An Amusing Story of How a Successful Author
Moves Her Books in Bookstores
Shortly after her biography of Loretta Young was published (see below), Joan
Wester Anderson sent me an email with a couple of messages she had received from
her sons, and I found them so amusing and so telling of what's happening in
bookstores today that I asked for permission to publish them here. Few authors
promote their books as hard as Joan, and these emails reveal just one of her
successful "bookstore strategies." The letters are very amusing and
illustrate considerable writing talent on the part of Joan's children.
* * *
As many of you know," Joan wrote, "I taught my little ones first, to walk; and
secondly, when walking, to stop in bookstores, look for Mommy's titles and be
sure to either move them to a table near the front door, or failing that, turn
them from spine out to face front. The kids grew up indoctrinated, and with my
new book on Loretta Young out, my daughter-in-law weighed in first today with a
report, and then two of my sons, whose emails follow. I thought you might enjoy
getting the update on the sad saga of bookstores today."
FROM TIM: Mom, Success! Barnes and Noble in Falls Church, VA has the book, 2
copies, (and now has it on the gift table by the front door). After the 5:30
mass, I walked over to Barnes and Noble in Georgetown. They have the book, 2
copies, and now it's prominently displayed on top of the "Recommended for the
I then went over to Barnes and Noble downtown DC. They didn't have it, so I
called them from my car (this way in case they find it I don't have a dumb look
on my face (any more than normal). They were able to ascertain that the book is
indeed "in print, but went to look for it, and after ten minutes on hold, I hung
up, drove over to Borders downtown DC (closed, I'll check tomorrow), then called
Barnes & Noble back, "still checking."
I suggested she look in Biographies; she said that's where she was checking next
(where did she go first?). Then I walked over to SuperCrown downtown DC (they
have the book and it is now on the top of the Holiday Selections display). Then
I called Barnes and Noble back, she hadn't located it yet, and I said that if
they have the book, it should be located alphabetically by subject, i.e.,
Loretta Young ("check in the Y section, next to the two current biographies on
Yanni and Yeltsin"). She went to check again, and when she came back, she
couldn't tell me if they had it but couldn't find it, or had it but it was sold
out, or had never ordered it, or what, but they were still checking. I'll call
them back tomorrow. I'm amazed they can figure out bus fare to get to work.
Summary: Barnes and Noble was 2 for 3, SuperCrown was 1 for1, and I'll check
By the way, one of the problems I discovered is that Bios are arranged
alphabetically, which means Y is at the bottom of the T-Z rack. It doesn't get
much exposure down there, unless people are looking for a thriller by Yeltsin on
how to run a country on two fifths of vodka a day. We'll need to visit more
stores and move it to the top. If Loretta had married Spencer "T"racey, the book
would be a bestseller already!!!! By the way, I'm reading it and it's great. -
FROM BILL: Tim, you are clearly acting in a very effective way as one of mom's
book movers - or "Joan's angels" as we have come to be called . . . bravo! Good
Looks like mom is unfortunately buried near biographies on Yanni and Yeltsin. I
suspect that sadly, without our collective help, she might remain wedged
somewhere between books on the lives of Yanni, Yeltsin, actor Robert Young,
country music star Dwight Yokum, racecar legend Cale Yarborough, internet guru
Jerry Yang, 'Bewitched' star Dick York, Congressional Medal of Honor winner
Sergeant York, Los Angeles Ram's legend Jack Youngblood, the Milwaukee Brewer's
Hall of Fame shortstop Robin Yount, and who could forget WLS anchor-babe Linda
Yes folks, Loretta will share shelf space with many great and not-so-greats. But
one thing will separate Loretta Young's biography from all others—no, not that
it was written by a talented and caring biographer who happens to be the woman
who birthed me and my four siblings. No, what will separate Loretta Young from
Yanni, Yeltsin, York, Yount, Youngblood, Yang, Yarborough, Yokum and Yu . . . is
If YOU act, Loretta will have "shelf help" from all of her angels on earth. So
get out and be an angel for Joan and Loretta—move those books to the 'new
release' section. Do something good for the world this week—pray for the
Supreme Court and move Loretta's book! - Angel Bill in Richmond
* * *
JOAN WESTER ANDERSON has written many angel books,
including the best-selling Where Angels Walk (more than a million copies sold). She has published more
than 1000 articles and short stories in leading magazines and the New York Times
Syndicate. Her many television appearances include "Good Morning America, "The
Oprah Winfrey Show," The 700 Club," "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" and
"Mother Angelica Live."
Her Forever Young book
is the only authorized biography of Loretta
Young, who asked Joan to write her book because she knew from reading her angel
books that she would write it well. Joan spent a considerable amount of time in
Loretta's home interviewing her for the book, and it was heartrending to her
when she learned Loretta had died shortly before the book was published.
"What most people don't know is the real Loretta Young story," says Joan, "was her
intense devotion to her Catholic faith, and, in recent years, her passion for
helping those in need. This books tells the remarkable story of a Hollywood
legend—a woman who achieved the pinnacle of worldly success while making God the
center of her life."
Shortly after her Loretta Young book was published in 2000, Joan opened
beautiful website that now includes her latest books and a huge archive of
"angel articles," with new articles being posted regularly. "I'm hoping that
people of all ages will visit my site often, be inspired and receive a little
hug from heaven to help them go on doing what they must," she says.
Copyright 2000 by Joan Wester Anderson.
Editor's Note in 2013: Regrettably, Joan's wonderful biography of Loretta Young did not prove to be
one of her best-selling print books, not because it wasn't well written and beautifully
produced—and certainly not because her kids didn't do their best to make it a big seller—but simply because not enough people wanted to read about this aging actress.
However, Joan eventually got the publishing rights back, and in November,
2012, she contacted me for help in getting updated Kindle and Nook editions
published. Family members wanted the book republished to celebrate Loretta's
100th birthday this year, and sales of this edition have been remarkable.
Visit her website for
links to both editions.
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