Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don Draper Would Punch You In The Face If He Heard You Talk Like That

I have a book coming out. I’m trying not to be obnoxious about it, but this blog is about my life as a writer. And right now that life is consumed by my novel. I’m self-publishing, and those of you who’ve gone that route know what it’s like to realize just how much you have to do to get a book ready for primetime, so to speak, and then wake up the next morning and realize there’s about a hundred more things you have to do that you hadn’t even though of. So forgive me if I keep bringing it up.

don-draper-imageThis week’s anxiety-sponsored ramblings revolve around everyone’s favorite part of the writing process: marketing.* Is there anyone out there who got into writing with the lifelong dream of platform building and putting together a market strategy? If there are, God bless you, but for me, it’s been the most stressful part of the process. I’ve been mulling over the options: a grassroots blog-based campaign, a subtle “coming-soon” style buzz-builder, maybe even hiring a professional. Right now, I’m considering possibly the most revolutionary of all marketing strategies:

Not marketing at all.

Why do we do this? Writing, I mean. What’s the drive, the endgame? Is it the money? There’s lots of easier and quicker ways to make money. Is it to be read? Maybe. But why? Is it because a book isn’t really complete until someone reads it, or is it so people can tell you how great you are? I’ll be honest: I’d love to hear people tell me how great I am while cashing checks with more zeros than the Republican primary field. But is that what drives me? No.

Somewhere in the universe, there’s at least one person who’s going to buy my book (or borrow it, or pirate it, whatever) and who’s going to fall madly in love with it. I’m not saying it’s great; she may be the only person in the world who even likes it, who even buys a copy, but for whatever reason, she’ll love it. That’s who I’m writing for.**

I don’t need a glossy ad campaign or a marketing strategy design to penetrate every last corner of the web. If this elusive reader exists, and I’m sure she*** does, then the book’ll find her, or she’ll find it. She might even feel she “discovered” it.

And that’s fine by me.

*seriously, where’s that sarcasm font?

**this sentence is so blatantly incorrect, I know, but the alternative is, “That’s for whom I’m writing.” And who wants to read that shit?

*** or ‘he’. Just trying to keep it simple.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Want a Blog, Just Like the Blog…

So I changed things around. Again. I’m trying to capture a professional look for my blog while still keeping it personal and unique. I don’t know if I’ve achieved that, but I’m satisfied with the look for now. I look at other people’s blog’s and I think there’s some ”make my blog awesome” button that I’m missing. Maybe it’s just because it’s mine, and I don’t have an objective eye. Maybe my contempt only comes from my familiarity as Mr. Clemens might have suggested. At any rate, no matter what I do with my blog, I’ll never be completely satisfied. I’ll never be able to view it as an objective observer and say, “Man, dude knows what he’s doing.” In short, I’ll always feel it’s not quite good enough.



Sanguine Musings 1.0


Have you figured out yet that this really isn’t about my blog at all?

All the above is true: I’ll really do feel design-wise my blog doesn’t quite cut it. But I don’t care about that. Yeah, I do my best to make it the best, but what matters is the content, and I’m generally satisfied with that. What the real issue is, is that the top paragraph sums up exactly the way I feel about my novel.

I read pretty much any type of book: classics, nonfiction, genre novels, self-pubs, even books off the supermarket checkout racks. Some are really good, and some are…well, not. But they all have something in common, whether paper or plastic, whether published by Smashwords or Simon and Schuster: they’re all professional.

And then there’s mine.

Don’t me wrong. I’m not saying book is crap. I’m going line by line with a red marker, and then I’m passing it on to a professional, so it’ll be as clean as it can possibly be. All the plot holes are gone. The characters are alive, at least to me, and the action seems to flow pretty well. In short, it’s a novel. And a professional one, at that.

I just find it hard to view it that way.

Maybe it’s just me. I haven’t had a lot of feedback, probably not as much as I should have, anyway, so I’m kind of flying blind a little. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. My book is either good or it isn’t. More likely, it’s both. Some people will like it and some won’t, that’s just the way it is. In short, I’m satisfied with it. I always though that if I could get amnesia and read one time without any previous knowledge of it, that would help a lot.*

Well, in a few months I’ll know exactly what people think about it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep looking for the “make my book awesome” button.

*I don’t really want amnesia.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Watch Out, He’s Got a Binder!

I’m kicking it old school* these days.  After months of fits and starts trying to work through the final edit of my MS on my laptop, I decided to print it out and tackle it the old fashioned way. I’ve got my red pen and my rainbow of highlighters, and I’ve been tearing through paragraphs like a machete-wielding psychopath at an abandoned summer camp.

DSC05035This is the final stretch for me: I’ve decided to self-publish, and I’ve targeted early 2012 for release. Is my book good enough? I don’t know, but it’s been complete for nearly two years now. Since then I’ve cut out nearly a quarter of the text, changed names, races, concepts, eliminated characters, and pretty done everything I can to squeeze as much life out of every paragraph and every sentence as possible.

Now it’s ready for the world, no matter how much I might want to lock it in an airtight case and bury it under seven miles of concrete. It’s a book; it needs to be read.

Is it good? Again, I don’t know. I like it, but I’m biased. It’s hard impossible to read it at this point with anything close to objectivity, and despite what people say, it’s pretty damn hard to find objective readers, too. It’s not so much that putting out a bad book worries me, it’s that I haven’t done everything I can tell the story of Thea, Talus and everyone else in the most effective way possible.

So that’s why I dusted of the old binder** as well as any marketing ability I might have tucked away in the dark recesses of my brain. I’m going to publish. On my own, no less. Very soon, I’ll even have a date set. No going back.

My book might suck, or it might be good but completely ignored. But If I don’t risk those things, it’ll sit in a file collecting virtual dust until it disappears, never having seen the world. I don’t want that to happen.

It kind of feels like jumping out of a plane. I know because I’ve done that, too.

I think this is scarier.

*kids still say that, don’t they?

**three rings to rule them all.