While writing a book is hard, publishing and marketing a book–at least for me–is harder. Writing put me in the driver’s seat. I was calling the shots. I could craft and mold the future success of my book by the decisions that I was making.
But once my book became consumable, something for people to hesitantly pick up and flip through, something for people to silently judge and turn down, all my control was gone. The success of my book is now (mostly) out of my control. While I can present it in the best light possible, it’s ultimately the buyer’s decision.
I wasn’t expecting to sell 500 books in the first few months of publication. I made my goal more attainable.
That was how many I wanted to sell by the end of the year.
In October, I wasn’t so sure it was going to happen. Around mid-September, after the dust had settled from the initial rush of its release, I had sold about 55 books. October was a slow month. I didn’t have any sales events scheduled until the end of November, and I began to wonder how I was going to keep my sales going when I wasn’t pitching the book in person.
So I turned my attention to this blog. I started reading and commenting on other pregnancy and motherhood blogs. I started following other bloggers and liking their posts.
And you know what? My sales started climbing again.
I couldn’t believe it.
It wasn’t costing me anything (besides my time) to engage with other bloggers on-line, and blogging was paying off just about as much as it was for me to pay booth fees, sell in person, and pitch over and over again to complete strangers. So I kept at it. I kept writing throughout November. Good, solid content like “To the Syrian mother of triplets, fleeing from ISIS” and “The things you can’t leave behind.”
Throughout October and November, I noticed that I started reaching readers in other countries: Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. Although I can’t be sure that these sales came from blogging, I’m fairly certain they did.
So while I thought that direct in-person sales would lead to the most sales, I have been happily disappointed.
But in-person selling hasn’t been a waste of time. And I definitely recommend it for other writers. In-person selling has helped me to make contacts, network with others, increase my book’s visibility, and develop my own confidence and pitching skills. I know how to talk about my book to different audiences in under a minute. I know that many of my buyers are not new mothers. They are the family and friends of the new mother who are looking for a unique gift for the new mother. I have learned that some of my biggest buyers are women in their 50s and 60s whose daughters are expecting their first babies.
I have also been happily surprised in this journey of publishing.
In mid-November, I checked my sales and I did a double-take at the number of total sales. Usually, I sell about one or maybe two copies per week. When I looked over the details, I saw that I had sold six copies in one day. To whom? I have no idea. Since I didn’t sell as many copies in the days before or after that day, I thought it must have been a single buyer. Was it a book club purchase? That would be nice.
But it was someone who was willing to plop down $78 for six printed copies.
I can’t think of a greater compliment.