Monday, February 18, 2013

Hurry up and wait...

I've spent the past couple of weeks beating the drum about THE TRIP, trying to get myself into review queues, guest blog spots, and book spotlights. One of the things I've found is once the book is published, there's the long slog to get the word out that it's available. I'm self published, so I don't have the benefit of a marketing department (not the money to hire a publicist at this point).

The first of these should be hitting in the next week. I have to admit when I open my email and see a reply to an inquiry that someone wants to read my book, I get excited.

I got even more excited today. I had a reviewer hit my web site, download my sample chapters, READ THEM and then say she was "intrigued" by my sample. Please send the full novel, I'll get you online in March. And she has a few teen relatives who love the zombie genre and are looking for new books to read.


Seriously, anyone who's ever tried publishing a story or novel, or heck, even looked for a job knows how much effort it takes to find something. Lots of emails go out, few (if any) come back. You've got to find these little nuggets of success when you can and keep you going for the long haul in-between.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Not following anybody's lead

I had lunch with a couple of old friends last week and the topic of THE TRIP, of course, came up...

What also came up was the fact that a former classmate of ours published his own novel, through a traditional publisher. Of course, the question of how much this guy's being published factored into my decision to launch when I did.

The short answer is it had nothing at all to do with when I launched.

Let me explain a little further.

I decided to self-publish THE TRIP in 2010. Self publishing is a LOT of work. I'm the editor. The quality department. I've got to be the one to pull together everything from the marketing plan to the cover art. In short, it's all on me. It's fun, don't get me wrong, but it's not easy and it's a lot of work.

I had a couple of things get in the way of publishing, and finally set to wrapping things up in the fall of 2012. I was able to launch right about Christmas, after years of hard work. Coincidentally my former classmate announced his book being published around Thanksgiving.

The only way anyone is going to get a self-published book out quickly is by half-assing it. I hate to say it, but in project management there are trade offs between cost, time and quality. You can choose to focus on one attribute, and it will always be at the expense of the other two.

If you fix the timeframe and make it aggressive, it's going to be expensive and it's not going to be very good. Period.

I chose to go the other way - I focused on the quality of the book, and didn't worry about the time. This also helped me keep the cost down (I spent less than $1000 bringing my book to market - but that's a topic for another post).

My advice if you choose to go this route is take the same approach. Focus on the quality of the work - self-published books get a bad rap because so many people read a few books and think there's nothing to writing one. (Much like people seem to think about screenplays, which is also a topic for another post) Many self-published books are akin to swallowing glass, but I do believe the market will always make room for quality products.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Nobody said it would be easy

I just wrote a press release for my novel. My first of (hopefully) many to come.

Most of the time I'm a kind of quiet guy. At my day job I tend to keep my head down and work without a whole lot of fanfare. In many ways, that anonymity gives me quite a bit of freedom (mainly leaving work on time, and leaving work at work when I head out for the day)

What I found writing the press release - which is, really, a marketing piece - is I actually have to toot my own horn here. I need to write a piece about my work that makes my work sound like the best thing since the wheel. It's a guilty pleasure in a way. (I must be getting vices are shifting)

While I was in grad school I took a class in writing press releases. It was pretty easy for me - here's some information on a fake client, make them sound intelligent and make their product sound great. Easy. When it's your work and you're the client, and the product you're marketing is real...well, I won't lie to you. I have to admit, the game changes.

I've got a colleague reviewing the release and hope to actually release it next week. I'll keep you posted on what happens next. If things go well, it could hopefully help me move some books. If things don't go well, the world will yawn at me. Hopefully the truth is somewhere in the middle.