… not self-published

Really, I’m not. Which is why I was so surprised to read this: http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?id=262529

Most of the information is no surprise. I do reside in Des Moines, I am going to be reading from my novel on Saturday, but my publisher would be shocked to hear she doesn’t exist! (Right, Vivian?)

I sent a note to the paper, and I think I’ll also contact the bookstore. Just so my readers know: I won a contest at a small press publisher. I entered my manuscript in January 2008, and I found out in March that it won.

Since then, my small-press publishing company has editors who helped me improve the novel, and it was published in March of 2009.

It’s available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through my publisher’s website. And if you don’t want to order online, I believe you can walk into any Barnes and Noble and ask them to order it for you.

Meanwhile, I’m contacting the paper and the bookstore. I’m even thinking about writing a letter to the editor about self-published vs small press authors.

I’m also gearing up for a reading at River Lights 2nd Edition. I’m really excited to make an appearance at another bookstore!

A “Real” Author

I’ve seen some of those thoughts going around – am I a real writer? I had a moment today where I felt like a real author. Part of it is being published, I’m sure. But today the moment came where I read part of my book to people in a bookstore. It’s amazing!

Yes, I write. That makes me a writer more than anything else. I know that. I have respect for a lot of writers that may or may not be published, simply because of what they write. I know I have a lot of weaknesses that I’m working on, one at a time.

But I love to share my stories with people. And having people take time out of their days to listen to part of mine makes me feel like a real author. I love it!

I’m also amazed at what people can find when they research the ‘real’ author.

Thank you to everyone who could make it to Prairie Lights today. For those who couldn’t – there are some signed copies out there for sale.

Another Rejection

Such is the lot of a writer. Well, not every writer. I’m sure if I was one of those big names I wouldn’t have this problem, but they were all sitting where I am at one point in time.

I knew when I sent the story that it would be a long shot. I am of the opinion that one must aim high if ever to succeed. So, I didn’t make the cut this time. Perhaps next time.

It has a small flaw to be fixed that I found after I sent it. It’s always after that you find the little things, even with the aid of others. Next time – there is always next time.

Bookstore

I made another attempt to get an appearance at Prairie Lights in Iowa City. I’m making progress, but the lady isn’t very enthusiastic about it.

Mom talked about one that was ‘very successful’ that had a party attached to it. An open house wouldn’t be too difficult, if only I knew where to have one and what to do.

I’m curious, so I’m posing the question to my readers: What do you look for in an author appearance? What would bring you in, make you stay, and – more important in the store’s eyes – buy the book?

As a Business

How often do writers look at what they do as a business? How much do writers look at their activities with regard to what makes sense for their goals?

I’m working toward my business plan. I know things can get in the way, possibly more for a fiction writer than a non-fiction one, but without focus no one will get anywhere.

It takes research to figure out what else is required for me to succeed. One conversation with a friend about business cards started this months ago – who is my customer? It might not be who you think.

My customer is the publisher or agent. My customer is the one who writes me checks. It works in my favor to get people to buy the book, but those are the publisher’s customers. It’s a shift in viewpoint, but because helping my publisher helps my bottom line, it’s definitely in my best interest to get people excited about my book.

However, remembering that publishers of any size don’t have the resources to promote all their books, it falls to the authors to do that on their own. It still makes me think.

Odds and Ends

Funny, yesterday I said Dawn and I had trouble gettting our schedules to mesh. Then we managed the interview last night – so check it out here.

If you checked out Crys’s blog yesterday, you saw a bunch of stuff about the struggles of self-published and small press authors. See Vivian’s response and more information at her blog here. I learned something from both of those yesterday!

In other news, I’ve been turning over my last manuscript to see what’s salvageable. There are good things and bad things about it, and it just keeps popping through my head. How much work should I put into something if I’m not sure I can publish it? It’s not keeping me up at night (I have a little one to blame for that), but I wish I had a good answer. Perhaps tomorrow will bring more insight and I’ll have fewer ideas popping in my head. (Not likely, but I don’t mind the new ideas!)

Waiting-

I hate waiting for responses. It isn’t necessarily that I’m impatient. I can hang in there pretty well.

It’s just that once I know the usual response time has ended, I wonder what to do. Is it time to query? Should I wait another day? Another week? It isn’t so bad if I can send a friendly email to the editor, but sending through the post office? What if the original didn’t get there? (I know, send a self-addressed stamped postcard and get a response as soon as it’s there.)

If a response isn’t given in the time generally allotted, some markets just aren’t interested. Sometimes it’s difficult to know which is which.

850,000 at Amazon

What does this ranking mean?

Well, to me it means a couple things. I will not pretend I know exactly what Amazon thinks of it.

1. Amazon has a ton of books.
2. Doing better than a couple weeks ago when it was ranked over 1,000,000.
3. That promotional stuff I’m doing may have had an impact.
4. Perhaps I ought to write more like this one since it’s resonating with the audience…
5. I will be getting a royalty check!

Number 5 makes me feel like a ‘real’ author.

Note: Still figuring out how to get a description for the book on Amazon.

The Art of Science: Day 5

Late with this post for a couple of reasons. First, I waited to see if the hostess today would get hers up, but I haven’t heard from her. This is unusual, but as things go with people you only know online – something could prevent her from getting her access to a computer and that’s just how it goes. We’ve all had moments where life gets in the way.

Instead of going somewhere else, I ought to say something here. What about this book? (Also keeping in mind things that will be said tomorrow at the final stop.)

One thing that excited me were the illustrations. I didn’t know how they’d go at first. I didn’t know how they’d be chosen or what exactly to expect.

I didn’t choose the  cover art. Vivian had an idea and communicated it with Stephen, but I fell in love with it when I saw it. Then it came time to talk about the other illustrations.

I chose them, where they went, what they portrayed. It took me awhile to put it together. I have so much to learn about the limitations of the medium chosen- the pen and ink drawings- and how best to fit it with the story.

At first I tried to choose illustrations that would be too complicated. I really like how they turned out in the end. Stephen did a wonderful job, and they were completed so fast. (Seemingly fast because it takes me forever to draw anything freehand.)

Thanks, Stephen, for your wonderful illustrations.

Coming Soon!

Everything you wanted to know about The Art of Science – well, except to read full book – in the form of a blog tour, beginning May 20th. The schedule will be posted at the beginning of next week.

I also have a blog interview scheduled for June 24th with Katie Hines.

Looking into ordering some business cards and post cards to promote the book, as well. I’ll need to put my plan together for appearances. Details to follow.

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