Well, although my ranking on Amazon.com is respectable (relatively speaking) it’s been steadily declining. My publicist assures me that her comprehensive marketing and promotion plan hasn’t yet kicked into high gear, and when it does, my numbers should skyrocket. I’m not losing faith, but I am chewing on my fingernails. Considering that I will be retiring on March 31 so I can devote myself to writing full-time, and for the most part, my only income will come from royalties and advances (or a sweet movie deal), I might be working part time at the local 7-Eleven making strawberry slurpees.
In spite of the great reviews my novel has received, and the support of my family, friends and readers, I still face what seems an insurmountable obstacle. Here’s the problem. One of the key components in trying to maximize my novel’s sales potential is to have it available on-line through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc., which it is, but even more important is having it available at the “brick & mortar” stores. Unfortunately, for a first-time novelist, most freestanding bookstores won’t give them the time of day. With limited space, they fill their shelves with books written by well-known authors who have a proven track record.
Even though millions of readers purchase books via the Internet, there are still untold numbers of people who buy their books from traditional bookstores. There’s something intoxicating about going into a retail store and browsing through shelves and shelves of books; smelling them; touching them; thumbing through the pages. Not my agent, the Amazon Encore PR person, or my publicist have had much luck convincing retail stores to carry a few copies of my novel. And the hard, cold reality is that if I can’t get my book in front of potential readers in the retail bookstores, any hope for it to do big numbers is highly unlikely.
To make the situation even more difficult, Amazon Encore, my publisher, is a division of Amazon.com. And they are Barnes & Noble and Borders’ biggest competitor. Understandably, even if the retail stores were interested in carrying my novel, they would be reluctant to do so because they wouldn’t want to do anything to advance their number one competitor: Amazon.com. Now if I could coordinate an effort with about 10,000 people coast-to-coast, and have them call every retail bookstore in the country, hour after hour, and ask if they carry my book, maybe, just maybe the incessant nagging might compel them to stock a few copies.
Anyone out there know 10,000 people looking to help a poor, starving novelist?