I could have written this yesterday when, despite strenuous combatative mental efforts, I felt somewhat despondent. I could have used this forum to vent: to decry the appalling waste of six hours of my life, to lament the vanity of my efforts, to call into question the wisdom and value of my actions. I could have done that yesterday, but I was hoping a good night's sleep would take the edge of my disappointment. It seems I may have been mistaken.
As part of my continuing efforts to sell my novel, Loathe Your Neighbor, I travelled to Gerringong where a street market is held once a month. At short notice, I was able to get a table, in a good location just inside the entrance to the Town Hall. It was a fresh, sunny morning. My mood was hopeful, and doubtful.
I greeted nearly everyone who walked past.Twenty six of these greetings turned into conversations. I handed out a dozen or so business cards. People talked to me, asked me questions, gave me advice, encouraged me, looked at my books, talked about what they liked to read, and what they had written themselves. Just before nine o'clock I sold a copy of my debut novel, Devolution. Forty five minutes later, I sold a copy of LYN. With that sale, I covered the cost of the table, my mood was bouyant. However, that was my last sale.
A number of people said they would think about it. Still more said they had already spent their money. Others said they simply couldn't, or shouldn't buy any more books. They wished me well. They walked away.
I couldn't help think of my taxi driving days when I once worked ten hours and took home thirty dollars. I couldn't help consider the fact that I had sold two books accidentally, a week ago when I was having dinner with a group of guys from my church. I couldn't help but be hurt but the words 'It costs too much.' I couldn't help but be discouraged by the guy who self published a book and walked into bookshops, and sold fifteen hundred copies. I received so many suggestions on how to sell LYN, and I have tried most of them, but my success has been underwhelming. I've had enough.
Was I only making conversation with people yesterday because I wanted them to buy my book? Yes. Do I like talking to people? Yes, but I wouldn't go anywhere specifically just to say hello to people, and have a chat. Am I tired of devising new ways to reach people? Yes. I'm not a salesman. It's time to concentrate on the next book. I've done all I can. Enough is enough. This post is too long and I don't want to write any more like this. When I cannot enjoy the fact that two complete strangers risked $20 of their hard earned money to buy my books, I know it is time to step back from this marketing madness. As Kenny said, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em."