Write the Novel, Sell the Novel


Is self-promotion really shameless?    I’m about to find out because my novel is available on Amazon and I have to go out in the world and sell copies.  Paperback and Kindle.  Real cheap!  Four stars!  Makes a great stocking stuffer!  Almost as good as Gone with the Wind!  (I cannot write first novel because there are two others in the attic; they will not be on Amazon I might add.)  So, I’ve gone from sitting at the computer in my bathrobe, coffee in the fish mug and sleeping cat alongside to ta. . . da. . . donning a plaid suit, puffing on a stogie and talking out the side of my mouth.  A huckster.  A peddler.  A well, perhaps a. . . oh, not that – I don’t approve of rude language on the blog – anyway, you get the point.

This is really hard even for an extrovert.  The perennial asking people out on a date.  And by the way that will be $10.00 plus tax.  Just ‘til Christmas, then, I’ll need to up my prices.

I’ve resorted to carrying a copy of The Excellent Advice of a Few Famous Painters in my handbag while I wait for the promo cards to be printed.  Let’s just see how often I pull the book out, brandished like a weapon.  I’ve only had the nerve to do this once in front of a tennis group; I am glad I didn’t expect oohs, ahhs and immediate sales though one lady took a snapshot from her phone.  I went to a meet and greet for the new headmaster at my daughter’s school yesterday and I started to drop the book in my bag until I heard a little voice say, “Don’t you dare” so I put it back on my desk.  More’s the pity.  All those readers.  Debit cards.  Contacts.  Oh, well.

I am ashamed to admit I see the world differently now.  When I walk down the sidewalk, the old me used to see a young woman wearing a pretty fall suit, blonde hair asway, head held high as she faced the world; or I’d see a cute freckle-faced kid smiling at me, swinging the hand of her mother; or an older couple, arm in arm, so many years of trust and deep comfortable love etched across their faces – the way I want to be one day.  Unfortunately, I don’t see any of this anymore.  I see $$$$$$$.  Lots of $$$$$$$ in boots, on bikes, beeping horns, speeding through yellow lights or piling up grocery carts with provisions.  “Excuse me, the Kroger grapes are delicious this week – the green ones.  Want to hear about my new book?  I’ve been told I write like Anne Tyler!” (Note: This is not true although I’m sure people meant to tell me this over the years.  They just didn’t want it to go to my head.)  “Here I’ll just stick one of my cards in your pocket since your hands are full.” And then I’ll run off before they can stop me.  Great talent is often shy.

In bed last night I did come up with some creative ways to sell my book.  Let me know what you think.

  • Get permission from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to have tollbooth attendants hand out my promo cards with the book cover, contact information and the fact I’m available for book clubs, events, hootenannies, etc.  They can also hand out Halloween candy.
  • Richmond, sad to day, has many panhandlers these days.  Why can’t they hold up signs promoting my book?  How clever!   Entrepreneurial!  Haven’t quite figured out how to handle the sales angle yet, but I’m working on this.
  • How about racks in women’s bathrooms?  Washing your hands, re-applying your lipstick, smoothing your skirt, oh, a nice book to read.  Who would have thought?   Um, maybe not.  Too many germs.
  • My church has a lot of parishioners and therefore pews.  How about I slip in quietly one late Saturday and place a nice pleasant card in each hymnal?  A little tacky but remember Proverbs, 22.29:  Seest thou a man diligent in his business?  He shall stand before kings.   
  • Tell my daughter she needs to set up an e-store on her Facebook page because she has 600 friends; if she refuses, perhaps she needs to consider online colleges.
  • My husband is sweet, helpful and handsome.  Why can’t he sit near the front door at the country club?  Dressed nicely though not glaringly so and he could be reading my book, holding it high enough for people to see the title.  I know many will strike up conversations and when they ask him about my book, voila!  He  pulls one out from under the chair.  Wow! Easy peasy sale because he’ll have one of those little PayPal apps on his phone.  And he’ll probably be related to whomever he’s talking to since he’s from such a large family and family helps one another right?  Even if they don’t want to!

So, wish me luck.  Off I go to the mall.  It’s a beautiful Virginia day and people will be sitting outside drinking coffee and looking after their little ones.  I could knock off several dozen potential readers in about 20 minutes.

Amazon.com Royalty Report

October Units Sold
October 24th, 4 units.
October 27th, 6 units.

Oh, God.


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