Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Promises, promises

Yesterday, someone in a Facebook group posted a rant about how she had gone to great lengths to have her dance class at a time that was more convenient for people she knew. She had also agreed to offer the class at a lower price for them. These people had told her that they wanted to take her class, but they never had the time. Or, it was too expensive. They would love to take her class, but they couldn’t afford it. So she made an effort to get the class set at a day and time which they told her would be good for them, as well as offer it at a cheaper rate.

But none of them showed up for the class.

She put all of that effort into getting the class just where these people needed it to be, and it had all been for nothing. I was angry right along with her as I read her rant, but unfortunately, it was something I could relate to, as an author.

In the past, I made it a point to start including people in my nonfiction books. I would either interview them or include them or their business in some way. A majority of these people were people who I did not know personally and have never met before, but they agreed to be interviewed or included in my book. Or, they sought me out to share their story. I did this with the hopes that they would buy a copy of the book when it came out. And I thought, the more people I included, the more sales of the book! And on many occasions, when I was communicating with them for the book, several of those people got excited about the book or they expressed interest in buying it. Then the book would come out, I would contact them to let them know it was out (and send them a comp copy of the ebook, if they wanted one), but then they would not buy the book. These people did not put the book on their site like they said they would and they did not mention it on social media, like they said they would. (And major THANKS to the people who actually made good on that promise!) I know this, because I checked. And that was a huge disappointment! (For this reason, I have limited who I include in my current nonfiction books, and I no longer expect any sales of the book because of my including them. I don't expect anything from anyone! And I won't waste my time for people who won't follow through, either. Because they usually DON'T follow through.)

This has not happened with every nonfiction book. Of the many paranormal investigators I interviewed/included in A Ghost on Every Corner, only two of them made good on their promise to buy a copy of the book. (One of them bought over 50 copies to haul off to a local gift shop!) And I am grateful to two of them who reviewed it, as well.

But for the most part, this sort of thing has happened with many of my books. With the breast cancer ebook, for example, I sent a comp copy to the people included, but there were no further sales of that ebook at all. A friend did buy a copy from me, but that’s it.

As an author, I am used to getting false promises from a lot of people, including family and friends who say they’ll buy a book but they never do. People say “I can’t wait to buy it!” or “I will definitely buy a copy!” but that doesn’t happen after the book comes out. This is not the result for a lack of promoting the book, either! If someone expresses interest in one of my books, I let them know when the book is out. Or I spend time promoting it on various websites. Or, if they were REALLY interested in buying the book, they might email me, or stay in touch with me, or visit my website to see if it’s there. I know I can’t rely on people to do ANYTHING to see if a book they want to buy is out yet, but I can only do so much on my end. If I contacted them to let them know the book is out and they don’t buy it after the first week, second week, third month, etc., that pretty much tells me that they weren’t all that interested in buying it after all.

Of course, this has not turned me off from writing books forever. Yes, things HAVE slowed down for me with the book-writing thing. They have slowed down and my enthusiasm has waned because of personal changes in my life as well as a refusal to spend ALL of my time chained to a computer to work on books people don't even end up buying because they don't care. Things have also slowed down with the writing/submitting/publishing of books sometimes because of sickness or injury. But I haven't given up on writing nonfiction books or including people in them because of experience with these people never buying a single copy of the book when it comes out. I HAVE learned to be a little more skeptical when people say they’ll buy one of my books (as in, I will believe that when I see it!), but I will continue to write nonfiction books. I just won’t always believe someone included in the book when they say they will buy the book when it comes out. I’ll send a comp copy of the ebook, but it sure would be nice if they could also buy or order more copies or even a copy of the print, if it’s available. But I guess not everyone believes in keeping their word. And that's just the way that life is!

Labels: , , ,


  • At 3:41 PM , Blogger Lillie Ammann said...

    I think people just want to make the author feel good, and they think telling them they'll buy the book is the way to do it. They often assume that books are sold by the publishing company, and the author will have lots of other sales, so she will never know they didn't buy it.

    Early in my writing career, I was president of a local writers' group. I was on a motorized scooter at the time, so going to booksignings was a lot more effort for me than for most people. But I went to every single booksigning for members of the group and even bought a book at every signing, even if I wasn't particularly interested in the genre. And many of these authors were published by major companies and had lots of sales, so my purchase of a single book wasn't nearly as big a deal to them as it was to me--all those books put a dent in my budget.

    Then my first book came out--and only two people bought it. I had bought dozens of books from members of the group, and out of all of those, only two bought my book. Most of them didn't even come to my table at a group booksigning. So you certainly aren't alone.

  • At 7:09 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thank you for sharing your story, Lillie. I'm sorry that happened. :( That must've been a pretty bad experience. I totally believe in supporting fellow authors and I do try to buy the books of authors I know when I am able to. This reminds me of when I was part of a critique group for writers. I read several things the writers in the group shared -- mostly poems and short stories -- but the one time I finally asked for a critique on my poem, no one gave any. Not one person in the group offered any comments about it! I was so angry and upset that I left the group. I really feel that supporting authors works both ways. If an author gives me a free copy of his/her book, I will return the favor. Likewise with reviews and critiques. Unfortunately, not everybody thinks this way. But it would be nice if they did. You get what you give but I guess that doesn't mean anything to certain people.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home