Recently, I had a heart to heart conversation with a marketing expert who suggested that I start a literacy program to teach kids how to write and publish their own books. This sounds like a good plan except that I’m really not very interested in working with children. I don’t think I would mind young adults but they really may not have enough fodder for a book.
I did a one-day seminar at a metaphysical store with a group of women who were interested in learning to journal. That was very rewarding but no one wanted to pay to continue the sessions. I couldn’t volunteer my time week after week, so the plan fell through. But one student did take advantage of my workshop and another one joined us to make it more lucrative for me. Both of them published books and were quite satisfied with the final product. I would love to take my workshop WRITE YOUR LIFE to different organizations that had a budget or enough people to pay for the course.
Since 2009, I worked to get my books into book stores and schools, nationally. I had some success at first, when a manager of Border’s Book Store bought 20 of my books IN PURSUIT OF A MELODY and 20 each of my CDs. But, when they closed, that was the end of my opportunity to do book signings at that particular outlet.
This article by Scott Turow explains what happened. Here’s an excerpt:
Our concern about bookstores isn’t rooted in sentiment: bookstores are critical to modern bookselling. Marketing studies consistently show that readers are far more adventurous in their choice of books when in a bookstore than when shopping online. In bookstores, readers are open to trying new genres and new authors: it’s by far the best way for new works to be discovered. Publishing shouldn’t have to choose between bricks and clicks. A robust book marketplace demands both bookstore showrooms to properly display new titles and online distribution for the convenience of customers. Apple thrives on this very model: a strong retail presence to display its high-touch products coupled with vigorous online distribution. While bookstores close, Apple has been busy opening more than 300 stores.
For those of us who have been fortunate enough to become familiar to large numbers of readers, the disappearance of bookstores is deeply troubling, but it will have little effect on our sales or incomes. Like rock bands from the pre-Napster era, established authors can still draw a crowd, if not to a stadium, at least to a virtual shopping cart. For new authors, however, a difficult profession is poised to become much more difficult. The high royalties of direct publishing, for most, are more than offset by drastically smaller markets. And publishers won’t risk capital where there’s no reasonable prospect for reward. They will necessarily focus their capital on what works in an online environment: familiar works by familiar authors.