I'm lousy at selling. I always have been. In my teens and early 20s, I worked in retail and hated it. Never will I forget the day when I sold $400 worth of shorts and tee shorts to a shocked bride-to-be for her honeymoon, and my manager celebrated my success. I went home and wanted to throw up for separting that poor woman from her hard-earned money.
Not quite the attitude of a shark.
Since becoming an adult, I have become more and more reclusive, enjoying an even more introverted personality. What vocation is superbly suited to someone afraid of facing other human beings? (Dogs and cats are fine, by the way.) Writing! (Dogs and cats can't read anyway.) Hiding behind a laptop, spitting out deep, personal thoughts, and producing it for people to read on their own. In their own homes. Never looking you in the eye.
That's not exactly how it works, though.
Since the only authors you ever really hear about are the ones who have already made it, you don't always see the struggle they went through begging publishers and agents - yes, sometimes face to face! - to give them a try. Even then, having found someone to believe that the work has merit, there is the even tougher critic to face - the public.
No one drops a #1 best seller on their first try. We all have to build our way up. And you, as a reader, know that audiences rarely pick up a book by some unknown author without scutinizing their background, work, and reviews. (Even if that review is your best friend saying, "Hey, I read this. It's good.") People don't want to waste their time on ANYTHING. Books can constitute weeks of time, so they better be worth it.
But as authors, we have spent unbelievable amounts of time on our projects.The more we work on them, the more start to believe in them. (The work, mind you. We are still afraid to put our face out there.)
It must happen, though. Just saying we have published a book is not enough. We want people to read that book and rave about it. But like I said, people aren't going to randomly pick up our books. We've got to put it in front of people.
That's right, people. If we want people to read the book, we have to talk the ear off of everyone we know, and almost everyone we don't know. Because if we talk to one person everyday about our book, we may get someone interested, who doesn't already have a mile-long to-read list, in 20 (or more) days.
And then the trick is convincing that fool to part from their money. *Sigh*. I hate doing that.
But my publisher has set before me the bottom line: They will not consider releasing the next book in my series until the first one has been proven a success (i.e. - has made enough money to cover the cost of producing it). That's a completely reasonable request. And since I believe my second book is even better (and wait until we get to the fifth!), I am totally motivated to get there however I can.
So, for my Marketing Challenge, I am listing that as my primary goal:
To sell enough of my first book to cover costs and lead to the release of the second book.
Time to Reach that Goal:
Since I am not sure exactly how many books that actually consists of, I will randomly say that I will evaluate this goal in 6 months.
Sub Goal 1: I will spend the first week planning a schedule
Sub Goal 2: I will hold myself accountable to this challenge by posting in this Marketing Challenge blog once a week.
Sub Goal 3: I will spend one week each month working on other books. (Can't keep all your eggs in one basket, you know!)
I am not exactly sure what other goals to add, because I am not sure which direction will be most successful. I think I will need to add some as I go along. If social media is the winner, I will create more goals specific to social media. If finding bloggers is the way to go, my goals will reflect that.
Until then, I remain open to strategies you marvelous people have to suggest. As I said, I am not business expert. (I have a teaching background! Never took a business class in my life.) So I will accept advice from those in the know. If I use any of it, I will be sure to let you know how it turns out.
Follow along my journey by checking for these posts each weekend. I will post on Facebook when I have a new post here - be sure to like my page and get notifications!
And if you need to know what all my buzz is about, here's more about my first book, Amity of the Angelmen!