|*This is my table buddy, Rick, and Beastie 2 with me
at the Christmas in July Craft Fair.
As an indie author, I admit that a lot of my sales are to people I know personally. Friends and family, fellow homeschoolers, former coworkers...other things that start with F ;). (Sorry, alliteration is amusing!) These types of sales are great. Indie authors need these for lots of reasons, from sheer numbers to emotional validation for our hard work.
But there are other sales that are so much better.
This past January I participated in an author event. A teen girl and her mom walked over to my table and began looking at my books. The girl and I immediately connected because she was wearing a Doctor Who t-shirt. I commented, we talked a bit, and she picked up Finding Angel and decided to buy a copy.
That was cool right? Well, that's just the intro, because it could be construed as kinda sales-y, right? I mean, maybe she felt obligated to buy because we'd talked or whatever. But things changed when she and her mom walked away from the table and went to go check out the other authors. She had a chance to sit and read the first chapter of Finding Angel while her mom looked at books for herself. And a little while later, they were back at my table to buy Seeking Unseen.
THAT is the cool part. Because it wasn't me, it wasn't the fellow Whovian who is a local author looking for support that made the sale--it was the first book. It was the story.
A similar thing happened a couple of months ago, when I ran a Goodreads giveaway of Finding Angel. The girl who won the book was excited and agreed to write a review. Well, sure, she was getting a free book. But the story got her even more excited about wanting to read Seeking Unseen. I don't know if she's officially bought it yet, but just the idea that she wants to because she loved the first book, and she's someone who before entering the contest had never even heard of me or the series--that means something,
The most recent incident was just a few days ago. My church has started an annual craft fair and I have participated all three years so far. This past Saturday, I sold several books at the event, some of them to fellow church members--but one sale had me walking on air.
A young boy, about middle school age, came over to my table. He had a grin that would light up a room, and a well-worn copy of a Harry Potter novel in his hand. He told me he loves to read, and to write as well, and someone at the craft fair had shown him my table. I handed him a copy of Finding Angel and said he was free to take a look at it.
He did, and handed me back the book with a grin even bigger and light-ier than before, all the while nodding and saying, "Yes, yes." He left to go tell his dad.
A while later, as I walked back from buying myself a burger for lunch, I noticed him and his dad at the table again, but by the time I got there they'd left. My table buddy* said the boy had told his dad all about the book, and then his dad moved him along. I was disappointed--not because of the money, but because I had been excited about seeing a kid--a boy in particular--so enthusiastic about reading.
But my disappointment only lasted a few moments, because I noticed him walking--grin bright and wide--back to my table with money in hand. His dad joined him and watched as I signed the boy's book. I could have just burst--because I was, and am, so thrilled by the idea of that boy I'd never met before that day and who had never heard of me or my writing until that moment finding joy reading my novel, reading something I dearly love and put my heart and soul into.
Yes, dear friends, family, and other loved ones, I appreciate you buying my books very much. But when someone with nothing invested in me comes along and buys my books, those are the best sales of all.
*My table buddy, Rick Christensen, writes really cool devotionals. Check him out at www.discoveringandsharinggrace.com.