Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fear and Loathing in Writer-land, Redux

Original cover art by Chris Howard

In 4 days, DERELICT will be available for sale. I have done everything in my power to make this book as good as it can be:
  • It has been through the critique mill, 
  • it has been revised (and revised, and revised), 
  • it has been edited, 
  • the cover art created by an incredibly talented artist, 
  • I have solicited (and received) cover blurbs from authors whose opinions I respect,
  • I have consulted with a professional typesetter in creating the print version, with an eye toward readability and polished presentation,
  • I have spent months researching and creating a simple and elegant stylesheet to format the eBook so that it works seamlessly on all platforms
My goal in creating a publishing imprint (Interrobang Books) was to publish books that were indistinguishable in quality from anything you might find in a bookstore from any of the large publishers.

There is little more I can do, other than release DERELICT and let it find its readers.

And that terrifies me.

This is the third novel I have published and my sales are such that a single book purchased makes that day a celebration. This is the reality of a fledgling writer. I know all about the difficulties of discoverability. I know there's a world of marketing advice out there and I have done much of it for my first novel in 2012.

I'm still not convinced any of the hours I spent soliciting reviews and writing guest posts, etc, did anything to drive sales. What it did was to take my time away from writing and made me a very anxious camper in tying my sense of self-worth to sales. (News flash - this was not a good place to be.)

So I'm publishing DERELICT to very little fanfare. I didn't purchase any ads. I offered review copies on Google Plus and several of my followers signed up and a few wrote reviews (thank you!).  I didn't do a blog tour or spend hours writing guest posts.

I have a small mailing list of folks who requested to be there. I will let them know where they can purchase the book. I have an even smaller notification circle on G+ (again, by request). While nearly 5,000 people have me circled in G+, I doubt that will drive sales in any real sense, especially since I don't view it as a sales platform. (Same for any of the social networks.)

I'm not trying to be an Eeyore here, nor am I looking for reassurance: This is the truth of a writer, an artist, a musician - any creative person who must shift focus from the inward view of creation to the outward view of selling that work. There is an inherent conflict between those two roles. I am clearly more comfortable in the former than the latter.

So 4 days from now, DERELICT will be something that no longer belongs only to me. Yes, that is frightening. But I am also extremely proud of this book. It may be the best thing I've written.

What happens next is not really up to me.

ETA: My 'marketing department' took me to task for not letting you know that you can pre-order DERELICT on iTunes. Other sales venue links will be available by Monday, June 2nd.

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