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Word of Mouth

I’m headed back to Michigan this week for two more appearances in connection with my book. This is what is euphemistically called a “book tour.”‘  Most of my friends think this is the glamorous part of a being a published author, but for most authors it is not. It is all part of the process of trying to get someone to buy your book, and the costs associated with doing so should provide a nice offset against any royalties that I will receive this year on my sales.

It could be worse. In the past I have done “book-signings,” where a bookstore tried to “deliver” an audience, and you sat in a chair for an hour or so and hoped that someone would wander by and want to purchase a signed copy. This time, I was grateful to be able to work with about a half-dozen organizations to plan events that produced audiences that were large enough to make it, in my mind if not my pocketbook, worth the effort.

In the end, however, it falls back on “word of mouth”–when someone reads your book, and is enthusiastic enough that they tell someone else, be it a friend, library, independent bookstore, or the rest of the population of amazon.com by posting an online review.  That they recommend it to their book club. That they purchase it as a present for their grandchild.

I’ve often read articles about what NOT to say to persons who have just lost a close family member. Over the past few months, I’ve had some experience with comments from well-meaning friends, some of which caused a little twinge of pain. So herewith  are some thoughts about useful comments, and some not so useful comments.

First in the Not-So-Useful Category:

“Joan has told me such good things about your book, and she’s going to pass on her copy to me when she is done.”

Glad that “Joan” was enthusiastic, but I would be happier if this person was purchasing her own copy. Certainly two readers are better than one,  but sales are what will drive the ultimate print run.

“I just checked your book out of the library!”

Sure, I’m glad that the library has stocked it, but I would rather that it was discovered there by someone who wasn’t already a friend of mine.

At the same time, I recognize that $29.95 is a lot of money, particularly in these tough economic times.

As for the “useful” comnments, I’ve most appreciated those from people who admitted they were surprised to discover they actually liked my book. The aforementioned “Joan” wrote: “Who’d have thought I’d find someone so far from my usual circle of folks so fascinating?” 

As I’ve said before, an author’s book is like a child, and no one will ever love it as much as she does.

P.S. Hit Number 63, 249 on the Amazon best-seller list today. Pleased to see that that’s about 40,000 slots ahead of Christine O’Donnell.

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Filed under The Writing Life, Uncategorized

A Chapeau in the Ring

The July-August issue of Michigan History has my article on Elly Peterson’s 1964 campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from Michigan. It includes some good photos from that time, as well as photos of campaign brochures and memorabilia.

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Filed under Uncategorized, Women in Politics