I have run across many strange things in my promotional efforts with my books but I think the strangest I have come across was when I was in St. Augustine, Florida recently.
I saw a Barnes & Noble store while touring St. Augustine so I dropped in to see if my books were on the shelves there. I like to do this in my travels across the United States. The little guy behind the Customer Service counter looked up Kristie Leigh Maguire in his computer and found my titles, Affairs of the Heart and From the Far Side of the Sun. Alas, neither of the titles were in stock at this particular B&N store. I asked to speak to the manager to see if she would order a couple of copies of each title to stock in the store. The manager readily agreed to order 2 copies of each title to see how it would go over there. I thanked her and left some of my promotional material with her to give to the customers.
I have always believed in promoting "outside the box" so when I saw an "adult store" with the name of Adam and Eve, I thought how perfect is this for carrying my novel, Affairs of the Heart, which is an adult sensual or erotic romance. I went into the store with my book in hand and asked to speak to the manager. I told her about my book and asked her if she would buy a few copies to carry in the store. The first thing she asked me was if my book was available at the Barnes & Noble store in St. Augustine. I proudly told her that yes, the manager had just ordered a couple of copies for stocking. She told me that in that case, no she couldn't buy my book for the Adam and Eve store. I asked why. She replied that the customers would just go buy it from B&N instead of buying it there. This made no sense to me but that is what she said. When I pressed her further, she said she would take it up with her boss but that was the policy and she doubted he would change it for my book. I left my promotional material and my card with her and asked her to call me if her boss changed his mind. I received no call so I can only assume that he didn't.
I browsed around the store for a bit, looking at movie titles and other things...LOTS of OTHER THINGS. When I left the store and started to my vehicle, there was a guy sitting in his truck which was parked by my vehicle. He called me over. I remembered seeing him in the store so I went over, with my book in my hand. He asked me if I had a book that I was selling. I replied that yes I did and that I was the author. He asked to look at it. After looking at the cover and flipping the book over to look at the back, he said he wanted to buy it and asked how much it was. I told him $24.95. He asked would I take a credit card and I said no. He took out his wallet and offered me all the money he had left in it, which was considerably less than the retail price of the book. I put on my "thinking outside of the box hat" and told him that I would sell him the book, and autograph it, for the money he had left in his wallet if he would spread the word about the book and the fact that it could be purchased at the local Barnes & Noble store. He agreed and we made the transaction with both of us coming away happy.
There is more than one way to skin a cat!