My first book, Farm Girl, was also the first book for WiDo Publishing. The book had been put together beforehand, with my son Billy as the editor and my son Don doing layout and design. My plan was to print up a few copies for my mom and for our family members.
After the investor chose it as a first release of WiDo Publishing, he did a large print run of 5000 copies. About half of those have sold. The investor was willing to try many things to get sales-- hiring a publicist, sending out copies for contests, paying someone to call bookstores and get orders. The idea was to try a lot of different approaches and eventually something would pay off.
It's been an interesting learning experience, because the entire publishing culture changed from when WiDo first began until now. Most of the things that we tried at first are no longer viable.
Calling bookstores? A waste of valuable time. Farm Girl sells more books on Kindle now than print.
Hiring a publicist? A waste of good money. More book sales happen through online blog reviews and the calculated use of KDP Select free promotions than through an expensive publicist getting a feature on TV, radio or in the newspaper.
Giving away free copies to teachers in hopes they'd buy more for the classroom? Ha! Teachers, like everyone else, are strapped for cash and will gladly take a free book, no questions asked, no commitment made. Period.
From the way books were printed in 2007 to the way they are sold in 2012, Farm Girl has led the way in change for WiDo. The lessons learned and experience gained from making and selling this first book have been invaluable. I believe that is Farm Girl's real worth as WiDo's first release.
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf