Selling Cat Books at District 37

Today I participated in an author signing for the Toastmasters District 37 Spring Conference. I thought I might be lucky to sell one or two books, so was thrilled to sell twelve.  Aside from capturing Darren LaCroix for a photo (and btw, he did apparently use the bit about me driving him down a one-way street in his speech last night. Several people came up to me today and asked, "Did you really do that?" Let's hope they never see yesterday's blog...), I managed to get a couple of me at my table. I corralled the one guy below into holding up my book and acting like an interested customer. The real ones are just too hard to find... ;)  And check out the pashmina. The woman selling them asked the female book authors to model them and made quite a few sales that way. Including one to me, as I bought the one I'm seen wearing below.200880-1576506-thumbnail.jpg
Dena & Enthralled Customer - Click to enlarge.
Dena in Pashmina: Click to enlarge

Making Book Progress... Slowly

For those unaware, I'm planning on releasing a follow-up book to Lessons In Stalking: Life With Cats released in late 2005. My new collection of short humor stories is called Kiss My Kitty Butt: More Life With Cats. The title is already a hit. One friend recommended bumper stickers, "" I've reserved the domain name, and am considering it. I think it'd be a riot.

But I've reached a point in the work where I can't tell if I'm moving forward or back. The stories are written and are currently with my critique group. There will of course be edits and rewrites. But the stories themselves are well on the way to being complete.

What I'm doing now is debating how to proceed. My original thought was that I'd self-publish and print a small run of 500. I wasn't interested in spending a lot of time on promotion and marketing. The more I delve in however, the more I want to do. I think this title could catch on. So much so, that I'm now considering dusting off my book proposal skills and attempting to sell the book to a publisher. That has its pluses and minuses. The big plus is the prestige that comes with a traditional publisher. The drawback is the amount of time involved. I'd be looking at 1-2 years minimum before the book ever saw the light of day, and that's if everything goes my way. Plus, I'm still responsible for all marketing efforts.

I've found 2 small publishers who put out pet/gift/humor books and I've decided to send them proposals. If one of them grabs it, fantastic. If not, I have no problem putting the book out through my company, Spotlight Publishing.

That still leaves me bogged down in details. I want to get a web site up ASAP for the book. However, I can't design the site until I know what the cover looks like. I haven't decided what to do with the cover because I haven't decided if I'm going to have illustrations, like in the last book. (Not to mention that I don't want to pay for a cover design until I get a yes or no from the publishers.) I'd like illustrations, but that's another $1500 minimum to invest in the book. Would I be better off just going with text and using that money for promotion? Or is consistency better and fans who read the last book will want illustrations in this book? I'm also determined to write out a week-by-week marketing plan for the book. I just winged it last time and did okay in sales, but I want a much harder push this time. Which means, suddenly, a much greater investment, both in time and money. Plus, I could bundle the new book with the old book and do some really cool marketing efforts that way.

There are so many marketing venues that I know so little about... Facebook, U-Tube, podcasts, viral marketing... the list goes on. It takes time to learn how to operate in these venues and that's time spent away from writing and the next project. I think I should just hire a 15-year-old kid as my marketing director and let it go.

This post sounds downtrodden, but I'm actually lighthearted about the whole experience. You know me... making any sort of living by writing about cats puts me in a good mood. And I like the stories in my new book and for the moment, I'm psyched about getting the word out. For now, it's just a matter of deciding traditional or self-publishing. The rest will come.

Have a great weekend.