iUniverse and Chapters Indigo have an arrangement whereby Publisher’s Choice authors have their books stocked on the “Hot and New” table at the front of an Indigo or Chapters store in the author’s hometown for a limited period of time. The author has 8 weeks to prove that he or she can sell the book. If sales are steady, then Indigo may continue to stock the book in that store; if sales are great and steady, then other Indigo or Chapters stores may start to stock the book.
I’ve been waiting with great anticipation for when Lifeliner will be stocked at my Indigo bookstore of choice. They asked me for my top three choices, and this week I finally got the good news!
Lifeliner will be stocked at Indigo — Bay & Bloor, starting Tuesday, February 19! Whoo hoo!! Now, all I have to do is encourage people to go to Indigo in the Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor Street West, starting after Valentine’s Day, to buy Lifeliner. Easy? Nope! But a good challenge!!
Well, apparently Christmas has put a hitch into the Indigo roll-out schedule. Since bookstores, like all retailers, are drowning at this time of year in orders and sales, iUniverse is holding off submitting fall-release Publisher’s Choice titles to the Chapters Indigo buyer until after the madness ends. In my case, January. That means my book probably won’t appear in the designated Indigo store until March. Sigh.
Meanwhile, to fill in that wait, local bookstores are supposed to order Lifeliner for you upon request. The operative word here is “supposed.”
One person I know called several Indigo or Chapters stores about ordering a copy of Lifeliner, and to a one, they all said order it online. This replicated the experiences of several others who’d tried to request it through their local bookstore. Now yes, my book is self-published and yes, it’s POD, which means the bookstore cannot return it once ordered, but it is also available through their wholesaler, just like any traditionally published book. And if someone requests a copy, especially at this early stage in the book’s release, they’re not likely to leave it at the counter. But bookstores are used to being able to return their merchandise and are hesitant to order nonreturnable books. They like the comfort of being able to return books that do not sell; but nonreturnable books serve an author well because each sale (to a bookstore) is final and each sale generates a royalty that won’t be reversed down the road, which can happen to authors with traditional publishers.
In the end, the decision to order a book upon request or not comes down to the bookstore manager. I’d heard that Americans had different experiences with different Barnes & Noble stores — the equivalent to Chapters Indigo in the States — depending on the manager. Some managers welcome iUniverse authors and will happily order their books for customers upon request, whereas others are not too pleased to see them. Here in Canada, the same holds true. Whether or not a Chapters or Indigo store will order Lifeliner for you is up to each manager; to compound the problem, the managers won’t even know that my book will appear in an Indigo store as my title has not yet been submitted to the chain’s buyer.
So my best advice at this point is that if you or someone you know would like to buy a copy of Lifeliner, go with your favourite online bookstore and click on its link in the right sidebar.
A momentous day today for me. One process ended today, and that end marked the beginning of a new trail for me. Today my PSA, Michael Fiedler, congratulated me on the end of the production process and then said good-bye. The end of the printer setup of Lifeliner is the end of his time guiding me through the iUniverse publishing process. He left me with final instructions and with an injunction to watch out for another e-mail.
I waited in hyper anticipation for that e-mail; finally it came. That e-mail asked me to confirm where to ship my author copies. And now it’s just a matter of waiting patiently for the shipper to transport my copies across the border to my place. Only when I rip open the box and hold a copy in my hot little hand and verify (I hope!) that there are no printer errors is the book ready for sale.
At one point during this very long process, I never thought I’d see this day, and suddenly it’s here.
I received the Marketing Toolkit today from iUniverse. It’s a cornucopia of pre-designed postcards, bookmarks, posters, buttons…the list goes on! I’m overwhelmed!! It comes with a large instruction booklet for how to use the materials and to have them printed professionally, each on a certain kind of paper. This is familiar territory to me as I’ve dealt with printers through my previous work many a time, but it’s real nice not to have to design the cards and to decide what kind of paper I want even if Arial is my least favourite font!
What a day! From the high of receiving my final proofs to the low of seeing two stupid errors to the relief of my PSA saying send the changes in and we’ll fix them.
The spelling of the award Judy received really challenges my brain. I have to check the spelling every single time I see the word, and when I think I finally have it right, it’s wrong! That was error #1. At least it was spelled correctly in the chapter title, but I couldn’t believe somewhere along the line it had become misspelled in the text and I hadn’t caught it earlier. Well, we’re all human, eh? Even me!
So after I decided to let that go and not request iUniverse to fix it, I came across error #2. And this one was truly aggravating. I had asked the proofreader to remove the periods in the degrees after one of the doctor’s names, to be consistent with the style for all the other docs. Hmmm…I’d better back up a little. iUniverse sends you this nifty proof form where you type in the page #, paragraph #, and line #; then the way it looks now; the way you want it to read; and lastly explicit instructions on what you’re changing. You can use the form in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. Both there programs are very helpful in the same way, that is, they automatically change “(C)” to a copyright symbol. Except I didn’t want a copyright symbol after the degrees, I wanted (C). I changed it back. The program changed it back somewhere along the line, and I missed it. And so that’s what the proofreader did — removed the periods and changed the (C) to a copyright symbol. Arrrrrrggggghhhhhh!
I’ve calmed down now. My PSA, Mike, came to the rescue and arranged to have the changes made with no huge hit on my wallet. So the book is off to production, and the next time I hear from iUniverse, it will be to see the final thing, the actual book. Exciting!!!
iUniverse sent me PDF files for the paperback cover, the hardcover, and the book block (the internals). They looked very good. I was impressed with how they styled my chapter titles and harmonized the spine and back cover with the front cover. They made one small change to the front cover — my name is now in dark blue instead of black. Much nicer.
Now, I just need to finish off the marketing plan. The pressure is off though because I’m hiring a publicist to promote the book for me. For 3 months anyway.
The iUniverse Design Services Associate sent me the front cover. Looking good! Now, book production starts in earnest. The book block will be designed, then the text proofread before I see it and review the proofreading changes (hopefully there won’t be many). After that, the book quickly becomes a physical and finished reality. Cannot wait!