Thoughts on selling all my books at Dally in the Alley

My table of Clean FreakYes, you read that correctly. I sold all the books that I brought to Dally in the Alley. That morning, as we were getting ready to go, I turned to my girlfriend and I said, “A horrible thought occurred to me as I was waking up this morning. What if I don’t sell a single book. But then I thought, what if I sell them all?” But I tried to be Zen about it.
The day started off well. A couple friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and a friend’s mom bought books. Let me just clarify this for anyone who might dismiss that with something like, “They’re your friends, they have to buy it.” No, they don’t. I had other friends drop by the table and they oohed and ahhed over the book, told me they were proud of or happy for me, but then didn’t buy it. And that’s okay. I don’t want anyone to buy it just because they’re my friend. I want people who buy Clean Freak to enjoy it, maybe even want to read it again.
Those sales happened almost right away, and then I sat there for about half an hour while nothing happened. We had some browsers, but no buyers. Then a group of three people stopped in, and one of the girls picked up my book. She listened to my pitch, read the back while I waited pensively, then said, “Yeah, I think I’ll buy it.” The feeling was incredible, absolute elation because I think that every first-time writer has the fear that only their friends and family will buy it. It was one of those moments that I felt like a writer, because I was.
After that, the sales kept happening steadily. I even sold a Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers anthology that I’d brought with me. Two of the four people that I was sharing space with packed up their stuff and left, and the other person said that she was going to pack up in about a half hour. Then, half an hour later, she said that she’d start packing up in half an hour. I think because I didn’t really show signs of going anywhere, she was waiting for me. I could say that I was waiting for her, but I’m pretty sure that I would have sat there with my last copies until the event ended, if necessary.
My empty tableMy last two sales came back to back. When that person walked away with that last copy, I raised my fists in the air and shouted, “I sold all my books!” It was the most incredible feeling of my entire life. Imagine that you’ve bought a lottery ticket. You tell yourself you shouldn’t get your hopes up, but in your mind you’re buying that big house, taking that great vacation, driving that cool car, etc. You try to keep your cool as you watch the drawing, but your heart beats a little harder and faster as each number is drawn and announced and you realize, “Holy shit, they’re drawing my numbers.” You’re pumped up on adrenaline because you’re so close you can taste it, but a single number that doesn’t match your ticket could mean it all goes up in flames. Then, they draw the last number and you have the winning ticket after all. I didn’t get millions of dollars for selling all my books, but I had that I-can-do-anything feeling. Suddenly, being a professional author seemed like a completely reasonable dream.


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