Vaughn C. Hardacker here: Since March of 2020 we have had an entirely different way of living forced upon us. For three months most of our retail stores have been closed, we’ve had to adapt to wearing face masks (although it has been a boon to my partner Jane: she sews and has spent the last four months making masks and selling them at the store across the street for $3.00 a piece–she’s now approaching the $1,000.00 threshold.) and get nervous when someone breaks our six-foot bubble of protection.
The closure of libraries and book stores has caused us to learn how to Zoom, live a virtual life, and find any way we can to replace the personal appearances that we enjoy so much. I suppose online meetings and presentations are better than nothing, I still crave meeting with readers and other writers. I hated and struggled with the task of marketing my books before the pandemic and now my sales are only a trickle of what they were. In past years, I sold a lot of books at the Thursday On Sweden event in Caribou. The event runs from June through August on every other Thursday night–except for this year. I believe that I’ve sold less than $200.00 in books this summer (maybe I should get Jane to teach me how to sew masks).
So, my accountant and I were on the same wavelength . . . if I was unable to make a profit from book sales I might as well bite the bullet big time and run up the expenses. I shutdown my old website (http://www.vaughnhardacker.com) which I built myself over ten years ago and hired a professional to design a new one (https://www.vaughnhardacker.net). I created a new business site at https://mainecrimewritersblog.wordpress.com where I plan on doing podcasts. (I bought everything I need, now all I need to do is decide what it is I want to podcast about). For the past year I have been trying to order a case of my novel, WENDIGO, only to be told that the warehouse had none in stock and there was no plan to print more until backorders increased. However, if I wanted to order in bulk they would give me a good price–I have now cornered the market on the book in trade paperback (if you hear of anyone who would like a signed copy refer them to https://www.vaughnhardacker.net).
I tried buying ad time on facebook and did get some results. Among which was an email from a distant cousin in British Columbia who wanted a copy. When I informed her that the U. S. Postal Service doesn’t have a media mail rate outside the U.S and postage plus duty would be $21.00 US and the book another $16.99. She thanked me and said that she wasn’t able to afford it. This is a good thing to remember if you plan on doing a Goodreads Give-Away. If you don’t specify U. S. only, you could end up with Canadian (or other foreign) winners and might spend more than the promo is worth.
I also spent time creating a book launch packet for my newest, The Exchange, which will be released on September 4, 2020. If you’d like to see it email me at the address on my .net site. I currently have a scheduled appearance at Bogan Books in Fort Kent which I’m sure we may set up an online link and simulcast.
Looking back on this blog, I’ve done my best to use the pandemic to the best of my abilities. I’m also open to any ideas that you may have about selling books or ideas for a possible podcast. Drop me a line.