I published my book, "Goodbye, Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His One Month Presidency" using CreateSpace in December 2010. Not knowing exactly how to market a self-published book and having limited funds for doing so, I sent free copies of the book to historical societies, William Henry Harrison historical sites, and others that I thought would have an interest in the book.
I received an invitation to attend the William Henry Harrison annual birthday celebration in North Bend, Ohio on February 5. I was invited by the foundation that takes care of Harrison's Tomb there after I sent them a copy of my book. I attended the event and signed copies of my book afterward. I sold 29 copies of my book in an hour and a half, and met a lot of really nice people. The people there all had an interest in President Harrison, and I talked at length with many of them. A college professor was there with one of his graduate students, and the student was writing his master's thesis on the 1840 presidential election. He had a lot of questions for me and was deeply interested in what I had to say. A board member of a local historical society in a small town in Ohio asked me if I would speak at a future meeting of their historical society. I gladly accepted, and gave her my business card with the book I sold her. Best of all, I was introduced to the Executive Director of the Ohio Historical Society, who expressed an interest in selling my books in the gift shop at their museum in Columbus.
In conclusion, I now have a definite idea of how to sell my books. I know my books are not going to be in Borders, Barnes and Noble, or Book A Million. That is okay with me. I also know that I am not going to sell a lot of books online. I have only sold 7 so far through Amazon.com. I now believe that I can sell books through personal appearances. I have sent books to every historical site or historical society that I can think of that has some connection to president William Henry Harrison. I have located two author fairs sponsored by local historical societies in Kentucky that have table rental for authors for $15 at their book fairs. I am offering to speak to historical societies in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia, all states which have a connection to President Harrison.
I have no illusions of getting rich or quitting my day job, but I am optimistic that I can sell books to people I don't know who have an interest in US history or more specifically, President William Henry Harrison. Some of you may recall that in an epic manic meltdown, I burned my box of research materials in June 2009. In a more sane moment, I salvaged what research I could, and started anew. With a lot of late nights and long weekends, I persevered and finished my book. I am having a modest degree of success in selling it, and I am forever thankful to all of the people on AbsoluteWrite, none of whom I know personally, who encouraged me, kicked me in the butt when I needed it, or provided helpful advice.
I love all of you, and thanks for your help.
Keith W. Norris