Taking Emily Freeman’s lead to share a handful of things I learned this month, from the (occasionally) significant to the (mostly) shallow.
1. Nobody knows how to sell books.
Will and I kicked off the month in New York, for Book Expo, where we met with my publisher and a few author friends. We talked about plans for my book and my friends’ books and the season’s big books and how to sell books.
At one point, I asked a friend what she’s found most effective in spreading the word about her books. This author has sold millions of copies, and I thought she’d have a quick, decisive answer. She didn’t. She said she didn’t have a clue what worked, and that anybody who said they did was making it up.
She was exaggerating a little, but our conversations over those few days made it clear that she’s not far off. Good marketing helps immensely (although opinions differ on what that looks like), but selling books is far from a science. Even in this age of Big Data, no one is exactly sure what works. I’m not sure if that’s comforting or terrifying.
2. You can pre-order a book from any indie bookstore.
I have learned so much about pre-orders since Reading People became available. Of course Amazon makes a huge deal about pre-orders, but readers can pre-order from pretty much anywhere new books are sold, like Barnes and Noble, or Book Depository, or your local indie.
I quizzed my friend Holland (of The Novel Neighbor) about it, and she said, yep, pre-ordering a not-yet-released book from an independent bookstore is pretty much exactly the same as ordering any book a store doesn’t have on the shelves at that moment (which is something I do all the time).
3. We’ve been doing this moving thing all wrong.
We moved four months ago, but it wasn’t till this week that we truly figured out where the furniture went, unpacked all the books, and finally hung some pictures. It wasn’t because we found ourselves with extra time on our hands; it was because we invited a hundred people to our house for a ticketed party last Friday night for the Popcast Live.
We were ready just in the nick of time—we hung photos the weekend before, the bookshelves were done a couple of days before, and we were seriously hanging the mirror over the mantel just hours before guests arrived.
But now the party’s over. (It was a BLAST.) The guests are all back home. And our house still looks great. (Not everything is 100% in that photo above, but we live here, you know?)
Now, Will and I have been asking ourselves all week why we didn’t think to throw a big party three months after we moved into every home we’ve lived in, because it sure was effective motivation for getting things done.
4. That happy collection of books is called “a color story.”
A design professional was in my house and she said, I love this little color story you made here. I didn’t know that’s what I’d done; that’s a phrase I’d heard tossed around but didn’t really get. Now I know it references the palette you’re working with in a certain space, and the feeling you want it to convey.
I hate choosing favorites, but when it comes to book colors, two stand out: I adore orange, and a certain range of ocean-y greenish-blue. I love them together, and wanted them to be neighbors on my shelves. Desired mood? Cheerfully serene.
5. To add a photo to Instagram stories…
Open the stories feature, and swipe up. I should have known how to add a photo I’d already taken to a story, but I didn’t. Jamie Golden gave me a mini-tutorial and I’m grateful.
6. To delete/move a whole bunch of emails in gmail at once…
Hold down the shift key, check the emails you want to delete or move, and proceed as usual.
7. Whole nutmeg does not look anything like I expected.
We ran out, and a combination of curiosity and just plain being cheap prodded me to get the new-to-me whole nutmeg instead of the usual ground stuff. It grinds up easy enough with a microplane, and it’s so pretty … but not at all what I expected it to look like!
What did you learn in June? Tell us all about it in comments!