Finally! A book of mine coming out. It’s just what I wanted; a generous, writer-friendly contract from an indie publisher. It took two years to get it to publication time, but at least I didn’t have to run the “who gives a shit?” agent gauntlet, and the editing was spare, equally writer-friendly.
I’m a happy guy.
Or I was.
Now, with the publication date a mere six weeks away, and following a pep talk from my publisher, I’m doing the groundwork for a planned book tour. I’ve realized that one has to entertain in such appearances, especially since my name isn’t a wholly household word. So I’ve worked up a kick-butt presentation, complete with slides, sure to generate at least three good belly laughs from an attentive audience. Okay! Rubbing my hands together now. Look up stores, map out a theoretical tour.
So far it’s been tough. Some of the comments and questions I’m dealing with from book stores (the parens enclose what I thought at the time, not what I said.)
- “Um, we don’t find author appearances of benefit to the store.” (No? How about to the author?)
- “We don’t see much future in new fiction.” (Really. No one reads that stuff, huh?)
- “We deal mostly in used books.” (Huh. Thought those stores had gone away. Anyway, this one is new!! Right off the presses!!)
- “Is this one of those vanity books? Self-published?” (I’m sure I mentioned “my publisher.” Yeah, I’m sure I did.)
Where has this gotten me so far? I’ve written letters and e-mails to several stores – at their request – stating my case. The book stores are being overly cautious, it seems to me. Almost paranoid. The cause? I guess we can add so many silver-tongued writers to the list of publishing-related scam artists.
So my strategy has become a bit more timid now. I simply ask to state my case, to humbly ask for them to carry my book. And in my letters I suggest the possibility of an appearance.
Stay tuned. I’m not discouraged yet.