If it’s okay, I’m skipping the Refusal of the Call. I know, I know, totally non-traditional. But since I started this quest, I haven’t wanted to give it up. Heck, I’m leapfrogging the gatekeeper or first threshold and I can’t say I’ve stumbled across any mentors, though I’ve fallen in with a great community of supportive friends and allies.
Yesterday, my normal blog post day was a blur. My inbox filled with old web design client requests and I spent most of my time wrestling with software on my computer.
I also found another rejection in the inbox. It was nice, somewhat encouraging, and I filed it away with the rest. I suppose my heart was never really in submitting. At one point, I felt it would be the best thing for my first book. But the publishing landscape is changing, fast. And, there was this little itch that kept telling me something was off. I left full-time employment for a number of reasons, but controlling my own destiny was near the top of the list. Subbing and praying didn’t feel like that for me.
Since I made the commitment to self-publish, I’ve gotten about half-way through my novel’s third draft. Not much has changed – I’m tightening a few scenes, looking for any typos I might have missed the other dozens of times I’ve read through it, that my crit group has seen it, that my beta readers didn’t catch – all so I can send it out to a professional editor.
This won’t be a fly-by-night publishing. I hope to achieve as close to professional quality as I possibly can. Sure, it means I need to shell out some money up-front, but it will ultimately be worth it.
My achilles heel is going to be the marketing. I don’t sell myself very well. And that’s essentially what I’m selling – me, the author. I enjoy self-deprecating humor, keep tight-lipped about my past, and probably rub people the wrong way at times with a slightly twisted sense of humor.
Also, I don’t see myself writing series. That seems to be the best bet for continued sales, but my first sci-fi-ish superhero novel (not really about superheroes) will most likely be followed by a fantasy novel. About a bug dude. After that? Who knows?
The one connection I see (apart from bugs, which I cannot explain) is that I like to write about ordinary people (well, sorta-people) in extraordinary circumstances. Pretty vague, and probably describes half the books out there, but that’s how I see it. I want to explore what it really means to be dragged into or trapped in a fantasy. How it affects individuals. Not entirely bestseller territory in genre fiction, but not necessarily outside of it either. In fact, it might be an awkward blend of near-literary and genre fiction a la Neil Gaiman or Margaret Atwood.
Of course, I’m hardly Neil Gaiman or Margaret Atwood.
So I looked into hiring someone for marketing and publicity. The costs ran into thousands upon thousands of dollars. I’ve got some money saved up for this venture, but not quite that much, nor am I sure I could recover that with this book. I’m going to see about going solo on that part, too. I mean, a year ago, I’d never written a novel and now, I’ve got 96,000 words ready to shop around. I can teach myself how to market…right?
In my search, I ran across this handy marketing plan sheet and I figured I’d share. It isn’t much, but it’s a start. Humble beginnings and all that. Maybe my fellow writers will find it useful?
I’ll keep posting a bit about this journey and share any helpful tidbits I come across. Oh, and if you know any good Editors or Cover Artists, send me some info!