Two years ago this month, my book was published. I was so excited. My name was on the cover of a book! I could do an Amazon search and find myself! People were reading and reviewing these words I had written and (mostly) they liked it!

My euphoria lasted about three months. Then reality set in. My book wasn’t selling well. I didn’t know the first thing about marketing it. I didn’t know I had to market it. I thought that was the publisher’s job. After all, I’m a writer, not a marketer. (On those what-color-is-your-parachute-type aptitude tests, sales and marketing were always way down at the bottom of the list of things I’d be good at, right along with musician and mortician.)

But if you know anything about publishing (which I didn’t two years ago), you know that you have to sell your own book. If you don’t sell it, it won’t sell.

This is very bad news for people like me, who can’t and won’t try to outshout the competition. There’s so much noise in the world already. I don’t want to add my own shilling to the cacophany. And even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I could because with me, there actually isn’t any such thing as shameless self-promotion. I just can’t do it without wanting to cover my face.

I almost never volunteer that I’m a writer and that I’ve written a book. When people find out, usually because my husband or a friend tells them, I invariably wave it off like it’s no big deal and try to change the subject. This is rarely hard. Most people like to think that they would write a book, too, if only they had the time. I am happy to listen to their delusions of grandeur. It takes the focus off of my own failure.

Yes, I said failure. You see, I got my royalty statement this week, that little sheet of paper that publishers send out once a year so you can know how your book is selling. Or, in my case, not selling. To say that the numbers were dismal would be like saying twins are hard; it doesn’t quite capture it: in a whole year I sold not one book. Not one.

I cried. Not the first time I’ve cried over a royalty statement. And I doubt it will be the last. Well, unless my book gets remaindered, in which case it actually might be the last.

Which is where the shameless self-promotion comes in. If you’ve bought a copy of my book, thank you. (Thank you thank you thank you thank you!) Now, would you please please please go buy one for your sister, a friend, a colleague, or a neighbor (or all of the above) who might be even the tiniest bit interested in the church year?

And if you haven’t bought a copy of my book, would you please please please buy one? And then buy another for someone else or two someone elses. Or ten someone elses.

Advent is just around the corner (it starts two weeks from Sunday), so this is the perfect time to buy a copy of a lovely book (if I do say so myself) about the church year, which begins on the first Sunday of Advent.

And for those of you who simply cannot afford to buy a book, even one that’s only $10.20 at Amazon, I am giving away two free copies, in honor of the second anniversary of my book’s publication. Just leave a comment by 6 p.m. Monday, and Jack-the-random-number-generator will choose two commenters to receive a copy each, inscribed to a person of your choosing.

Okay, that’s about all I can manage in the way of self-promotion. I’m half tempted to delete this post as it is. I’m afraid you will all despise me as a self-aggrandizing megalomaniac.

Oh wait. I’m not supposed to be afraid anymore.

All right, then. Fine. I’m not afraid you’ll despise me.

But I’m still going to go crawl into bed and pull the sheets over my head.

  • http://www.sarahkennedy33.blogspot.com Sarah

    I just bought it :) SO excited to read it, you’re right, the beginning of the Advent season is the perfect time to begin a book like this! Thanks for the reminder–I don’t think it’s shameless self promotion, I think it’s a reminder that there are great resources out there to help us enter more fully into the church year. Thanks!

  • http://sarahboylewebber.blogspot.com/ Sarah Webber

    Well, I encourage this kind of promotion. I even blogged about it: http://sarahboylewebber.blogspot.com/2010/11/different-friday.html. Any little bit can only help, right?

  • Sarah Stillion

    I didn’t know the book was done and out! Congrats, two years late, but that is a huge accomplishment! My sister would love a copy of this book as she’s read an article of yours and loved it and asked me about you and she lives in Boston. So see? People outside your circle of friends do read what you write. I had nothing to do with her finding your article and reading it (in Weavings or something like that?) If you tell them they will read, buy, or come and some won’t, but the word has to get out. I look forward to reading it, but I am a slow reader with lots to read always, but I will get a copy and put this on my list!

  • Annie Gage

    Am I allowed to post a comment even though my name isn’t Sarah?
    I would like to post this to Facebook, but I don’t know how.
    I will try…

  • Annie Gage

    Done!

  • Christy Mansfield

    I love this book, Kimberlee, and I love you, too! Thank you for writing it, and encouraging so many of us in honoring Jesus during the holidays. I have definitely given your book as gifts and will do it again. Not much of a blog-reader, I think yours is great. I would think it would be overwhelming to think about marketing when you are also raising four wonderful kids, two of whom are newborns. I hope you know how much we all appreciate and respect you!
    Love and hugs,
    Christy

  • http://www.jeremydscott.com Jeremy D. Scott

    Hmm…I bought a second one a couple of months ago and gave it to our new Minister of Worship…maybe your publisher is skimping you. I think you’ve already seen my blog post on your book because I loved it (I think you emailed me), but I just wanted to encourage you to keep at it.
    Also, my wife and I also have four children (and twins). Solidary, my sister in Christ. :-)

    I will also post this on Facebook.

    Grace & Peace,
    Jeremy D. Scott

  • http://kimberleeconwayireton.net Kimberlee

    Friends,

    After reading Jeremy’s comment I wanted to clarify a few things.

    First, the royalty statement to which I am referring is for the year ending June 30, 2010, so any books purchased since then wouldn’t be reflected on that statement.

    Second, the royalty statement only applies to books purchased from my publisher, usually by distributors. This means that I could have sold 200 copies in the past year, but if those copies were already on distributors’ shelves (purchased in the previous statement-year), then they wouldn’t be reflected on this year’s royalty statement.

    I hope that helps. I wouldn’t want anyone to think my publisher was gypping me. They’re not.

    Kimberlee

  • Brian Burnette

    Kimberlee,

    I love your book! I bought it sometime over the summer and it has re-energized my passion for the church year. I am a children’s’ minister at a baptist church in VA and I preached from your book this morning. I held it up in front of the congregation in two services today and told them they need to read your book! I believe that you have written a beautiful and accessible work about how desperately we need to to ground ourselves in church time. I am trying to get whoever I can to read it and apply what it says. I’ll do my best to promote you whenever I can!

  • http://polomecommunications.com/unfinishedwork Dianne

    Read your book last year and loved it. Loaned it to my pastor (sorry, should have bought him a copy!) and he enjoyed it. I’m referring to it again as I’m looking forward to Advent this year and trying to put some thoughts together to share on my blog. I will definitely mention your book! I think rooting myself in the larger picture and journeying with the body of Christ through the church year has really made a difference in my daily walk.

    And I SO am with you on the marketing thing. I know it’s a part of the business but still, it’s just not everyone’s thing.