Last year I wrote a book on the subject of: how to write an essay. So far, sales of the book have been rather modest. That’s despite the 5-star review some kind person gave it on Amazon.com. True, it’s a good review, especially since it’s apparently from a teacher, but how do I get other people to give positive reviews? Well, by getting more people to buy the book, obviously. But how can I do that when I’m not a college lecturer or tutor and have virtually zero contact with students? How can I get access to students and persuade them to buy a book on essay-writing? I sat and mulled over this question for quite some time.
It occurred to me, looking at that review, that mention was made of “writing instructors.” That seemed like a good place to start. So I looked up the 10 biggest universities and colleges in Michigan, my home state, and eventually tracked down the person who runs the Writing Center in each establishment. Most universities and colleges have writing centers where students can go for advice and help about how to write essays, and where they can learn to polish up their punctuation and grammar. I composed a letter to each incumbent and sent it, along with a copy of the book, asking them to recommend it to students. There was a marginal increase in sales, but still no move to shuffle my book to the top of the bestsellers list. Of course, a lot depends on the time of year, or, more accurately, where students were in terms of their semesters, since many essays are set at the end of a semester or academic year.