Monday, November 15

It's Not About the Money

I worked a charity event this weekend, and ran into many old friends. One of them asked me how book sales are going (hate that question!), and I responded with "have you bought one yet?" We've had this same conversation about three times since my first book released last December. Finally, she was able to respond in the affirmative. I eagerly asked if she liked it. "Oh, I loaned it to Rebecca (who, by the way, was going to buy her own copy before this happened) to read. I only read thrillers and serious books. Your book was too gushy for my taste - I stopped after the first few pages. But I supported you buy buying it, after all."

No. No, she did not. She supported the economy, not me. Basic marketing is about word of mouth. Right now, I'm nothing more than a dust catcher on her book shelf. If she read it - even if not her usual style - she would know enough to be able to recommend it to people. She would know it takes place in Charleston, is centered around a Civil War mystery and a journalist. And when she encounters friends and family who could relate to any of those topics, she could mention my book. Use it as a stocking stuffer? Secret Santa present at work? Whereas now, she considers her duty done after whipping out her visa card. She'll never bring it up to anyone. How can she, when she knows nothing about it? What on earth makes me stand out from the stack of books in her living room, makes my book a noticeable commodity, different from all the rest? Absolutely nothing, at least in her eyes.
Support, to me, isn't monetary. It is emotional. It is listening with interest every day when friends tell me about their marathon training - even though I don't care about running and think they are nuts for doing it. It is remembering to ask my friends if they won their field hockey tournament, or going with them to an event I don't care about, just to be there for them. I don't write for the paycheck. I write as an escape for me, while writing, and an escape for readers, to brighten their day. At the end of the day, I almost wish she hadn't bought my book. Has this happened to any of you?


  1. Well, it hasn't happened to me because I'm not published. As you well know. But I can say I have been to more booksignings, blogs, events, etc, etc, to support other writers that I couldn't list them all.
    Because I hope when it's my turn, that those who I have supported will remember.
    And, for the most part, I like to.

  2. It has happened to me, but I can't say it bothered me that way, because I thought it was loyal that they bought it to begin with. Even though the person who borrowed the book was a lost sale for that one, she might be a gained sale for the other one.

    Pollyanna striking again!

  3. Okay, now I feel guilty. Because I've bought my best friend's books and haven't read them. She writes lesbian romance/smut (her words, not mine). I critiqued her first book--which didn't get published but did get her a contract for the next one. And read parts of the first published book. One of these days I'll have to actually sit down and read them.

  4. Christi, look on the bright side - the friend she gave the book to may be singing your praises all over the place...I understand how hurtful comments like that can be, though.

  5. With any luck, her friend will buy your next book. And invite one of her friends to read it, who will buy the next book and will invite....
    hopefully the word will spread!