How This Author Became a Big Deal in Moulton, Alabama

rock star author picWhen my Andy Warhol appointed fifteen minutes happened back in 2012 and my book was topping the charts, I didn’t have to look for promotion opportunities. They found me. I was asked to give interviews, guest blog, even teach courses on how to self-publish. Some of those efforts helped me connect with readers and some did not. Among the requests I received was an email from a woman in Moulton, Alabama asking me to send her a print copy of my book. Sending out print books can be expensive and you often wonder whether it’s worthwhile. When my moment in the sun was shining so brightly that I could hardly see, I didn’t have time to research every opportunity that came my way. I just kept saying “yes”.

The woman in Moulton claimed to be a reviewer for a number of small newspapers in the area. She’d read the blurb of my book, saw that it was doing well and wanted to read it. But, she wasn’t interested in any of those eBook thingies. She wanted a print book. I suppose I could have got on the Google (as I heard it said recently) to verify her identity, but I didn’t have time for that. I was busy watching my dashboard change every copy of My Temporary Life I sold. So, I sent out the print version. And, I waited for something to happen.

If you can manage it financially, then it’s a chance you should take. If you publish through Createspace, you can send the book directly to the person who requested it. Or, if they insist on a signed copy, you can send it from home. I’m in Canada and to send from here to the United States can be expensive. Fortunately, I live quite close to the US border so I can cross over and ship from within the states. There is a flat rate five-dollar fee to ship books within the U.S. so that keeps the cost down. Shipping within Canada to a Canadian address is about the same cost but in Canadian dollars.

As my fifteen minutes were ticking away I also had a request from a publisher. They contacted me and asked for an eBook of My Temporary Life. This was unusual because the previous weekend, right before my moment in the sun, I had taken another chance by running a free promotion, giving away 50,000 eBooks. (I’m still a fan of free and am running it free again on February 11th.) I sent them a copy anyway. Again, I waited.

There were other requests. I was invited to participate in a book with several other authors. The money was to benefit women in transition houses. I agreed and submitted a chapter. And again, I waited.

If any of you have experienced the same fleeting moments of incredible sales that I have then you know what can happen. I was one of the early authors who ran a free promotion and then afterward took advantage of a lot of paid sales. My book went up the rankings, got a pile of positive reviews, and I made some money. But, then the cliff happened. It stopped. It took a little while but things went back to normal. It was then that I had a chance to analyze whether any of my efforts had been worthwhile. After three weeks I had had no confirmation from the publisher that they’d received the requested copy of my book. After emailing them, they sent me a form email telling me that they would be back to me in twelve to sixteen weeks. We decided to just be friends and I told them I’d just keep doing what I’d been doing.

The inspirational book I contributed a chapter to was finally published. I tried and tried to determine whether any money reached the folks that had been promised, but I got tired of going in circles and decided that next time I’d go to the source of the need and donate my efforts directly. My adventure with my new friend from Moulton, Alabama however, was just beginning.

Two weeks after mailing the book I received a very nice email. Fortunately she was quite taken with my book and even suggested several well-known actors who could play the title role in the movie version. And she sent me a link to an article she wrote for a newspaper – an article about me and my self-publishing story, and my book. Then, she sent me the link to another article she wrote about me. And then another. Then she mailed me the newspaper clippings. Shortly afterward I received a couple of emails from folks in the Moulton area who had read the articles and checked out my book. They wanted to know of any other books I’d written or planned on writing. A couple of Amazon reviews appeared, written by readers who cited the Alabama articles. When I released my next book, I sent a copy to my new friend in Alabama immediately. She also enjoyed My Name Is Hardly. Positive reviews and emails from readers in her area followed, as well as suggestions regarding who should play the protagonist in the new novel. A year later she helped put together a writers’ festival in her area and invited me to participate. Unfortunately, family circumstances wouldn’t allow me to travel but I appreciated the invitation.

We’ve become friends. I tell her what I’m writing and what I plan on writing. And when I released my newest novel, The Dead List, I sent her a print copy. It’s impossible for me to gauge how many readers have been exposed to my work because of her, but I know it’s significant. She’s been a tremendous help to my confidence as well as sourcing out ways to reach readers, and if Paramount studios ever call it wouldn’t surprise me if they cited her name and said she’d contacted them. It’s a chance I’m glad I took. I’ve gained a good friend who believes in my work.

Author: Martin Crosbie

Martin Crosbie is the administrator of and writer of seven published novels. His self-publishing journey has been mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online Magazine, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. You can learn more about Martin on his Amazon author page.

23 thoughts on “How This Author Became a Big Deal in Moulton, Alabama”

  1. Lovely story, Martin. I know how hard you work, and as you say, you never know what one marketing step can lead to, but it’s worth the gamble and time. Glad the people of Moulton, Alabama appreciated your story and gave you much deserved support.

    I’m curious as to shipping costs. Being Canadian like yourself, whenever I’ve shipped a book within Canada, I had to pay the going rate. I can tell you it was no Canadian five dollars. One time it was over $17, another time, close to $20. Of course, it makes me think twice about ever sending to the USA. Too far to the border from Campbell River. 🙂

    1. Thanks Diana. My numbers might be a little off, I’ll double check. I know you can receive a small discount with a Venture One card. Plus it gives you faster shipping. It’s free to business owners. I believe all you need to apply is the business name.

  2. Great story. Opportunity and support comes in many forms. You’ve proven that persistence and thoughtful response to inquiries can lead to success in the self-pub world. Thanks for posting.

  3. That is a great story. It’s good the stars aligned as they did and you sent the print copy. Sounds like you’ve both gained from the connection.

  4. Martin, you have always been a big proponent of playing it forward. You deserve to have a fan with influence. I have learned a lot from you and you are an inspiration to all of us Indies.

  5. For me, living in New Zealand, its usually way cheaper and far quicker, to send a print book from Createspace’s printing machine, to a US postal address than to have them send it to myself. I’ve had them send print books to contacts in England, USA, and Japan. Why wouldn’t you when its cheaper to print and send someone a Createspace book than it is to buy a Christmas card? In fact (heh heh heh) I’ve given up buying Christmas cards altogether and re-directed the money to Createspace. 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s a very good idea. Send out books as Christmas cards. With the price of greeting cards the dollars would be close. Thanks very much for adding your thoughts.

  6. Yeah, but Martin, you’re always helping people and contacting people and setting up neat projects that involve others. Who knows, maybe writing is a business where good guys finish first!

  7. The important thing is that your work made all of this possible. Had it not been of such high caliber, then it would have gotten tossed into a reject pile and sold for a dime in a yard sale. lol
    Your talent got you where you are, not stars aligning or from outside influences. No, it was your talent, and your characters who brought you where you are today! But thanks for sharing the credit, lol

    1. How nice to see you here. I neglected to mention the help you gave me with my book video too. Things have been happening so quickly over the past few years it’s difficult to keep track sometimes. Thanks for dropping by and I hope all is well in Moulton.

      1. Very well, we think it’s cold, I’m sure you would laugh1
        You know that you have a standing invitation to Moulton’s Reading in The Garden. All you have to do is say when you are ready!

  8. Thanks for sharing. We all need a ‘go-to list’ in this business. You are fortunate but you also had an amazing story. Don’t think you needed any witchcraft or stars alined in any special way. Talent is golden!

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