If you have ever had to “sell your capabilities” to someone else, then you probably know the sickening feel that you get when you are concerned that you’ll either come off sounding like a boorish braggart or a blithering idiot. Well, that was exactly where I found myself. I believed that the book was good or I wouldn’t have spent time sending it to editors. But then, I like infomercials (the ones with food), so I really had to do some soul searching.
I started with a Web site. A friend that knew my limited capabilities on the computer suggested that I not go whole hog about this, but save myself some grief and try Freewebs. He felt that with all the tools that I had available there I should clean up the project in hours, if not minutes. Two days later and several packs of cigarettes and pots of coffee, I completed www.freewebs.com/jpwhickson. I must admit, I thought I had the world by the tail at that point, but it was just the beginning. I needed to be recognized by search engines. (I really hope I got that term right.) I sent out invitations to come visit the website, created a little picture of my book on my email with the site listed and HOOOORAY. One pleasant spring day, there I was on Google. I immediately called a friend who had the same amount of computer savvy as I, and asked, “Mary, have you ever Googled yourself?” There was dead silence at the other end of the phone. Suddenly there was a bit of stammering and I realized, she thought it was some perverted sexual act. “No wait, I mean, have you ever put your name in a Google search?” I heard a sigh of relief and she answered no. We both Googled JP Whickson for the rest of the afternoon.
My book was not moving yet and I had one big shot at it, a speaking engagement. I thought that I should just go, speak, and then they would all run to the bookstore and buy. My life partner insisted that it probably didn’t work that way, in order to sell books; he felt I should have them there. So, we ordered 200 books. By the way, if any of my relatives are reading this, guess what you are getting for Christmas. He was right, all the books I took that day, sold rapidly and I was finally a legitimate author. Someone was reading me.
I now had to make certain that I was locally stocked in bookstores. This was the start of a new dance craze that I like to call the “Bookstore Beggin’ Boogie.” You walk into the bookstore, ask to see the manager, and wait an endless amount of time. The time you’ve waited only makes you realize that you should have stopped at a bathroom prior to waiting for the manager. By the time the store manager comes to the front desk, your legs are crossed the stack of papers, promotional materials, notebook, and books fall on the floor. Just about everyone was sympathetic, I’m not certain whether it was to the cause or just because I was so inept. Whatever, it was it worked. I was now on the shelves of over 15 bookstores.
While I was “peddling my wares” I decided to stop at my old hometown library. It had been several years since I had been back in town and heard that they had built a beautiful new library, but had never seen it. This proved to be a wise move. The town’s annual celebration was about to occur and the local librarian asked me to come sit at their booth and bring some books to sell. She was so wonderful about it that I had to agree immediately.
This was now an opportunity to sell some of the books that were ordered in haste. I still don’t know why we chose 200; I think there was an author’s discount or something. Anyway, again fate had led me down a successful path. I attribute that day to the beginning of the book sale rush. Although it doesn’t sound like many, over 15 books were sold, better than that, the exposure caused a great many to sell at Amazon. I was hooked. I knew that being a flea market queen was my destiny. I hunted for small towns that I could find celebrations. I scanned the newspaper for anything that had crowds of people and booths for rent. I found one.
The setting was rural, but it was off a major highway, so it had to be good. Now if you’re a country and Western fan, what I am about to say may offend you. Don’t let it. We approached the area with about 30 booths lining the middle of the street. Willie Nelson was playing in the background and my heart began to sink. Was a Willie Nelson group ready for Do Over:Peg Waltz and the Brain Trust? Sci-Fi and country don’t always play well together. After sitting up my card table (I now was quite the small town celebration expert) I waited patiently for traffic. The loud speaker announced that the big parade was about to begin. Within minutes thirty tractors of various makes, a lot being John Deere, began to circle the booths, like Indians around covered wagons in a John Wayne movie. I knew then that God watched over me, when I felt a sprinkle and it began to rain……..I couldn’t sit in the rain, now could I?
I’m still in the process of marketing. Book sales go up for a while and then drop to the basement. But, they go up again. I have completed another book, not in the Peg Waltz series, but a romantic horror. I tried the genre because it seemed interesting and so not like my unromantic nature. It still needs a name and a lot of editing, which I decide to put off for another day.
I thought it might be interesting to share a small excerpt from Do Over: Peg Waltz and the Brain Trust, with you. Permission from the author has been given.
“Helen inserted the needle for the hormones at an angle and started the slow drip. She then hung a second bag. She had just pierced the skin with the second needle when there was a bright flash. Helen and Robert flew back against the wall knocking them out cold. As she was thrown from the area her hand flicked the needle and drove it deeply down into Peg’s flesh. The needle had been driven far deeper than Dr. Helen could have planned or imagined. The needle had pierced Peg Waltz’s aorta. The glass bed Peg lay in shattered, raining gel and glass about the room. Behind Peg, the computer began to smoke, shooting sparks across the room. The electrodes attached to Peg’s head flashed and sizzled, causing the smell of burning flesh to penetrate the area. Peg’s body convulsed, lurched in the air, and began to glow with a strange blue light. Then there was darkness and silence. The wind outside knocked violently on the doors of Doctors Care. The darkness of the room was breeched by a flash of lightening, illuminating three lifeless bodies. A final clap of thunder announced the coming of a new order.” 1.
If you enjoyed it, stop by the Web site or buy the book. It is on sale at better bookstores and Amazon. I also know someone that has a little over 100 books that would be willing to sell you one.
1. Do Over: Peg Waltz and the Brain Trust by JP Whickson, copywrite 2007