Resist, persist, and “make good art:” or, why I still need to forgive Rainer Maria Rilke

spring one

The world is rich with encouraging words for writers. Some of my favorite right now come from Neil Gaiman, who in a commencement speech said: “Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” I’m pretty sure I can make some glorious mistakes.

The ether is also lousy with bad advice. Too often, this is what sticks. Once, just after college, I met a lauded children’s book author, who had been invited to speak to a group of smart, creative kids about his writing process. Afterwards, I confessed my own ambitions, and he said “you have to be experienced to be a writer; you have to really live in the world before you can do anything important.” Discouraging words. Presumptuous. Ironic. Moronic. Don’t even dare to make, create, do, or try until you’re older? I wanted to cover the ears of all children within a twenty mile radius. I wanted to cover my own ears too.

Even my most beloved poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, let me down a little when, in offering advice to a young poet, famously insisted that one ask the question “must I write?” And, if the answer is less than a resounding “yes,” he lamented that “to feel that one could live without writing is enough indication that, in fact, one should not.” I tested myself during a long hiatus from writing adventures while I recovered from graduate school. Nope—I did not have to write; I proved it by not writing. Or did I?

The page stayed blank, but my creative energy spewed over everything else. Intricately constructed cheese boards emerged. Surreal mantle displays surfaced, along with invented games, and shrines devoted to all variations of the color green. My living space transformed into a museum of I’m-not-writing art installations. Creativity is a natural state, it seems. Our imaginations may have been squelched by those who meant well, or didn’t, but we all have a spark of something.

clementine one

pepper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, why are folks so eager to set up boundaries around the imagination? Why do we let them? The mantras of the gatekeepers have always been with us. You are an artist only if…you’re too young, you’re too old…you aren’t wise, smart, damaged, poor, rich, connected enough to make it as a writer, why even try? For those of us who consider artistic endeavor an important act of resistance in dark times, it’s even more necessary to ignore these and to persist right now. While bullies with power choose to destroy, others must dare to create. Young, old, solvent, broke, connected, friendless, all. The world can afford nothing less.

Here are some moves that help me press on. Find others who are also engaged in their own creative work. (Hello, BACCA. Thanks for having me.) Write nearly every day and lose yourself in it. Be brave enough to jump down the rabbit hole. I’m never sorry when I do. Discover beauty everywhere—spring is a great time for this. It’s hard to imagine a more audacious rebel than spring.

spring three

 

And…listen to the encouraging words. A few more from Neil Gaiman: “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.”

 

 

Noelle Beverly writes poetry and prose, promotes local authors in the surrounding community, and is new member of the BACCA Literary group. Photos by the author.

What Next? Celebrating Non-Celebrities

immigrant_workers

The recent election changed me.  Like thousands of others, I had always felt I was doing my duty by speaking my mind (mostly on facebook and with friends) and by voting.  Now I think of myself as a “baby activist.”  I am full of admiration for those who have been calling, writing, and showing up all along to communicate with their representatives and hold them accountable, and now I am trying to do the same.

But fundamentally, I am a writer, and it is my response as a writer that (I hope) could be most valuable.  I am just finishing up a novel on which I have worked for a very long time, and I find that the widening inequalities in our country have put a new idea into my head.  I want to celebrate our “non-celebrities.”  These are the people who will not appear on T.V. shows except perhaps for a few seconds, whose pay barely keeps them alive, and who do good in numberless ways.  The people who first come to mind are the CNAs–Certified Nursing Assistants– who take care of our elderly in assisted living and nursing homes.  Their jobs are very difficult and grossly underpaid, yet so many of them are remarkably patient, compassionate and effective.  They do a lot of good, and yet, they are undervalued and, to many, they are invisible.

