13 December 2012

Guest Post: Richard Kramer on How to Sell a Book

The name Richard Kramer is most strongly associated with several popular and award-winning television series, including Thirtysomething and My So-Called Life.

In his new novel These Things Happen, Kramer easily makes the transition to print, creating believable characters facing modern-day issues.

Things are bit crazy for young Wesley. First, he's agreed to live with his dad and his partner for a semester, and second, he's just realized his best friend is gay. Of course, Wesley has no problem with Theo's sexual orientation, but he does wonder about how that revelation will affect their relationship. Before Wesley has a chance to think, he and Theo are victims of a hate crime, and everyone's lives are turned upside down.

These Things Happen is a sensitively told tale of relationships, family, friendship, and tolerance.

I'm trilled to welcome author Richard Kramer to my blog today. He has a little something to say about how to sell a book.
Increasing Sales and the Glamour of Being an Author

There are many way to sell a book. What you are about to read is one of them.

I was in New York about a week ago, walking down Fifth Avenue on a cold bright day. The street was, literally, singing; a chorus insisted It's the most WONderful time of the year!, block after block, mercilessly, causing me to think that this must be what it is like to live in North Korea. Then, up ahead, like a star of Bethlehem, I saw a Barnes & Noble, a place where I could rest and also see if my just-published book These Things Happen was displayed on the shelves.

So, trashing the ten-dollar bag of chestnuts that looked and, I suspect, tasted like the desiccated brains of research monkeys (I am here to tell you: chestnuts don't taste like they did in 1961), I crossed the street and headed for the store. I claimed my little wedge of revolving door, pushed slowly and carefully so as not to topple the pregnant mom who was leaving with the wide-eyed two-year-old in her arms, and just as she was free I felt a tornado hit that threw me inside and hurled me to the store floor.

There were gasps, cries of Oh, my God!, many people calling me sir and wanting to give me water. I was dazed, on my back, not hurt as much as puzzled. Was I dead, a few weeks before Christmas, in the Forty-sixth Street Barnes & Noble, the one with the DVDs and sale books on the second floor? I got up, bravely brushed myself off, and found myself face to face with the two teenage boys whose high spirits in the wedge of door just behind me had caused my fall.

Photo by Richard Kramer
They apologized, over and over; they must have meant it, because they both ignored the dozen texts that came in for them both in the tense succeeding extended minute. I will admit that I might have, just a little, milked the situation, in hopes that someone might bring me a chicken pesto panini from the third-floor cafĂ©, or at the least a cookie. But that moment passed because something very strange—maybe not so strange to other authors reading this—happened then.

Two characters from my book were standing there. In the flesh, off the page. And looking very worried.

There were Wesley and Theo, the two sixteen-year-olds from These Things etc., the sons of enlightened parents, the first a kid who was come to live with his dad and his dad's partner for a semester, the second his lifelong best friend who has just stunned the school (and Wesley, and even himself) by coming out in a school assembly at the end of a post-election victory speech. These were the hormonal little jerks who had knocked me on my ass.

"Mister?" the Wesley said.

"Sir?" said the Theo.

"What's wrong with you two assholes?" I asked, which set off a series of sorrys.

Then I heard a woman's voice. "You're right," she said. "That's what they are. And they're very, very sorry. As am I. Right, Dustin? Right, Lincoln?"

Dustin and Lincoln quickly agreed. The woman, it turned out, was Lincoln's mom. "What can we do for you?" she wanted to know.

And in that moment, when I could have asked for any number of things, I realized something had happened: I had truly become an author. "Well," I said. "I've written a book." I gave her the title. A clerk, who had come over to see how she could help, confirmed that they had it in stock.

"I'll buy five copies," the mom said.

"I'll sign them," I told her.

"We'll read it," offered Wesley/Lincoln and Theo/Dustin.

"Tell your friends," I said, then.

And that explains the spike in sales of These Things Happen at the beautiful Barnes & Noble on Forty-sixth and Fifth.
Thanks so much, Richard. Too funny! Okay, not the part about your falling down, but I love how your author instincts immediately set in, proving your excellent sense of self-preservation.

Buy These Things Happen at an indie or at a bookstore near you. (Link leads to an affiliate program.)
Published by Unbridled Books, 2012
ISBN-13: 9781609530891

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Tina 12/13/12, 7:06 AM  

I was honestly laughing here, 6:45 in the morning with only a few sips of coffee in, reading this excerpt. Gotta go look for this book now.

bermudaonion 12/13/12, 7:22 AM  

This was fun to read! I bet an author event with Richard would be fun to attend!

Daryl 12/13/12, 9:33 AM  

great guest post and i am buying that book for my friends daughter .. her two moms will love it

Whisks 12/13/12, 11:54 AM  

What a lovely story and how well he told it. Might have to look out his book now. Thanks.

Literary Feline 12/13/12, 2:59 PM  

This is a book that is going right on my wish list just based on the premise of the novel. But I have to say, the author's guest post makes me more sure I want to read it.

Robin M 12/13/12, 9:06 PM  

Nice to meet Richard and love the story. Will have to check out his book.

Veens 12/14/12, 6:11 AM  

I haven't read a whole guest post by an author for sometime...I love this author already. I need to get this book. Thanks for the laughs... I will remember this if ever - in forever I had to sell anything :)

Beth Hoffman 12/14/12, 8:29 AM  

This was such a fun post, and so unexpected!

Kathy McIntosh 12/15/12, 12:30 PM  

Found this looking for advice. Read it and laughed. Loved it.
I may not try the approach.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours 12/15/12, 12:31 PM  

Hilarious! I wonder if he signed the books to Theo and Wesley by accident?!

Thanks for being on the tour.

Joanna Hennon 12/18/12, 11:50 AM  

How funny, not exactly what I thought I'd read about in this post. :-)

carol 12/19/12, 2:49 PM  

That was too funny! And not what i expected from the title.

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