Passion is the driving force behind everything in life. It has the power to defeat negative feelings, glooms from rejections, etc. In the literary world, piles of rejections can break a writer’s moral. It’s not easy when a literary agent or an Indie publisher rejects your cherished work—something you’ve spent months if not years to conceive. For a writer, literary recognition is more than anything. From a publisher’s standpoint, however, money is everything.
The book industry is a very lucrative business, making 26.2 billion dollars last year alone. It’s all about profits. Booksellers like Barnes & Noble will display your book only if it can sell, regardless who the publisher is. I learned this from experience. I self-published my first book (years ago), and it remained largely unnoticed because I had no name recognition, no promotional skills and more importantly no financial power to put together a marketing strategy. So, I did some research on low-budget promotion, and I found out how passion can guide someone to victory in any struggle.
I was then teaching at a Community College in South Florida. So, I used the school as a platform to promote my book. I did a couple of book presentations, inviting students and profs. Instead of bringing copies for a signing, I encouraged the students to go to Barnes & Noble—not far from the school—to order their copies. I told them once they showed me copies of their receipts, I would rendezvous them at B&N for a signing.
The students did just that. For every dozen or more orders, we drove there for a signing. I would sit at a table in the center of the store, and the students would stand in line, happily waiting for their copies to be signed. On the second trip, the store began to notice. I overheard a woman at the cash register whispering, “A book is taking off.” After the second trip, the students no longer had to order copies. It was right there, beautifully displayed on a table where of all the big names, bestsellers were. I was able to achieve something almost painlessly—something for which traditional publishers would spend thousands. Soon, I began to meet people on the road, telling me they bought copies from B&Ns all over South Florida. The rest was history.
This confirmed how powerful passion could be. An advice to my fellow writers: even if the option of self-publishing will forever be there, query your work first before you go down this road, for the odds are always steeper for a self-published author.
Note: Ardain Isma is a novelist and editing manager at CSMS Magazine . He heads the Center for Strategic and Multicultural Studies. He also teaches Introduction to Research Methods at Embry Riddle University. To see his books, click here.
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