I don’t know yet in what form I would like to write about these people–fiction, non-fiction, or a combination of the two.  And maybe this is one of those ideas that arise only to disappear. But it has that exciting, half-submerged feeling of an idea that won’t go away.  A perspective in which so many people are so underestimated is an unbalanced perspective.  I would like to add a little weight to the other side of the scale.

helth-service-img9

Thank you, Princess Leia

When Star Wars came out in the summer of 1977, I was 20 years old. I enjoyed the movie but I didn’t get Princess Leia. Princess?  Really?

princess-passes-away

Carrie Fisher, our Princess, passes away.    StarWars.com

She didn’t look like a princess.  She didn’t wear sparkling gowns to the ball.  She didn’t even go to a ball! She didn’t cry when she was captured.  She didn’t swoon when she was rescued. She did none of these.  She took charge.  She grabbed Luke’s gun and shot an escape route right into the garbage pit, and then jumped in head first.  What kind of Princess does that?

Truth is I don’t remember watching any shows with Princesses when I was growing up.  I liked action and heroes so I watched WESTERNS!  Bonanza, The Rifleman, and High Chaparral, to name a few.  Handsome men and daring adventures.  If you’ve seen any these series, you know that women had one role—to marry the male lead and then promptly die.  Shot by a stray bullet during a gunfight was the usual culprit.  That gave time for one last kiss before dying in the male lead’s arms. Sure there were the occasional barmaids like Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke, but for most women in westerns, their roles were to die.  What was the reason behind these oft-repeated 60-minute courtship/marriage/death scenarios?  This was the 60’s remember.  Men didn’t cry on TV or in real life.  Not unless they had a good reason and a dead wife was a good reason.  Dead wives gave the male leads a reason to cry or seek revenge or go temporarily insane. All of which made for great TV but wasn’t much of a role model for impressionable preteen female viewers like me.

Carolyn on her big brother's shoulders, probably watching westerns and pretending to be a cowboy.

Carolyn on her big brother’s shoulders, probably watching westerns and pretending to be a cowboy.

Then came Star Wars and things changed.  The most popular motion picture on the planet had a pretty young Princess who wasn’t just as a plot device.  She didn’t wear ball gowns or worry about her hair.  She didn’t pine over a boyfriend or worry about her wedding. She was tough! She challenged the men who captured her and bested the men who rescued her, all the while never losing who she was by trying to be just one of the guys.  She never lowered herself in an effort to seek popularity or approval.

Forty years later, TV and movies have a slew of tough young heroines:  Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, Rey and Jyn Erso in the latest Star Wars movies.  And writers are emboldened to have strong female characters, too.  As the author of KINGSLEY, I know a thing or two about writing powerful female characters.  I have heroes and villains, scientists and tradesmen all who are women. (per the Kirkus Reviews … KINGSLEY sports “a strong cast of varied and complex women.”) It’s actually the guys that need rescuing.  I like to think that Princess Leia would be proud.

Kingsley1A2 boy and honeycomb 1

 available on Amazon.com

 

 

One-line summary of my novel.

I have been asked for a one-line description of my novel, which, as you may know, doesn’t seem much easier than writing the novel.  Below is what I’ve come up with.  Do you think that if you were an agent this would encourage you to read more?

Thanks,

Andrea

A flock of swans, a polluted pig wallow, and a versatile microbe bring a new virus to the town of Buxton on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; the virus does its work of taking over bodies, while Buxton residents such as a disillusioned environmentalist, a young single mother, and a shy priest come face to face with their fear of death and their need for each other.

 

 

Becoming Unstuck for Writers Who Write about Becoming Unstuck

I recently published my first book. Well, the first book that I actually wrote. For work, I help authors get their books published on the regular. This was my own book though, which made the experience slightly different. Noting the differences between my experience of other people’s books and my own was meta enough, thank you, and yet there was a further complication.

fbuw-frontcoverv8-161118-4bowkerThe book I wrote is called FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers. Which presumes that I know a few things on the topic. That’s true. I’m glad to report that I still feel competent to have written it.  The difficulties came when the process of launching this book encountered, well, stuckness. You know, the stuff I’m supposed to know about extricating from.

