I went over to Waldenbooks this afternoon. They had a bunch of NCP books (yay!) but not mine. I politely accosted the manager, who remembered me and assured me he'd ordered Love Remembered. He looked it up on his computer, confirmed that he had two copies, and led me over to the romance section. Not there. Not anywhere. So he told me he'd find it, and told me he'd order a couple of copies of Stranger too. I thanked him for supporting NCP and ordering our books, and headed for Borders.
There were no NCP books in Borders (it's now part of Waldenbooks, but not necessarily exactly the same as far as inventory goes). But when I introduced myself to the manager, he was thrilled, immediately ordered my books, and offered a booksigning. Since that Borders was the site of my absolute worst booksigning ever (no books sold, and only one person actually spoke to me) in 1998, I demurred. He explained he was trying to make his store a "romance destination" and gave me his card. I told him that another local NCP author has a print book coming out in a couple of weeks, and suggested he might like to have a booksigning for both of us. He was pleased by the idea and asked me to call. So I will.
The truth is, pounding the pavement to introduce myself to bookstore managers is hard for me. I'm basically shy (I know you wouldn't know it from this blog, but in person I really am a bit on the timid side) and I'd just as soon not have to introduce myself to total strangers. But there are now about eight Virginia bookstores carrying my books that might not have carried them otherwise. That doesn't necessarily mean the books will sell, but at least they're on the shelves. I think that's worth coming out of my shell for!