How to sell a book? That is my question. I admit it’s not quite in the same realm with Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be…,” but then, as a writer, I’m more in the rank of the king’s jester.

It’s summer and I’ve munched on my oh-so healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and drank some soothing mint tea. Although the tea doesn’t seem to be making me any more mellow.

The other day, a friend, who is starting her own business out of her home, sent me her first blog. It was very well done but I hope she understands that she’s going to have find readers outside of her best friends and family. Therein lies the problem. That’s the “how to sell a…” question. Hence (very Shakespeare) my question and this blog, which will be read only by my stalwart friends.

That’s not the whole truth. My blog is read by other bloggers who are not interested in buying my books, but in trying to sell something to me. It is exciting to get emails from places like Australia and England, however.

When I decided to self-publish “How To Do Nothin’,” I began researching about what I would need to do to sell without a “real” publisher. Blog! That was the magic word along with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Just join. Get a website and for goodness (and sales) sake, BLOG. So I did. Then I discovered that no one had provided a magic wand that would abracadabra the appearance of readers.

The successful bloggers are those who explain how to blog. Many of those same bloggers are successful authors–of books telling how to sell books by blogging. Their readers are self-published writers.

Some writers worry that “regular” publishers are going belly up. I very much doubt that because their writers get onto shelves in bookstores and into airport gift shops. What authors need to worry about is how to get an agent. They hold the key to the kingdom of the publisher. And if you think Hamlet and Macbeth knew how to get rid of people, you aint seen nothin’ yet! Drop that manuscript into the mailbox and it comes out the other end like a trash shoot.

Self-publishing has given thousands of people the opportunity to put out a book that would never see the light of day otherwise, but it is just a shame that so many of the worthy ones may never have a shot at selling more than a few hundred books, if that. I’ve read that if you sell 200 books on your own you are way ahead of most authors. That’s hardly going to let anyone quit a regular job to become a full-time author.

Of course, there are exceptions and there have been some successful books published without the help of a “regular” publisher. Few of them are fiction.

I’m retired so I don’t need a new career, but I wish I could magically help more self-published authors get their worthy work into bookstores and places like airports I read $2.99 fiction books on Kindle and find that many of the self-published ones are as good as those by better-known authors.

Another question: Would Shakespeare need a literary agent if he was alive today?

COMING NEXT: ?? a blog to be, or maybe not to be…


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