Monday Musings: Bad Mojo Part II
Did you digest everything in part one of this discussion? Here are my thoughts on what you can do to jinx your book from the beginning. Remember, this is from my experiences. Transitioning from writer to author is a stony path. We all have to work together to make our dreams happen!
You finally get through all of these irritating impediments to having your great book published and then – What is this? The Editor-in-Chief wants you to look over your book, to see if there is anything wrong with it. Are they kidding? Who do they think they are? It's their job to make sure all that is done.
No, this is your job. This is your book. Most reputable publishers won't do more edits on your book once it's published. This is your last chance to be sure everything is just perfect. Take your time. Don't let that missing period or misspelled word go. Fix them. Don't gripe about the editor or proofreader being lazy and not doing their job. Imagine these people doing their job.
Editors often have two projects they're working on at the same time. Once they finish with one, they're assigned another. Proofreaders are expected to get through what they're working on and grab another as quickly and error free as possible. They are human and might occasionally make a mistake. Give them a break.
Your book is finally published (taking far too long in your opinion) and there are no or slow sales. What is this publisher not doing right? Why aren't they spending every penny possible, or working day and night to promote your book?
Reality in the twenty-first century. Publishers might promote your book on its release. They might tweet or post on Facebook about your book a couple of times a week, but the big promotion push comes from you, the author. This is your book. It's your responsibility to stump for its popularity. Don't send innumerable emails to your Editor-in-Chief demanding the publisher work harder. Forget about insisting that they send you on a world tour, to appear on talk shows, in bookstores, and at major events where you are wined and dined by the rich and famous. That's not happening, unless you arrange those appearances yourself.
Reviews are hateful. Nobody likes your book at all. Some of those reviewers even have the nerve to say it's not their kind of book, they decided to check it out because people were raving about how great it is, but now your sales are flat. Your editor has to find some decent reviewers. Now!
Uh. How did you find those reviewers? Did you do a search for reviewers who review your genre? Are you constantly on the lookout for blog tours that will improve your chances of a better review? What are you doing? Oh yes, that's the key to promotion in the twenty-first century. Not only are you having to write another book, you have to spend a few hours every day promoting the book(s) you already have published. It's a fine line you'll have to learn, although you might ask authors already doing this how they accomplished the feat. Don't be surprised when they say "I use this, that, and the other thing, but that might not work for you. You have to keep trying new things until you find the right combination. Even that won't always work forever.
You want to get in with this fabulous, super exclusive bookstore. There is a place on their website explaining the process, but it's so complicated. Ah! Brainstorm! Your Editor-in-Chief or Publisher need to start earning all that money they're holding back from you every month. It is their job after all, to be certain you are a best seller.
Again, wrong. Fabulous, super exclusive bookstores are a gem if you can convince them to carry your work. Here's the problem, getting through the wall they seem to put up, and that doesn't include your Editor-in-Chief or the Publisher. This is another thing you have to do, and you have to be determined but polite about it. When what seems like the impossible happens, and your book is on their shelves, don't just sit back and crow. Get into the store and set up a signing. Make an appearance. Make nice with the fans—never insult a fan, they will get even.
This radio/television station interviews all kinds of people about their jobs all the time. Publisher, or Editor-in-Chief, get me on there. That's part of your job.
Again, here's were reading the fine print would have saved you a lot of grief, especially that by now the warm, friendly tone of the emails you got in the beginning are beginning to get a bit frosty. It's your responsibility to set up those interviews. How do you do that? Check out the web for your local television or radio stations. Find their contact information (email and phone). Then work on a proposal that will pop their eyes open and say, "Yes, we want this person on our show!" Don't stop there. If this is a Q&A type of program, you'll be expected to do a pre-interview, so the commentator will have the necessary information to conduct a successful interview. If this is a program where you're introduced and asked what you do, be ready with a 1-3 minute spiel. Most in the publishing industry call this the "elevator pitch." You have that short period of time to mention your name, your book's title, your publisher (never forget the publisher or they might not look so favorably on that second book you're laboring on between promotion work), and maybe a quickie about the great reviews. Don't mention the bad reviews, or complain about them either. Nobody likes a whiner.
You're exhausted, can't sleep because you're writing another book and your day job has to be done to pay the bills, and you're just fed up with the world in general. It's time to let out your frustrations on Facebook or Twitter. Time for a rant.
Worst thing you can do. Don't complain about poor sales, step up your promotion work by focusing on the positive. Hey, we all go through this. It's still a down economy. Books are considered a luxury. Instead of ranting, begin a discussion on things everyone can agree on, but steer away from politics. That can lose you readers, if they disagree with your views. Remember, you are now a public persona. People just love tearing apart someone in the public eye if they slip up. So, share a meme you see on Facebook that's funny. There are plenty out there. You can even do a search for them and be the first in your collection of friend s to post it. Write a funny comment on top, no more than a short sentence. Share those "What are you?" posts, after doing it yourself. See what kind of response you get.
I'll leave this discussion with a quote from "The Tears of A Clown" which fits pretty much every public persona: "Now if there's a smile on my face…It's only there trying to fool the public."
Keep that smile on your face. Cry in private. Read and follow guidelines. Mostly, don't ever give up your dream, but always follow the rules.