I've always found both crime writers and crime readers to be mostly very generous people. The notion that we're all competing against one another in the market place has rarely been part of my contacts or discussions. And, with readers, direct contact with an author seems to have less to do with 'meeting someone famous' than with wanting to interact directly with the writer and ask pertinent questions about the genre.

That's one of the reasons why I'm looking forward to visiting the USA to find out whether the reader experience is replicated there. And it's why I've already asked for and been given advice in this forum. In fact, the last time I asked a question, I got lots of very helpful, informative responses. I also got a list of suggested stores throughout the States which (had we but world enough, and time) would have added up to a wonderful road movie trip. Now, with my dates and my itinerary settled, the process of contacting individual stores has begun.

Needless to say (Sod's Law), some of the independents I'd listed have closed, become internet-only stores or decided to specialise in hardbacks only. So time to turn to Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc. But I find they list addresses and phone numbers, but no email contact addresses. I imagine that each store manager has autonomy in choosing authors' visits etc. but does anyone know if there's a central or a state contact point to which I could send my proposal? I'm restricted, by the way, to RI and Mass in late October and Fl in early November.

And, in case anyone's interested, I'm attaching the PR stuff I'll be sending to stores.

Thanks again in advance.

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The big stores have "community relations" persons who schedule author visits. However, they ask that the publisher make the arrangements. Your guess is as good as mine why this is.
I've found the independents friendlier and more motivated.
Thanks LJ. I'll tell my publisher (who probably knows already). And I agree about independents. As well as wanting to support them anyway, they always seem more knowledgable and generally interested in and committed to the whole writing/reading process anyway.
Yes, Jim, I sort of guessed that might be the rationale. And I suppose, if a publisher makes the recommendation it does suggest that the relevant book has passed through some objective filters rather than simply been coddled, loved and credited by its creator with more appeal than it might actually carry.
I've found that in general it takes much longer to get a response from the chains than it does from the independents. At the indy, there's one person who does the booking and if you get him/her they give you a decision right away. At the chains, it seems like they take forever and can never make up their minds. I've been emailing & calling a woman at Borders since early July just to set up one lousy reading-- at least six to eight contacts so far, and still no date. But she's "very interested."
Hi Neil,
What you say doesn't really surprise me. Sometimes (as with publishers and agents, too) you sort of wish that they wouldn't say how wonderful the book is or how interested they are. If they really thought that, they'd move things along a little. But let's be charitable, maybe their hands are tied by legislation, health and safety concerns, company protocols and all those other things that ensure that shareholders are protected. Cynical? Moi?
So where are you planning/hoping to go?
Hi Rosemary,
I'll be in Rhode Island for the last week in October and Florida for the first week in November. I'm looking to make visits in Massachusetts as well, of course. Mind you, after the replies I got when I first asked a related question, I could obviously have made a grand tour of almost everywhere. If only ...

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