26 June 2013

This month, I'm seeking, as opposed to offering, help

 I'm afraid this month, I'm in the position of seeking assistance instead of offering it. I just published my first book in May and find myself trying to figure out how to promote sales. Part of the problem is I don't really want to be a person who sells books; I want to be a writer who puts my book in front of people and their eyeballs in exchange for money. "Well, there's your problem, dummy", you're saying. "That's what selling books is! Suck it up and do it." Yeah, I know. But while you're right, you're also wrong. As Icy mentioned in the last entry, there is no shortage of writers on Twitter who do nothing but hawk their books. Regrettably I follow a bunch of them although I don't know why I ever did in the first place. It's like DVRing a tv channel that shows nothing but infomercials. Believe me, I've been correcting that mistake ever since. The point is, I consider those people to "just" be book sellers and I refuse to become one of them. For one obvious reason, it's obnoxious and boring. For another, I doubt it's very effective.
Luckily, I'm in a position where I don't have to move X number of units by such-and-such date or I'm out on the street. That reduces the stress significantly (although, I'm sure it also reduces my overall motivation). Still, I'd love to sell lots of books and get more and more people to read the book, so I'm here looking for tips and tricks just like you. Here's a list what I've done so far, what I think the results have yielded and what I need to do better.

  • I had a book release party - This was a lot of fun. I invited friends and close associates because it was largely a "thank you" to people who have supported me in various capacities over the years and with whom I wanted to celebrate the success of completing the task of getting something published. I sold enough books at the event to break even on the cost of the party (actually, a little bit ahead). I think everyone enjoyed themselves but I'm not sure how many, if anyone, have word-of-mouthed the book to friends of theirs who weren't there.
  • I've made it available via multiple sources - Amazon, CreateSpace, an e-store at my web site. Of course, the task is driving traffic to those sources. My blog readers are certainly aware it exists.
  • I've solicited Amazon.com reviews from readers - Good news: every one has rated the book FIVE STARS! Bad news: There are only two of them. I need to get aggressive about soliciting more reviews, I think.
  • I've done a couple of local radio shows - I don't like to brag but I'm pretty good at holding my own during interviews so I think the ones I've done have gone pretty well. I need, and want, to do more. 
That's all, really. I know I need to do things like approach the local media and knock on the doors of my local independent booksellers, and I will do those things. I'm wide open to suggestions for stuff I haven't thought of or non-traditional tactics though.

- Clark Brooks

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