Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Jamar J. Perry's Honesty About a Disappointing Book Event Leads to a Huge Win

Many of us have been there -- showing up all excited for an in-person event at a bookstore or library, and...


The audience you imagined, that you reached out to, that the venue promoted to, just doesn't show up.

It's embarrassing, and the last thing you want to do -- okay, I'll take it out of second person and be honest myself: the last thing I wanted to do --was let the whole world know that the turnout was super disappointing.

But get this: Iyana Jones reported in Publishers Weekly last week about Jamar J. Perry having this really hard, embarrassing experience. Jamal went on Twitter and focused on the good:

Kinda embarrassing to admit, but not one person came to my Atlanta tour event. Instead of being bummed about it I’ve decided to focus on being grateful that I get to do this work.

Let’s thank the bookstore & order all 50 copies they have of my books! https://t.co/sx5iz5tNh3 pic.twitter.com/7VtvN0xjqY

— Dr. Jamar J. Perry (@jamarperry) March 2, 2023


screen shot of Publishers Weekly article "Book Community Rallies Around Author After Disappointing Tour Event" showing cover of amar J. Perry’s middle grade Cameron Battle and the Escape Trials

That tweet got more than 2.5 million views, and as the PW article explains,

“To date, Little Shop of Stories has sold more than 500 copies of Perry’s Cameron Battle and the Escape Trials, which Perry will sign for readers.”

Happy ending!

I've always looked for ways to turn lemons into lemon meringue pie -- I've made videos (recording on my cell) to help get the content of a live presentation out to more than the handful of folks in the room; I've told myself that connecting with the bookstore staff and having them hear my story makes them my proxies in the future, and I think all that is good and true.

And still, I applaud the honest vulnerability Jamal showed, and how he leveraged this to try to help the bookstore out to sell the copies of his book they brought in for the event... and that honesty resonated with so many folks (including some best-selling authors) and paid off in a really tangible way with Jamal selling so many more books! 

Our community of folks who create works for kids and teens is the best.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

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