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.
     "Is that good?" I innocently asked.
     "We should move up the ladder fast," she replied. "As soon as we sell a second copy."
     She didnít 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 them."
     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?
     "None 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."
     So my 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.
     My niece 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.
     However, I 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 a 4.
    "What are we going to do?" I asked. "I need to at least double sales in the next week."
    "How about 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) books.
    "Order 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."
    My publisherís 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 through.
    "Since you 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."
    "And you think theyíll buy it?" she asked with a total lack of confidence.
    "Of course 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.
    "Itís 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."
    My publisher started to get excited, but I cut her off. "And if you make a $20 purchase," I added, "you donít have to take it."
    Brilliant.

 

 

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