Monday, June 23, 2008

Pick me! Pick me!

Do you remember school and that pesky kid in the back of the room who was always first to shoot her arm up into the air and holler Pick Me! Pick Me! Oh no, you might have thought. Give it a rest. I remember being cajoled along with all my boyhood chums into attending ballroom dance class where we were supposed to learn a few steps, practice some social graces and round off our rough edges, so to speak. The boys would crowd around in one corner and the girls would all titter and giggle grouped in another corner. When it was time for the "gentlemen" to ask the "ladies" to dance you could read the silent message in certain girls' eyes that said "Oh don't pick me. Don't pick me." Imagine some little kid with a squeeky voice standing many rows behind the assembled mass of the football team, soccer team, baseball team, basketball team and marching band raising his hand and saying "Pick me. Over here. Pick me." Dwell on these images for a moment and you'll begin to understand what it's like for a very small book written by an unknown author to get noticed. It's darned near impossible. The problem is we're now talking about advertising and publicity and self-promotion and most new writers have neither the skills nor the experience to carry off this important part of the book publishing endeavor. How to get noticed? I wish I knew. Pick me! Pick me! Without the might and money of a large publishing house behind you or the name recognition of a celebrity author, getting noticed is an uphill struggle. We settle for a little free publicity amongst our friends. We send out some email notices to libraries. We hope one reviewer out of ten might read the book and condescend to write a few favorable lines. Craft shows, a radio call-in show, some good old ground pounding and personal schmoozing by the writer all help, but it's like trying to a bail the Titanic with a bucket. Fortunately "Sandbox Camp Tales" is a regional book with most of the potential readers living in Maine or visiting Maine. But even then getting the word out just in this rural state is a huge task. With the price of gas the way it is, I won't be driving to many gift shops, libraries and book stores. Maybe the secret ingrediant is time? Maybe if we hang in there long enough and the book gets passed around enough - maybe, just maybe we may begin to get a few orders.

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