I’m quite happily sitting in my Credit Union writing this blog. Isn’t that a gas? Can you imagine one of the big banks letting one of their customers set up shop for the day? They’d probably insist that you hawk their wares. They might even set a quota for you like they do with their employees. They’d have me hoodwinking customers with a ‘Get Your Checking Account Over Here’, ‘Hey, You, Need More Credit Cards?’, ‘Buy Our Loans’, and, maybe squeezing in a “Look At My Book, please”. But not here in my warm and friendly credit union. They even took my picture to post on their social media spot. You see, I am a card carrying member of this institution. As such, I have the privilege of sitting here at this little table right inside the front door to hawk Mediterranean Journey. It’s even close enough to the Second Cup coffee shop to sneak into their WiFi. There are rules for sitting here, of course. Like, I’m not allowed to call people over like a barker in the circus. But I can smile at the customers and hope my gorgeous book cover, blown up 10 times it’s original size, will lure them in. Once they are here, I can schmooze with them as long as they hang around. I tell them the story of how this book came about, my struggles with writing, how my mom saved the letters (I like using the phrase “unbeknownst to me”) and my sister sending that little shoebox to me after mom died. That last part always gets a “Really?” from the listener. But you know, maybe they’re just trying to figure out what a letter actually is and how old I must be to have written such things.
I’ve been here an hour and ten minutes and sold two copies — fourteen more to go!
Being here is part of my Self Marketing Strategy. See, the thing about Self Publishing is that you also have to become an expert at Self Marketing, Self Selling, Self Esteem, Self Schmoozing, Self Everything! For a woman who took more than 65 years to get to a point with enough self confidence to start to believe that she could write, all of this Selfie stuff doesn’t come easily. But I know enough now to understand that without it my wonderful book will be just that — a really good collection of stories with a beautiful cover that no one knows about.
A couple of weeks ago I started this Self Marketing. I pushed my comfort levels to their limits and volunteered to sit at the Writers’ Union table at the big Word on the Street event. Why not, I said? They’ll be thousands and thousands of readers there. And, it doesn’t cost anything and I can put my book on the table and hope someone is interested. They weren’t — but they weren’t interested in the other two authors either who had a lot more books and were a lot more vocal than I about hawking them. But, the volunteering was all worthwhile because I met these two fabulous, unselfish-self-published women authors. They were much further along in this whole game than I am and were amazingly generous with advice and direction. One of them told me how to get signings in big bookstores here in Toronto. “It’s easy,” she said, “Just call up and ask for who’s in charge of consignments.” I didn’t tell her that that sounded pretty daunting to me. Cold calling has never been my strongest skill — I always felt guilty suggesting it to my clients as a job search strategy. But, hey, if she could do it so can I. I put it on my agenda for next week’s marketing blitz.
What’s most interesting personally for me, is that I can do this schoomzing with no problem. I can get enthusiastic, bubbly even, about these stories and this beautiful book. It was surprising to me to realize that I finally reached the point where I love this book. Yeah, I do. I wholeheartedly believe that it is GOOD — not in the sense of righteousness but just good storytelling. Maybe it just took enough people reading it and really liking it to convince me that this book is worth what I have to do to get the word out — even if it’s spending a whole day in the Credit Union sitting at this little table and watching people walk by.
Six hours, 7 books sold. One more half hour to go — who knows, maybe they’ll be the 5 o’clock rush! It’s all good.
Attention All Book-Clubbers: I’m very excited to announce that I’m offering a special package to bring Mediterranean Journey to Book Clubs! This package will include: A discount on books for book club members (of course), a Special Menu culled from the food mentioned in the book that the host could serve at the book club, and an In-Person appearance by the author for a reading, listening and a Question & Answer session. If your book club is looking for something specific just let me know, this program is open to change!
Amazon.com Buyers: If any of you purchased your copy of Mediterranean Journey from Amazon.com, you might consider writing a short review of what you thought about the book!
Buy This Book: In case you haven’t found the link for ordering Mediterranean Journey: A Young Woman’s Travels Through 1970s Europe, here it is. The book is available worldwide through Amazon.com, or, if you want a signed copy, you can order it from me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies are $14.99 + S&H each, or special offer 2 copies for $25 ($US/$CDN)! PayPal, check, money order and cash are all accepted. Great Holiday Gifts!