WHERE HAVE ALL
THE READERS GONE?
My first book,
"Kids, Dogs and Other Pests," was released worldwide a couple of
weeks ago, and sales have been a bit slow.
In fact, my
publisher checked Amazon.com the other day to see how many copies have
been sold, and she announced to me that we stood at #1,550,295 on Amazonís
Best Seller List.
that good?" I innocently asked.
should move up the ladder fast," she replied. "As soon as we
sell a second copy."
seem all that excited that we had actually sold one copy. But neither was
I, considering I was the one who bought it.
All I could
think about was my fatherís line, when someone asked him about the
dismal sales of the many books he published over his career as an author.
"Some people collect rare books," he would say. "I write
But he did
sell more than one, so he was way ahead of me. Clearly, my publisher had
dropped the ball. Where was the publicity? Where were the book tours?
Where was the invitation to appear on Oprah?
of that came with the $800 self-publishing package we bought,"
answered my 27 year old daughter, who happened to be my publisher.
"The only thing we got was placement on Amazon.com."
"We need a
publicist!!" I demanded, giving her my best artist tantrum, which
wasnít much. "Iím drowning in inconsequence."
publisher called my niece, who sent out a press release. It was very well
done and I was delighted about all the nice things she said about me.
However, I donít know where she sent it, because sales remained at one.
also wrote a nice review of the book (which is actually a collection of
columns) on Amazon.com. Then my publisherís boyfriend wrote a review as
well. Both of them gave the book the highest rating, 5 stars. And thatís
without reading it, because I know they didnít BUY IT because sales were
still at one.
upped my rating of my daughterís boyfriend from 3 to 3 Ĺ stars, thanks
to his efforts. If he had actually bought the book, I would have given him
"What are we
going to do?" I asked. "I need to at least double sales in the
Grandma?" asked my publisher. "Iím sure sheíd buy one."
My eyes lit up. My
Mommy would definitely come through for me. Unfortunately, she didnít
have internet access. But she did have cash.
I had to buy her
lunch, which cost me $30, but she forked over the $9.95 for the book and I
placed the order for her. Bingo. Sales doubled overnight.
I was on my way to
the Best Seller Lists. I just needed a few more outlets. A friend offered
to throw a book party for me, where I sign copies for invited guests, but
that sounded kind of desperate. I had already sold two copies---I didnít
need that much help.
Besides, I had my
ace in the hole. In my real life, I happen to own a bunch of retail
stores, which sell a variety of merchandise, including (heh, heh, heh)
hundreds," I instructed my publisher, who also happens to be one of
the main buyers for our stores. "Sales of my book could be just the
ticket that will put us over the top for the year."
eyes widened. She gets a cut of every book ordered and I could see the
little dollar signs sloshing around in her brain. "Do you really
think theyíll sell in the stores, though?" she asked, thinking it
and my publicist have failed miserably on Amazon.com, Iím taking over
marketing," I announced. "First of all, weíre placing my book
next to the sales counter, where every customer can see it."
think theyíll buy it?" she asked with a total lack of confidence.
not," I answered. "Iím out to increase sales in our retail
stores---thatís my real job."
"So how are
you going to do that?" asked my publisher.
brilliant," I replied. "Weíll do a promotion where if you make
a $10 purchase in the store, you get a free copy of my book."
started to get excited, but I cut her off. "And if you make a $20
purchase," I added, "you donít have to take it."