Nothing is ever simple. No newsflash there, but it's true. We all know, as writers, that we're responsible for the publicity of our books. We may not like it, but we accept it. However, when getting the word out starts to eat into the old savings account, it sure makes one long for the days when a writer could just write.
Schlepping your latest novel around to Indie bookstores is taken for granted as the author's responsibility in the promo department. It's not quite that simple. Many bookstores respond with, "Can we have a copy to look over - read - pass around among our employees to get a sense of what the book is about? -
We want to be sure your small press published tome isn't really junk. Maybe you are self-published and this is your own company. Times are tough. We don't want to take a chance.
Writers, at the beginning, may drop off a copy here and there but this eats into any potential for ever earning a buck. If you've commissioned someone to do your art work or paid an editor to ferret out your goofs, add this to the cost of doing business. At some point, you have to say, "No. Sorry, but I can't afford to give away any more books."
I reached that point today. Visited an Indie bookstore in Anacortes, Washington, and they were skeptical. Wanted a copy. I showed them the book. Gave them a business card. The press release. The great reviews. Still, they were unsure. We left it at that. Are they going to pursue my book? Probably not. But honestly, in the hopes of selling one copy, can I afford to donate one to them? To every bookstore that wants to be sure I'm not a whacko off the streets with an overactive printing press in the basement?
What's the answer? Anybody have any ideas?