Writing–How Do I Sell Books When I’m Not Popular?

Yearly special editionThis is going to be very messy, slapdash sort of post. I’m brainstorming out loud, looking for advice and help and ideas and partners-in-crime and such.

See, I need all of the help I can get here. This is not the part of the writing business that I excel at (really, when it comes down to it, I’m not really good at any part of the business). Some folks are naturals when it comes to selling their books. They’ve got that charm and charisma and ability to be forward and not worried about coming off like an egotistical hack (that last one is my hang-up; I’m not saying any of those people are egotistical hacks. They might be, who knows, but I’m not saying it) and I do not. I have negative of those values.

Anyway, the point is, I’m looking for ways to sell the Yearly: Special Edition. I mentioned this in my projects post (mostly because I didn’t think it would be available anywhere but Lulu until the end of this month, maybe beginning of September, but surprise! It’s up on both sites, though Amazon doesn’t have a picture of the book cover because why would it? Meh). I know there are things I can do online because I do those in the absolute minimum for my eBooks (seriously, it’s a wonder that I’ve sold any copies of anything at all). But I’m really looking for ways to sell this book in my physical world, too. I have an actual book, not just a digital file. I could actually take it out into the world and talk to people about it and they could actually hold it and flip through the pages and such. Think of it as old school nostalgia.

Now, I’m one of those people that often thinks I can do something, but in the end, I cannot. I tend to fail spectacularly because there are always variables that I don’t factor in or I think I can do something on my own when I really can’t or I think my effort alone is enough when it’s far from it. So that’s why I’m finding this book-selling thing so confounding. I think I can, but I know in reality, I probably can’t.

So here’s what’s been going on in my head and if anyone has any advice or ideas or comments or cute pictures of hammerheads being their adorable selves, please, give me a comment.

(I moderate the comments, so if you’re going to use this as an invitation to be an asshole, let me tell you, I’ll be the only one to see it. The only attention you’ll get is me marking your comment as spam and rolling my eyes at your attempt to troll the BCE troll killer. Shout out to the way back now.)

-I’d like to do a sort of raffle for signed copies of the book, but also use it as a way to get up some interest in the other titles. Like, show me proof of purchase for a copy of Night of the Nothing Man or A Tale of Two Lady Killers and you’re entered in a raffle for the book. Or maybe a straight up Twitter contest, RT to be entered, deal. This is really the only online idea I have outside the realm of the usual.

-I’d like to try to do some in-person selling. I’m trying to think of a place where I could do a cheap sort of event. Maybe book clubs. Maybe an on-my-own do. Maybe I could talk to the local library. I don’t know. The guaranteed horror is that no one would show up. I have past experience with that nightmare.

-Has anyone ever sold books at cons? Expos? Flea Markets? Gatherings? Things of that nature? That might be something for me to try, but not on my own. Like if I could team up with several other indie authors and we all go in for some exhibit space. Yeah, it’d be more money to do, but there’s the added bonus of being in con territory and that’s always a good time. Plus, it’d give me an opportunity to get more author friends. I’m very terrible at being a part of the writing community. I still don’t feel like I quite belong.

That’s not as many ideas as I thought I had. But they are still ideas that exist and can be used and improved upon.

So, won’t you please, lend me your brain? And maybe a hand?

Writing–August Projects

sunI’ve decided to take a slightly different route with my projects this month.

I’m still feeling a bit burnt out on the whole revising thing. I looked at my list of projects that are still on the editing block and went, “I don’t feel like it”. And though I got a great rush from writing the Zak novella, I really don’t feel like it’ll be a good idea to spend another month working on something new, especially when I don’t think I have anything that in my mind is ready to be put down on paper. I don’t feel like spending a month struggling to get a first draft down just because I need something to do.

