Is it my hard but intermittent promotional work finally paying off? The last time I'd checked, my novel's Amazon ranking hadn't budged much from the million-one, million-two mark, a fairly pathetic sales ranking that had lasted for months and required no small rationalization on my part. And I checked tonight to find my ranking at 165,000. Lordamercy, someone bought When Pigs Fly online. Bless you!
Most of my sales have come from signings and (can you believe it?) a restaurant and a gift shop. Last Saturday morning I spent a couple of hours at Coas Bookstore in Las Cruces, where foot traffic is greatly enhanced by the farmer's market in the pedestrial mall. My table by the front door was a great venue for people watching: tall, short, fat, skinny, plenty of exposed skin with tattoos—ankles, arms, necks, faces, on the exposed breasts of low-cut blouses; a Chinese woman with a handbag from "The Forbidden City"; a handsome African couple; children; retirees with canes; browsers carrying huge bags of popcorn with an aroma that triggered my salivary glands. Anyone who looked in my direction got a free smile, which they usually returned. Most kept moving, eye contact or not, smile or not. Women were more likely to stop and chat than men, and they were slightly more likely to buy. In the past, it's seemed that if someone picked up a copy, flipped through it and we conversed about it, I got a sale. Today was different—I had a nice chat with a woman and her husband for about ten minutes before she finally walked off, saying, "Well, I don't have any money." On the other hand, there was the woman who said, "Oh, it's funny? I'll buy it." A man stopped by to tell me that one of the vendors outside had a winged pig built out of a propane tank, but I never got to see it.
Thanks to the inspiration of Carter Jefferson and no small amount of work by him, Ruth Douillette, Gary Presley and Yours Truly, The Internet Review of Books has launched. We plan to publish a wide range of thoughtful reviews to help you, dear reader, find books worth your valuable time. We're rather pleased with what we've done in this first issue, and we plan to get bigger and better from month to month.
By the way, we four are all members of the Internet Writing Workshop, a terrific online place for writers of all skill levels. If you're a writer, check it out.