A Book Birthday! …and do you have what it takes?

My book recently released to the wide, wide world via my publisher.

While this is excellent news and I’m over the moon excited about it, I’m also scared to the point of being terrified.

So very many thoughts ricochet around in my head constantly that I can barely make any sense at all of what’s really going on up there in my gray matter. The most paralyzing fear I’m having is what if everyone hates it. What if it’s a horrible book? I’m sure there will be trolls, and how will I deal with them? What if I never sell any copies? What if it’s just some sort of dead literary weight there floating around for the entire length of its contract with my publisher? How much more of this can I take before I need to sign myself into the funny farm?

I guess this is one of the biggest problems with deciding to go indie or choosing a small publisher. Unless you’re a marketing goddess, you’ve probably bitten off an awfully large bit. I’m good at marketing. I worked in marketing departments even of small presses before, but the problem isn’t that I can’t market it. It’s that I can’t market MY book. I feel like I’m begging. Please. Please. Please. Buy MY book! 

I’m not a beggar. I’m just not. I’ve gone so far as to turn down state financial assistance because I just can’t accept it. I’ve always been the one to say, ‘Thank you, but no. I’ll find another way.’ There was a time in my life when I had no choice but to use state assistance and I felt dirty for even having to do it. I’m not saying that state assistance is a bad thing. I’m saying that I just can’t ask for it because that too makes me feel like a beggar. The only reason I even filed for disability was because I was told to do it. Sure. I needed help, but to be honest, when the government told me no, I was actually happy about it.

What does any of this have to do with a book birthday?

Maybe nothing. But, maybe a lot.

I’m shy. I’m an introvert. I’m also stubborn. I can schmooze when I need to. My entire personality is like oil and water. I overthink. I worry about things that have less than a millionth of a chance of actually happening. These facts are what’s making even working out a marketing plan; difficult. People suggest contests, but I’ve hosted critique contests in the past. I’ve hosted a giveaway where people stand a chance of winning an entire bookshelf of brand new books from Scholastic Publishing. And no one even entered. I have loads of people participate in my #AdPit and #KidPit contests and that makes me deliriously happy but any other sort of contests I host, I get nada. So, that begs the point, how can I get my book in front of readers? How can I get it out there in a manner that will draw people in and not cause me to have a stroke from anxiety?

So with my birthday on May 15th came my debut novel’s birthday on May 18th and a whole slew of new issues and problems for me to work through. I’m a fighter, always have been, and I’m sure that somehow I’ll figure all of this out. Until then, if I ever go missing you might want to check the nearest looney bin. I’m sure I’ll be sitting there having a carrot with Bugs Bunny and sharing a therapy session with Wylie Coyote.

However here’s a couple of things to consider for yourself as a writer.

1.)  If you’re considering going with a small press with your manuscript, do you have what it takes? Take time to be honest with yourself, before you make your decision. Because something to consider here it that:

a.) Small presses tend to have smaller marketing divisions, and you’ll have to really step up.

b.) Small presses tend to have smaller editorial divisions, and you’ll have to be really comfortable with the oxford comma and all the other nuisances of grammar.

c.) You’ll be going at it alone. You won’t have the support a professional can give you, like a literary agent. You either need a lawyer buddy to talk to or be somewhat proficient with contractual law yourself. Otherwise, you may wind up losing more than you want, like character rights, series rights, item rights, and so on.

2.)  While it usually takes less time for a small press to take your manuscript into production, thusly you’ll get paid faster. You have to be willing to put out a bit of money for yourself too if you aren’t too comfortable with that A and B above. But the pay often excludes any advance of royalties (which is something larger presses offer), and if we’re being completely honest, you won’t make as much money in the long haul.

Am I saying that one is preferable over the other? NOPE. Not at all. It just depends on you. Just you. Not every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. That’s why it’s so darn important to be honest with yourself when you decide what to do with your completed manuscript. If you lie to yourself, you may land in a big, heaping pile of buffalo dung. And if you’re already a signed participant in a contract, then to get yourself out of that pile of dung may (and usually does) require hefty legal fees. And my friends, lawyers do not come cheap. At least not decent ones, or those you’d want anywhere near your book baby.

Now, I’ll take a cheap shot totally out of my wheelhouse.

My book RUNAWAY SAGE is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. If you love historical fiction or stories about how an insurgent supersedes all odds, then it just might be the book for you.

RUNAWAY SAGE on Amazon

RUNAWAY SAGE on Barnes and Noble

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