Boxes of Books Delivered
As part of my Westbow publishing package for Beyond Myself: The Farm Girl and the African Chief, twelve boxes of 240 books were delivered by UPS and stacked in my garage to sell. Gulp… I’m not good at marketing and very good at resisting door-to-door salesmen. It looked daunting to sell all these books. After a month in the garage, I moved them into the house. That way the Florida heat and humidity wouldn’t make them moldy. Who knows when I’d get them sold?
Getting Speaking Events
Personally selling those boxes of books meant garnering local speaking events – reaching out on my own to find audiences. The book signing at my church gave me a good push with its great response. I contacted friends and relatives who lived far away, mailing them copies of my book.
During the course of looking for opportunities, I gave away books to people who really weren’t interested in the long run. I heard enthusiasm from ministries at mega churches that weren’t my denomination. I went home hopeful, only to hear nothing afterwards. I was sure they were going to sign me up, but they were just being gracious. After all, according to my story, I was a rebel in my conservative denomination – not a glowing example of Christian womanhood. I discovered women’s book clubs are very protective. I went to a neighborhood book fair early – dressed in my African gown, and busily put up my display table…However, it was a used book sale and no one wanted to pay for a new paperback…When only one or two people stopped by my table and bought nothing, I left midway realizing it was a wasted effort.
My Audiences? Women!
I was nervous about speaking at these events, but they proved meaningful, giving me a way to meet and connect with Christian women in the area. My most successful event was a local women’s retreat, where thirty books weresold and autographed. At my church or at local grocery stores, women came up to me greeting me warmly as though they were my best friend. When I didn’t recognize them, they said smiling, “I read your book,” giving us an instant bond. I often told them, “When you read my book, you know me far more than you ever wanted to know.” Strangers shared aspects of their lives similar to mine. I felt as if my message of sharing in the Christian faith and my testimony had been helpful to them. I believe that as we share our stories, it forges a stronger faith as we witness to each other what God has done in our lives.
The African Connection
I joined a local African association and sold two books there. At their big community event, I wore my African gown and had a book table in the hallway. I invited my son and his family to join me. Net result? I sold 4 books. My son arranged for me to speak to the Rotary he belonged to. I was gratified that as I spoke, the room was silent and all eyes were on me. I knew I had their attention. Although, there was a range of audiences, with some events successful and some, not, every one of them was a learning experience. The boxes of books dwindled until there were no books left. Phew….When Westbow called and wanted me to order more books, I said, “No, thank you.”
The next round? Getting the word out on social media and blogging….