Promotion…or the Strangest Place I’ve Ever Sold A Book

Picture 126Since a self-published author doesn’t have a publisher to help with promotion, it’s important to take every opportunity to promote oneself. Keep copies of your books in your car, always have business cards or bookmarks in your purse or wallet and…don’t be afraid to talk about your books.

I’ve sold books to the insurance man, the animal control officer, at family functions and churches. I’ve sold books to people on the beach and at the grocery story.

But, by far, the strangest place I’ve ever sold one of my books was at a local club/bar.

Now, I never go to bars or clubs, but on this particular night, my husband was performing with his jazz fusion band. During one song, he actually plays two different guitars. My husband is a very talented guitarist (see video).

That night, as I watched my husband perform, I noticed a tall fellow swaying to the music and staring at my husband. When the song finished, the band took a break. The tall man ran off in the direction of the stage. I followed close behind. The tall man spoke to my husband with the adulation of an adoring fan.

“Man, you’re the best guitarist I’ve ever seen! The way you play those two guitars…it’s just incredible! You’re better than Mick Jagger,” and he went on to list three or four other famous guitarists.

Now, my husband has enough humility for both of us. So he didn’t respond to the praise. Instead he looked my way and said, “This is my wife, Ellie.” My husband’s newest fan turned to me.“Your husband is the most incredibly talented guitarist I’ve ever seen or heard.”

“Isn’t he amazing?” was my response.

“He sure is.” We chatted for a few moments, then, out of the blue he said, “He’s so good, you should write a book about him.”

I burst out laughing. “Well, actually, I have written a book. It’s a novel called Emily’s Hope and it is loosely based on my life…and my husband is a major character in the book.”


“Yes, really.”

“Do you have any copies with you?” (Self-published authors should always be prepared.) So I responded, “Of course.”

Admittedly, this 40-year-old tipsy man probably was not the target audience for my first novel. And…my husband felt I took advantage of a fellow who was drinking, and perhaps I did. But, well…a sale is a sale.

Humor aside, I’ve often wondered about this fellow who walked into the bar to have a good time and walked out with my novel in his hands. I hope he’s doing well.

(Re-edited) Copyright 2016 Ellen Gable Hrkach

6 thoughts on “Promotion…or the Strangest Place I’ve Ever Sold A Book

  1. That’s a very cool story and Emily’s Hope is a book I enjoyed. That’s neat that you based one of the major characters on your husband. I’ve run out of business cards and kick myself every time I find myself in a conversation with someone I think would really enjoy a particular topic I write about on my blog without one.

  2. Trust me, many small publishers expect and NEED their authors to promote their books! The budget just isn’t there unless it’s a big publishing house. I’ve sold many books the way your describe… by always keeping a box of them in my car and a pile of bookmarks in my purse! My husband has sold my books to many of his co-workers… he does a better job of promoting than I do! Great post about an important subject!

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