I worked as a book buyer for nine years. We typically bought books at least 6 months ahead of publication date. Titles that were specific to a holiday or theme (SAT prep, summer reading) we called “seasonal titles.” So for nine years, I effectively celebrated Christmas in June. In September or October I’d bulk up our inventory for the winter holiday purchasing season…and then before midwinter, I’d send all the excess back.
One of the reasons I started making my famous annual holiday CD was to remind myself that December was still a time of celebration, and that the holidays weren’t really over and done with. It got myself–and others in my situation–in the spirit. A tougher job than one might imagine, or so I realized when I discovered how many of my friends had come to depend on it.
This year, the tables are turned and I’m the author on the other end with the seasonal Halloween title. Like the four other titles before this, I marked the release date on the calendar. I made plans to dress up and take a posse of my friends on a progressive bookstore run so that we could dance around tables and make pretty signatures and sell beaucoups of books.
Oooooor not. The only thing we discovered was the street date for Suzanne Collins’ new book, and that the air conditioner in Books-A-Million was broken. There was not an AlphaOops in sight.
My inner ex-buyer patted my depressed inner author on the back and told her not to be surprised. It’s July. Kids are still basking in the glow of summertime and picking up firework detritus off the lawn. And we can’t have Halloween until we have Back-to-School — it’s just a fact of life. Sooner than later — probably right after I come back from Dragon*Con — my book will be all over those shelves, awesomely front and center, and I’ll be the most-demanded author in the English-speaking world.
Until then, I need to cool my jets, keep my nose to the grindstone, and rest easy in the knowledge that all the fans who pre-ordered it and all the librarians who need to process it get first dibs. I kind of prefer it that way. For all of you in the know it’s waiting for you, wherever you want, whenever your little heart desires.
Buy AlphaOops early. Buy often. Be prepared, because when October comes around, H is for Halloween is going to smash through the walls like the Kool-Aid Man.