Letting a Manuscript Sit

desert of maine sept 2008 photo by K. S. BrooksIn this world of self-publishing and numbers, there is always the “rush to press” or to get that book out there as quickly as possible. After all, time is money. Despite that, I have always been a fan of letting a manuscript sit: getting away from it, clearing my head, and moving on to other things. For at least six months.

Most authors don’t want to do this. And I can understand that.

We’ve had plenty of posts here on IU about putting a second set of eyes on your manuscript. What if that second set of eyes was yours?

I started writing the sequel to my first (and fairly awful yet for some reason popular) novel Lust for Danger back in 1991. Over the years, I added to the sequel, writing out of order as I do, beefing it up, hardening my character. I was proud of this book – it was a far cry from its predecessor – my writing style and my main character had matured greatly. In June of 2011, I finally had a chunk of time I could dedicate to it. did an overhaul, wrote most of the bridging scenes, and found I had accumulated over 60,000 words. 60,000? Well I must be almost done! Finally, publication was around the corner! I would send it on to my editor and betas and this action-adventure thriller blockbuster would be out and knocking people’s socks off by the end of the year! Then life got in the way, as it has the habit of doing.

Thank goodness.

I went back to this project last month. Three years later. I haven’t made it past the opening scene. Ay carumba. What a piece of junk.

Here is what happened. Continue reading

Experts Talk Marketing Strategies at Virginia Book Festival

virginia festival of the book At the Virginia Festival of the Book, this past March 23rd, several authors and experts talked about the best ways to build platform, as well as some specific marketing strategies. Last time we looked at platform building. Now, let’s look at marketing.

First and foremost, when it comes to marketing, think about trying to reach your reader. This is something that indie authors can do particularly well. Jane Friedman, former Writers Digest publisher who now teaches digital publishing at the University of Virginia, noted that traditional publishers have failed in gathering information about readers. “They’re selling to bookstores, so they don’t have these great email lists or insights into the market,” Friedman said. Authors can look more broadly at readers and try to reach them. Email is an especially effective way. Continue reading

LynneQuisition: Donna Huber, Girl Who Reads

Interviews by Lynne CantwellBe honest: who among us indies hasn’t fantasized about having the sort of publishing success that E.L. James has had? Say what you will about 50 Shades of Grey, the woman knows how to sell books. What’s her secret? Here with the inside scoop is Donna Huber, marketing professional, author of Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, and book blogger at Girl Who Reads.

Donna, thanks very much for taking a seat in the comfy chair and submitting to this LynneQuisition. First…well, I have to ask: How did you end up working with E.L. James?

Continue reading

Book Festival Experts Offer Advice on Building Author Platform

virginia festival of the bookSo, once you’ve published a book, platform building and marketing strategies are the next things to tackle on the to-do list. At the Virginia Festival of the Book, this past March 23rd, several authors and experts discussed the best ways to build platform and market books.

First up, we’ll discuss platform building. Platform is more or less all the things that make up your author persona. It includes everything from social media to your work to your general reputation in the author world. Platform building is one of the strongest parts of your marketing strategy, but it’s also the most difficult, the experts said.

“Your platform is part of your job as a writer,” said Bethanne Patrick, author of An Uncommon History of Common Things who built a large following (186k) tweeting as @thebookmaven. “Many of us would rather be writing and researching. But it is not optional. It is something that has to be done.” Continue reading

Classic or Commercial?

really old book pixabayLet’s do a little thought experiment. Pick your favorite classic of literature. One of those books you were forced to read years ago in school. Make it something old enough to be in the public domain. I’m partial to A Tale of Two Cities myself. Your choice is probably different. Maybe Pride and Prejudice, Tom Sawyer, or even (God forbid) Moby Dick (just call me bored stiff). Now pick something more modern, but still a classic you might have read in school from fifty or a hundred years ago. My choice is The Old Man and the Sea. Maybe you prefer Catch-22, something by Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying are a couple possibilities). Or if you prefer a book with a little more heat and your school district was much more enlightened than mine you might choose Lady Chatterly’s Lover.

What are your picks?

All of the books I’ve listed, and I assume those you picked if you didn’t like my suggestions, have stood the test of time. Presumably they were commercially successful. If nothing else, each has sold well over the years with sales to schools and libraries. Now imagine the books you picked hadn’t been published for whatever reason, but the final fully-edited manuscript was discovered and published by the author’s heirs today. We’ll also imagine they published it using a pen name so there isn’t a ton of hype about author X’s undiscovered book. What do you think the odds are that the book would sell? How would the critics react? What do you think the reader reviews on Amazon would look like? Continue reading