There are three books available now in my Inspiring Deeper Connections series. The transmissions keep coming. I could be writing the next book. But six months ago I decided to put down writing, for now, and focus on promoting the books. The Teachers gave me the directive to disseminate this information. Why write the books if no one reads them?

I’ve pretty much given up (not totally) on finding a traditional publisher to carry all of my books and help market them. Did you know that there are about 6,000 new books published every month in the United States? Being seen in that blizzard is difficult. Publishers want authors with agents. Publishers and agents want to see a massive social media presence in place before they take on an author (4,000 twitter followers, for example). If I had that kind of following I would not need a traditional publisher! I could hire a vanity press to do the legwork for a mere $15,000, but I’m challenged just to pay my phone bill.

I decided to try another route and self-promote my books. I’ve been on the road the last two weeks to meet with bookstore owners in my region. Chain stores (and some Indies) only want books from publishing houses, so they can order and return books by the case. They are not interested in self-published authors. Amazon’s cut-throat pricing (often selling books for less than the printing price!) has effectively killed off most independent book stores. The few that remain are flooded with hundreds of requests a month. Only a very small percentage of those are interested in the genre that I write. Like traditional publishing, pursuing the book store angle turned out to be pretty much a bust, too.

Public libraries accept self-published authors. Because they manage so many books, however, they have elaborate on-line systems for reviewing books before adding them. I dropped off or mailed $60 worth of books at ten different locations. That’s a lot of donations! If the libraries add them to their collections there will only be one set of copies for multiple locations, but at least someone could ask for it. Stay tuned for a list of libraries where they’ll be available.

A library is not just a house of books. It is a living, breathing community center. People of all ages are doing all kinds of activities there. Kids making crafts, teens in a talking circle, people on computers, volunteers staffing a used book store. As I approached the door of one library, a middle-aged daughter dropped off her elderly father at the curb with his walker. His steps were slow but he was eager, and she said to him, “You go have fun in there and I’ll find you after I park the car.”

Whether it was a library or an independent bookstore, in every place I visited I could feel the fertile juice and collective power of exploring and learning and expansion. Books are the object, the vehicle. What’s in them expresses the living spirit of the author and the words. People who use libraries and independent bookstores love reading and learning, and they happily embody all those good vibrations.

If you’re in the area, make sure you check out the very fabulous Pearl Street Books: 323 Pearl Street, LaCrosse WI 54601. It’s chock full of interesting new and used books of every kind. It even has rolling library ladders! And you can buy my books there!! Beth, the owner, has these great ideas for saying “I Love You” with books:

“Idea #1: Plan a date at the bookstore for the book lover in your life: These dates are so adorable! One partner surprises the other person with a date at the store and sits back to allow the book lover to browse the stacks without a time limit.

Idea #2: Buy your favorite book to use instead of the celebratory card: Instead of paying $3 to $5 on a birthday (retirement/graduation/birth, etc.) card, buy a used copy of one of your favorite books. Add your sweet inscription to it, wrap and give! What a brilliant way to make those dollars have a more lasting and meaningful impact!

Idea #3 Party/wedding favors: Recently we had a young reader from Rochester buy her favorite books to give as party favors at her upcoming birthday party. Book themed games were being planned as well. How fun is that? We have also had friends of our store use their favorite books as their center pieces / party favors at their wedding. What a great way to help your guests get to know you better.

Idea #4 Book showers: Shower your loved one with books for the pending new baby. This helps the parents of
the new baby grow their family’s library and a love for books with the new child.”

A last idea from me: purchase a self-published book directly from the author.
I recommend books by Jennifer Shoals : )