Thursday, September 22, 2005

What is the meaning of this

As I'm sure anyone reading this blog has figured out by now, I have published a book. The comment was made: "Why no place that says "see the book" or "buy the book"??" The idea was that I should use the "built in traffic" from the blog (though heaven knows how much that is; so far the comment bin hasn't exactly been overflowing) to sell the book. In response to that, I added a small link to the website, but I'm still mulling it over.

I do not envision this blog as a significant part of Shadow's marketing efforts at this time.

"Fool!" some may bark. "Get your publicity wherever you can! Exposure is the name of the game!"

Perhaps. But for the moment I'm more interested in a broader exploration of this fascinating animal called The Publishing Industry, and would prefer that my readers not get the sense that the blog is just a way to hawk my books.

Here's my deal: Despite a perfectly satisfying career in a totally unrelated field, I sat down one day and decided I wanted to write a novel. (Before the onslaught of "Dilletante!!!" begins, let me add that I've always been a voracious reader and journaller.) I joined a writing community, took classes, read writing books, wrote like crazy, and have produced a manuscript that has passed muster among a covey of beta readers (who include writers, readers, English professors, and quite a wide variety of people.) ie, it's not crap, in more than just my opinion. I'm in the process of shopping around for an agent, and in the process have come across such fascinating blogs as Miss Snark and Agent007.

Along the way, I produced another book (a quirky, offbeat, poetry-type collection targeted at a very narrow audience) which had no chance of "conventional" publication, because literally no one either on Agent Query or in Jeff Herman reps poetry. I did my research, ending up with Dan Poynter's book (the bible of self-pub), and to shorten a story that really isn't all that long now that I think about it -- I published it. (I began writing the quirky poetry in April of this year. Less than 6 months to book in hand.)

The question I'm now grappling with is how long to continue tilting at the windmill of Big Pub with the novel. My specific issue is that it's a novel about an inevitable disaster, and once the disaster happens, fuggedaboutit. The more I read about self-pub (the real thing; see the previous post) the better it looks. And the more I read about "real" pub, the less I want to have anything to do with that craziness.

All these blogs are, in fact, an excellent way for us writers to get a feel for the business. However what I find lacking is any critical voice implying that they are not the only game in town. With apologies to James Taylor, that's why I'm here. Looking at the industry from the viewpoint of an intelligent outsider, the emporer has some serious fashion issues.

There is a time and a place for everything. I am marketing the book to its narrow market niche through other channels. At this time, I prefer not to use the blog for that purpose. (Subject to change without notice, of course, as is everything in life.)

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