Monday, June 18, 2007
book sales and the internet
I hear writers talk a lot about what to do once you get a book out, a chapbook, how to get books in the hands of readers. Somewhere there's a statistic that the highest number of books for any author are those "hand sold" through readings, signings, and other events. All well and good providing a writer has the time and money to tour outside of their geographic locale. I sell quite a few books when I read locally, which I do every chance I get, but it's about equal to the number of people who, having encountered my work somewhere online, wind up buying books.
While I might dream of the day when I can quit my day job and afford that national roadtrip/book tour, it won't be this year. Or even next. Also, I can't deny that having an online presence sells books, whether it's through people who read this very blog, or stumble upon my work in online journals, which I've found to be one of the best ways in getting people interested. I think more copies have been moved this way than through my own reading efforts , which is awesome. Writers who don't have an internet presence, whether it's a blog or a simple website, or even just a homepage maybe where/if they teach, are missing out.
I recently read/heard someone say if it's not online it might as well not exist, which is a bit of a generalization, but I'll occasionally stumble upon a poet in a print journal, who when I Google them, turns up not much of anything. If they have a book, maybe I can get it through the press, maybe through Amazon or SPD, but if they haven't yet published anything, it's a bit trickier. I'm a notorious impulse buyer, who at least once or twice a week reads a poet online and follows the links to their book or chapbook and buys it. I'm thinking I'm not alone in this. And it's true, I wind up buying most of my poetry online, whether through the press directly if they accept paypal, through Amazon, or from the author directly. Only rarely do I find something in a bookstore Occasionally, I wander into the Borders here downtown (the one on Michigan Ave. is best) and find something. They actually have a pretty good sized wall of it compared to other locations, but still, if I'm looking for something in particular, I can find it more efficiently on the internet.
(warning: shameless plug to follow, but I can't resist)
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