Thursday, September 18, 2008

Knowing Pains Update

The anthology "Knowing Pains: Women on Love, Sex and Work in our 40s" hasn't even officially launched yet, but it's making quite an impact. This book, in which essayists (like me) ponder the nuances of midlife, is a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Action ( - 100% of net profits are going to the organization, which funds breast cancer research and access to care. And the margins are big for a book, simply because everyone involved donated their time and talents, from the contributors to the photographer to the graphic designers.

The brains behind the operation, Molly Rosen, decided from the get-go that self-publishing and word of mouth advertising would be the best way to make sure that the funds go to BCA. She was wise enough to involve a group of "connector" women, the ones who seem to know everyone in the community (virtual or IRL.) You know the model - I'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends...I've done my part via Facebook, LinkedIn, my giving circle, a couple of retail outlets near me like Who's Your Betty, and the ones whose opinions I'm REALLY interested in: the Neil Finn fan community, aka Frenz. I still have to hit up college and grad school networks. Normally I'd feel a bit queasy about the self-promotion but since it's for cancer research I'm a bit bolder.

The result? Since early September, without a penny spent on advertising, Molly estimates that we've gotten in front of at least 30,000 people, and perhaps twice that. Our ranking in Amazon reflects it - Knowing Pains is now the #2 book in the Breast Cancer category, and #3,755 overall in books - up from #145,000 or something like that just a week ago. Our goal is to donate $50,000 to BCA and it looks like we're on our way. This weekend is the big launch celebration at the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory in Berkeley, because really, how can you negotiate this decade without chocolate?

Now I'm looking forward to the next stage of promotion: readings. Next week, along with other contributors, I'll be reading at Great Good Place for Books in Montclair, where I'm normally sitting in the audience for author events, and we have events scheduled in Oct and Nov as well. Check out the Events section at for more details - and please, let your two friends know about this worthy cause, and ask them to pass it on!

1 comment:

  1. Nancy -- way to go. Wish I could be there for your reading. Good luck! - Ed K


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