My Adventures with PRESSURE

I finished up my night shift a little early tonight, and thought I'd do my friend Jeff Strand a solid by picking up a paperback of PRESSURE. It's a terrific book, and Jeff was rightfully nominated for a Stoker for it.

I already have the fancy-schmancy hardback, but if I had a paperback, I could read that to smithereens and save my fancy-schmancy for when Jeff has a zillion dollars and nubile slave-girls feeding him peeled grapes and his first Big Break Book is worth a zillion dollars.

I went to the horror section, and to my chagrin, there were no PRESSUREs there. Now, I know the terrible stories as well as Jeff. The first week is the most important for a NY-published book, the first month is crucial, and authors whose books don't make it quickly onto the shelves can wind up screwed. There have been authors whose whole careers tanked because bookstores were lazy about stocking the books they ordered.

So I proceeded immediately to the information desk and asked if they had PRESSURE by Jeff Strand, I'd heard it was out today. She looked it up on the computer and frowned at it. The computer said "not yet published," but the date of publication was today. So she dug into the super-secret Borders inventory and said, "Let me check the back."

You go on and check the back. That'll teach those clerks not to stock books on the shelves on day one, I thought. Sure, things get busy, but these are careers we're talking about.

So I stared at the standup rack of Charlaine Harris and the latest array of self-improvement. I thumbed through a copy of I'LL BE BACK THEREFORE I AM: TERMINATOR AND PHILOSOPHY, which wasn't nearly as dumb as its back copy. Finally the clerk returned.

CLERK: It seems we sold out of the copies we'd ordered.
ME: Already!
CLERK: Yes. We've ordered more - would you like us to order one for you?
ME: Yes, please.
CLERK: They don't usually sell out this fast.
ME: Well, it was a Stoker nominee.
CLERK: I heard, I guess that's why it's so popular.

So she ordered me a copy and a few more for the store. And I walked out whistling, because so far, Jeff is a hit. At least in Edwardsville, Illinois.