Book By Book

The first book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series, Murder is a Family Business, is finally in print. As my book was published by a small, independent epublisher called MuseItUp, there were and are no provision made for marketing print copies of books. Actually, the fact it has come out in print at all is a minor miracle to me. That said, I ordered 75 copies of my book at discounted prices, intent on distributing them myself. Naturally, because I am married, I roped my husband into helping me. So husband, Norman, and I threw the books into the trunk of the car and started the job of trying to get independent bookstores in the Bay Area to carry the book. We are helped by the fact the book cover is so darling you could eat it with a spoon. Thank you, cover artist, Delilah K. Stephans. It’s a great size, too, somewhere in-between a pocket book and a hard cover. The book shows really well.
That said, I still can’t bring myself to go into stores and ask them to carry it. I simply can’t. I blither, I blush, I stammer, I look everywhere but at the person in charge. I have discovered I am horrible at promoting myself.
So Norman to my rescue. He’s also darling and is willing to wear a suit in the summer heat to give him a professional touch. Wearing his new Panama straw hat, he marches right into that store, and tries to talk them into carrying my book while I trail behind. Norman introduces me, says I have laryngitis, which I did but don’t anymore, but it is really so much better if I still pretend to.
Norman is terrific. I, as I’ve said, become a mere shell of my former self. I don’t do much other than make sure Norman’s hat tilts jauntily to the side, and murmur things like, ‘go get ’em, tiger’ before we enter the store. Once inside, doorknobs have been smarter than me.
But thanks to Norman, bookstores in Carmel, Healdsburg and Napa are carrying the book. And I am scheduled to do a Meet and Greet in Napa for 2 hours on August 21st. Heaven help me. I will try not to blather at customers when they walk in the door, sending them screaming into the parking lot from whence they came. And I will be thankful we live in wine country, so I can have a selection of calming wine to choose from when the two-hours are over.
But I am aware we have only skimmed the surface of the distribution game. We still need to go to dozens of bookstores through the Bay Area hoping a few of them will provide space for my precious little book. Should someone buy the book, it’s a 55/45 or 60/40 split with the store. Subtracting the cost of the books, gas, and the price of having the jaunty hat cleaned, I might clear three bucks.
Welcome to my world.

7 responses to “Book By Book”

  1. Heather, I know I'm very late to this post, but when I read it I had to comment…even days late.

    I can so relate…not to having a book in print (Congratulations btw), but the feeling of…you put it so perfect…a doorknob is smarter than I am (LOL). Me too! I seize up like a rock in certain situations.

    So, when I have a book in my hot little hand to promote…can I borrow Norman? (LOL)

    I wonder if my husband will wear a cool looking straw hat?

    Loved you post Heather – you have such a refreshing wit – you and Ginger both make me laugh…in a feel good way.

  2. I guess selling books out of the trunk of the car is a reality..I've heard so many authors say this…So you are in good company. Thank goodness for Norman. Give him a big hug from me. What a wonderful supporter. I know there are a lot of expenses on the road, but there are a lot of rewards–spending time with your hubby over coffee at the coffee shop or sharing a Big Mac and all those funny stories..

  3. I've been doing this for a few years and still get the vapors. Something about trying to tell others why they should give you money, I think.

  4. Karen, how did I get so lucky (or blessed) to have you around? I sure hope we meet in person sooner rather than later. It will be a hug fest.

  5. Dear Heather, I am so very proud of you. You are out there and that's all that counts. I have the same problems you have and I know hubby will be the one (as he already has been) pushing my talent to "the masses" LOL. Still. You are a role model and one I intend to copy. Sweet girl, you are amazing…you know that right? Of course you do, Norman is there to tell you so. Love you!

  6. Ginger, I have no idea why we're this way. Maybe I should try to sell your books and you should try to sell mine. I'm better at it when it isn't me, for sure. Amazon actually sent you a check for 16 cents? Amazing.
    Huggin' back. H

  7. As anothe blathering idiot who can't sell herself, I salute you. Why is it some people can sell water to a drowning man and we can't claim the talent we know we have? Sucks, doesn't it?

    I just wanted to let you know that $3.00 is a whole lot better than sixteen cents you'd make selling through Amazon on print copies…yep…that's how much I made last month on one print sale. Sort of like a slap in the face, in my opinion.