Writing a book is easy.
Selling a book is the hard part. People are creatures of habit. Readers know which authors they enjoy; when they stop by their local bookstore or go online to book browse, they tend to buy books by those authors. This is especially true for the avid reader who may have so many favorite authors that it is impossible to read everything written by them. If someone lives on a budget, as more and more people do in our current economy, book dollars have to stretch further than ever. Books are a bargain compared to many other forms of entertainment, but folks understandably spend money first on essentials like gas and groceries. To save money, they may buy used books, trade books with friends, and visit the library. When they splurge on a new hardbound book, it is more often than not by an author they know and love. Familiarity is a safe choice.
The struggle for the new author is to find readers willing to give the unknown a chance. It is a challenge that reminds me of the times I tried to convince my sons to eat broccoli when they were toddlers. I still remember how they scrunched up their faces and declared, "But it's green!" Only when my mother started calling the broccoli florets "trees" did my boys get excited about trying this new vegetable. The idea of eating "trees" appealed to their imaginations, and soon, broccoli became their favorite vegetable. If only selling a book could be so simple.
With the release of my debut novel, Tomato Girl, I entered the unfamiliar and daunting world of book promotion. I use the word daunting not only because of the challenge of competing for readers, but because I'm the prototypical reclusive writer who is happier in a cave than on a stage. Me pitch a book? I couldn't sell water to a goldfish caught on dry land.
The unexpected delight for me along this journey has been my discovery of the online book community. I have met so many enthusiastic book lovers in communities like GoodReads, LibraryThing, and Shelfari. I've also gotten to know many book bloggers, and I can say with certainty that these folks are not lukewarm about books. They take books seriously. They not only devour books with great passion, they spend their time and energy to share their reading experiences with others. It is an amazing network of book aficionados who write detailed reviews, share book news, host giveaways, conduct interviews, make recomendations and welcome new authors with enthusiasm. I have been honored to see Tomato Girl reviewed on so many blogs and to be invited to particpate in this growing and dynamic community. I may never have a knack for sales, but I am deeply grateful to all the generous and hardworking book bloggers who seek out books by new writers and then do what they do best: spread the word.
Jayne Pupek is the author of the recently released novel, Tomato Girl (Algonquin Books), and a book of poems titled Forms of Intercession (Mayapple Press). She resides near Richmond, Virginia. Visit Jayne Pupek's website to learn more about her and what she's working on now.
I'd like to thank Jayne Pupek for agreeing to be my guest blogger today and her generosity in sending me a copy of TOMATO GIRL to read for myself. To read my review, please click here.