Shelved under Arrrrrrrrrr

June 28, 2006

The kids are with Grandpa and Grandma for the night, which means the husband and I got to go on a date to two of the many places it’s cheaper to go and not bring the kids: Red Lobster and a bookstore.

Going to the bookstore isn’t that much cheaper, really, since I’m generally the one who goes to Borders hoping to find shopping carts, just like a grocery store. But tonight, I was doing market research.

When you try to pitch a book to an agent or editor, the thing you usually get asked (and I generally don’t want to hear) is “Where do you see this in placed in the book store?”

And you’re supposed to spout out, without hesitation: “The mystery section!” or “With the romances.” or some other easy to find location.

You are not supposed to flap your arms helplessly and mumble, “With the m’s.”

So, I was wandering around Borders, looking for the section filled with books just like mine… but mostly what I was finding was pirates.

Face it. Without Johnny Depp, there would be no pirate section. There certainly wouldn’t be several pirate sections. I am kicking myself for not having written a pirate book, even though I was told just a couple of weeks ago that pirate books are a hard sell.

Probably because there is now a glut on the market. I needed to write a pirate book about 15 months ago, on a Tuesday. This was the day that editors bought pirate books. And then the market dried up.

But being a sucker for marketing, I bought a pirate book. “The Mammoth Book of Pirates”. A better value than The Big Little Book of Pirates.

But my new book has the true pirate story story of Louis “Half-Arse” Le Golif. Who was shot with a cannon and lost…well… you notice he’s not called Peg Leg.

Louis goes right to the top of my “unfortunate nicknames” list. Of all the times someone was likely to call me half-assed, I am really thankful that it was only metaphorical.

I think I found Louis on the same table as the book about the teenage surfer who got her arm bitten off by a shark. And that will move to the top of my list of “things I don’t want to do to sell a book.”

I wonder if they asked her where it was going to be shelved.

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