A couple of years ago, when I was deep in the weeds of editing my novel, Raising John, I naively believed that editing was the hard part. Make no mistake, it was hard – it was very hard, especially in those dark hours when it seemed as if my manuscript and I were the only entities left on earth, and the manuscript was threatening to eat me, and ascend to world dominance.
Now that I’ve finished the book (and learned a lot about writing a novel in the process), and I’m trying to sell it, I realize that the writing, while not the easy part, is at least the finite part. You write the book, you edit the book, you publish the book in some manner or another, and the work of writing the book is done.
Now it’s on to marketing/selling the book, and I’m realizing that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, if marathons went on forever. There can be, literally, no end to the process of marketing a book.
A while back I wrote about my then-current marketing efforts. I feel kind of naïve now, because some of the stuff I did back then was based on a very incomplete understanding of how books get sold. I’m not claiming to now have a complete understanding, but I do know more.
I know that books don’t get sold through Twitter but Twitter can still matter because having a large Twitter following can give the impression that one is well-known, which can pique a potential reader’s interest. Or an agent’s interest. I had kind of let tweeting fall off because it seemed pointless, since no one was going to buy my book just because I tweeted about it (and, I still believe this is true) but I know people who have gotten interest from agents because of the size of their twitter following (insert a joke about a banana in one’s pocket, or just a lot of twitter followers happy to see you). So, I’m tweeting again, but I’m also doing it more organically – tweeting stuff as I think of it rather than having a “twitter strategy.”
I continue to believe that books can be sold through personal interaction, so on my last school break I made the rounds to several bookstores and asked them to carry my book. Third Place is now carrying my book, and, in fact, will have me for a reading on September 17. Details here. Come if you can, I promise a good time and cupcakes.
I’ll make some more bookstore visits on my upcoming break, including a pilgrimage to the holy land of Powell’s Books in Portland. Wish me luck with that!
And, in order to be able to sell to bookstores, I’ve been doing the work to put my print edition (and possibly my e-edition) into the Ingram distributor inventory. I’m eagerly awaiting the print proof, and, assuming it looks good, I’ll make my book available to bookstores through one of the largest distribution channels available. I’m excited about that, but was a bit flummoxed by the process. I know it’s popular to hate on Amazon (I like them OK because they do make cool things possible for indie authors) but I have to say, they make it a lot easier to publish a book in print. Ingram’s took produced a whack-a-mole-ish series of error messages the first 6 times I tried to upload my manuscript. But, the good news is, I finally got it to work. Fingers crossed the print proof looks as good as the e-proof.
And now, back to airplane engines.