For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers
Well, started my official 'book tour' today. I drove to two different stores, two hours away from where I live (I nearly ran over a dog on the way - man, was I pissed off and upset!). The first store had set up not only my lastest novel, 'Abernethy', but also my first novel, 'Calumny while reading Irvine Welsh'. I sat at the table expectantly, and waited and waited and waited. Finally somebody came over. It was not a purveyor of fine fiction, like I had hoped. It was an aging Jesus-freak who stood there blathering about all that was wrong with the world, and if I had faith in Jesus my books would sell. I felt like pointing out my faith lay in the likelihood that nothing would sell if she didn't go away and stop scaring away potential customers. She did, eventually. And eventually, someone came along and made a purchase. Ah, that first hurdle. And eventually, the two piles of books grew lower, and lower, and lower. I felt pretty good, and it was interesting to see that my first book sold better than the current one.
From there, I had to go to another store, a further half hour away. Same situation: a desk and copies of my two novels. Unfortunately the shop was having a slow day, but I sold a few books. Better than selling no books, of course. Roll on the next royalty cheque. I would walk around the store inviting browsers to attend my table, and when I returned I found a couple of women studying the back cover blurb to 'Abernethy'. Now, the blurb clearly states that this is the story of fourteen year old Billy who is befriended by a beagle named Abernethy, who has the power of speech, and Abernethy becomes a Jiminy Cricket type figure to Billy and helps him cope with his father's incarceration in prison, and some bullying. With me? So this woman said to me, and I'm not joking and nor was she, 'Is this a true story?' I felt like snarling, 'Yeah, it's all true. I'm Abernethy is this is my autobiography. See the photo on the cover? That's me with the floppy brown ears. Stop standing under power lines, why don't you?' As they say in the classics, Sheesh! It's hard when people browse and don't buy. You can't force them to buy. I did sit there pondering the feasibility of actually crash-tackling a passer-by and shoving a book in their hand, then thrusting them toward the cash register.
Had to explain over and over that 'Abernethy' is young adult ficton, and 'Calumny...' is adult satire. Got the spiel down to a fine art after a while. If you guys are interested in Australian fiction, you can check thse books out at the website of Zeus Publications, http://www.zeus-publications.com. You can read the first chapters of each, as well as the blurb. I think our respective dollars are still in comparitive unison, so not too much money will be lost on the conversion to Australian dollars. Oh hell, I'm a woman with two children and a mortgage; I have to sell my books!
All the best to you ohter authors; hope it's going well.