Monday, September 5, 2011

The Climb isn't just Uphill, it's Steep too.

Readers of this blog may recognize this theme.  I've written about this before: namely how hard it is to write and publish a novel.  But I think this bears repeating.  Plus I keep finding new potholes in the road.

First, you have to have a good idea.  That's hard enough.  It doesn't need to be an idea for a story.  It can be an idea for a character.

Next you have to develop the idea into a story.  The story must be well written and must be satisfying to the reader.  Some people have told me it must be exceptional, but this is subjective.

Then you have to sell the story to a publisher or publish it yourself.  If you publish it yourself, you must be sure the production value is top-notch and that it is priced properly.  Electronic distribution makes this easier but I don't think you can distribute exclusive in electronic formats.  You need a paper form too and getting that right can be a huge time sink.  The paper version will also be more costly.

Marketing the story is also an issue.  You'll need to spend the word yourself and that's a lot of work, making hard to find time to write another book.  But you must continue to write.  One book from one person is like a lightning strike.  It's a fluke.  But if you can write two or three or more books than readers (and publishers too) will know you have the right stuff.

This is why many famous and well-known modern writers started by writing short stories and then graduated to novels.  They proved they could do it.  But short story writing and novel writing are different and I have no interest in writing short stories, at least not at the moment.

What this means is this even if you have a good story that is well-written, it may go nowhere because you have not marketed correctly or you've priced it too high.  Or maybe your sample is not interesting enough.  In my case, I know my sample, before I revised the novel this year, was misleading.  It gave the wrong impression of the story.  The new sample from the revised novel should work better, but it has not helped from what I can tell.

So I am forced to conclude that the marketing of the novel is insufficient or poor in some way since I know the story is good (from the reviews I've had) and it has been professionally edited.  Maybe I need a thicker skin.  Maybe I shouldn't let this concern me.  Maybe.  But it does.

I think I need to attract the right audience.  And I need to find a way to do that.  I have some ideas on that score which I've not enacted.  Perhaps it is time I get off my ass and do something.  And perhaps I will once I am ready to announce and relaunch my first novel.

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