Two years ago this month, my book was published. I was so excited. My name was on the cover of a book! I could do an Amazon search and find myself! People were reading and reviewing these words I had written and (mostly) they liked it!
My euphoria lasted about three months. Then reality set in. My book wasn’t selling well. I didn’t know the first thing about marketing it. I didn’t know I had to market it. I thought that was the publisher’s job. After all, I’m a writer, not a marketer. (On those what-color-is-your-parachute-type aptitude tests, sales and marketing were always way down at the bottom of the list of things I’d be good at, right along with musician and mortician.)
But if you know anything about publishing (which I didn’t two years ago), you know that you have to sell your own book. If you don’t sell it, it won’t sell.
This is very bad news for people like me, who can’t and won’t try to outshout the competition. There’s so much noise in the world already. I don’t want to add my own shilling to the cacophany. And even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I could because with me, there actually isn’t any such thing as shameless self-promotion. I just can’t do it without wanting to cover my face.
I almost never volunteer that I’m a writer and that I’ve written a book. When people find out, usually because my husband or a friend tells them, I invariably wave it off like it’s no big deal and try to change the subject. This is rarely hard. Most people like to think that they would write a book, too, if only they had the time. I am happy to listen to their delusions of grandeur. It takes the focus off of my own failure.
Yes, I said failure. You see, I got my royalty statement this week, that little sheet of paper that publishers send out once a year so you can know how your book is selling. Or, in my case, not selling. To say that the numbers were dismal would be like saying twins are hard; it doesn’t quite capture it: in a whole year I sold not one book. Not one.
I cried. Not the first time I’ve cried over a royalty statement. And I doubt it will be the last. Well, unless my book gets remaindered, in which case it actually might be the last.
Which is where the shameless self-promotion comes in. If you’ve bought a copy of my book, thank you. (Thank you thank you thank you thank you!) Now, would you please please please go buy one for your sister, a friend, a colleague, or a neighbor (or all of the above) who might be even the tiniest bit interested in the church year?
And if you haven’t bought a copy of my book, would you please please please buy one? And then buy another for someone else or two someone elses. Or ten someone elses.
Advent is just around the corner (it starts two weeks from Sunday), so this is the perfect time to buy a copy of a lovely book (if I do say so myself) about the church year, which begins on the first Sunday of Advent.
And for those of you who simply cannot afford to buy a book, even one that’s only $10.20 at Amazon, I am giving away two free copies, in honor of the second anniversary of my book’s publication. Just leave a comment by 6 p.m. Monday, and Jack-the-random-number-generator will choose two commenters to receive a copy each, inscribed to a person of your choosing.
Okay, that’s about all I can manage in the way of self-promotion. I’m half tempted to delete this post as it is. I’m afraid you will all despise me as a self-aggrandizing megalomaniac.
All right, then. Fine. I’m not afraid you’ll despise me.
But I’m still going to go crawl into bed and pull the sheets over my head.