Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Easy Part is Over

A recent article on Marketwatch.Com by John Dvorak commented upon a study done by Knowledge Networks, which found basically that online social networks are not a good place to conduct commerce. Among the more humorous lines:

Can you imagine your entire life being tied to commerce?

"Joe! Hi! How's the wife? I have a discount coupon for you for the next time you rent from Dollar. Ten percent off, buddy!"

"Frank! Thanks, but that's nothing. Have you thought about buying your steaks from Omaha Beef? Here's a special code. Fifteen percent off your first order!"

He goes on to say that doesn't mean Indie authors or bands can't maintain a small corner here and there to advertise their wares. Apparently, a certain amount of that is tolerated.

Course, I wouldn't know about that. I'm already on record as one who calls himself a fairly private person, one who does not Facebook or Twitter. (Psst: And just between you and me, blogging is about the last thing I ever imagined myself doing.)

Yet . . . I've got this book, you see. It's called "A Truck Story." It's a delightful tale about an uncle and his two nephews who get trapped in the back of the Red Sox equipment truck just before it leaves Fenway Park on the way to spring training. Guaranteed fun for all ages.

You'll find there's even a pretty picture of it on the right side of your screen. Now, if you click on that pretty picture, it will take you straight to Amazon.Com, where you too can buy your very own copy. In fact, the paperback version just became available today . . .

Now, I don't expect the half-dozen or so fellow writers who stop by this blog every now and then to buy a copy. I wouldn't even dream of asking them, though if any one of my regular commenters were at all curious, I'd of course be delighted to e-mail them a copy. Professional courtesy, you see.

No, that's not where the market is.

But I do have family members stop by here every now and then, and yes, I absolutely do expect you to buy a copy or five. And fair warning, I'll be asking to see your copy -- oh, I'll use the pretense that I just wanna "sign it for you," but I'm really just making sure you've done your part -- when I stop by for graduations or Thanksgiving. Funerals. I'm not proud.

But that's not really where the market is either.

And though I know it's not much different than what confronts any mid-list or small press author these days, here is the dilemma of the self-published author: Getting the word out.

So what have I done so far? I've e-mailed most everyone on my mailing list and asked them to get the word out. Course, most of them were beta readers too, so I don't expect them to necessarily buy a copy (though it would be nice!)

I've asked the folks on my mailing list (because most of them read the story and claimed to like it) if they'd be so kind as to write an Amazon review. If one or two of them do, I'll be delighted.

I've dropped an announcement into a couple of Amazon forums about the Kindle version and sold a few copies. Those folks haven't left inflammatory reviews, so I figure that's a good sign.

I've also joined a wonderful community called Kindleboards.Com, where Kindle authors and readers gather to sell their wares, which has resulted in a few sales. One kind reader even left the following comment:

"I just downloaded and finished A Truck Story in one sitting. I don't watch baseball, but for whatever reason, I love baseball books and movies. I really enjoyed this story. It was a lot of fun."
Now this is why we write, is it not? To have a complete stranger tell us that they liked something we wrote. Love hearing it from friends and family too, don't get me wrong . . . but they have to say that.

My wonderful sister has announced to all her Facebook friends that the book is available and I'm grateful. I also plan to send copies to the Red Sox braintrust (the book is in the form of a letter to John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox) and if nothing else, I expect they'll get a kick out of it.

They wanna buy 10,000 copies to give away to the first 10,000 fans at a future game? More the better.

I've also found a few Sox specialty websites where one can post their own Sox merchandise, and I'll be taking advantage of them as well. And there's LOTS of Sox message boards out there . . .

The easy part is over.

The hard part is just beginning.

And I wouldn't change a thing.


Unknown said...

god i think writing the book would be the hard part. course in todays publishing world... okay there both the hard part

Aaron Polson said...

The more I dirty my fingers in this whole writing thing, the more I recognize the importance of PR. Cheers to you, and all the best.

Brendan P. Myers said...

You got that right, Samantha.

Thanks so much, Aaron.

Helps a lot to know both that there are others out there stuggling with the same issues, and that at least a few people read the inane jottings found here.

Thanks again.

Stephanie said...

I was just speaking with a friend about your books, specifically 'Truck Story'. He said that a couple of days ago he was listening to ESPN where the commentators were talking about a story of an uncle and two nephews watching the truck get loaded with Sox equpment for spring training. I have been all over ESPN's website and can't see it. Have you heard this???

Brendan P. Myers said...

Heh. Haven't heard that at all. But wouldn't that be cool?