Most of you know that I published a book last spring. The book is called Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement. If you didn’t already know that, I must not have been doing my job publicizing it. It feels like I’m mentioning it every time I open my mouth.
Few people are good at tooting their own horn and I am no exception. I’ve been extremely uncomfortable trying to hawk my book, but I’ve given it my best shot. That isn’t to say that I’ve given it the best shot anyone could possibly give it. Considering who I am and where my strengths lie, I gave it my best shot for me. It is one of those “push pass your comfort zone” kind of things. I’ll never be able to say that I am an expert marketer or brand developer. In fact, I am not a brand. I am just Terri. All right, I am just Terri and Dorry, if you want to be technical. Let’s just say that I don’t have the expertise, inclination, confidence, or sufficiently thick skin to promote my book in a way that will make it fly off the shelves. I’m not good at selling anything, least of all myself.
Still, I’ve tried very hard to get past my insecurities and weaknesses in this area, so as not to cheat myself out of the complete experience and opportunity on this book publishing journey. I’ve brainstormed ideas on how to promote the book. I’ve been proud of myself for following through on many of them. Some of the marketing seeds I have sown may still bear fruit down the line. A local newspaper recently published a feature story about me and my book, some six months after I originally contacted her. I’ve overcome my shyness to talk to people who might be able to publicize my book. I bring it up in the blog and in conversations with people waaaaay more than I feel comfortable doing.
All this may have been good for my moral fiber and character development, but I don’t think it has really resulted in actual sales. To be honest, I’ve been a little surprised that the sales have not been at least a little higher than they have been. Since I launched the book last May, I’ve sold about 100 copies. I’d say at least half of those have been to close personal friends and family members. Heck, Max bought two copies. I’m not demoralized or sad or disappointed or anything. For me, the act of producing the book truly was the pay-off. I’d love to have made money or at least broken even, but I was not counting on it. I look at the money I spend on this blog and on the publication of the book the way some people might look at the money they spend playing golf. I am spending the money for my own enjoyment. I just thought, with the blog readership, I might have sold a few hundred copies. I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty. This is a curiosity, not a complaint.
I mention money because I am coming up on my renewal date for the author services I contracted. I’ve had to make a decision about to what extent I want to continue them. I pay a flat fee for the distribution of both the electronic and paperback editions of the book. I also pay a fee for servicing returns, since no bookstore will stock a book unless it is returnable. As you probably know (unless I have completely failed in the publicity department), I also maintain a direct-to-reader sales page (https://secure.mybookorders.com/orderpage/2076) where people can purchase the book. The direct-to-reader sales page has the advantage of allowing me to offer buyers a discount on the sales price of the book. The other advantage is that I get a MUCH bigger royalty from books purchased on the direct-to-reader sales page than I do on books purchased through third parties like Amazon.
Maintaining that direct-to-reader sales page is fairly expensive, so it doesn’t seem worth the cost. The vast majority of the dozens of books I’ve sold have been purchased either directly from me personally or from online retailers such as Amazon. Therefore, I’ve decided not to renew https://secure.mybookorders.com/orderpage/2076 when it expires on March 26, 2019. If you would like to order a copy of Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement on that website and get a 15% discount, please do so before the middle of February. Use the promo code terri to claim your discount.
I will still be offering the book on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online retailers for at least the next year. I am also paying for the returns service for another year because the local Barnes and Noble has agreed to feature me in their next “local author” signing event and the book needs to be returnable for them to order copies. No one can tell me when that event will be, so I’m not sure when/if this will come to pass, but I thought it was worth a shot. If any of you live near The Villages in Florida and would like to attend a signing, please contact Ashley at the Lake Sumpter Landing Barnes and Noble. Maybe that would speed things along.
At any rate, thank you all for your continued support. I just wanted to let you know that the sales website will be going away in a few weeks so you could jump on the opportunity to order discounted books before it was gone.
See? Told ya I was bad at self-promotion!
Anyone who has read the book care to comment? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a proudly horn-tooting day!