Things Happen

I want to paint an accurate picture. And to be sure, wonderful things happened. Some great opportunities arose, surprising me with bounties of time (a client needed to postpone our work, due to a personal emergency) and space (a last-minute chance to hide out at a writer’s retreat one long weekend enabled me to put the finishing touches on the manuscript before sending it to the copyeditor). Beta readers were generous and attentive and incredibly helpful. I rejoiced. This was going to work out fine! Even with a full-time job, I was going to be able to stick to my production schedule and get this puppy out in October, as planned.

Then the copyeditor also had an emergency. It was a critically serious one, and needed to be honored. As long as it took for things to get back on an even keel, that’s how long the delay would be.

Politics

Then the US political environment took an unexpected turn and I found myself grappling with past trauma I had not expected to need to look at any more in this lifetime. Time, effort, and therapy were required to deal with the reawakened monsters in the shadows. As long as it was going to take, I realized, that’s how long the delay would be. No negotiation was possible with myself on this stuff. I needed to feel safe walking down the street again before becoming capable of glad-handing strangers about the merits of my new book.

Releasing the book in October simply wasn’t going to happen. OK. I readjusted my sights, and planned for early- to mid-November.

More Politics

Speaking of the US political scene, during that timeframe, the news reported that a candidate had won the national election. Suddenly, releasing a book about becoming unstuck felt ridiculously insufficient. And besides, who was going to want to buy such a thing? As if a craft book for writers was going to make a difference to anyone. More reflection, more therapy, more conversations with trusted friends. A growing sense emerged that we each need to focus on doing what we do well, as the best form of resistance, to become forces for positive change. I wrapped my brain around that notion and decided to publish as soon as possible.

Indie Publication and Amazon

Independent publishers like my company often rely on the combined forces of CreateSpace and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing – both parts of the Amazon empire – to take the completed book files and turn them into paperbacks (CreateSpace) and Kindle-compatible ebooks (KDP). So when CreateSpace delayed my publication date, and KDP refused to accept my formatted ebook file, a great welling of frustration, a sense of stuckness, you might call it, once again invaded my happy plans for book launch. In neither case was it a serious problem. Eventually, the paperback did become available (there had been a backlog of orders at CreateSpace), and the ebook file was accepted (KDP had changed its web form, so I needed to re-start the ebook setup process).

Launch!

signing-at-wh-161204-p1040023

Four local authors: A M Carley (left) signs her book for Zack Bonnie (right) while Mary Buford Hitz and Bethany Carlson talk about publishing.

The book was available from Amazon by the last day of November, and I had plenty of copies on hand in time for my first book event, a soft-launch celebration as part of the twelve-author local writers holiday reception and signing at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, VA. And people bought copies of my book!

Instead of being bummed out that I missed my October launch date, I decided to focus on the New Year, and appeal to writers who need a boost so they start off January with energy and focus. I decided to offer a free course for writers who buy the book. That way, they can create their own accomplishments and a-ha moments during the first month of 2017.

Lessons Learned

What have I learned from these periods of stuckness?

  • Stuckness happens.
  • “Circumstances beyond our control” can be affected by our behavior and attitude, anyway.
  • Sometimes the schedule must change. Accepting that reality can create new opportunities.
  • Putting one foot in front of the other, being doggedly purposeful, will often see you through to completion of the next step.
  • There’s always a next step.

— AM Carley writes fiction and nonfiction, and is a founding member of BACCA. Her company, Chenille Books, provides creative coaching and book development services to authors. Her first nonfiction book, FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers, is available for purchase at Amazon and other booksellers. #becomingunstuck 

 

 

 

Missed Deadline Damage Control

When I mapped out the publishing schedule for Crowdfunding for Authors in January, I didn’t know a few things about what the rest of the year had in store. I didn’t know that I would be moving, not once, but twice in six months; that I would have an unexpected summer job; that furbaby number three would show up just weeks on the heels of number two; nor that planning even the simplest of weddings – for only six guests! – would take up so. much. time. So, my book was supposed to be (self-)published in October, and now it’s November, and the book isn’t out.

