Self promotion

Self publishing is all about self promotion.  Harass your friends to buy your book.  Harass your friends to write reviews.  Once you have no more friends, start harassing complete strangers.

Turns out, that's not just for self publishing.  Great article in the NY Times today about self-promotion by writers' past.  This tidbit regarding my countrymen made me particularly proud:

In “Lost Illusions,” Balzac observes that it was standard practice in Paris to bribe editors and critics with cash and lavish dinners to secure review space, while the city was plastered with loud posters advertising new releases. In 1887, Guy de Maupassant sent up a hot-air balloon over the Seine with the name of his latest short story, “Le Horla,” painted on its side. In 1884, Maurice Barrès hired men to wear sandwich boards promoting his literary review, Les Taches d’Encre. In 1932, Colette created her own line of cosmetics sold through a Paris store. (This first venture into literary name-licensing was, tragically, a flop).
A hot air balloon.  Of course!  Now why didn't I think of that?


ITPI now available on amazon.de!

For all European readers, you can now get In the Past Imperfect on amazon.de for the extremely reasonable price of €2.83!

Check it out right here.


Experience rules

Here's an interesting perspective on self-e-publishing from a veteran of the traditional publishing industry: Five Things I've Learned by E-Publishing.

I already broke the first rule (don't do the cover yourself).  Oops.

And, of course, the fifth one:
5.) Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Though this headline could also apply to the idea of self-publishing itself (and it is true, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean it’s your best option), I’m actually talking about checking your sales records on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  It’s going to be difficult not to wake up and immediately open the relevant sites to check on sales, and then to check them every fifteen seconds thereafter.
Just because you can figure out how many people have bought that week, that day, or even that hour, doesn’t mean you should.  It’s like how you occasionally have to give yourself a Twitter break, lest you realize you’ve done nothing all day but talk about squirrels in literature.  So remember to give yourself a break.  You (and your friends) will be happier if you do!


Day 43

And the winner is...

Congratulations newyorkaise! You will now be a character in my new book!  Oooh, there's so much for me to play with there, I'm really looking forward to it!

And thank you to everyone else who posted a review.  Please keep them coming, they really are very useful to me (especially when you're being honest - although please refrain from outright brutality).

Also, I suspect (but can't prove) that a higher number of reviews earns you spots on amazon searches.  Regardless of whether the review is a good one or not.


Day 35

Yesterday I got my first bad review.

First impressions: it hurt.  Not so much because it was bad (although a little bit because of that) but mostly because I agreed.  Ms Reviewer (a complete stranger) somehow spotted all the issues I struggled with over the 9 long months it took to bring the novel to life, all the flaws that appeared so glaringly to me, like clogged pores in a makeup mirror, and which I had almost managed to forget when my friends gave such a resounding cheer.

Ms Reviewer's main complaints: my pacing is off, the action rushes and slows with no apparent rhyme or reason.  And I use too much passive voice (despite my constant battle against it).  The one complaint I wasn't completely sure I agreed with was my apparent capital crime of "head-hopping".


Head-hopping, as I've just learned, is editor-speak for switching points of view.  And a huge no-no if you want to get published.  It doesn't even have to be extreme switching either.  If I may quote from Ms Reviewer:
I once had someone (a bestselling author no less) tell me I'd been "head hopping" because I wrote that the "throat constricted" on one of my characters, and he thought that my POV character would not have been able to observe this. For good or ill, people have become downright paranoid about head hopping.
Well.  I don't know what to say about that really, except I guess it means my publishing future is doomed.  At least now I know why.

After 24 hours the initial shock has died down, to leave room for something more positive.  Who hasn't had a bad review?  People whose books have never been read, that's who.

So my book is out there, for better or worse.  Maybe it wasn't ready.  Maybe there wasn't enough editing.  Maybe no amount of editing would have made it publishable anyway.  But at least it's being read.  Some people will like it.  Some won't.

And that's okay.


Day 33

While I procrastinate in blogger's-block, here's an interesting point of view on Kindle-reading.

Pamela Newton on Huffington Post: The Achilles Heel of the Kindle

Personally, I haven't annotated my books since high school.  What about you? Is that something you find valuable to your reading experience?