Wednesday, June 13, 2012


A story to tell...

Once upon a time the world was a perfect place for authors. Okay, I admit, this is a fairy tale. But a moment of ‘Camelot’ did exist way back in the late-1990’s, pre-big box stores and e-books. When the Independents abounded and book lovers knew they could trust the advice given them by knowledge staff.

It was about this time that the Canadian Booksellers’ Association was in its prime and each year hosted the CBA event in Toronto. This later became known as BookExpo and even later, or rather more recently, ran out of steam. That’s sad and just another example of how the publishing industry has been turned on its head lately.

But in the fairy tale days, when publishers set up booths and gave away advance reading copies and free books, hoping that booksellers would place their orders on the spot, it was an exciting weekend frenzy in June. Well-known authors would be brought into town and booksellers were often invited to wine and dine with them. Authors just getting their publicity feet wet would sit at signing booths with publisher reps hovering around. Authors were feted and made to feel really special. Wow…must be a fairy tale.

And one year (or perhaps it was two), Random House of Canada extended an amazing invitation to booksellers to stay over one more day for a complete day of presentations of their upcoming seasonal line. This gets even better! They also included one session where the booksellers were asked to give their advice!! Imagine that, asking the people who are in direct contact with the customers and therefore have a pretty good feel for the marketplace, to tell the publisher what would work. A heady feeling and unfortunately, a rarity.

These days the reality is not quite so heady for authors; gloomy for independent booksellers and even less thrilling for publishers.

But the constant has been the reader. Mystery lovers still read in a variety of formats, choosing from a wide variety of types, and then go on to spread the word to others. Because it’s the readers that make up the numbers when it’s time to tally sales. And that makes everyone smile. So, there is a happy ending to this story.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

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