The “Hotel” where the single men and four families lived.
(Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Used with Permission.)

So The Slaves Have Names is done, almost. The electronic version is up and selling, and I should get the proof for the print version in the next day or so, and print sales can then begin.  When it was happening, getting it to print felt like the hardest part.  Before that, the writing felt hardest.

Now, I’m in the throes of marketing hell.

I’m pretty savvy with social media, and I’ve been a fundraiser and event organizer for years. But marketing this book – holy moly, I have no idea what I’m doing.

So I’m trying everything.  I want as many people as possible to see this book because I want as many people as possible to know about this community and these individuals.

I have a dear friend who has coached me on what to do – who to contact, how to be sure my book is available for distribution through Ingram, what to include on my book page.  She has been so wonderful.

Yet, I’m still floundering a bit because, well, I’m just not sure how to get this into people’s hands. I’ve written to a few book bloggers, and I’ve emailed some historians and genealogists I know who work in the history of antebellum American slavery and enslaved people. I’ve uploaded a sample on Goodreads.  I’ll be doing a giveaway of a few copies on Goodreads in December.  I will be contacting libraries and historical societies once the print copies are in hand.

Is that enough?  What else could I be doing?  I have no earthly idea.

Still, I’ve sold 18 copies of the book already, and while that’s paltry compared to someone like Toni Morrison or Octavia Butler, I am absolutely thrilled.  18 more people will know of Berthier Edwards and Lucy Skipwith; 18 more people will know of Richard and Elias; 18 more people will know these people for the strong, amazing folks they were.

Yet, I want more people to know, so I will keep trying new things and spreading the word.  These people deserve my best here . . . they deserve more than I can ever give.

What ways do you hear about books? Any suggestions for other routes I should try?