Last week, I sent out a batch of brochures for When Pigs Fly, and today I began following up. I’d obtained a list of truck stops off the website of a trucker’s association. The first six numbers I called from that list had been disconnected. Then I reached a fellow who said that all his customers spoke Spanish. After that, two of my numbers connected to offices of Progressive Insurance Company, followed by one that connected to the post office in the town I had in mind. I told the lady about the truck stop I was trying to reach, and she said, “Oh, they're long gone.”
Sigh. This list was worth what I paid for it, and not a penny more.
My last call worked out better. I spoke to a woman who said I had to contact their corporate purchasing department. I did so, and collected contact information. Then I contacted iUniverse to find out how big a discount I could offer for large quantities, with the idea of the customer buying directly from the publisher. Pfft! Thirty, thirty-five percent. If I want to offer a higher discount, I have to buy huge quantities and sell them myself—national chains normally demand a discount of 50-70 percent, the iU guy said, “and don’t forget that we never accept returns.”
I never expected to make a profit selling my novel, but I had hoped at least to get more copies of my book out there. It’s a truism that self-published and subsidy-published books don’t sell many copies, but of course they don't. The publisher's whole business model is based on many authors each selling only a few copies. They are simply not interested in volume sales.
When Pigs Fly garners uniformly excellent comments from readers, but it seems I have to reach those readers one by one. I may look into canceling my contract with iU and republishing on my own, but I’m sure that's no small task.