A slice of time

Writ­ing a book is sim­ple. It really is. If you have a story, some tal­ent, and a whole lot of pas­sion, writ­ing should come eas­ily to you. I mean, sure, there are times you’ll want to bang your head against the com­puter (or just chuck it out the win­dow, or drown your sor­rows in a bot­tle of Jack Daniels), but when you look back on it — wow, writ­ing was a trip.

Then there is sell­ing. In today’s world, where pub­lish­ing houses are bat­ter­ing down the hatches and a few writ­ers are mak­ing money on lucky breaks (tal­ent + good tim­ing = luck), actu­ally sell­ing books has become a fight to the death. This isn’t any­thing new, of course. Go into any book­store and you’ll see shelves of books you have never heard of. What makes peo­ple pick a book off the shelf and say “this one”? Even with rec­om­men­da­tions, a nice cover, fancy place­ment, or media blitzes, there are still no guar­an­tees that your book will sell.

Sell­ing books has never been as easy as sell­ing music, or ideas, or movies. A song you can down­load and lis­ten to in three min­utes. A movie takes two hours of your day. An idea can be had in seconds.

But a book…a book is time. When you sell a book, you are, essen­tially, sell­ing a slice of time. The time it takes to read that book. And time, in this day and age, is a lux­ury. You are ask­ing peo­ple to essen­tially indulge. To take a moment out of their busy lives to not only buy the book, but to actu­ally read the book. You are ask­ing for a com­mit­ment in a divorce-a-minute society.

No won­der sell­ing books is so hard.

I guess the secret here is to find out a way to say “Hey, my book is worth a slice of your busy day. It’s worth the time spent on your com­mute to work, it’s worth your evening rit­ual with tea and a cookie. It’s worth being a com­pan­ion on your vaca­tion to Mexico.”

And it’s a gam­ble. No one likes to waste time.

But the risk might be worth it. And if it is, those are some moments in time that will enrich you. Or at least give you a pleas­ant diver­sion while wait­ing at the bus stop. Even if my books are just the lat­ter, I’m grate­ful that peo­ple have taken a slice of time out of their lives and given it to me.