Being a self-published author is rewarding, but it’s a lot of hard work. There’s no big publishing company backing you, with connections, clout, and money to help you with the process — to promote and distribute your book.
Daily, I’m putting myself and my ideas on the line. I have to constantly be on the look out for opportunities to promote and sell my book otherwise it won’t get sold. It requires a huge amount of drive and tough skin. I’m fortunate that my new book is being backed by Clark College’s health department that’s a huge bonus, but I still am a little fish in the pond.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in a particularly bold state of mind and decided I wanted to go BIG. So I made a trip to one of the largest bookstores in Portland, Powell’s Books. Walking in that store was overwhelming. Books, upon books, upon books. The bookshelves were MASSIVE. When I walked to the cookbook section I almost fainted. There were sooooooooooo many cookbooks from all the big well known authors, who are backed by big well known publishers.
I walked in with a calculated plan. But after seeing the massive amounts of books. I had a moment of self-doubt. “Come on, Ms. Mosley, you’re here now. Turn it on.” I told myself. So I started walking around trying to spot the right employee to deliver my pitch to. I figured it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to target a cashier or anyone at the numerous info desks (they’d likely have to help other customers) and I wanted the person’s undivided attention. I found him, Chris was his name. I showed him the book told him a little bit of my story. He was hooked, line, and sinker. He gave me the direct contact info for the buyer. I excitedly thanked him and he wished me luck.
I decided to call the buyer while I was in the bookstore. Perhaps he would be available and I could put the book in his hands. Low and behold he answered! I immediately started in on my spiel. All the while I could detect his utterances to interrupt me, but I just kept going. He was less than enthused with my sell pitch. In a nutshell, he said it didn’t matter much that I was a local author. There’s a lot of local authors. He also went onto to tell me about the procedure for having my book reviewed. Because I’m no quitter. Even though I could hear the disconnect in his voice, I figured I had come to far to let him go. So I said “Well, my book is being sold at Clark College Bookstore as required reading.” Ah ha that got him to agree to come down and see me. When he arrived he had a very unpleasant, highly irritated look on his face. We shook hands and I gave him the book. Convinced that once he saw the cover and then the content he’d soften up. He fumbled through it. Held the pages up to the light. Gave it a quick once over and said “On a very superficial level this cookbook doesn’t jump out at me. It has nothing that stands out from the rest.” He didn’t take the copy of the book that I was going to give him, but instead he gave me a yellow card with instructions on how to submit my book for consideration.
Ha ha. Seriously. Didn’t I just tell him my whole story and why my cookbook stands out from the rest? It’s OUTSIDE of the Box, including my journey of how I came to author the cookbook. And I’m sorry, but local does have something to do with it. It has everything to do with it. I would think Powell’s Books would embrace that. Seeing as how they once were just a local little bookstore. Obviously they are starting to lose sight of their roots. Humph, or maybe the buyer was just having a bad day. Not sure what was going on with him, but I do know he made a mistake. Like he said he was looking at my book on a “very superficial level.”
He’s words stung for a few minutes, but as I left the store I ran into Chris and I shared with him the news. I also told Chris that one day my books will be on the shelves of Powell’s Books, but in the meantime, on a “very superficial level” there are no hard feelings.
**Again, I believe in myself and my ideas. I can’t and won’t let a person or an entity define me. My journey and everything about my story is OUTSIDE of the Box. Next!