(*One person has informed me gleefully that they were able to talk their local bookstore into breaking street date and selling it to them early. Please don't do that. Please don't try to convince bookstore clerks to break the rules, and if you do, please don't tell me. It's very hard on my nerves.)
Since it's release week, I figured it was time to once again answer the wonderful people asking how they can help. So here are a few dos and don'ts for making this book launch awesome. As always, this is for the folks who want to know--there are always a few people who ask--and not for anyone who doesn't care. At the end of the day, just reading is enough.
DO buy the book as soon as you can. Sales during the first week are very important--think of it as "opening weekend" for a movie--but they're not the end-all be-all. If you can get the book tomorrow, get the book; if you can get it at my book release party on Saturday, get it at my book release party. Whatever works for you. Brick-and-mortar store purchases are best, as they encourage reordering. If you've already bought the book, consider buying the book again during release week, as a single copy might get lonely. They make great gifts!
DON'T yell at other people who haven't bought the book yet. I know, that's sort of a "why are you saying this?" statement, but I got a very sad email from a teenager who'd been yelled at for not buying A Local Habitation the week that it came out, and I have never forgotten it. So just be chill. Unless you want to buy books for people who don't have them, in which case, don't yell, just buy.
DO ask your local bookstore if they have it on order. If your local store is part of a large chain, such as Barnes and Noble, the odds are good that the answer will be "yes," and that they'll be more than happy to hold one for you. If your local store is small, and does not focus specifically on science fiction/fantasy, they may have been waiting to see signs of interest before placing an order. Get interested! Interest is awesome!
DON'T berate your local bookseller if they say "no." Telling people they're overlooking something awesome doesn't make them go "gosh, I see the error of my ways." It makes them go "well, I guess it can be awesome without me." Suggest. Ask if you can special-order a copy. But don't be nasty to people just because their shelves can't hold every book ever written.
DO post reviews on your blog or on Amazon.com. Reviews are fantastic! Reviews make everything better! Please, write and post a review, even if it's just "I liked it." Honestly, even if it's just "this wasn't really my thing." As long as you're being fair and reasoned in your commentary, I'm thrilled. (I like to believe you won't all race right out to post one-star reviews, but if that's what you really think, I promise that I won't be mad.)
DON'T get nasty at people who post negative reviews. You are all people. You all have a right to the ball. That includes people who don't like my work. Please don't argue with negative reviewers on my behalf. It just makes everybody sad. If you really think someone's being unfair, why don't you post your own review, to present an alternate perspective? (Also, please don't email me my Amazon reviews. I don't read them, I don't want to read them, and I definitely don't want to be surprised with them. Please have mercy.)
DO feel free to get multiple copies. No, you probably don't need eight copies for your permanent collection, but remember that libraries, school libraries, and shelters are always in need of books. I'm donating a few of my author's copies to a local women's shelter, because they get a lot of women there who really need the escape. There are also people who just can't afford their own copies, and would be delighted. I wouldn't have had half the library I did as a teenager if it weren't for the kindness of the people around me.
DON'T feel obligated to get multiple copies, or pressure other people to do so. Seriously, we're all on budgets, and too much aggressive press can actually turn people off on a good thing. Let people make their own choices. Have faith.
DO check with your local library to be sure they have a copy of on order. If they don't, you can fill out a library request form. Spread the paperback love!
DON'T forget that libraries need books. Many libraries, especially on the high school level, are really strapped for cash right now, and book donations are frequently tax deductible. If you have a few bucks to spare, you can improve the world on multiple levels by donating books to your local public and high school libraries.
DO suggest the book to bookstore employees who like urban fantasy and talking mice. Nothing boosts sales like having people in the stores who really like a project. If your Cousin Kit works at a bookstore, say "Hey, why don't you give this a try?" It just might help.
DON'T rearrange bookstore displays. If the staff of my local bookstore is constantly being forced to deal with fixing the shelves after someone "helpfully" rearranged things to give their chosen favorites a better position, they're unlikely to feel well inclined toward that book--or author. It's not a good thing to piss off the bookstores. Let's just not.
So those are some things. I'm sure there are lots of other things to consider; this is, at least, a start. Finally, a few things that don't help the book, but do help the me:
Please don't expect immediate email response from me for anything short of "you promised us this interview, it runs tomorrow, where are your answers?" I normally make an effort to be a semi-competent correspondent, but with a new book on shelves and final edits due on half a dozen projects, a lot of things are falling by the wayside. Like sleep.
If you're in the Bay Area, I hope to see you Saturday night at Borderlands Books, where I will be reading, signing, and running a raffle for your enjoyment!