Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Category Five

We've had a little bit of a casting shuffle at the office these last weeks. We lost one and gained two. In the transition, several duties and responsibilities were reassigned. I am happy to say that I made out like a bandit. I am now involved in the buying of Gay/Lesbian books for the entire chain, as well as the National and Regional Author Events coordinator. Yeah for me.

Yesterday, as Wilma tuned into a hurricane, was my first chaperone for an event. I accompanied two NYT bestselling authors to an event right by my apartment. Both authors were so gracious and fun to be around, they immediately put everyone at ease. Too at ease it seems.
The book manager and I were having a private conversation over the turnout vs. sales. The turnout was incredible. However, because of the number of people who had bought copies of the book already, or were bringing in backlist to get signed, sales were sluggish. The book manager told me she had a bet going with her boss: If she sold x number of copies, he would buy her soft drinks for a year. (I won't even tell you the number, because it was so embarrassingly small) We had a laugh and I thought that was it.

She mentioned the bet to the authors.

That was about the time Wilma was upgraded to a Category Three.

I am all for fun at work, and I am all for friendly competition, but that was just unprofessional. The authors did not take any offense, but I was mortified. At the end of the night, we tallied the sales, and Book Manager was 2 copies away from her 'goal' of free cokes. The authors BOUGHT TWO COPIES OF THEIR OWN BOOK so she could win.

Wilma skipped right past four and went to five.

I was humiliated and no amount of talking could get them to reconsider. They were gracious and didn't think anything of it.

By the time I got to the office this morning, I was furious. I had to give a report to my boss on how things went and when he heard, he went ballistic. So now I had to go back to the store and give a lecture on professional behavior, and move that store down on the list of stores to get signings.

I hate having to be the bad guy, especially when the mistake was unintentional. But if this had been another author of John Grisham popularity, it could jeopardize signings for the whole chain and make my job a living nightmare...

No comments: