As you might be aware, my latest novel, Soul's Gate just released. (Yes, feel free to purchase 300 copies right now for you, your family, and friends. I'll wait.)
You're back? Good. I want to talk about my most recent book signing to promote the novel. Or lack thereof.
Four weeks back I called my local bookstore and left a message on the promotion person's voicemail asking if she’d be interested in me doing a signing in support of my new novel.
No call back. So I e-mailed her five days later. No response. I e-mailed again a week after that. Third verse, same as the first.
I finally reached the lady by phone last week. She said she’d do a little research and get back to me. She did with an e-mail a few hours later. Here’s what it said:
“Hi Jim: After checking into your title I realize this would not be an event our store could promote and be successful due to its religious content. Good luck to you!”
A year ago I was told by a manager my novels sell more copies at that store than almost any other Christian fiction author. Yet suddenly they can’t promote my novel or create a successful event “due to the religious content”? Huh?
But the lady who e-mailed me a few days back wasn’t the same promotions person I’d worked with three times in the past. She was new and obviously has a different agenda than the previous promotions director. I’m guessing Christians don't peg the highest on her personal likability meter.
Help me here friends. Is it okay for a bookstore employee to insert their personal beliefs into a decision to promote an author or not? Yes, I realize Christians aren’t the most welcome people in much of greater American culture today, but doesn’t this store want to sell books?
At first I was ticked off. I wanted to send out an e-mail to all my friends telling them if they intended to pick up a copy of Soul’s Gate at that store to drive a few miles farther and get it somewhere else.
But then I tried to put myself in this gal’s shoes and see it from her perspective.
Let’s Take a Peek From the Other Side
What if this lady was a conservative Christian and I was a gay author calling about having a book signing? What if she didn’t feel comfortable having me promote my latest work extolling the homosexual lifestyle? Should she be able to nix a signing based on her beliefs?
What if I was a Muslim promoting my latest novel and the store manager was Jewish? Would it be okay for her to kibosh the idea of me doing a signing?
Enough examples. I’d love to hear your reactions to what happened to me and what you would do if you were the promotions director for that store. And what you would do if you were the manager of the store and found out what happened.
While I’m waiting for your comments I’ll be setting up a book table in my garage. I think some of my neighbors will show up and buy a copy. Maybe they'll even want me to sign it.
During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest and loves to dirt bike, hike, golf, takes photos, and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at www.jameslrubart.com