Today was a banner day for Coffee Smuggler- in part due to the arrival of a 7 foot high popup banner. That will help anchor my presence at book talks, signing and events. The most important thing that happened today was picking up 250 first edition Coffee Smuggler paperbacks from Walch Printing in Portland. The story starts yesterday as I was composing my away message from Bowdoin at the end of a hectic work day...
I called the company making the coffee smuggler coasters for my kickstarter backers and, to my frustration, learned that they had not started printing them and cannot deliver the coasters by the launch date as planned because my sales rep had gone on vacation early.
After the call I suddenly realized that my paperback print run was supposed to be done soon but I hadn't spoken with the printer. Maybe they were going on vacation too! A book launch without customized coasters is fine. A book launch without books...Not so much. I dialed Walch Printing's seven digits fearfully and only relaxed when my sales rep Aaron assured me that not only was he not yet on vacation, but that they were boxing my order as we spoke. I could pick it up tomorrow.
I drove to Walch printing this morning and saw a new proof copy sitting on top of my stack of boxes. I opened the proof to discover that it had all the errors that we were supposed to have corrected! This sent the lady attending me into a fit and she stormed back into the office to find Aaron. He came forth and to my relief, we opened a box and found that the 250 printed copies did have all the final corrections. The only one that slipped through was caught this morning by my Ebook creator Paul Salvette of BB ebooks, my chapter numbering goes from 34 to 36 (don't worry, the content is there, it's just a numbering error).
Part of me is glad that at least one mistake slipped through because this is what we book collectors call a "point" and use to distinguish between different printings of first editions to establish which really came first.
After I weighed down the rear of my car with books (Aaron assured me that this would help in the snow), I headed home. As I passed Falmouth, I realized that I should begin distributing my books to the bookstores I've spoken with, so I turned into The Book Review. Barbara gladly accepted 3 copies in consignment along with more invitation cards to the book launch. I then drove towards home and stopped at Royal River Books in Yarmouth where I made my first sale. That sale quickly transitioned into 3 sales when a customer in the store asked me about Coffee Smuggler and soon Dr. Ben Potter walked away as my first retail paperback customer! My friend John Sheeshly was the first to purchase a hardcover a few days back.
Today also marked the arrival of my business card/bookmarks and Coffee Smuggler stickers. These will be fun to give out and hopefully useful for people as well.
Finally, I created an author-direct purchase option on my website today. This allows readers to cut out all intermediaries and buy a book direct from me. This means that I can offer a lower price (on sale at $9.99 through Dec 1) and also make more per book (about $5) than through other wholesale/retail channels where I earn from $0-3 per book. I plan to offer the same author-direct option with ebooks and hardcovers when they arrive. This means I'll spend a bunch of time packaging and shipping books, but that's something I've done and enjoyed for many years now. I hope offering this author-direct option will allow me to develop more personal relationships with my readers, help them enroll in my Author Updates e-newsletter while still allowing bookstores and readers all across the country to order the books wholesale and individually through convenient intermediaries like Baker & Taylor and Ingram (the 2 big wholesalers) and sites like Amazon.com