Saturday, August 31, 2013

…Now What?

At long last, Nobody is available for purchase!
Amazon came online fairly quickly. Barnes & Noble was up the next afternoon. Kobo came up fairly quickly, but they assigned the wrong ISBN number to it; I had to take it off sale and resubmit it to get the correct ISBN number to show. Apple’s iBookstore– Well, Apple is Apple. It can take up to two weeks, it seems, for Apple to finish processing a submitted book. It will get there eventually…
I’m confident Nobody will do well. People who I know have said it is good and people who I don’t know have said it’s good. Looking at that, I’m pretty confident then that most people will like it.
I did introduce one error during the construction of the ebook. This resulted in the first section marker in Chapter 1 not being centered. Then readers discovered some errors that got past the editors.
Big face palm for those. An update has already been pushed up to the distributors (except Apple). One more update will be sent up as soon as Apple clears Nobody on the iBookstore.
So, now what?
First off, I have to start promoting. A colleague of mine understood strongly the value of advertising. In his office, he had a cartoon on the wall that said, “A man who doesn’t advertise is like a man who is winking in the dark. He knows what he’s doing, but nobody else does.” Apt words.
I’ve started pushing on Facebook. Probably the easiest place to start. I only hope my friends forgive me for sounding like a broken record for the next couple of weeks: “Buy my book! Buy my book!”
The trick to succeeding with Facebook is to have your friends share the entry, not just “like” it. Sharing has much more impact than liking, and it actually posts the link on your timeline so your friends can actually see it. If you just like it, it goes into the recent activity list for a few minutes and is gone. If your friends didn’t see it within those few minutes, they’ll never see it. Your effort goes to waste. But when you share, it lingers for a long time. When your friends see you say, “Hey! I know this guy! Give his book a try!” or “I read this and it was really good!,” that carries a lot of impact with people and has much more effect.
Then there are the more traditional ways.
I have a friend who is managing editor at a local paper. I figure once I have a good count of sales and the book is moving, I can ask if he’d like a local interest piece on yet another local author. (We’ve had a lot of them lately!) The same for the local morning radio station. Then strive for regional contacts to get the word spread out of the local area.
Of course, blog about it.
The important thing isn’t just for me to spread the word, but to get others to do it, too. Just as many hands make light work, many voices broadcast the message farther. Word of mouth is the best advertising for anything, but is also the slowest.
I’ll be a guest on a local radio station, talking about my book and the writing process. Maybe a few other things, too, about self publishing.
Then I need to tap some friends of mine still in the journalism business to see if they are interested in a local interest story about me publishing Nobody.
There are other things I’d like to do as well.
‘Meet the Author’ events. I can talk to people about my story and about writing in general. I’ve gotten a lot of requests for autographed copies. It’s rather difficult to sign one’s autograph on a computer file. So, I figured I’d print up a few hundred “covers” of Nobody on heavy card stock and use those to sign autographs for people who have bought the ebook.
Actual physical books of Nobody will have to wait for a while. It’s pretty expensive to print books so it’ll have to wait until I have the money to do it. I am seriously considering a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the printing. Serious enough, I already spoke to a shipping company about the estimated cost for a mass shipping, should I move forward with the program. The last step is to talk directly with an offset printer to find out what my costs will truly be and what I must do to prepare the narrative for the printing process. I may be a neophyte on the matter, but I do have a pretty good idea of what I need to do. Once I have all that, it is merely a matter of watching the sales numbers to see if I sell enough copies so I can afford to move forward with the printing program.
I’ve begun work on the next book, Dragon (working title). Assembling my notes and thinking of various scenes I’d like to see in the story. Preparing character outlines and clarifying the maps, goals, rules, etc. In Dragon, the story becomes more complex. Where Nobody was fairly black and white, now there will be situations and characters that fall into grey areas in the middle. It’s one thing to create a character like Lowe who is evil scum. It is a lot harder to create a villain with whom the reader can sympathize to some degree. Then there are those characters who might not be villains, but  aren’t exactly allies, and those whose motivations aren’t quite out in the open.

My goal is to have Dragon released next year. Time to place your bets, everyone! ;-)