A number of people have asked me to sign their copy of The God of Sno Cone Blue, so I’ve picked some dates and venues for book signings that I hope are convenient. Please feel free to stop in on any of the options below. It’ll be great to see you!
- Sunday, May 4th, 2-4pm, McMenamins 2927 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. Beaverton, OR (Note: for those of you going to the KOIN-TV reunion later this same evening, I will see you there.)
- Saturday, May 17, 1-4, Marshall High School Reunion, you know where! (I’ll either be in the library or, if it’s nice, maybe the courtyard.)
- Mother’s Day Sunday, May 11th, 11:30-12:30, Christ United Methodist Church, 12755 NW Dogwood St., Portland.
*Please bear with me if you get this message more than once. I want to make sure everyone who wants to see the dates does.
And Now, About Those Mixed Emotions…
I find myself in a strange place right now. There’s the joy of publishing and crazy gratitude for readers’ interest in the book. But those emotions are tempered by a steady drumbeat of advice—from writer friends, from books about publishing and online articles. What advice am I getting? I can probably express it best with an analogy. If a book is like fruit on the vine, then marketing is its sun and water. Skip it, and your fruit dies on the vine.
Why the frustration? Because marketing is the part I like least. I don’t want to run around “selling” my book, handing out bookmarks and talking it up. Who would? Then again, I can’t let the fruit I nurtured for so long die on the vine! That would not only be short-sighted but a terrible waste.
I don’t imagine I’m much different than most reading this, save the natural-born salespeople. I mean, if we’re lucky, we enjoy our work, right? We take pride in what we do and in putting our best work forward. Sometimes there’s more than just skill but a real art to what we do, a depth of emotion, even a profound personal connection. And yet (in my particular case) I’m supposed to turn around and “sell” the results, like peddling a few dozen hot cross buns? Can’t you just see me on a street corner? “Buy my book! I poured my heart and soul into it and it’s a great story, I promise. I read it myself!”
You get the picture.
A Whole New World
In the old days of publishing (only a few short years ago) traditional publishers—like Simon & Schuster, Penguin, or HarperCollins—would execute all the marketing for you, and plenty of it. Generally, all a writer had to do is what he or she loved best: write! Well, those days are gone. Economic pressure, new reading and purchasing habits and, especially, the digital age have squeezed publishers’ profit margins. Their marketing budgets have all but disappeared, which means, ultimately, they have very little in the way of promotion to offer writers. Hence, the rise of self-publishing, the route I took, where writers have the promise of bigger returns and more control.
If you’re not familiar with the relatively new world of indie and self-publishing, here’s one point on which no one disagrees: in a few short years, it will out-produce traditional publishing. Yes, that’s right. If sales curves continue as they are, the volume of books sold through online publishing will outpace those sold by the old standard. Talk about change—and fast! That’s not to say there are no drawbacks. Authors who self-publish face competition from a sea of books and even less marketing than the scant offerings of traditional houses.
My book, The God of Sno Cone Blue, is off to a solid start (thanks to supporters like you!) but that’s no guarantee. Which brings me back to those mixed feelings. What I wouldn’t give to be able to skip marketing and go back to writing my second novel (which sits in limbo at Chapter 12). But that’s not an option at the moment if it would mean seeing my first book die on the vine.
So, again, bear with me as the weeks and months pass. If you see yet another mention of The God of Sno Cone Blue—on social media or wherever—just know that I share your angst! Imagine me on the street corner once again, calling, “Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!” Maybe you’ll get a chuckle out of that.
On the other hand, if you have any great ideas for marketing (or avoiding it) leave a comment below. I’m all ears.