So I’ve decided to make August the month that I focus on business and organization. There are a couple of little writing things that I’m going to do so it’s not like I’m totally slacking (“She’s Not Here Anymore” needs to be polished and there’s an idea that’s been gnawing away at my brain that I want to get out and into a notebook before I lose any of the fun bits) and there’s nothing that says my revision burn out won’t become a flame before the month is out and I pick a project to work on. But I think my main goal this month needs to be a little bit to the left of writing.

The special edition of Yearly is currently available on Lulu. If it passes all of the distribution muster, it probably won’t hit any other distributor (Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, etc.) until September at least. I feel like I should use this as an opportunity to generate some sales and interest. When I did my first print anthology, I pretty much did nothing outside humble suggestions to buy it (and that got me to a place known as Less Than Nowhere).

But the difference with Yearly is that it is selling as an ebook. I’m wondering if I could get bold and offer the opportunity to get autographed copies (my ego!) or maybe even hold some kind of a contest to win copies. Something. Anything. I really need to work on this part of the business, the drumming up business part of the business. I have something that people are interested in. I should probably capitalize on it.

I’m also feeling a bit disorganized. I’ve got one more project going to the e-presses this year (Spirited in Spite is coming out in October! And it needs a cover still, but whatever) and I feel like I need to start lining up things for next year. I’d like to keep the same sort of publishing schedule, putting out two or three projects. I need to figure out what’s going to go out and when so I know how to really focus my project energy.

It sounds easier than it is considering this year I was so sure two of the projects I was going to publish this year aren’t even ready yet.

I think this month is going to feel weird because I won’t be so focused on working on the individual projects, but it’ll still be productive nonetheless.

Best Laid Plans

I’m not very good at making plans. The fact that I’ve been improvising my life since I graduated high school aside, even planning on the smaller scale is a skill I lack.

Oh, I like to plan some things out, like business and budget stuff, but I have a way of sabotaging myself. For example, this jewelry side business. I got it all in my head how I was going to set up my own store sight and build up my inventory and promote it with Moo cards. I went through with that plan. I bought the webhosting, set up the front page to the site, got the Moo cards.

And then I realized that I’d be better off setting myself up on Etsy because it’d be easier to promote and control my inventory since I was going to be short on cash for materials until I could really get going.

So I’ve spent the past couple of days canceling my webhosting account, getting my shop set up on Etsy, and redoing the Moo cards with white out and a pen to correct the store’s url. Time that could have been better spent, for sure.

I’m really good at this sort of thing. Getting everything laid out, drawing up what I think is a great plan, beginning to execute it, and then realizing that I should be doing it another way.

That’s if I make a plan at all. When it comes to making money or budgeting money, I’m all about a plan. When it comes to spending money, like with a trip, I have no plan.

Oh, I have a loose idea of what I want to do and what I need to do, but when it comes to drawing up those solid diagrams I make with other things, they’re lacking when I come to planning a trip. It’s why I usually try to go with someone else. Not just for the company, but because the person I go with is usually better on the planning. They’re better at booking hotels, planning routes, getting airline tickets, knowning what ot pack, that sort of thing.

I’m going it alone to Wrigley next week. Not such a big deal because it’s nothing more than a day trip. But the game is next Tuesday. I still haven’t bought my ticket. I still haven’t plotted the route I need to take to drive up there (though riding up just last month, I’ve got a pretty good idea how I need to go). I’m just now looking into how much gas money I’ll need. These things will get done, but I bet I’m up late the night before printing out directions and my last stop out of town will be the ATM because I’ll remember that I’ll need money to eat.

Now, if someone were going with me, I’d be totally prepared to go days in advance. The tickets would have been purchased weeks ago (and I would have been the one to do it, too), the directions would have been obtained (my co-pilot probably would have done it), and the cash would be sitting in my Boob Job Fund jar waiting for me.

It’s amazing how my trip planning skills get better when I’m flying as part of a flock instead of solo.

They say make plans and God laughs. Apparently, I was born with the same philosophy.