Graphic courtesy GO media

Graphic courtesy GO media

I’m frustrated and embarrassed. I’m typically an organized, on-time – even early – person. I’m not only behind schedule on the book at this point, but I’ve missed some key marketing deadlines to set up selling opportunities for 2017. The whole thing is feeling unprofessional, and I spiral into worries about the knock-on effects this is all going to have on my career.  But the hand-wringing doesn’t help. Instead, what helps is getting practical.

Here are a few things I’ve done, with my readers in mind, to minimize the damage from missed deadlines:

  1. Communicate. In email, phone, text, and in person, I’ve updated my readers and marketing contacts on the delays. I’ve kept out of the weeds of detailed explanations, which can sound like excuses, and simply let them know I am behind schedule.
  2. Send ARCs. Everyone who preordered the book has received a digital ARC. And, I’ve offered printed galleys to those who preordered a physical copy. The material in the book still works – it just doesn’t look as good as the final product will.
  3. Update online language. I’ve updated my website and everywhere else that talks about the book to communicate that ARCs are available but the book is not. I’m still in the middle of the maelstrom, so I’m also avoiding making promises on when the final book will be out. Right now, I just don’t know.
  4. Update preorder options. I originally offered eBook, paperback, and workbook versions of Crowdfunding for Authors. For now, I’ve taken the paperback and workbook down, so only the eBook is available for preorder on Indiegogo. This is the closest version to being ready to put up for sale, and it is fast and easy for me to send digital ARCs now.
  5. Take a breath. A favorite Taoist principle of mine is “flow like water”. This is very hard for me when I want to fight like rams or flee like deer. Really, though, I don’t want to fight my book, or run away from it. For now, I’m doing my best to just accept that its timeline is different from what I planned earlier this year, and do my best in the current framework.

Once Crowdfunding for Authors is published, I’m also going to take some time to go back and review the original publishing timeline. Right now, in the thick of things, I’m not sure if I just didn’t set a reasonable timeline in the first place, or if it actually would have been reasonable, absent some of the surprises. And, of course, it’s always good practice to budget time for a few surprises – that’s life, after all.

Bethany Joy Carlson is a BACCA co-founder and owner of The Artist’s Partner, which has helped raise a quarter of a million dollars for creative projects, including books.

PS – Event Notice: One of the marketing opportunities I’ve missed for my book but am still very excited to attend is the Local Author Book Fair at WriterHouse, 508 Dale Ave in Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday 12/4 from 1-4 pm. Two fellow BACCA co-founders will be there – Anne Carley, debuting her book FLOAT: Becoming Unstuck for Writers, and Carolyn O’Neal, with dystopian eco-thriller Kingsley.

Marketing My Book: A first-time author’s journey

Notice something different in the title of this blog than the title of my July entry?  In July, my blog was “Marketing My Self Published Book: A first-time author’s journey.”  A fine title but does being self published really matter anymore?

 

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2

If the term self published bothers you, drop it.  You are an indie author.  Your imprint is Create Space or Ingram Publishing Services or whatever publisher puts ink on paper for you.

Part Two:  Book Festivals

All literary festivals have applications to fill out and deadlines to meet.   Be sure to read the rules and guidelines before submitting your book.  If your book doesn’t comply with their requirements but you have your heart set on hobnobbing with the other authors, it’s worth contacting the director.

I had my heart set on being part of the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Since KINGSLEY wasn’t coming out until November 8th and the Virginia Festival of the Book deadline for submission was October 1st, I asked permission to submit the final draft of my novel instead of the finished product.  I was very fortunate that they agreed.

The sad fact is that most Literary Festivals aren’t welcoming to indie authors.  When they are, they seem to give priority to indie authors living in their state.  This is where doing some legwork before you publish pays off.  I was an active volunteer for many years with the Virginia Festival of the Book, and I’d moderated and participated in panels.  I can’t say for certain that this is why I was accepted but it might have helped.

The Virginia Festival of the Book is a multi-day literary festival in Charlottesville, Virginia. The festival invites authors and publishing experts from all over the country.  Most of the events are free so they draw a good crowd.  The festival is held in March, which means weather can be a factor in its success.  A lovely spring day attracts more attendees.  Rain or snow is a real wet blanket.   My panel was scheduled for a Friday at a popular library.  I was looking forward to it.

