With the release of my novel, I took a hiatus from personal history work for what I call my Turquoise Summer. Perhaps it’s a good thing that summer’s almost over, because I got carried away. I chose turquoise nail polish for my beginning of summer pedicure, and when it was time to order new eyeglasses I chose turquoise frames. I autographed each book with a turquoise Sharpee. You get the picture. But why not? Like all summers, this one will pass too quickly.
On a July evening I made a book presentation at the beautiful pine-log Juniper Library in Grand Lake, Colorado, which is the setting of my historical novel in 1947. It was one of about a dozen presentations and book signings at book stores, book clubs, and libraries, and my summer experience has reminded me that it is difficult—enjoyable, but difficult—to sell your own book. It was an experience that I’ll share with my clients who plan to market and sell theirs.
Here is how the sales venues rank for the author: You make the most per book by selling them out of the boxes in your garage, or in the back of the room at events. Next best are sales from independent bookstores. Bookstores keep roughly 40 percent of the retail price, but it is great to support independents, and for them to stock your book and support you. Least best for the author, although necessary, is selling through Amazon. Amazon often sells the book at discount, keeps a high percentage from the sale, and requires the author to ship the books to them, which they in turn ship to the customer. Amazon recoups their shipping cost, but the author doesn’t. An author can actually lose money if shipping orders to Amazon in onesy twosies. The greater the quantity of Amazon orders that the author receives at once, the lower the shipping cost per book and the more the author will make. Still, the convenience of having one’s book available for order on Amazon is crucial for out-of-area sales. And Amazon is critical for offering a Kindle version. Creation of an e-book version is a service that Retelling provides.
Finally, I can’t over-estimate how much these friendly faces in the audience at Juniper Library meant to me. These are Lindsey O’Connor and Kathleen Groom from my writer’s critique group. With our fourth friend Shelly Steig we call ourselves The Wonderfuls. They supported me through the process of writing my novel, over many years, and they’re supporting me still. Gotta have some friendly faces in the crowd. Especially if it’s a small crowd. In a Turquoise Summer.