The first book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series, Murder is a Family Business, is finally in print. As my book was published by a small, independent epublisher called MuseItUp, there were and are no provision made for marketing print copies of books. Actually, the fact it has come out in print at all is a minor miracle to me. That said, I ordered 75 copies of my book at discounted prices, intent on distributing them myself. Naturally, because I am married, I roped my husband into helping me. So husband, Norman, and I threw the books into the trunk of the car and started the job of trying to get independent bookstores in the Bay Area to carry the book. We are helped by the fact the book cover is so darling you could eat it with a spoon. Thank you, cover artist, Delilah K. Stephans. It's a great size, too, somewhere in-between a pocket book and a hard cover. The book shows really well.
That said, I still can't bring myself to go into stores and ask them to carry it. I simply can't. I blither, I blush, I stammer, I look everywhere but at the person in charge. I have discovered I am horrible at promoting myself.
So Norman to my rescue. He's also darling and is willing to wear a suit in the summer heat to give him a professional touch. Wearing his new Panama straw hat, he marches right into that store, and tries to talk them into carrying my book while I trail behind. Norman introduces me, says I have laryngitis, which I did but don't anymore, but it is really so much better if I still pretend to.
Norman is terrific. I, as I've said, become a mere shell of my former self. I don't do much other than make sure Norman's hat tilts jauntily to the side, and murmur things like, 'go get 'em, tiger' before we enter the store. Once inside, doorknobs have been smarter than me.
But thanks to Norman, bookstores in Carmel, Healdsburg and Napa are carrying the book. And I am scheduled to do a Meet and Greet in Napa for 2 hours on August 21st. Heaven help me. I will try not to blather at customers when they walk in the door, sending them screaming into the parking lot from whence they came. And I will be thankful we live in wine country, so I can have a selection of calming wine to choose from when the two-hours are over.
But I am aware we have only skimmed the surface of the distribution game. We still need to go to dozens of bookstores through the Bay Area hoping a few of them will provide space for my precious little book. Should someone buy the book, it's a 55/45 or 60/40 split with the store. Subtracting the cost of the books, gas, and the price of having the jaunty hat cleaned, I might clear three bucks.
Welcome to my world.