Not my finest hour: book festival blues

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yesterday afternoon was not, shall we say, my finest hour.  It was hot—hair coiling, neck boiling, don't-get-lost-in-a-town-you-don't-know-because-you'll-end-up-asking-innocent-by-passers-for-help hot, and I was on my way to a gathering with other authors.  Book people.  A festival.

I had in hand (or in two born-of-plastic-bottles bags) a small collection of my books, a couple of bookmarks.  The point of the festival was to meet and greet and sell.  I stink at selling.  First-class bad.  They kicked me out of Girl Scouts for my poor cookie-selling record (I think, or maybe I just quit).  I want to talk to people, converse.  That isn't selling.  I am very, very bad at selling.

But yesterday, that was at least part of the point, and as I stood among my fellow authors, I listened in on stories by people who know how to sell.  I heard about methods.  Planes flying book banners across the shore.  Book advertisements slipped into menus.  House-by-house book club tours.  Here I am, thinking I'm fancy when I get a bookmark printed (would any of you like one?).  But my fancy is not 21st-century book marketing fancy.  At.  All.

There are many times in my life when I've looked around and been crowded down by the thought:  I am not prepared.  Yesterday was one of those days.  A better person would have stuck it out. 

I am not a better person. 

7 comments:

Beth F said...

If it makes you feel better, I would have (have been, am) the same. I'm not a seller and I hate oppressive heat; the combination would have done me in.

pink dogwood said...

I just read this by Hans Asperger :

Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal' must necessarily be 'inferior'

So just because you can't sell like the majority you saw there does not mean anything. You shouldnt say you are not a better person beacause you are better than so many I know.


I would say don't worry about selling just keep writing the wonderful stuff you write and they will sell themselves - no?

and fyi, I can't sell anything either :)

Becca said...

Ah, you sound so much like me in this post. I cannot sell things, it just isn't in me.

But why should you sell when you can write so beautifully? One person doesn't have to be able to do it all...

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

You're being too hard on yourself, Beth. Truly. And honestly, I might be in the minority, but some of the "proven" methods would seem a turn-off to me. Opening up a menu and seeing an ad for a book (or anything) fall out? That would make me remember the book, but maybe not for the right reasons.

Lilian Nattel said...

Your books are beautiful. You don't have to sell them. Selling is for coke and pepsi which are virtually identical and rot your teeth.

Lilian Nattel said...

I meant "sell" as in convince people, as in "sell" yourself. They find their way to readers. Readers find their way to them.

Holly said...

I'm sorry, Beth. Sometimes you do just gotta make a break for it but it doesn't feel good.

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