Cold-Calling Bookstores

My stint of highly experimental book promotion tactics continued today as I began the first round of cold-calling bookstores to ask about hot-selling titles in YA fantasy. I called exactly nine stores and got a host of responses from the inventory staff/managers, ranging from a twenty-minute conversation to a curt declaration that “Vampires are big, and that’s all I can tell you.”

Yes, vampires are big. I knew Twilight was an all-out phenomenon, but I had no idea how much until today. Twilight or the word “vampires” was the first thing out of every store manager’s mouth-without exception. Nine managers, and most of them had to think hard to remember any YA fantasy titles besides vampire ones.

My online research and my own in-store sleuthing have turned up many other fantasy books besides vampire/supernatural–the Pellinor series by Allison Croggon, Eon by Alison Goodman, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, the Bekah Cooper series, and other things dragon and wizard related.

Are these titles getting lost in the shuffle because Twilight is so big? At what point does a fun cultural fad begin to eclipse other work and take more than its share of the spotlight? I was pretty surprised that most of the store managers didn’t even mention these more “traditional fantasy” titles when I asked.

I had a few good luck wishes from friendly people, and an exceptionally long conversation with the head of the children’s lit department at one store. I’ve no idea if any of this will pay off down the line when it comes time to market Flynn, but I think a couple of those people might remember me. A couple out of ten isn’t bad.



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