I'm looking for advice!
I feel a little like a used car salesman as I write this post, but I really am looking for some help. Shortly after I began this blog, I admitted in a post that I had started blogging in order to promote the book I wrote, In the Trenches: A Teacher's Defense of Public Education. The book did okay, especially in Minnesota, and there are 1,200 copies--some given away, but most of them sold--out there floating around somewhere. (I've been told that a self-published book has done very well if it sells 600 copies.) To tell the truth, although there are some people who bought the book because of my blog, that didn't exactly move it to the best sellers list.
Since the book was self-published, I ended up putting a lot more money out on the book than ever came in. One problem I had, from a marketing point of view, is that the book is short--117 pages, so it doesn't take very long to read and I'm told that it has gotten passed around by faculties in quite a few. Being the marketing guru that I am, I sent out a lot of sample copies to principals and staff development committees, so that probably backfired. It would have been wonderful for me if everyone who wanted to read the book had bought a copy, but I really am happy that so many people have read it. That's why I wrote it.
I never expected to make my fortune on the book, and the overall experience is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding that I ever had. For a few months after it was published, I was actually somewhat of a celebrity up in my neck of the woods. There were articles and editorials about the book in regional and state newspapers, speaking engagements, radio interviews, and even a TV interview for a very small station. I had never, ever thought of myself as an author, so whenever I was introduced as one, I was tempted to look behind me to see who it was they were talking about.
My problem is that I've got 800 copies left, my last royalty check was three months ago, so now I'm paying in every month for storage and other administrative crap. I'd like to get rid of most of the copies, but I'm about out of ideas. I'm not thrilled with the idea of hauling them home to have them sit in my basement, but it would really hurt to start throwing them out. I could give books away, but I'm tired of paying postage. Does anybody have any ideas out there?
Oh, I have been getting some swell offers in the mail lately. People and companies who say they've seen my book, think it has great potential, and for a mere $10,000 or so, they'll be happy to market it for me. Yesterday, I got one that takes the cake. A company called Airleaf sent me a letter saying that they've seen my book and "believe it has the potential to be a feature film" in Hollywood. No, I'm not kidding. They actually said that! And for just $1,295 they'll have a Hollywood director review my book! Now, I tend to be a little gullible, but I'm not that gullible. How in the world my book could ever be a feature film is beyond my imagination, and I'm sure that no one from Airleaf has ever seen more than the title of it. In any case, those are NOT the kind of ideas I'm looking for.
Now, I hope you'll excuse a little shameless self-promotion. I really do think the book is good, and the feedback I've gotten has been almost entirely positive. Teachers, especially, seem to like it, and the best compliment I've gotten--and it is one I've heard a number of times--is that it says exactly what other teachers had been thinking. The Grand Forks Herald education writer told me that after she read the first half of the book, she said to herself, "This guy's got way too much common sense; no one will ever listen to him." I'm still not sure how to take that, but I think it was a compliment. In any case, I do think if I could get those other 800 books out there, people would enjoy them. Some schools have used them for door prizes for staff development workshop days, and there have actually been schools who have bought copies for their whole faculty. I personally thought that was a swell idea!
If anyone has any great marketing ideas--or any way for me to get rid of most of those 800 books without losing more money on the deal, let me know. And if you want to read the book yourself, you should probably buy one or borrow one from someone who already has it. If I were you, I wouldn't wait for the movie.