When people ask, “How do you sell so many books?”, my response is, “I work at it!”
I’m not on Amazon or have a distributor for either Crossings or The Crossings Guide, and I fill a niche market. All of which means that it’s up to me, and my market is limited. My books aren’t wildly successful, but they sell––2,050 of Crossings and 832 of the Guide so far.
At times, sales are slow. In March, I called the various venues that sell my books and all but one said to call back in May. I knew things would improve and they have. I’ve sold 51 books just in the past couple of weeks.
It’s not just one thing. It’s the article in Oregon Coast magazine that generated a few sales, the presentation at the Lane County Historical Society Museum in Eugene where I sold 12, Gold Beach Books ordered five, Smith Family Bookstore in Eugene ordered four, and one venue north of town ordered six and one south ordered seven.
Books can either be mailed or delivered. I mailed the books to Gold Beach and Eugene, but when Mari’s from Yachats wanted some, I delivered them. And when David from South Slough Estuarine Reserve, between Charleston and Bandon, contacted me via email while I was away, with an invoice for more books, I responded by asking him to wait until I was back and could make a trip south. The day before heading his way, I called the other nearby venues in Reedsport, North Bend, Coos Bay, Charleston, and Bandon to see if any of them needed books. Here’s how that played out.
My contact in Reedsport was out until next week, and both venues in North Bend didn’t need any more. Bummer! I started thinking that nobody needed any more, but my next call proved otherwise. Cheryl at the Coos Bay Visitor Information Center said that she was out of Crossings and would take 10 more. My one venue in Charleston didn’t need any, but Grover at Bandon’s WinterRiver Books took five.
Bottom line: I sold 22 books on that trip. And it was one of those perfect days, so it was a lovely drive with a nice visit at three venues. When I added the other books sold since my return from California, not only was I surprised at how many had sold, but how even the count was between Crossings at 24 and the Guide at 27 books. That has been a trend all year.
On another note, my proof pages for Around Florence arrived via email while I was in California, even though I asked them to please not send until after I returned home. I had been waiting for them since February 1. Since I didn’t have my copy of what I’d sent last November with me in California to check against, nor any time while I was there to go over them, I sent them an email. I explained that I had no time until I got home and then I had meetings and a presentation that I couldn’t reschedule those first few days back. But I would spend May 9–11 going over them and would return via Priority Mail on May 12. They wanted them by May 6. They got them May 14. My editor there let me know when they arrived.
I needed three days to go through them. On the first day, I met with Mark Brennan at the museum, and he did better scans for three photos that they felt were not good enough. Then I went home and checked out 69 points of concern (their concerns) within the text. Most had to do with dates and placing them with the word “circa.” I had placed all the circas at the end of each caption and they rewrote them within. And on about a dozen captions, they wanted me to do some rewriting. And they caught a 1990 that should’ve been 1890.
On the second day, I wrote my blog post for the week, before working my way through eight chapters comparing what I’d sent last November with the new proofs. It was wonderful seeing the photos with the captions. And most of their changes were minor and were fine with me.
Then on Sunday, I compared the last two chapters. After a break, I read the whole book from beginning to end. I caught two typos that their editor had made and found two more mistakes I’d made––another date 100 years off, and I had Civil Conservation Corps instead of Civilian . . . .
I checked off their checklist of everything they wanted me to do, and packaged the copy with any changes that I had marked with a red ball-point pen as they requested. I was sure glad I’d spread the checking of the proofs over three days. Each day, my eyes let me know that they had had enough.
Before I even started checking anything, I had to run off a copy of what I had sent them, which was the whole text. Then I had to run off a copy of everything I was sending this time, which again was the whole text plus photos. After all that printing, I had to replace three ink cartridges in my printer.
I was glad for the chance to go over Around Florence again. Not only did I find a few things to change besides the two errors, but I discovered that I liked it. Last November when I sent it in at deadline time, I was so exhausted from working on it so intensely the last six weeks before deadline, that I never wanted to see it again.
And this week, I heard from Kevin at the Siuslaw Public Library in Florence that my PowerPoint presentation about Around Florence is scheduled there on Saturday, July 26, at 1 p.m. This next week I’ll start putting it together.
Until next week . . .
Note: The Florence Festival of Books Planning Committee thought that the application and FAQs would be posted this past week on the Florence Events Center website. Well it wasn’t, but now everything is ready to post. So this next week, I would definitely expect them to be posted. If you plan to participate, you can download the application, print it out, fill it in, and send in with a check for the fee or fax with credit card info. Check on http://www.eventcenter.org.