What? I’ve got to sell it?

The Eldest Daughter works in PR. The Brother asked what the ‘target sales’ for my book were.

The what?

“If someone buys it, I will fall off my chair with joy.” I told him cheerfully. The Brother was happy with my reply, but the ED was more persistent. “Send me your marketing materials. Would you consider a give-away competition? What about press coverage?”

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. My foray into authorship is so nervously tentative that I have hidden my novel behind a pen name (that is partly because of the raunchy scenes, which I quietly hoped my children and mother would never get to see). Too late for that. I will tell them I Googled ‘novel sex’ and copied somebody else’s words. Although that particular search might reveal more than I care to witness. I made that mistake when I wanted to buy rabbit toys for my daughter in law this Christmas (actual toys for an actual rabbit. Please).

It didn’t take much research to realise that, with the sheer number of books being published each day, a debut novel by an unknown author was destined to total anonymity. Part of me rather likes that idea. I wrote this book for myself, and I will have a copy on my bookshelf until the day I die. After my passing, the grandchildren (when they arrive – take note ED) will exclaim in wonder that Granny wrote a book. (Hopefully they won’t read the sexy bits. Although, I will be past caring by then).

My target sales crept up. One hundred books sold would put me in the top 10% of published authors (I read this – somewhere); that 90% of books sell less than one hundred copies. If this is true, it is tragic. Of course, some of those books will have been specialist or niche. Never intended to achieve mass sales. But just think of the number of wonderful stories which might be out there, that we don’t even know about!

I put the word out to extended friends and family. I reckon I’ve got twenty plus guaranteed sales, and I’ll probably buy a dozen myself.

Three hundred sales (I did the maths) would pay back the money spent publishing the book (although not the money spent buying a dozen back). Time spent writing has been a pleasure, so I don’t want payment for that. The husband might argue that the time could have been better spent elsewhere.

So, yay – I have a target. I simply need three hundred people to buy my book. If it’s a good enough read, and amuses them, maybe sales will grow from there? Or from the sequel (now underway) when I eventually publish that.

Easier said than done, though, finding three hundred people who want to buy your book. Back to Google, CreateSpace, @thecreativepenn, @JFbookman… I could go on. Hundreds of blogs, thousands of bloggers, millions of tweeters on twitter who are #writing #self-publishing #givingadvice about how to market your book. And CreateSpace tells me I should be one of them.

Gulp, here I go then. I am not ‘tech-stupid’, but I’m not “tech-savvy” either. And I am frequently ‘tech-frustrated’. I am too impatient (there we go, again) to spend time working things out and setting them up correctly. If my *avatar (*little personal picture – I have learnt that) doesn’t chose itself and load automatically, I am inclined to throw my hands heavenwards in despair and leave the Twitter/Wordpress generated, headache-inducing image in place. Consequently my blog is somewhat basic (I can see you, nodding). But it does exist. As for Twitter, well! That is a whole other blog.

And press coverage? Oh no, I’m not nearly brave enough for that. Yet.

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