Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Apple in Book Selling

Never a day goes by that one doesn't hear the old adage about apples and oranges and how they don't mix or that one shouldn't mix them. Well, I don't grow oranges but do have an apple tree. I look at it periodically, especially in the morning. Today, the sparse fruit left reminded me not of the absence of oranges but how best an author can maximize sales of his or her creation. Weird? See if you can follow this logic.

Each year I don't harvest every apple and do leave fallen ones on the ground. I do this to share the fruit with creatures that provide moments of joy and, frankly, those that do not but provide the protein for the joy producers. The apples on the ground are attacked by squirrels and chipmunks that scamper to and fro. There is one squirrel who is very economical. He (or she) leaves the bitten apple on the deck railing next to the tree to return a day later for further bites. That is if the morning doves (I say plural because they always seem to come in romantic pairs.) don't peck it to nothing first. The sharing squirrel is nonplussed for he (or she) commandeers another apple and the second core replaces the first. Birds feast on apples still clinging and dangling in the breeze sweeping through the tree. Fascinating to observe a swooping blue jay land as if a dinner bell rang. An apple skin once pierced becomes home to a variety of insects. If the apple falls, the insects ride the fall and bump to continue the feast.

How does this apple adventure provide a book selling metaphor? In a grand scheme it symbolizes that you must offer your books for sale in a multitude of places for your potential customer is in varied places. I leave apples at the highest, weakest branches. They are safe from the larger animals, but accessible to the smallest creatures. I leave apples near large branches, mostly horizontal, for tree-climbing poachers. Thus, make sure your books are available in niche locations as well as the major bookstores, including brick and mortar as long as they last. If you abandon the brick and mortar, they surely won't last. Remember the squirrel sharing the deck rail bounty. Your book is like an apple in that you have more than one and can place a new copy in the place where the prior one sold.

It is extremely worthwhile to remember that an apple is available for multiple days before it becomes enriching stomach food. Thus, your book should be displayed and available for a potential customer to come once, twice, or more. An insect can't eat the apple until it gets help, usually a bird nibbling that breaks the skin and allows entry. Likewise, one customer making a purchase can open the doors of additional selling opportunity when the original idea of purchase wasn't available.

While there is a limited time for this year's apple crop, the good thing to remember is that the tree, like your mind regenerating new ideas and plots, will grow a new apple crop this upcoming season. The customers, old and new, will be back. If you keep talking up your book, like apples, the word will spread that there is a feast to be enjoyed by all. 

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