When 300-million-books-in-40-languages author John Grisham came to Kansas City in 2010, I had the opportunity to visit with him briefly. We were standing in the “green room” waiting for him to go on stage as the headliner at an event I was producing for the KC chapter of The Midwest Innocence Project.
Perhaps others have also blurted out to him as I did that evening, “I’m thinking of writing a book!” He smiled politely and said, “Do it’ then continued, ‘don’t worry about getting on Amazon in a big hurry. Figure out how to sell your books before you go there.’” Clearly the look on my face must have been that of confusion as his smile turned into a grin. Amazon was the ONLY way to sell a book wasn’t it? The big box stores were going out of business and Jeff Bezos had only recently declared his intent to kill independent bookstores.
As I stammered, “Wait, how do you sell a bunch of books without being on Amazon?” He laughed and said “Out of the trunk of your car!” Wait, what? Remember his book A Time to Kill that became a huge movie hit? Yep, turns out he started out selling it from the trunk of his very own car!
So that’s what we did too. We have sold books out of our cars in parking lots, driveways and at community gatherings. At first it felt a little sketchy, but of course Grisham was right, it worked. In fact, it’s still working! We took our time, became acquainted with the industry and learned to sell our books a few at a time. Only recently did we join the Amazon family. But, do not despair, you can still buy any of our books out of the trunk of my car! Just give me time and place and I will happily meet you!