26 Feb Wide-Open World Tour
How do you sell a book?
And I’m not talking about a potential book that either has been written or is being written by a writer who hopes to have it published one day. I’m talking about a book already in the bookstores, with a world-class cover and a major league publisher behind it.
Okay, I’m talking about my book: Wide-Open World.
I guess it’s really a wider question. How do you sell anything new in today’s marketplace where new things pop up every day like dandelions after a spring rain? Every book, movie, song, artist, TV show, politician, product, cause…they all want to be seen. But the viewing-buying-reading-watching-listening public only has so much attention to go around. So how do you make sure that your little baby gets at least a small piece of the attention pie?
If you’re already famous, it’s easier to get noticed. Though that’s a little like saying: If you’ve already won the lottery, it’s easier to be rich. In the same week my book was released, Pulitzer Prize winner, Anne Tyler, released her 50th novel. Oprah announced her first book club pick in over a year. Fifty Shades of Grey hit the movie theaters, whipping more readers into a frenzy, as if 100 million copies sold weren’t enough. Heck, even Harper Lee, author of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, chose my book’s publication week of all weeks to announce her first manuscript in 50 years!
With so many heavy hitters and so much noise in the marketplace, it’s easy to feel like an eager cricket at an elephant parade, but that’s alright with me. As I know from first-hand experience, crickets are hard to ignore for long.
Many years ago, I was living in Los Angeles in a converted garage apartment, trying to sleep, not having much luck. Above me, in the exposed rafters, a cricket was chirping, producing each note of its single-note song with gusto and defiance. It was the middle of the night. My wife Traca was sleeping soundly beside me. I got up.
Grabbing a tennis racket, I climbed onto a table and pulled myself into the wooden trusses that held up the roof. I wasn’t quiet about it; my adversary certainly knew I was coming, but it didn’t seem to care. As I creaked and strained my way from truss to truss, the cricket screamed its repetitive melody, louder and louder…
Before long, I reached the source. The cricket was inside some insulation right in front of me, singing its head off. Gripping my racket like a hammer with my right hand, clutching a truss with my left, I began to pound and pound and pound the insulation like a crazy man, not holding back, waking Traca up in the process.
“What in the world are you doing?” she asked directly below me in our bed.
It was only then that I realized I was completely naked, a full ten feet in the air, raging on an inch-long insect at three in the morning. Worst of all, while I stood there, out of breath, still wielding my racket like a weapon…that stupid little cricket began chirping again, right in my face.
Though I despised that little critter back in 1990, I take inspiration from it today. In the spirit of the defiant cricket, I’ve decided to hit the road, launching a venture I’m calling the Wide-Open World Tour. The idea is to connect with friends all across the country, meet readers in homes and in book stores, connect with book clubs and local media.
Anyone interested? If you’d like to host a get-together, let me know. Can you help me connect with newspapers, radio and/or TV in your area? I’d love to hear from you. Have a book club that would like to meet with a visiting author? Drop me a line. Can you be my liaison to your local independent bookseller? You’re hired. My hope is to have some fun, meet new people, sell some books, and get the word out. I’ll be starting in Florida around the beginning of Arpil, heading west for Los Angeles, then looping back East when and if the winter decided to loosen its grip on New England.
I can’t exactly say I know how to sell a book just yet, but as any good cricket knows, I can make some noise. And sometimes, that’s enough to wake people up.
Hope to see you on the road!