Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nine Days on the Horizon

I'm off work tomorrow (whee!) then back on Friday (sigh)... but Saturday starts my self-inflicted vacation! I mean that in that - I will not be paid for my nine days away from work. I don't get vacation days. I deliver pizza, what do you expect! We don't earn vacation days.

Regardless, next week I am releasing "Shackled". I want it to be perfect as it heads out the door (my computer) to its first day in the big, bright world (the InTeRtRoN). If I have to spend every waking moment from Saturday to next, next Sunday editing - so be it.

My goal is to release it around Tuesday or Wednesday, so I have a few days to stalk my Amazon numbers and get a feel for the system. It's one thing to look at another's reports... then to look at your own, very real, numbers. I have this gnawing feeling in my belly that I won't sell one (not a one!) and that I will never receive a ranking, thus spiraling cartoon-like into a vortex of dimension-shifting despair.

Not being a cartoon, I see this as a problem.

However, I think, if nothing else, my good friend Aaron (E-publisher's Manifesto) will buy one, for posterity ;) So, no despair-vortex for me! I will at least be ranked somewhere in the 6 millions.

I was reading, today, about the Amazon ranking system. It's super hush-hush, no one knowing the exact algorithm, but mind(s) have long pondered over it! When I realized (for the first time!) that there were over 6 million titles available, I began to wonder - what makes me think I can get into the top 10,000? 1,000? 100? The best-seller's list?!?

Phew, take a deep breath.

I have to check off the things that all the "experts" (as much as any of us can be, on the situation) are saying to do.

Step 1: Amazing Cover
- I hired a professional, Jeroen ten Berge, who produced a very attractive, eye-catching cover. It seems to be going over very well, and I like what he's done with my name. I think for the non-impulse buyer, the image will stick and my name will linger, perhaps even in long-term memory!

Step 2: Persuasive Product Description
- I thought about a good description and put it out there for others to judge. I've gotten feedback and tweaked it to a state of nigh-deitistic proportion! (Or at least made it semi-intriguing). It tells what the story is about, without giving too much away, but leaves the reader wanting to know why.

Speaking of which:
One man, labeled monster, imprisoned for 200 years.

His brother - the only remaining jailer. Refusing to protect his family's shame any longer, he seeks the balm of a confession from his deathbed.

A foster son, witness to an impossible testimony of deceit, jealousy and murder. He must bear the ill tides of the past to correct the future.

Three men, bound by blood, love and iron.


Step 3: Good Book
- My beta readers had very good things to say. They gave me some good, constructive criticisms and in the process of the rewrites I received comments such as, "The rewrites make it really smooth!" and "The characters are really speaking in their own voices." I also feel more confident in the finishing (not quite finished) product.

Step 4: Marketing
- I am pretty solitary by nature. I think about a lot of things and when I have a thread of something winding through my brain, I don't like to be disturbed until I'm finished. My mom jokingly calls me a touch-me-not, because I'm not big on hugs etc. The e-world, for me, is just another place with a whole bunch of people, most of whom probably have opinions I don't care about. That said - I've met some really decent people whom I am sure enrich my life. I had a team from my alma mater, but they pulled their project at the last second, for reasons I am still unsure about. I've wandered about a little on the blogosphere (another word I hate) and tried to make some connections. I am honestly banking on Steps 1~3 considerably more :P I very seriously considered sending out a billion ARCs, but I really like things to grow organically - even if it means only 1-2 sales a year, to grow from.

Step 5: Pricing Below the Impulse Buy
- I am flat out breaking J. A. Konrath's rule, here, and pricing my book at $3.99 to start. If I fall flat on my big beak, then that is a lesson learned, for me. However, I think the ebook world could embrace that price point, provided my product meets a certain standard. A lot of people have screeched at my seemingly deaf ears, but I just don't want to price as low as $2.99. Not yet. It wasn't too long ago that the mass majority of us were clawing for the chance to have our paperbacks in a store for @$10. $4 doesn't seem so bad TO ME! If I have a good, interesting book, I think people will drop $4 for that entertainment. In my area, it costs upwards of $30 for a couple to go to a movie (no snacks included!). That is an entertainment that lasts for about two hours. It depends on how fast you read, but I think my story will take longer than two hours to read... and can be enjoyed over, and over again. I'm going to stick with it, even if only for a little while.

There is a lot that goes into being a successful indie and I can only hope my distaste for pimping myself out all over the world wide web doesn't destroy my chances.

I think, in general, I have a lot going for me and a good attitude. I want to keep writing and trying to improve my craft. I want to be popular, sure, but I think it would mean more to me if I could do it on my terms - not to say I can't change my terms, or stretch to meet some other set of arbitrary terms, but I'd like to try my way first.

If all else fails, I'm sure there will always be pizza that needs delivered. Well, until 2012, anyway.


  1. While pizza is good, it's not nearly as good as the feeling of a published novel, so I understand what you're saying wholeheartedly. There are so many e-books available that it can get head spinning considering your own chances to be a success.

    I'm in the same boat. Will I sell? Will no one buy? What if people buy but they hate what I've written? It's funny, but when you consider ONE negative response, you complete forget the ten positive reviews you've received from your trusted readers. It's the same way in retail. One mean customer spoils the whole day.

    I look forward to seeing your book on the virtual shelves, so that's at least two people now, right? :-)

    - Nick

  2. @Nick: Pizza IS good. You speak true!

    Two sales?!? That will bump me up at LEAST to the 4 millions! Hooray! :D :D :D