The Little Author That Could

“How’s the book going?”

It’s a question I get all the time from friends and family. While I appreciate their interest very, very much, I nearly always give the short answer: “Great! Thanks for asking!”

The long answer is–frankly–really, really long, and I can’t just say half of it and expect the person I’m answering to fill in the blanks, so the short answer has to suffice under normal circumstances.

Here is the long answer, though, in case you’re wondering:

My book, considering it was published just last spring and I’m doing the bulk of the marketing for it myself, is doing pretty well for where I’m at on my timeline. It is very, very difficult to market a book, to get stores to carry it, to get people to notice it.

I have sent press releases, thrown a launch party (epic!), participated in book signings and fairs, and carried the book in the trunk of my car just in case I need to show it to someone (or on the chance that someone might want to purchase one!).

I have donated copies to a couple of local libraries and schools.

I have contacted book stores, gift shops, and boutiques, asking them to consider carrying my book.

I have sent countless emails, and have made many phone calls.

Is there more I could do? YES. There is always more to be done. My to-do list is a mile long.

The fact is, marketing a book takes time and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, and (unfortunately) it doesn’t happen with the snap of fingers.

It is often tiring, sometimes frustrating, and occasionally sweaty work (okay, not much on that last one).

It is not for the weak.

That being said, I have continued to chug chug chug like that little engine that could (as any person who is marketing a product would want to do if they wanted to be successful), and I have achieved a couple of major goals I set for myself back when I was actually writing the book.

They aren’t sales goals, by the way.

I will never become rich from writing my book (even though Jim is still holding out hope). I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if you are working on a book in order to become wealthy, you may as well close up the laptop right now. My book is not destined for the New York Times’ Bestseller list; it never was. My book’s purpose is to help families with older kids have fun in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. That’s it.

I wanted to get my book into the brick-and-mortar Barnes and Noble stores (Borders too, but, um, that won’t be happening now, will it?), and I wanted to get my book into the gift shops of iconic Chicago tourist attractions like Skydeck Chicago.


Just in the past couple of weeks (after some back and forth with the Barnes and Noble Small Press Department, which took place months ago), I found out that my book is now being stocked at more than twenty Barnes and Noble stores within the Chicagoland area.

Today, I found out (after some emails and waiting and more emails and waiting and more emails, all also starting months ago) that the company which runs the gift shops in Skydeck Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and several more AMAZING tourist destinations in this area will be contacting my publisher to place a book order next month, in time for the spring season.

My heart is full today, and I am proud of my efforts. Being persistent about work that is often tiring, sometimes frustrating, and yes, occasionally sweaty, all becomes worth it when you reach your goals. I wouldn’t change a thing.

So yes, my book is going “Great!” Thanks for asking.

By the way, YOU can help me by "liking" the Chicken in the Car and the Car Won't Go page on Facebook, and if you have friends who live in or are traveling to the Chicago area, PLEASE tell them about my book! Thanks!

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