans of their own), my Kids Czarina getting us in with all the local schools, etc. If we can get everyone maximizing their full potential we’ll be able to bring in more customers, which might mean we’ll survive being in the land of perpetual construction for the next three years.

Oh yeah, and we’ll be the best damn little chain store we can be.

Which hopefully will translate into the book being correctly shelved the next time an author I’ve conversed with anonymously walks through my door.


Robin Brande said...

So are you saying that even if an author super-secret pinky swears never to tell who you are, you still won't even wink when we come into your store?

Aw, come on!

Marta said...

Quell bummer, BSC. I'd hoped that we would meet sometime.

There's no such thing as "just another bookseller." Booksellers can make or break a book, and, yes, the way authors behave makes a difference.

I recently talked to a community events manager of a large chain. She told me about an international celebrity who had written (or had paid someone to write) his autobiography. He and his entourage treated the staff at their big city, major downtown bookstore so badly that they were packing up his books to ship back to the distributer before he even walked out the door after his signing.

Trish Ryan said...

You are a stronger woman than I - I'd need to blurt :)

Anonymous said...

Go BSC - you and your little chain store will dominate the bookworld just as soon as they finish remaking the town :)

Eileen said...

You realize every time I meet a bookseller now I'm going to wonder. I might yell out Bookseller Chick! and see if they flinch.

Orhan Kahn said...

So-in-so? I thought it was so-and-so. Must be a regional thing.

Anonymous said...

Dear BSC,

Fame & world domination are right around the corner, I imagine...and how much longer will you be anonymous, anyway?