Year of Plenty Book Update - More Lessons Learned as a First-Time Author

It's hard to believe that it was about a year ago that I was finishing up edits on the manuscript for Year of Plenty. I wrote a post at that time reflecting on lessons learned as a first-time author. Here are some more thoughts.

The journey since March, when the book came out, has been a great adventure. I've learned how to psych myself up for live radio interviews and how to sign books and hold a conversation at the same time. I've learned that Amazon bestseller rankings are the ultimate slippery slope of self-worth if you pay too much attention. I've learned the great joy of people reading the book and making changes in their lives. One of my favorites is, "Because of your book I started a vegetable garden," or "Because of your book I ordered a CSA with a local farmer."

I've learned that even with a great publisher and publicist, the author needs to be the chief-marketer. Before my book was released, an author friend told me that during the first year of a book's life you should think of the marketing of the book as a part-time job. I'm 8 months in, and that sounds about right. I also had some publishing friends tell me that no one really knows what works to sell books other than having someone on TV hold the book up and say, "Buy this book." It's been interesting, since then, to notice that when an author appears on TV, the host holds up a book for the camera and says, "Buy this book." Every time that happens I think a publicist gets her wings.

While most promotional efforts don't work nearly as well as you might think, I've learned that some things do work better than others. Doing speaking events is a great way to sell books. (By the way, did you notice that I'm available for speaking engagements.) Bookstore book signings are generally disappointing unless they are connected to a speaking event. 

People ask me how book sales are going. I usually respond by pointing out that the average book sells 500 copies and I've surpassed that threshold by a bunch. So, on one hand, sales are great. On the other hand, I still have a ways to go to sell enough copies to cover my advance from the publisher, so I'm still highly motivated to get the word out. By the way, Year of Plenty would make a great Christmas present. :)

Here is some other recent YoP related stuff:

Book review at Evangelical Enivronment Network.

Book review at UK-based Good Book Stall.

Book review at Blessed Earth.

Book review at Flourish Online Magazine.

Book review at Presbyterians for Earth Care.