For those three of you who saw my first post and tried to comment, my apologies. The software didn’t work (NO! Say it ain’t so, Duke!) and I had to change things. So, here we go, Round 2!
I wanted to follow up the idea of people-watching. People are just fascinating. They make my life interesting (Old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times!) and it’s been a blast. Mostly, I’ve looked on new experiences and changes as fun opportunities. Okay, so I grumble a bit before I start enjoying myself . . . that’s the nature of my inner beastie. Once I get into it, I’m usually smiling.
We just returned from the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. conference, their 45th! Our good friend and writing buddy, Patty Stith (also known as Claire Croxton), was the President and oversaw this year’s shindig. She did great, as did all those who worked so hard (and it is hard work, believe me) to make OWFI 45 a success. My congrats to all of you who helped.
Yes, Duke, but what does this have to do with people-watching?
This year the award for What Were They Thinking, the booby-prize given out each year by me (beginning this year!) goes to the unnamed gentleman who came to sell his wares for the modest sum of twenty thousand dollars. You read right. $20,000 US.
Yep, in a world where the average book sells less than 100 copies, netting that average author less than five hundred bucks, one gentleman offered to increase your sales because He Knew Important People. When asked why he was worth that much money, the answer was: because He Knew Important People. (Weren’t you listening the first time?)
Okay, let’s look at this from a different angle. Let’s assume Our Hero could actually deliver increased sales. How many books would you need to sell to pay back that $20k? If you make $5 royalty per book (pretty generous, the way I hear), it would only take you 4,000 extra sales to pay back your investment. According to Bill Platt, the average book from a publishing house sells less than 500 copies. (http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/sellmore.html) Hey, that leaves us only 3,500 copies to go before we break even on his fee. If you’re self-publishing, maybe only 2,000 copies – just to pay for publicity.
If you really want to know how to publicize your book, there are many great resources out on the Internet. There’s even a book called “Publicize Your Book!” and another, “The Frugal Book Promoter.”
Sure, the “Who you know” adage works some of the time. But in these days of social media, you can get to know a gazillion people. Just look at Jan Morrill who recently shared a platform with George Takei as he accepted a signed copy of her book, “The Red Kimono.” Whod’a thunk?
So if you don’t have 20 grand looking for a new home, invest your time and passion in connecting with the “right” people – those who will love your book, talk about your book, encourage you to write more books, and accompany you on the ride to your dreams!
Pay $20,000 to have someone else develop those relationships instead of me? Well, of course that makes sense. I should have jumped on his bandwagon immediately.
What was I thinking?