Marketing

I’ve been very busy learning how to market — and actually marketing — not just The Brothers Path but Savior as well. They are stand-alone books, but they are about the same family separated by 300 years.

To make it more resonant, I went through Savior and changed all the anglicized names to the Swiss names they have in The Brothers Path. As I did this, I thought of the “big picture” and how, until we have super-human prescience (which I do not want) we can’t really see the big picture. I had no idea when I wrote Savior that I’d write a sequel. A second edition of Savior is now out with the names changed. The Kindle version is now cleaned up and nicer; the paperback has been redesigned slightly and uploaded through Createspace instead of Lulu. It looks better, is less expensive and hits the marketplace sooner.

Today I learned that Savior won an award, the B.R.A.G Medallion. This is an award for independently published books that basically legitimizes their quality. Martin of Gfenn won the award last year, so I’m very happy to have two books on the B.R.A.G. Medallion website. Along with that will come some online interviews and a blog-tour for Savior. Also, on the IndieBRAGMedallion site, my book (Martin of Gfenn, so far) and I have a profile 🙂

Along with the award came a “report-card” from the readers. One reader said he or she would not change a word of the novel, but they would change the title. So would I; I just never came up with a better one and that ship has sailed.

Another reader hated it. Savior has, as one of its characters, an elderly Maronite Christian hermit living in a cave in Lebanon who has taken a vow of silence he must break when he finds Rudolf — the protagonist — face down in a stream. Given the time, place, and character that section of the book is full of what this reader described as “Bible quotations.” I cannot imagine my hermit speaking in any other language. This reader “skipped that part” and ended up not seeing any point to the book at all. The other thing this reader hated is that Rudolf is also (apparently) the lone survivor of a battle. In real life, that battle, the Battle of La Forbie, had few survivors, among them only three Teutonic knights (Rudolf was a Teutonic knight). This reader confuses hearsay, rumor shared by the characters in the story, with fact. It’s one thing that the characters in the novel don’t believe anyone survived the battle; it’s another thing to look backward through 770 years of history and have — wait — a bigger picture than those close to the action could have had. Bottomline — the reader just didn’t like it. 🙂

I know that I approach a story with an agenda of my own but I can never know with what agendas others approach my stories, so the report card was very interesting to read. And, my “grade” on this “report card” was the same as my high school GPA: B+ 🙂

Savior’s award couldn’t have come at a better time because I’m putting time and money into publicizing The Brothers Path. I’ve hired someone to run a blog tour for it; I’ve spent hours on Goodreads cleaning up my author page and paid for an ad. Today I sent it into B.R.A.G.Medallion hoping for another award four to six months down the road. None of this is free. As soon as I have a clean hard copy, I’ll send it into the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews where it could be reviewed, win an award and be entered into competition for “Indie Novel of the Year.” I have little hope for the last, but some hope for a review and maybe the reviewer will like it enough to award it “Editor’s Choice.”

This is a lot of tedious and repetitive work. Today, because of the award, I had to rewrite everything pertaining to Savior including my author bio and repost everywhere that exists. I’m not whining. I’m happy to be doing this, happy Savior (which is absolutely NOT everyone’s cup of tea) has won this award, happy to have the money to at least move this mountain forward a little bit.

17 thoughts on “Marketing

    • Good to hear (read). I’m a little concerned about the cover for The Brothers Path, but it might turn out better than I think it will. Lulu has been OK, but they charge $2 more for author copies than Createspace and the interior format is less eye-friendly.

      • I had the people who did the formatting (wordsworth) do the cover on Rocky Mountain Pastels. I was very happy with it. I had originally contacted an artist that I like to do the cover, but I got tired of his crap. After the heart attack, I’ve a low tolerance for bull.

      • I did everything myself — I got the Createspace proof yesterday and it is beautiful. 🙂 I’m happy with it — though I did go back yesterday and tweak the cover. I like doing that stuff at least as much as I like writing. I definitely hear you about bull — and one lesson I learned during my year of being an artist here in the San Luis Valley is that many artists are full of it. Shudder.

      • I didn’t trust myself with the formatting, and at one point I thought to do the editing myself. I broke down and had it professionally edited. I’m glad I did, as I learned a lot about my writing from that. The only thing I’d do different is I’d let createspace do the ISBNs next time. I spent a little more than I needed to on that. My total cost was $1775.00. And I’ve sold 30 books so far. LOL But the cost of publishing the book was almost exactly what I made last year as a writer, so I really broke even.

      • After my the saga of my first novel, Martin of Gfenn, I have hired a professional editor. She’s wonderful and I’m glad I found her. I also learned from Martin of Gfenn what I do wrong as a writer — the person who helped me with that novel was Truman Capote! Strange but true; he showed up in my dreams which was so freaky I had to figure out why. I spent the summer of 2010 reading everything he wrote and definitely got the message. I went back to my humungous overwritten and repetitive manuscript (a natural result of only having an hour here and there to write) and “Capotified” it. It ended up half as long and at least twice as good but still full of small mistakes that my dyslexic eyes could never see — I “hired” proofreading friends at that point. It ended up beautiful and won prizes, but I have no idea how many books I’ve sold. With Savior I “hired” proofreading friends before finding an editor and I did the same with The Brothers Path. I know myself a lot better now.

      • If Truman showed up in my dreams, I’d be looking in to checking in to some place. Or I’d just go get a bottle and a gun. 🙂

      • Yeah, it was strange and more than a little disconcerting. A couple of times I went to bed, immediately asleep and right away dreamed of Truman Capote. When I started reading his work, I realized that until In Cold Blood that guy never had a story to tell. I had a story to tell but I didn’t have what Capote had; style. That bit about when the student is ready the teacher will come, I guess. He hasn’t been back. 🙂

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