I have never been really good at doing the hard sell for my books. I know some writers thrive on it: I’ve sat next to them at bookfairs or on panels, watching as they easily slip the names of their titles into every conversation and flash their cover for every photo op. I mean, there’s a reason I don’t work in retail anymore, after my one illustrious experience at Stride Rite Bootery when I was in high school. I’m just not good at pushing things on people. There, we actually had a district manager who would come in on the weekend and say to me, “Sarah, I’m giving you a sock allotment of ten pairs for today,” and then send me out on the floor, expecting me to sell that many. Let me tell you: most people do not buy their socks at the shoe store. Why? Because they’re freaking overpriced there. And secondly, regardless of what anyone might tell you, socks are not an impulse item. Kit Kat bars, yes. Horoscope books, absolutely. But not socks. Socks are not fun to buy, and I’m a shopaholic, so I know of what I speak. So I’d go out, feeling my manager’s eyes on me, and approach some poor sucker who was looking at shoes.
“Do you need socks today?” I’d ask.
“No,” they’d reply.
“Okay then,” I’d say. End of hard sell.
You can see why I loved waitressing. When people come into a restaurant, it’s because they’ve already decided they’re going to buy something. Takes the guesswork right out of it.
This incredibly long and sock-laden explanation leads me to the point of this post, which is that I do have a new book coming out and I really, really want it to do well. I have a lot riding on this novel, for a number of reasons I won’t go into here, and I just want to be sure that I am doing all I can to get the word out about it. Which leads me back to the obnoxious author part.
I know that Real Authors are supposed to hole themselves up in garrets and wear black turtlenecks and smoke cigarettes and not have telephones. And they’re absolutely not supposed to care about how their book sells, or what the reviewers are saying, because it’s about Art, Dammit. Which puts me in this weird dilemma. I mean, how can I promote my book without being obnoxious? And what can I do besides what I’m already doing?
I don’t have answers to these questions. I’m hoping some of you might. I mean, I have the website, I’m putting info up there. I’m doing appearances, I’m doing interviews. But maybe there’s something else. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just venting. Maybe I’m just bored. Maybe I need to start another book and just calm down.
Any help, if you can even understand this post, would be much appreciated………