Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Highs and Lows of Selling a Book

You've written the great (name your country) novel and it's out there for everyone to read. 

You hope to see it on bestseller lists. You wait for calls from network radio and television talk shows for prime-time interviews. You look forward to hearing from magazine and newspaper feature writers and reviewers wanting to discuss your opus.

Unless your name is Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Stephen King, Sue Grafton, Danielle Steel, Lee Child, J.K. Rowling, Joyce Carol Oates....well, don't get your hopes up. 

It's tough and brutal in the publishing world where only the strong survive on all levels -- large publishing houses, small presses, and self-published. Check out Steve Piersanti's "10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing" for some scary numbers.

So who is going to buy your wonderful way with words?

I hope your Mom or Dad isn't on the buyer list because they should receive a freebie. We know that they'll be working behind the scenes, telling everyone about what you've accomplished. At least we hope so.  

Some of your friends and relatives may fork over the money for your book. Not all; only a few. Some folks prefer a specific genre that you may not write so don't get your feelings hurt over it. As mentioned in my previous post, some people simply don't read books. They spend their hard-earned money on other things. 

I was recently at a book signing and a fellow author mentioned to me that I needed to put some books aside because several folks told me they would be back to buy autographed copies. I couldn't help but smile, then told him they were just being nice and polite. And I was right. I never saw them again the remainder of the day. 

Book buyers need to know that authors don't expect you buy a book when you stop at their table, especially when there are lots of authors selling books. To be honest, I'm flattered to simply have someone pick up one of my books and glance at it for a few seconds, especially when they open it and read the blurbs or the first paragraph. At least they've been exposed to my work.

I never expect a sale until the reader picks up the book and hands it to me to be autographed. Other than that, it's kind of like a flea market where folks examine many items (books) before they make a final decision.

Actually, some folks who don't say anything may return to buy your book after making the rounds. And there is always the possibility that potential buyers my go back home and order an e-version from one of the online retailers.

The same goes when online friends say they're going to order one of your books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or some other retailer. Again, I believe they're being nice and polite.  If they do, great. If they don't, life goes on. 

The author can only do so much. You can promote, promote, promote, and hope that it connects with readers. And the odds aren't really that good. 

A key is not to get discouraged by the process. You have to be strong. I know several authors who beat the odds. Just keeping plugging away, especially at the keyboard. Sometimes it takes several years to become an overnight success.

Until the next time.... 

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