Joan's Angels:

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.

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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 Season" rack.

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 Borders tomorrow.

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. - Love, Tim

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 job.

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 Yu.

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 YOU!!!!

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

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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 a 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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