If you’ve ever tried to sell anything, you’d understand. This is from September 6, 2012, about 6 weeks after my first (and so far only) book came out.
I sold a copy of So We May Breathe Free: Avoiding Ineptocracy yesterday in a most unusual way.
A friend of Kim’s recommended my book to one of her friends, who asked about its availability. Since I happen to have a few print copies in my possession I delivered one to the surprised and pleased new reader, complete with inscription and autograph.
I also had an interesting e-mail in my box from a former co-worker of mine in Toledo. We weren’t co-workers for long as he was a college intern who, as he put it jokingly, was “sure you remember me as that crazy college kid always messing things up…” But somehow he had heard about my book. That’s crazy.
Yet there are people in my social circle who claim to be conservative and who tell me they love what I write – but I’m not seeing the book sales reflecting this. People who will give $50, $100, or even $500 to a political candidate at a drop of a hat won’t spare a Lincoln for an e-book (or $8 for the printed copy) on Amazon, the Nook website, or Kindle.
I hate asking for money – in fact, in the very first chapter of my book I write:
(W)hile I had thoughts about and a little bit of ambition for seeking an elected office such as a seat on the city council or a state representative, one thing I found out rather quickly after getting involved is that I’m by no means the prototypical politician. I don’t have a snake-oil salesman’s gift of gab and the part about raising money and saying what I think people want to hear in order to collect their votes doesn’t appeal to me very much either, at least in a large-scale sense.
On the other hand, I’ve known my share of writers and bloggers who regularly rattle their tip jars and “bleg” for money. I don’t mind getting a note from PayPal once in awhile that someone donated to me through my site – in fact, someone just did so for at least the second time I recall – but I would rather sell books. And the more books I sell, the better chance I can make a full-time career out of writing and actually create more content. I already have the thought process going for my second book, which I would like to finish in the early to middle part of 2013.
But it’s interesting to note that I received a couple sales on the day I was on the radio in Frederick – not bad for very little promotion from the host and a change in time slot. I sort of like doing radio interviews, and would love to speak on my book’s behalf whether it’s over-the-air or exclusively on the internet – I’m not choosy about the venue. The more I do it, the better I will get – previous to last week I hadn’t done a radio spot since I was on the Thom Hartmann Show in April 2011. (That was regarding a piece I wrote for PJ Media.)
It’s frustrating because my book has received a number of good reviews, like this one:
Being somewhat familiar with the author (we’re both involved with the Republican party in our state, and I’m a regular reader of his blog) I opened this book knowing that there would be certain issues where we disagreed philosophically. Not on a majority of issues by any means, but we do have our ideological differences. However what I discovered was that we agreed on a lot more than I expected. That being said, the sections where we differ in opinion were for me the most intriguing parts of this book.
If you’re a Republican looking for a way to discuss your viewpoints with friends and family on the other side of the political spectrum (without stirring up hard feelings), or if you’re a Democrat honestly interested in understanding the reasoning behind conservative ideology, this book is for you. What you’ll find is a very frank discussion of conservatism. What you won’t find is the red-blooded liberal-bashing rhetoric all too common in today’s political writing. The author has no intent of demeaning anyone. He doesn’t insist that readers agree with him. His intent is only to get the reader to understand *why* he believes what he does. In doing so, he’s able to humanize conservative thought in a way I, even as a lifelong Republican, have not seen before.
Republicans are often criticized as callous, selfish, and uncaring about others. It’s clear in this book that the author (and many conservatives like him) cares deeply about our society and the people in it, and that his political beliefs are driven largely by that concern and compassion. That’s important because the problem with today’s political divisiveness isn’t that the two sides don’t agree on issues (they’ve always had differences and they always will). It’s that they’ve lost any real understanding of the opposing viewpoint. Having that understanding and respect for different viewpoints is essential for finding common ground on any issue. If you’re not a conservative, reading this book may not “convert” you, but you’ll definitely come away from it with an appreciation for the reasoning behind the author’s views.
This blew me away because it was written yesterday (I actually wrote this last night, so it was that very day) by someone who had purchased the book. I didn’t know it until I added the Nook link to the post about halfway through, when I realized “you know, it might be prudent to actually link to the book for this rant so you can sell it.”
Now I know that the only person who will agree with the book 100 percent is the author and if you ask him in ten years he may have changed his mind on a few things here and there. But the idea is to push things in the right direction, realizing it’s not going to happen overnight or possibly even in my earthly lifetime. And I knew the odds were stacked against me on a number of levels, since I know how to write but I’m trying to learn marketing on the fly in ways I’m comfortable with. Maybe those who support me can put up with what can be sometimes a hamhanded approach.
I’m reminded of a conversation I had the other night with Kim, who was talking about someone acquiring a bunch of e-books on a thumb drive. She was talking about this person getting the books free when I reminded her that the person was cutting into the sales of the authors of these tomes and reducing their livelihood. It was a point well made, since those who borrow my book don’t accrue to my bottom line. (I’m happy to sell copies to libraries, but I intended the book as more of a reference guide of goals that you can keep.)
I’m going to close with this. A couple Fridays ago I was working at my outside job and I happened to be working on a gift card display next to a corrugate featuring four Nora Roberts wedding-themed romance novels. (At least I presume they were, since I’m not a Nora Roberts aficionado.) The price for any of the four was $7.99 each, and I thought to myself that someone could buy the Nora Roberts book, read it in an afternoon, and never pick the thing up again – or, for about the exact same price (I guess there may be a shipping fee involved, since my copies had one tacked on) they could have a reference guide for activism that the reviewer above gave good marks to.
But no one is putting my book on a corrugate and sticking it in the aisle of a full-service grocery store; obviously that takes money I don’t have. Hell, I’d be happy to see a couple copies at local and regional bookstores for now. The book tour can come later.
So, if you haven’t already, support your local conservative writer, buy the book, and if you like it (surely you will) tell your friends. I’m not out to make this a guilt trip and don’t do puppy-dog eyes, but I would like to see many more sales in the upcoming weeks before this very important election to determine the direction of our nation.