Monday, December 6, 2010

sales, giveaways, guest blogging, good pitches, reviews and Uncle Charlie

Writers mostly live in their heads and like to move their lives along through magical thinking.  In the e-book world you can’t do that.  If you want sales. you have to get out there like Willie Loman in Death of Salesman and sell.  I come from a family of merchants.  My uncle and father used to own a department store, Jean Matou, La Maison de Trousseau, on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and M Street in Washington, D.C.  Bess Truman and later Jackie Kennedy shopped there.  My father once declined to take Bess Truman’s check.  His exact words after Mrs. Truman said: “But Mr. Saah, I live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” were  “I don’t care where you live, we don’t take checks.”  Uncle Charlie had to pull him aside and knock some sense into him.  Uncle Charlie used to travel to Sarasota, Florida  (the winter home of the circus) and sell trousseaus to the daughters of the Ringlings and the Norths.

Commerce is in my blood and very little gives me more pleasure than seeing that “unit sales” line flip upward after a good block of promoting.  Sales of my ebooks have improved each month since I began selling them in early September but I know sales would wither if I didn’t take advantage of every marketing opportunity.

In November, I guest blogged on three blog sites, revamped my opening pitch on four of the books, entered the Goodreads “giveaway” program, ran a small ad on the Kindleboards, posted my books on every possible thread both at Amazon and Barnes & Noble discussion forums and sent review copies to some reputable reviewers who will post reviews on Amazon. Legitimate reviews help a buyer decide if your book is worth their money.   I continue to comment on news websites.  All of it together moves the brand along and results in increased viewership for this blog.

One of my children pointed out that I am competing for sales with millions of other items. A million is a lot. If a buyer’s eye settles on one of my ebooks AND if those eyes linger there for more than a second AND if that person decides to click on the "buy" button, get the picture.

The most wonderful news of the month was not increased sales.  It was the birth of the beauty, Gwyneth Baehr, who arrived in our lives a little early but perfect in every way.

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