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I want to know even if it’s bad for me

To: rbuchanan1@unl.edu
Subject: Seldom seen

Rob,

I shouldn’t ask because it’s not good for me. But curiosity is killing me. Can you tell me how my book, Seldom Seen, is doing so far? It’s probably too early to count returns, but I hope the sell-through is good.

I’ve been busting ass promoting it–bookstore signings, public library events, writers’ groups, etc. It seems that every time I speak or make a presentation to a group, nearly everyone attending buys a book.

I had a bookstore signing Sunday at a Barnes and Noble here in KC. I was able to sell all 17 books they had in less than two hours. Granted, it’s Christmas season and it’s an easy sell–“My dad (uncle, aunt, grandma, brother, etc.) would really like a book like this.” But there were also people who had heard about it, seen reviews, and the articles in the newspaper and wanted it for themselves.

For these bookstore things, I always take a little flier my daughter designed. Half sheet of copy paper with the book cover on one side, a paragraph about the book and contact information on the other. The flier is a really great icebreaker. It takes the sting out of facing a stranger, I think, for both me and book buyers when I can put something in their hands. It really works when there’s no one walking by and I go out into the store looking for browsers.

Again, Rob, if you run into anyone who wants an author to help move books, just let me know. I contacted the Midwest Booksellers Association and told them the same. I have a signing, presentation, and school appearance in Oskaloosa, Iowa, because of it. The woman (I forget her name) runs an independent there and tells me she’s setting up what she calls “a one-day book tour in Oskaloosa.” I would like to do more of these events.

The point is: This is my first book, a dream of a lifetime. I can’t sleep well at night unless I an answer the question, “Did I do my best today?” with a “yes.” It doesn’t matter whether it’s family, teaching, ironworking, writing, or book. I will do the same with the next book, but better knowing what I know now. I want to write books and I will do what it takes to be able to keep doing that.

Besides, I’m 47. It’s taken me a long time to figure out that I could really be an author. This may be all of my fifteen minutes. I may never have this chance again. So, I want to act like it.

Thanks for selling the book, too. I’ve heard from more than one independent that they bought the book on your recommendation. They trust you and your picks. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

All best wishes for the holidays,
Patrick

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