Originality of Idea

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trixie
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by trixie » March 3rd, 2011, 12:49 pm

Ermo wrote:... is there any way to find out if there's any major books/authors out there that has the same general idea?
I'm not sure if this helps, but I went to the library, went down to the children's section, and asked the librarian. I spent a few minutes telling her that I was working on a book where the MC is a boy and he's on a quest, etc and that I wanted to read books in that general wheelhouse. She ran around and pulled six books for me to read. Some of them I had seen, but there were some new ones to me as well.

I feel the bookstore MG/YA sections have recently been filled with paranormal romance geared towards female readers. Instead of browsing the store's shelves (and spending more money!), I took my question to the library and was very pleasantly surprised. Librarians are crazy helpful.

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sierramcconnell
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by sierramcconnell » March 3rd, 2011, 1:00 pm

trixie wrote:Librarians are crazy helpful.
Librarians are much more helpful than most bookstore sales people (no offense to any here) because most bookstore sales people I have dealt with have only one thing to say:

"I can order that for you?"

Because they know how to do one thing. Stock shelves. If they do know what they're talking about, they usually can't, because they're geared to sell you what they're told to sell you. It's about positioning. Just like a restaurant. Sell sell sell.

It's sad.
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by Claudie » March 3rd, 2011, 1:26 pm

Over here, most of the bookstores employees (at least the big ones) are students. I don't know how many study in a related area, but I find it hard to blame them for not knowing the entirety of what's available. They do when they've been working there a fair bit, but otherwise...

I agree librarians have a better chance of being helpful. I never thought of asking them!
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Down the well
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by Down the well » March 3rd, 2011, 1:31 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:Sell sell sell.

It's sad.
Not if it's my book their pushing. Just saying.

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Cookie
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by Cookie » March 3rd, 2011, 1:34 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:
trixie wrote:Librarians are crazy helpful.
Librarians are much more helpful than most bookstore sales people (no offense to any here) because most bookstore sales people I have dealt with have only one thing to say:

"I can order that for you?"

Because they know how to do one thing. Stock shelves. If they do know what they're talking about, they usually can't, because they're geared to sell you what they're told to sell you. It's about positioning. Just like a restaurant. Sell sell sell.

It's sad.
That was one thing I hated about being a waitress. We were supposed to push people to order as much food as possible. Appetizers, drinks, desserts. I usually didn't even bother. I hated trying to sell alcohol the most. What if someone was a recovering alcoholic? What if they didn't drink? Blah. So glad I do not work in a restaurant anymore.

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polymath
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by polymath » March 3rd, 2011, 4:02 pm

I did the restaurant thing, from dishwasher to manager and every job in between; server, bartender, chef, oh my. I had a soft sell technique. Don't care for intrusive and unimaginative hard sell as a consumer, so won't do it as a point of sale client either. Nope, one of my few never say nevers, which goes to show as a never say never itself I don't lightly say never, including never not saying never.

Anyway, an anecdote. A customer, who I suspected of being a covert company shopper evaluating my job performance, said, "You're not upselling, make me wonder if you're a good salesperson and why you're in this line of work."

"And by your appearance and expressed expectations, I expect you're the kind of customer who already knows exactly what you want."

"Oh, I do, do I?" Maybe you could tell me what to order."

"I'd recommend the most expensive item on the menu because it's what I like most and no one has ever been disappointed, but you'll order the least expensive because it's our signature item."

He did. Then sent it back saying it was a disappointment. I replaced it with my recommendation. He was satisified and putty in my hands after that, asking my recommendations on dessert and beverages. He seemed the sort to take offense to any alcohol discussion, so it was strictly soft drinks. At bill paying time, he said I was a great if deviously subtle salesperson, entertaining, and a credit to the organization.

It took about a month for the shopper's report to wind its way through channels. The kitchen took a hit. The front of the house passed muster.

My experiences with bookstores are about the same, selling- and consumer-wise. Libraries, wow, two kinds of librarians, ones who take the same satisfaction I do from personably serving consumers' needs and those who don't.
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Quill
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by Quill » March 3rd, 2011, 8:09 pm

That's interesting, polymath. I've never thought of waiters as salespeople. Usually they only ask me what I want, I don't remember anyone trying to upgrade me.

