Friday, July 25, 2008

Sell, Sell, SELL!!

Tip of the Day: Buy the book, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, if you haven’t already. Please. PLEASE! Don’t make me get on my hands and knees!! (you know I'm kidding, right? Sort-of)

I get asked ALL THE TIME by family and friends, “How’s the book doing?”

I’m not exactly sure what they mean by this, but I think they want to know, is it selling? Are you making money?

It’s always a hard question to answer, because for the most part, I don’t know how it’s doing. Sometimes I say, “It’s doing all right, I guess.” Sometimes I say, “It’s went into a third printing, so I think it’s doing fine.” But if you catch me on a bad day, I might glare at you and say, “I don’t know. I’m trying not to think about it.”

The truth is, I think about it ALL THE TIME. I don’t want to. But you’ll see, when you have a book on the shelves, I think it must be like having a kid off at college. You know you need to let the kid have his independence, but damn if you don’t want to call everyday and find out what’s going on!

I am one of those who obsessively checks Amazon rankings. Mine has pretty consistently stayed in the five digits. The lower five digits, like in the 20-30,000 area, makes me very happy. When it creeps up into the 90,000s, my heart starts racing. And when it goes over 100,000, I have to click away immediately so I don’t burst into tears.

My book has now been out for six months. I think I feel like more copies should be selling, not less. I start to panic and wonder what, if anything, I can do to get word out about the book. Should I send a copy to every talk show host? Every teen magazine in circulation? Should I blanket the city with book signings, even if I would rather hang by my ankles above a big pile of dog poo than sit at a table trying to look happy as NO ONE walks up to the table?

They say the best thing you can do as a debut novelist is to write the next book. I’ve done that. I hope it helps to get my name out there. I’m working on a third novel now. But I’m finding it incredibly hard this time around to shut off all the noise and just write.

Because here’s the thing. The truth I’ve only recently realized. I don’t just want to be a published author. I want to be a successful published author. There’s a difference, you know? A big difference.

Of course, then I have to figure out what success means to me. So I ask you – how would you define success for yourself? Is getting a book published success enough?

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I’m Pubbed


Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this up, Lisa. I think it's something we all think about, and I'd be the exact same way (trying unsuccessfully not to obsess about my book's success). For the record, though. It's a great book, and I think it'll be around for a long time.

Emily Marshall said...

I think the fact they already bought a second book is a definite measure of success for you, Lisa. I can't imagine what I'd be like worrying all the time about my book. But I think moving onto the next ones is good advice. It's hard not having control over sales, so I guess you have to grab onto those things you can control.

And I have no doubt you will have a successful career as an author! You have already achieved so much. Hang in there!

Jody Feldman said...

Okay, Lisa. Did you come pull the thoughts out of my head when I wasn't looking? Then expose them for all the world to see?

Your Obsessed Friend

Kate Fall said...

Great post, Lisa! You're right, we want to be successful published authors by our own definitions. If it's publishing a book people love and recommend to others, you're successful!

I think I'd want to know my next books have a chance and that editors will continue to be interested in me, so I could keep getting my books to readers. Your sale of the second novel is so awesome, I can't wait for it to come out. Then your obsessing can be split up!

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

What a timely post. I'm ALREADY obsessing over this...


D. Moonfire said...

Heh, I know exactly what you mean. When I worked on my first book, I was just happen it was published. Then, I learned there is a different between being published and being published well. So my next goal was to be properly published. Still working on that one, apparently its harder than just getting a book out.

But, I think you should always work toward a goal. And there is always some point where you can keep on moving. Writing a second, third, or more book is just one way of getting there.

But, its still great that you got where you are. So, also be happy for the success you did do. Its easy to lose that when you work on #2, 3, or beyond.

Rachel Hamby said...

I think our definitions of success change as we succeed. When you reach one goal, there is always another to strive for. Right now, I would be happy to have a book published. Heck, I'm happy when I get a personal rejection!

Keep dreaming big and working hard. I'm sure your determination will take you far!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Julie - it is SO hard not to obsess. Most days I do okay, but some days...

Em - You are right. I remind myself everyday there is only one thing I can control, and that's the writing.

Jody - Hooray, HOORAY, I'm not the only crazy one. :)

Kate - yes, my obsessing will be split. Oh joy.

Jess - whatever you can do to NOT obsess, do it. Trust me, DO IT!

DM and Rachel - you're right, we have to just keep dreaming and working toward our goals and just do the best we can. That's all we really can do, isn't it?

DeenaML said...

Maybe we all need to do posts on what being a Successful Author means to us. I'd be interested to hear others' opinions!

D. Moonfire said...

DeenaML: Not giving up. :)

For my first novel, it took me two years to write. I finally got it done, showed it off to a friend who promptly hated it, tore hugs holes in it, and basically told me it would never work. So, after pouting for a bit, I rewrote it. Made it a fantasy instead of urban fiction, expanded on it, and then got it accepted and printed. Pretty damn happy with that.

(... then the company went out of business, but oh well, I had my second goal then.)