August 28, 2013
KNOW YOUR READERSHIP by Bruce Atchison
When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies sold well, particularly since it was a debut book. I knew many rabbit owners and having been their friend, they bought a total of two-hundred-and-fifty copies.
My second memoir, Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School, did poorly. At first, I felt astonished. The fact that most people with perfect sight have no interest in accounts of life in that sort of institution did not occur to me when I wrote my memoir. Neither did I record any sensational stories of abuse in it. Only blind people wanted the book but I lacked the money to have it in an accessible format. As a result, I barely sold fifty print copies.
I assumed my third book would do better. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity has been out for less than a year but it also has done poorly. Though I promoted it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Linked In, only a few copies sold.
I now realize that I should have done research on how well books on the subject of toxic churches sold. My second mistake was to assume that apologetics ministries would jump at the chance to promote my testimony of God's providential leading. Every ministry to which I sent a copy politely said "no" or failed to reply.
Though we writers find it difficult to step back from our creations and see potential pitfalls, it is possible. What we can do, and what I should have done, is enlist friends who we trust to give good suggestions on where would be the best places to plug our books or articles. Of course Googling can be of help but it does consume a lot of time. Writing groups which point the way instead of the finger are also good places for advice.
I certainly have learned my lesson. Like attracts like. My rabbit book sold well because my friends love to read about bunny antics. If I had my blind school memoir in an accessible format, I might have sold more copies to sight-impaired people. I'm now concentrating on telling cult recovery organizations about my journey to biblical Christianity. Time will tell if I'm successful or not.
Bruce Atchison is a freelance writer and self-published author. His articles have appeared in a wide variety of magazines since the nineties. Atchison's first two books are available at Bruce Atchison's books while his latest memoir is at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual bookworm publishers.