(The fight to sell my first thousand books.)

Hollywood Drama 101: Fading in from black, the scene on the big screen is revealed to the viewer slowly. The first shot of the camera reveals a dimly lit room with sunlight fighting its way through dusty Venetian blinds. Suddenly the camera spins gracefully scanning the walls of the room that are decorated by the parallel lines of sunlit shadows. The room is all but empty be it not for an old wooden table on the furthest wall. The camera stops spinning just in time to center the table perfectly within its frozen frame. Now zooming in the camera reveals explosives on the table’s surface. Then, an extreme close-up focuses on the red digital lights of the bomb’s timer that’s already counting down. The countdown always intensifies when the numbers dwindle down from double digits to single ones… 10…9… This technique is effective because we react to it with urgency in real life. There I stood on my front porch, far from Hollywood waiting for my precious cargo. The days have dwindled down for me in real life. It was 9 days to go before my book signing at the “W” hotel in downtown Atlanta and I was nervous with a crazy calm. For my dream was in the distance speeding towards me. I said a silent prayer that the truck would stop in front of my house. The sound of the breaks engaging 5 houses down calmed my already anxious nerves. “Graffiti Bleu?” The Fed Ex driver shouted to my smiling face. “Yes” I say with a head nod, knowing once again RJ Communications came through as they said they would. In a matter of minutes 25 cases containing 1,050 books were in my guest room closet. I should be having the best day of my life but I was torn inside. What have I done? Have I ordered too many? Will I ever sell these books? I was having a fight within myself. It was one that was between the artist in me and the business man in me.

As artist we dream of the day when your uncompromised vision materializes in front of our very eyes. However as artist go we sometimes become eclectic, weird and a little cocky. Some of us figure that somehow the work stops after we right the words “The End” Truth is, it’s only just beginning. As business men we dream of the buzz and the profit margin a thousand books can generate. However as business men go we sometimes get hypnotized by the quick and fast way to fame and fortune. When this happens we compromise the “Quality” of the finished project. Contrary to belief both parts of us can coexist. You can express yourself artistically with business savvy. Basically walking and chewing gum at the same time. Truth is while I was writing the book I was selling it too. I was everywhere, blogging, social networking and speaking about the book I was writing. I was thinking about the cover, layout, my target audience and where they hung out at before I was halfway through writing it. Instead of making me rush to finish the book, it made me pay attention to its details. Because now I generated so much buzz that all eyes seemed to be on me. I even gave away 30 copies of the raw unedited manuscript simply to get feedback. It paid off because I sold 3 cases before the highly “hyped” book signing at the “W” hotel. This made my special night unique, since at the end of it I had already broken even on my initial investment in just 9 days. Do you think the work stops now? Well it doesn’t for me. I have 24 book festivals lined up throughout this time next year all within a stones throw of the greater Atlanta area. I intend to crash them all. So remember my fellow artist and entrepreneurs, if it was easy everyone would do it. Yes I am busy, but this kind of busy is fun. I can honestly say because this is exactly what I want to do it feels like everything but work. Take your time, make it hot and sell yourself during the whole process. Some of your favorite authors got started by selling a ton of books out of the back of their own cars. Don’t fight yourself, help yourself. And in the words of “Publishing Basics 101” “No one will ever be as passionate about your project as you will be.”

-La Mont Anthony Wright

Author of: “Poet’s Pursuit of Pleasure (An Emotional Affair)”

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