Sunday, October 16, 2016

The elevator/escalator life of the author

Book sales. Well, am I right? They're up, they're down. They're over the top; they're below the counter. Checking sales statistics every day in the life of an author is like jumping on a moving roller coaster ride. First level, you check the stats on No, that was a downer, take a headlong dive. Check the stats of Amazon. ca. Better. Slowly inch upward. Then, check the stats on Yikes. Where the *#? are my Irish relatives? and what happened to their wallets? Take a sharp, twisted nose dive. Oh, boy. Don't lose the day job. Wait, I don't have a day job. YIKES again. Sigh. Go to Coaster slows down as it pulls slowly uphill. Oh dear. Still under a million sales which is supposed to be not too bad. Ahem.

Almost awful but then check the Author rank under my genre. Sigh. 40,000 sounds so much better, doesn't it? No really, doesn't it? Roller coaster hesitates, stalls and then..... falls. Real life interrupts your twisted dream climb and you know you have to keep plugging away!!

Good thing I still love my book(s). And I love to write and will continue to do so. Jude Pittman shared some words of wisdom with me, something to the effect of:  'Write for the love of it - knowing that your children and their children and their children will enjoy a piece of you and your heart for all eternity.' That struck home with me in a big way. I write because I love to write and because I believe that the good Lord gave me a gift to use. I will carry on.
My promotional activities have led me to so many book stores and libraries and, in every place I've travelled to, I've met people who all share a strong, common bond: the love of words - the love of stories. I call them "Word Movies." No matter what you call them, we all share the love of weaving words into stories and bringing characters to life so that they become real. Magical. Characters that are our friends. And our enemies. Real. When we can do this with our story, with our characters, then our books are true word movies.

I'm loving the writing and marketing journey that my book, The Twisted Climb, brings me. Jude Pittman, our publisher, is a great guide and I follow her directions. Occasionally I go off centre but she always brings me back. Doesn't even need the whip sometimes. Kidding, Jude!

My first official Book Signing at Chapters, in Barrie, Ontario

Had the best time with the professionals at Chapters in Barrie, Ontario on Saturday (yesterday). Everything was well prepared and the staff were fantastic for my first official commercial book signing. I gussied up my book table and added a few cosmetic touches so the front doors, pillars and book table were eye-catching and professional. It was a fantastic learning experience and once I got the art of maintaining eye contact with every passer-by, they were mine. Now I know that I have one-on-one sales skills. I like that ! All this time, I've been plugging my book The Twisted Climb like a one-lung Irish banshee on her last lump of coal and her final sip of whiskey. Ha! Not any more..... but you know, the cool part of my book signing was that Wayne Gretzky was coming to town the very next day at the very same book store, pushing his latest book at the very same table I just emptied of my great book stock. I left him a wee message and told him that if his book signing was as successful as mine, he should be happy. Aren't I the cheeky one chatting up the Great One? !!

Now, I'm taking a breath and about to prepare for an Author Event in my local town - one of five authors invited to read from their novel, participate in a Q&A session and then provide time for a signing/selling session. Throughout this publishing / marketing experience, I've learned that if you invite 50, expect one percent. Even if they are your best friends. The up-side is that even if they don't/can't come, I still love them! I'll take some pics of the 'Meet the Author' event this week - part of the Ontario Public Library week activities - and post on my blog next month. I'll also add some more details about my favourite scale-covered mammal, the pangolin. Until then, enjoy this blog and the other blogs of the very talented writers from the Books We Love collection of authors.

J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb, a book for young adults and adults young at heart.
Twitter: JCKavanagh1