Opportunity Knocks, or How To Sell Books

You know what’s tricky? It’s not writing the book (though that’s hard), or editing the book, or getting a cover for the finished book.

It’s getting people to buy the book.

That’s kind of where I get stuck. My book sells, don’t get me wrong. I see sales come in, or take a look and see that someone’s been reading a Kindle copy. But I don’t like to throw myself out into the spotlight, and along with that, I don’t actually enjoy marketing. I don’t like trying to get reviews. I don’t like reading reviews. I’m really just content to know that my work is out there, and that some people might find it and like it. I never thought that would happen, and never really imagined that I would be able to say that I’ve published a book. So to some extent, that alone is enough for me. But I do still like to see sales come in. I mean, there’s always something especially nice about seeing that someone, somewhere has decided to spend a couple bucks to read my work. I mean, that’s just outrageous, right? This thing that I spent so long making, and someone I don’t know–and in quite a few cases, someone who lives on an entirely different continent–decided they wanted to buy it? I love that. I’d love to see people keep finding my work and taking a chance on it.

And that’s where the “opportunity” from the title comes in. It’s still in the planning stages, and may not happen at all, but I might have a chance to participate in a workshop at a pretty big bookstore, and that bookstore would put in a special order for copies of my book. I would take part in some of the activities planned, maybe do a talk about what the process of self-publishing and/or writing a book is like, things like that. It’s the best kind of marketing for me, really, because I wouldn’t really be doing any marketing–I’d just be talking about stuff I know and like, and my book would just happen to be there.

~Sofia

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Hamilton, or ‘Why I’ve Sold My Soul To See This Show’

Disclaimer: I did not really sell my soul for Hamilton tickets. I’m also pretty sure that a soul doesn’t have a high enough market value to get you tickets to Hamilton. Especially not if those tickets are from the resale market. Do not try to sell your soul to get Hamilton tickets. Even if it does work, it’s probably a bad decision in the long run.

So anyway. Hamilton. I saw it back in October, and it was a fantastic experience. And now I’ll be seeing it again in May. I’m super excited, and I got the tickets at a bargain. All they cost me was my firstborn child.

Kidding, again. No one’s going to pay me for the privilege of having to raise a yet-nonexistent newborn, and they’re certainly not going to part with their Hamilton tickets for that. No, I paid the appallingly overpriced resale value instead. But luckily, I nabbed my tickets a few weeks before tickets for that night made their way into 4-digit prices.

Why would I do such a thing? Well, after my first time seeing the show, I was a little excited. By which I mean I chattered about the show nonstop (NONSTOP!) to anyone would listen and quite a few people who tried very hard not to listen. Most of my friends politely tolerated me and assured me in soothing tones that of coooooourse they would listen to the soundtrack as they backed away slowly. One friend finally really got kind of interested after watching Hamilton’s Grammy performance, but that interest never went much beyond “Oh, yeah, that actually seems like a cool show!”

One friend in particular, though, took an actual interest. Like, a lot of interest. I loved it, because I could tell her all the random trivia and nonsense I know about the show, the actors, and Alexander Hamilton and she actually cared. And one day in February, she suddenly texted me and told me she was going to see Hamilton. I was thrilled. I mean, finally I would know someone else who’s seen it in person! And then I got an idea. I could go see it again, too. So I texted her back and told her to let me know when she was looking at going, and she informed me that she expected me to go, too.

So that settled that. I had an excuse, and we booked the trip two days later. I’ve had about a dozen people question that decision, and ask me why I “wasted” so much money to see the show again–and this is after getting grief for weeks about how much I spent the first time, too. But the thing is…Hamilton is important. For so many reasons. And I consider myself extremely lucky to have seen the original cast, and even luckier to have the opportunity to see it again with most of the main cast (Groff, you were phenomenal and it’s sad that you’ve gone. Best of luck to O’Malley, King George III the Fourth! I look forward to seeing your performance!). Being in the Richard Rodgers Theater and seeing that show…it’s an experience that’s difficult to describe. I’ve seen quite a few shows over the years–some on Broadway, most in Chicago–and even though I’ve loved almost all of them, Hamilton feels different. The atmosphere in the theater is different. And I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to see the show and be even just a tiny, tiny part of the phenomenon that this show is. Which is why I’ll be seeing it in Chicago shortly after it opens this fall as well. I want to see how an entirely different cast breathes life into the characters just as much as I want to keep seeing the original cast’s performances.

~Sofia

Journals and Jobs

I know, I know-I apologized about a month ago for the lack of activity, and then I promptly went silent again.

I’m terrible at maintaining a routine, you guys, and I doubt I’ll really get better at it. I’ve been trying for years to be good at things like this. Things like using planners consistently to keep my schedule straight, or journaling every day, or keeping up a blog…I try. I’m just really bad at it. So as an update, here’s my life so far, broken down into easy-to-digest (or easy-to-ignore for those of you who really don’t care 😛 ) bullet points:

  • I have another exam on Saturday. This one’s to certify me as a National Certified Counselor. It’s a Big Deal and I’m hoping I don’t fail.
  • I haven’t studied for that^ because, again, I’m bad at routine things like regularly making time to study.
  • I got a JOB!
  • I’ve bought about four new journals in the past two months, and they’re all still basically blank
  • I dozed off and fell off my exercise bike the other day
  • I have another trip to NYC (and another ticket to Hamilton)

 

That pretty much covers it. I’m also using April (or more specifically, Camp NaNoWriMo) to buckle down and finish Stagestruck. I’m so horrendously behind schedule on that, and part of the reasoning is that I feel like I need to overhaul a lot of it. Something just isn’t clicking right now, and I’m not 100% sure which element is bothering me. Not knowing makes me reluctant to work on it, because I don’t want to work on a project if I don’t think I’m going to like the final product. At the same time, I don’t want to scrap it entirely and I don’t want to start editing things prematurely. It’s a pain, and I keep finding excuses to procrastinate. Granted, some of those excuses are pretty damn valid. For example, that exam I mentioned up in the list? That’s pretty freakin’ important. Because as much as I’d like to be a super-successful author who doesn’t need a day job to survive…I’m not, and I’m getting ready to start a career outside of writing. To guarantee that career, I need to pass that exam. No passing means that the job offer I snagged a couple of weeks ago will be withdrawn and I’ll be in some serious financial trouble once student loan payments start. I need a job, so pretty much everything leisure or hobby related needs to be on hold until at least the end of this week. After that, I think I’ll have finally run out of excuses to feed my procrastination and uncertainty.

And hell. Maybe I will just start rewriting Stagestruck. Or maybe I’ll break from my usual habit and actually plot things out and find out what needs to change that way.

~Sofia