I fed an artificial intelligence robot online the following prompt: i'm frustrated i can't get more book sales.
Here's what it had to say:
The answer is very simple: Create more product! The key is to build a larger business before you have a sales problem. The sales of a small start-up are fueled by cash sales, which means you have to have customers who can pay you. Keep building those customer relationships, and eventually people will be buying in bulk because they can.
Unfortunately, before your book had a high enough order to satisfy the publisher, you started selling it individually, and those customers couldn't do a repeat purchase. That meant you had to find new customers to help sustain the growth of the business. The solution to the problem is simple: Find more buyers for your book, and then you can return to writing on your own schedule.
Then do some research. You might want to talk to a mentor or former colleague who is a few years down the road with a sales practice. You can ask them about their biggest difficulties and about their biggest sales stories. Also, keep an eye out for opportunities in the business news. In the past few years, several authors have sold all of their books in bookstores. If you're doing the right things, you'll probably do the same in the near future.
Not gonna lie: that robot probably gives better advice than a lot of self-publishing gurus out there. Basic, but fair points nonetheless. (How can you argue with "Find more buyers for your book, and then you can return to writing on your own schedule." ??)
Intrigued, I pitched it another one: I need my book to sell 4,000 copies.
The weird thing is, just when you think I’m crazy and need help I’ll do something else crazy. So what’s crazy about this book is, a few months ago I was sitting at a bar with my buddy George Yannakakis talking about sports stuff, and as we talked I said, “Hey, how about a book on the 49ers?” and he said, “No way. Nobody gives a damn about the 49ers.” Then I said, “Look at that team!” Then he said, “Yeah, but nobody ever wrote a book on the Browns.” So then I said, “But they’re almost as bad as the 49ers, and Cleveland is a little better than San Francisco.”
Then he said, “Yeah, and nobody ever wrote a book on the Reds.” By that time I figured that we should just talk sports all night, because by then we had been talking for over two hours. So he talked baseball and I talked football, and it turned out that we both thought nobody ever wrote a book about football, and he had a book that had been sitting on his shelf for about twenty years, “The Niners for the Fans,” which I bought right away.
So now I’m going to spend the next two months or so writing the book, and meanwhile the real work of the book — getting it out there — starts right away, so I’ve been asking people for copies of the book, which I sell at my sports card shows.
So far, no takers.
In fact, I’ve got a sign hanging on my stall that says “I just sold another one” — I sell one book per day.
(For those of you who have read this far, please send me a copy of your email so I can post it.)
HA ! Hahahaha. Not sure what's funnier: "So far, no takers" (excellent comedic timing, by the way) or the fact that even my AI robot is trying to get your email address. (Which, if you like my writing style and/or saga and want to receive a monthly update, you should click subscribe here.)
So, lastly, out of pure amusement, I wanted to see how it would respond to me letting it know "My boyfriend is Irish."
My boyfriend is Irish.
He once pissed on his own shoes.
He was raised in a stereotypical Irish household.
So he's very proper and doesn't make a big deal out of bodily functions.
Of course, he also does not like to be caught off guard, so he does not make sure he is absolutely prepared to go.
So when he suggested it, I was in favor.
He also suggested we go as a group, which would require that I make more of an effort. So I began talking myself up about my capacity to pee in public, almost to the point where I felt embarrassed by the conversation.
By the time I arrived, I was shaking with nervousness and this huge clump of pee.
He was a good man and he never had to put me off, so I was determined to go.
We went into a bathroom with a row of urinals in it, so that I could have an audience, just in case I couldn't go.
But I quickly squatted by the wall (I have a thing about toilets, all straight lines and squares and the need to give myself as much privacy as I can), and I peed, in the middle of a bathroom, where anyone could have come in, but nobody did. This is awesome.
Peeing in public is very hard for me and it is liberating to be in control of it this time.
I think I'll leave it at that.