Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Self-Publishing or a New Strategy for Marketing?

My muse stomped all over my lap/chest during my cat-and-coffee sessions the last couple days as I wondered about marketing books ...  Self-publishing isn't my bag.  (Too much work.  Hey, people, you have to be the whole publishing house ... in spite of the promises of vanity presses.)  Self-publishing can be the way to go, but most people don't have the skill set ... or inclination ... to make a success of it.  The problem:  there're no neat boxes.  Authors, irregardless of their publishers, must promote their books whether they want to or not  -- if they want to sell more than 10 copies -- so they become a de facto part of the marketing department even if the department ignores them.

Why these thoughts?  My brain is  revolving around what e-publisher I should submit Mariah to next, now that I withdrew it from the place that had it almost a year and didn't reply to my status queries.  

If I manage to sell something/anything, I'm expecting the publisher to have a marketing template of some sort to help me help them market my "minimum opus".  Question:  If you can't trust a publisher to answer your legitimate questions, how can you trust them to help you make your book a success.  [It's a test, sort of like comparing the vanity press ads in the New York Times Book Reviews with the ads by major publishers.  Which do you think is more effective?]

Then, on my blog roll Deborah Schneider on 1st Turning Point mentions the Expresso Book Machine, a POD publishing deal that lets book stores print a copy of a title as needed.  Link.  Fast service for the customer.  Low upfront costs for the book store.  My mind ran riot with the possibilities with the first thought was self-publishers gained a way to more easily get their books into stores.

Then, with my brain [or the cat] jumping all over the placem I kept thinking of writers who go with e-publishers.  Why are they mostly limited to Amazon.com and their publisher sites?  What if lots of books stores had an POD center, and e-authors formed alliances around the country to get their group's authors into regional stores.  The logistics would be interesting to say the least ... but I love the possibilities.  Maybe, it might increase the cash flow of independent book stores.

The Read ...  Now for something different, Sandra Dallas' Whiter than Snow.  Dallas is a Colorado writer who has a fascination with Rocky Mountain gold mining towns.  (She also wrote Prayers for Sale.)  I think the books fall into the category of woman's fiction and explore the nature of hardship and healing.  Even her books not set in the Rockies explore those themes.

This is a best-selling author ... but forget action packed chapters.  Dallas  tells her tale with a chapter devoted to each of the characters involved in the tragedy as she explores the ways of the heart.  The hooks are magnificent:
1)  Opening sentence:  "No one knew what triggered the Swandyke avalanche that began at exactly 4:10 P. M. on April 20, 1920."
2) Last sentence of the first chapter:  "Four of the children survived."

Progress ... Am dithering.  Maybe to some effect.  Got the last chapter of Emma rewritten and overcame my inclination for having her flip her grandmother off.  [Not a nice thing for a tween to do.]

Still am managing to revise a couple chapters of Kaffy Anne a week ... in spite of everything.  Seem to have a fetish about characters with black curly hair though.  [Mine isn't ...  wasn't, even when I was young.]

Mariah's on the front burner again, but I don't know what I'm going to do.  Someone with any sense would call Dark Solstice a trunk-novel and shelve her.

Trivia ... Have become a part of an ill friend's transportation network.  Seems like there are more cruel diseases out there now days than when I was a kid ... or are people just living longer with them?

PS.  Seems I'm spending a lot more time watching my retirement portfolio after yesterday.  Fortunately, the anemic thing wasn't drained too badly.
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