Selling the Book

It’s not easy writing a novel. It’s even harder selling them.

I’ve written three novels and self-published them on Kindle and in paperback over the past 8 years, and I’ve probably given away more than I have sold. Or at least it’s 50/50. I’m always very excited about finishing a new book, and I love showing it off to everybody I can, but when it comes to asking for money for a copy, I have to convince myself that they will like it enough to justify the price. I mean, *I* think it’s worth every penny of the $4.99 on Kindle or $15 to $20 from me or Third Place Books in Seattle, where it’s on the shelf, but am I confident enough that someone else will be glad they bought it? Not always.

I didn’t even try, when in Seattle, to approach second-hand bookstores or the library, both of which will sometimes take books on consignment (bookstores) or for shelf display (libraries) if one makes the effort. I just couldn’t summon up the confidence that they wouldn't refuse, and refuse in such terms as to let me know that I was aiming too high for their readers.

No kidding. That is the scene that always played out in my head. “I’m sorry, Ms. Stoner, but without further recommendation, I’m afraid we can’t accommodate you.”

Well, now I’m back in Wisconsin, and I’m determined to make more of an effort. To that effect:

I sent four poems to a contest called Eat Local, Read Local, and one of them won. Now it will be printed on cards presented to customers in participating restaurants in Madison and Milwaukee, and I will go to Milwaukee in April to read mine. It’s in a pizza place, so keep that in mind, but there it is and I’m going.

I sent my last novel, A Dream of Houses, to an indie book contest on the West Coast. I don’t expect much, but at least here it is the book which will speak for itself. I don’t have to speak for it. Which can only be a good thing.

On March 19th, I will participate in an Open Mike Night – perhaps read a section from one of the novels, perhaps a piece from the Bookhouse.

On May 5th, I will have a table at Madtown Author Daze, where I can display and sell books to any and all interested. It will also be a good place to hand out business cards and advertise my appearance on

June 2, at the Meadowridge Library, where I have reserved a room (thanks to some encouragement from my housefriend, Tina) for a book signing.

So, wish me luck. If any of these turn out well, perhaps I will gain the confidence to approach a used bookstore or two. I’ll enter more things, especially if they are places when I can let my printed words speak for me, rather than try to convince someone of their worth with an overbright, anxious smile on my face.

I should also go back to reminding my FB friends and Twitter followers that reading pleasure is waiting in the pages of The Year of the Crow, Ghosts of the Heart, and A Dream of Houses.

And best of all, should any of you happen to read and form an opinion of any one of these, give it a shout out on Amazon reader reviews and Goodreads. I trust my readers more than I do myself. The only thing I really trust about myself is that whatever falls from my fingers onto the keyboard is something that some folks will find worthwhile. If you buy my books, you have my undying gratitude. If you like my books, well, that’s even better.