People started getting their hardcover copies of THE MEMORY THIEF yesterday in the mail, and the official release date is next week, on Tuesday (September 20th). Hard to believe that it’s finally here! I’ve had quite a few people ask me what they can do to support the book, and I thought I’d give a comprehensive answer here.
First off, buy it! (I know–pretty obvious, isn’t it?) But did you know there are good ways of buying the book and not-as-good ways?
DISCLAIMER: All of this information is just for people who are really interested in this process. If any of you buy the book, I’m very grateful to you–regardless of how you buy it. I appreciate the support. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.
What’s It About?
My publisher’s calling it a mashup of Something Wicked This Way Comes and Inside Out, and I actually think that’s pretty accurate.
From the jacket:
Twin brother and sister Benji and Kelly wander off at the local county fair after witnessing their parents argue. When Benji runs into a group of bullies, he escapes into a tent called The Memory Emporium, where he meets a strange old man inside named Louis. The old man shows him a magically vivid memory of a fighter pilot, in the hopes of getting Benji to pay to see other memories Louis has collected from people over the years.
Benji quickly realizes the ability to take memories could help his parents stop fighting with each other, and he asks Louis to teach him how to become a “memory thief.” But Louis isn’t the only person with the ability to show and manipulate memories. There’s also the mysterious Genevieve, a Memory Thief with much more nefarious motives.
Benji learns how to manipulate memories himself, but having that power comes at a cost to his family, and possibly to his own mind as well. Genevieve’s powers get out of control as she steals more and more memories from people in town—including Benji’s sister, Kelly. Benji must learn to use this newfound power, as he is the only one able to stop Genevieve.
Who is It For?
THE MEMORY THIEF is primarily aimed at Middle Grade, so 8-12 year olds. It’s spooky and creepy in places, but it’s not gory and doesn’t have any questionable content in it. (For reference VODNIK was aimed at YAs, so ages 12-16.) The main character is a boy, but his twin sister is a girl. I think it would appeal to both genders across the board. Yes, it would make a great present for your son/daughter/nephew/niece/grandchild and all of their three dozen friends.
When to Buy
First off, one of the key indicators of how well the book performs is first week sales. If those first week sales are strong, then bookstores perk up their ears more than if first week sales were average. In other words, if I’m going to sell 1000 copies, it’s better to sell 750 the first week, then 250 the second week than it would be to sell 500 the first week and 500 the second. Make sense? (Even though it probably doesn’t–ours is not to question why the book business behaves the way it does. Ours is simply to smile, nod, and buy the first week.)
Where to Buy
So getting the book the first week is a very good thing. However, the next question is where to buy it. The answer is different than when I wrote this post for VODNIK back in 2012. This time, THE MEMORY THIEF is exclusive to one place and one place only: Barnes & Noble. Whether it’s in person or online, that’s the one spot you’re going to be able to get it for the next six months. (In March, I’ll do a second push when the book is available on wide release, from everywhere.)
It would probably be better for me if you went and bought the book in person, just because then the stores would see copies flying off the shelves and order more to replace them. Those extra copies can then be seen by other people, who will of course love to buy the book as well. But really, better to buy it right this second than to wait and get it in a few weeks in person.
What Else You Can Do
Of course, there’s always more you can do (besides buying more books to give to all your many friends and relations). For one thing, you can go to your local public library (you do have a card, right?) and ask them to buy the book. A lot of people don’t realize that public libraries pay a lot of attention to what their patrons want to read. If you ask them to buy something (not just my book), they often will. They have budgets set aside for just that purpose. More of my books in libraries mean more of my books read. It’s a circle of readers, and anything we can do to help that circle grow is a good thing. (Unfortunately, I’m not sure how many libraries buy books straight from B&N. This might have to wait until March.)
You can also help promote the book. Word of mouth is key. Anything you can do to help other people hear about the book is great. Here are some ideas:
- Write a review. I’m not making this up, people. Whether it’s on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble, written reviews are huge. As of this second, Amazon and B&N have no reviews at all for the book, and Goodreads has a whopping total of four. Even if you don’t write an actual review, going on and giving the book a star rating helps. (For that matter, VODNIK could still use the same love, if you haven’t reviewed it yet.) This is huge. Lots of people and libraries use these sites to do research for which books to buy (even if they end up buying the books somewhere else). We’ve all been on Amazon and seen a book with one or two reviews and that’s it. If you see a book with a lot of (hopefully good) reviews, then you automatically think more of the book. Go figure. It also helps if the reviews are well-thought out and not obvious shills. I don’t want you to lie about the book. But if you read it and genuinely like it, please do review it. I know a ton of my friends who told me how much they loved VODNIK. It’s way more than reviewed it on any of those sites.
- Blog about the book
- Share the book on Facebook or Twitter
- Tell your friends how awesome it is, and how they must buy a copy for them and their dog. (Makes an excellent chew toy!)
- See if your local school wants to have me come visit–or do a Skype visit. I’m happy to do either. (Well, if your local school isn’t very . . . local to me, then I think I’d rather do the Skype visit. But still.)
- Really–anything you can do to make the book more visible helps.
So there you go–plenty of ways to support the book in the coming months. You can start by sharing this post with others.
Thanks again for all the interest and support, people–I really appreciate it!