It’s hard to believe it’s been just over two months since Message from a Blue Jay was released by Buddhapuss Ink. In that time I’ve heard from many people who have read the book, I’ve done a variety of Internet and other interviews, I’ve met with several people to discuss promotional ideas, and I’ve done my best to be a partner to my publisher in the marketing effort for the book.
I’ve also learned a lot about the book industry. For example, Alex Green, the owner of Back Pages Books in Waltham, told me that only the top 1% of books in the United States sell 500 or more copies. Isn’t that crazy? In one sense it tempers one’s expectations for a first book, and in another sense it makes you feel a whole lot better about every copy that sells. It’s such a tough market out there. With so much of the market being driven by Amazon.com, which discounts books heavily, and with that market being flooded by new titles every day — published traditionally or self-published — it’s hard to rise above the fray. Unless you’re a celebrity or a well-known author, or have significant money to invest in a professional publicist, it’s a real challenge to get your book noticed.
As tough as it is to face these realities, it also forces you to re-visit your motivations for publishing a book. If you did it to get rich — well, that’s not likely to happen. If you did it to get famous — that’s not so likely, either. But if you wrote and published your book because you felt you had something to say and you hoped to reach readers with whatever that message was, there’s a lot to feel good about when you achieve your goal.
I’ve been really moved by some of the letters I’ve received from people — both men and women — who have enjoyed and felt affected by Message from a Blue Jay. Below, without revealing any names, are snippets from a few of the letters that I, my publisher, or even my mom have received. Every one of them has touched my heart and made me realize that every hard-earned step of writing and publishing Message from a Blue Jay was worth it.
“I want you to know how touching it was to read about such personal and heart-felt events in your life, and to understand the courage it must have taken to share that with the world. That alone moves me to tears even as I write this–I wonder if you’ve received similar feedback in that regard? Beyond the amazing feat of putting yourself out there, I could also relate to so many of the emotions and struggles you referenced, and it occurred to me that maybe you were writing about universal truths that we just don’t talk about or admit it–to others, or even ourselves.”
“I have been re- reading some chapters in the Message from the Blue Jay since we have been traveling several times through the area going to Tanglewood etc. Faye has captured the scenery and essence of this area to perfection. It’s a joy to read, experience and enjoy.”
“Your book is powerful and moving and compelling. I have read four chapters and I am blown away by the beautiful writing, the insight and the depth. Congratulations again. Your work inspires me.”
These are just a few examples. And in the end, knowing that readers have felt like this and enjoyed the book is really what it’s all about.
P.S. On the other hand, if you happen to know a celebrity who wants to read a book…be in touch. 😉