Monday, September 2, 2013

A Few Things Nobody Told me about Publishing

Good Monday to you~

So Hush Puppy has been out a couple weeks now and it's been a real roller-coaster of ups and downs, highs and lows, and just plain general confusion. Being newly published, I've been excited and elated and at times, discouraged by it all.  I'm doing my best to just go with the flow and not get too worked up by any of it.  Here's some of the things I'm discovering that I never thought about or learned about before.

1)  Publishing is just as glacially slow after the book comes out as it is before. I am eager to know what readers think, but it takes time for them to find and read a book. Even longer to review it. I know all that in my rational mind, but I'm still dying to know what readers think.  Receiving copies of the book and arranging signings with bookstores is also equally slow, which leads to the second thing I didn't know.

2) I have to ask local bookstores to carry my book and they must give their blessing. I guess I just assumed bookstores would be willing to carry books of all kinds. I've also learned that some book stores don't like print on demand books because they can't return them if they don't sell.  Call me crazy, but I thought only printing the books you need would help save some trees. I look at it as a good thing. I hope to learn more about how this end of the business works and I will keep asking questions.

3) Looking at some ridiculous sales rank squiggles on Amazon Author Central will drive you batty. Here's the roller coaster part. The lines go up and down like a theme park ride designed to make you puke.  I've decided it's probably best not to look at them, but it's like a train wreck that's hard not to see. Even Amazon admits their figures can't take into account all sales of your book, so it's really just a snapshot of what's happening on the Amazon website at that moment, nothing more. Right? Right!

4) I also realize now I haven't got the foggiest notion how to reach school and public librarians, the true gatekeepers of young readers in all of this. If my readers are high school age, the best way for them to find my book is in their school library, no?  This is a puzzle piece I really need to find out more about.

None of this is to say it isn't worth it.  My book is being read (and hopefully enjoyed) by people I don't even know and that's very exciting. I just hope I get the hang of this marketing thing. If any of you have some helpful hints or ideas for me, I'd love to hear them~


  1. Lisa,
    Regarding the libraries, both school and public, go to them and supply a signed copy. It's a nice donation and it gives you a great reason to have a little face time with the librarians, who will certainly promote your book in-house if they like it.

    However, teens don't buy books nearly as much as their parents buy books for them. Therefore, remember to provide flyers to those same librarians (and English teachers if they'll let you) whenever you have a signing/event. That way there's a greater chance of getting the teens to ask their parents to bring them out. I send flyers to 25 schools locally, to both the librarians and English teachers, and have had great turn out, so long as I provide the flyer enough time in advance.

    Good luck, and avoid all things Amazon :) Those ranks and stats are so wildly inaccurate you'll go crazy. Just write your next novel.

  2. Thanks for the ideas, Eric. I guess that's another thing nobody told me about...all the free copies I need to hand out to people. :) The indie bookstores want free copies too. I don't really mind it, but it never occurred to me they would expect it.