I do kinda think booksellers should also be book lovers. Like coffee shop baristas, I'd like to ask their recommendations and not be told (as I have on several occasions), oh, I don't drink coffee.

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polymath
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by polymath » March 3rd, 2011, 8:58 pm

Quill, you sound like the type of customer I'd probably upsell on the sly and you'd be satiatied walking away knowing it was your idea. I wouldn't disagree.
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Quill
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by Quill » March 3rd, 2011, 9:06 pm

You probably could. But what percentage of waiters (outside of high end places, let's say) have any idea about upselling?

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polymath
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by polymath » March 3rd, 2011, 9:26 pm

They teach upselling at fast food franchise college. Unimaginative clerks perform to the letter of their training. They're given a prearranged script to follow during the sales encounter. Would you like a beverage with that sandwich? Like to try a combo meal? A cherry whatchamacallit for dessert? Coffee too? Management doesn't appreciate nonconformance. At one time an original idea, carried to an absurd extreme. Courtesy can't be coerced.
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sierramcconnell
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by sierramcconnell » March 3rd, 2011, 9:39 pm

There's a girl at the BN coffee shop that's perfect at it though she's never gotten me to buy something I don't want because I know what she's doing. But she's such a sweetheart I love her to death.

"We just got some warm chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven...!"

Or it's going to be one of those flatbread sandwhiches or something. But I can hear her voice and she's so delicious sounding even now. Makes me want to drink coffee. That's the kind of person you want selling things.

...I want a cookie.

[drool]

In the reverse, there's two biddies (yes, I went there) that practically throw the drink at you, and unless you tell them precisely what you want and that you have a membership, they won't give you what you're there for and your discount. It goes like this:

"What."

"I would like a [insert drink here with whipped creme] and I have a discount but not the card and the number is this, please."

[throws receipt without asking if that's all you want]

"Here." [slides drink at you and goes back to talking]

One of these days I'm going to go out of ear shot and go to the customer service desk. "Yes, those two hens in the cafe? They've been rude to me every day I've been in here. Oh, that would be the past three times I've been in here, and I come in more than once a week. I buy over a hundred dollars worth of books from your lousy chain almost every month, too. Don't make me go back to Amazon, who I know is killing you. I am very much disliking having my coffee thrown at my face."
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polymath
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by polymath » March 3rd, 2011, 10:12 pm

Yeah, been there, done that. Asked for management to a clerk who just served me. I've brought my business here forever and I haven't heard anything close to thank you or you're welcome from anyone's lips but the customers'. The clerk said she said have a nice day. That's a dismissal. Get outa my face.

Speaking to management achieved nothing that way. So I tried another tack. Ms. Smith or Mr. Doe is the most personable staffperson I've encountered here in I don't know how long. Thank you for providing an inviting and welcoming shopping experience. Things got pleasanter all around after that.
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sierramcconnell
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by sierramcconnell » March 3rd, 2011, 10:20 pm

polymath wrote:Yeah, been there, done that. Asked for management to a clerk who just served me. I've brought my business here forever and I haven't heard anything close to thank you or you're welcome from anyone's lips but the customers'. The clerk said she said have a nice day. That's a dismissal. Get outa my face.

Speaking to management achieved nothing that way. So I tried another tack. Ms. Smith or Mr. Doe is the most personable staffperson I've encountered here in I don't know how long. Thank you for providing an inviting and welcoming shopping experience. Things got pleasanter all around after that.
Yeah, that never works. I say nice things, people end up getting fired. XD
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polymath
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by polymath » March 3rd, 2011, 10:32 pm

I'm pretty sure my compliments have indirectly led to staff firing. I know my compliments have led to a promotion or two.
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Ermo
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Re: Originality of Idea

Post by Ermo » March 4th, 2011, 1:08 pm

Wow. Lots of fantastic advice in here from flipping cliches to execution to librarians. I feel much more confident now that my MS #2 can have some original pieces if I do it right. And I hope MS #1 sells before I'm done with it. Pleasepleaseplease.

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