Regardless of whether an author is invited to participate in a panel, they can still rent a table at the Omni Hotel on the last Saturday of the festival to sell their books.  I rented half of a table, which cost $110.  Virginia Festival of the Book 2015

Bottom line: Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your book or to rent a table if your goal is to be part of a book festival.

Once I had advance reader copies of KINGSLEY, I began submitting to other Literary Festivals.  At that time I didn’t realize how slim my chances were of getting in.  Most of the festivals I applied to required several copies of my book, which meant more trips to the post office.  Money going out and none coming in.

I was rewarded for my hard work with acceptance to the Dahlonega Literary Festival in Georgia.  This festival was scheduled for the weekend before the Virginia Festival so March was filling up with opportunities to talk about my book.  I was to be part of a panel that wrote science fiction and fantasy.  I had high hopes so I rented a space for book signings and sales.   It only cost around $35.  Not bad, but attending the festival in Georgia meant renting a hotel and a couple tanks of gas to drive there and back.2016-03-12 08.47.16

Was it worth it?  Not in sales.  But both festivals allowed me to spread the word about KINGSLEY, sharpen my presentation, and focus my pitch.

And as the saying goes,

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice, practice, practice”?

Next up: Practice makes perfect (or at least better).  Watch for it in  2017

What Sir Salman taught me last week

Free Speech and Writing

So the National Endowment for the Humanities threw its 50th birthday celebration, Human / Ties, in Charlottesville, VA, mid-September 2016. Almost all the events, over a span of several days, were offered free to the public, and I went to a few of them. It was a treat. I ended up feeling chuffed – and sobered – about being a writer myself.

Publicity from UVa on behalf of the NEH and HUMAN/TIES

Publicity from UVa on behalf of the NEH and HUMAN/TIES

On the Friday evening, 16 September, at the Paramount Theater – our lovingly refurbished former Vaudeville theater now hosting drama, music, speaking, meetings, large-screen movies, etc. – Sir Salman Rushdie came for a chat. The successful author and teacher, who catapulted to international fame when an Iranian Ayatollah put a bounty on Rushdie’s head in 1989, sat on an elegant chair near the center of the vast Paramount stage. To his right, in a identical chair, his interlocutor, Suketu Mehta, a fellow professor at New York University’s School of Journalism, spoke for several minutes, after which, inserting brief questions from time to time, he let his friend and colleague do most of the speaking, .

Rushdie in 2016. Photo from Wikipedia.

Rushdie in 2016. Photo from Wikipedia.

I didn’t know what to expect. I signed up weeks before the event for my free ticket, as soon as I heard about it, on the theory that this was an important occasion and I might be surprised by what I observed and learned. I’m so glad I did that. Turned out to be a worthwhile theory.

Following are some of the nuggets I came away with, from Rushdie’s conversation with Mehta.

FYI: To the best of my knowledge, the quoted material here is accurate. I had a little notebook with me in which I scribbled 😉 Any errors in transcribing are mine.

 

On Dissidence and Writing

The writer is the voice that nobody owns.

The authoritarians … want to control the narrative.

If you say, ‘no it doesn’t,’ that’s why they want to lock writers up.

These remarks and the narrative around them led me to feel pleased and proud to be one more member of the international clan of writers, dating back from the storytellers in the cave, to the present-day, where we express ourselves through so many means in so many media. It’s a privilege and perhaps a duty, Rushdie implied, to write the truth as we perceive it – and as we choose to communicate it.

On Freedom of Speech

Having lived in the New York area for twenty years, he said, he applied for and received US citizenship. Rushdie emphasized that “the most important thing” in his decision to do so is the existence of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Handwritten text that would become the First Amendment

Handwritten text that would become the First Amendment. Courtesy Wikipedia.

After overcoming some discomfort about people in the US being able to say more terrible things about others than they are permitted to, for instance, in England or Germany, he said he gradually came to value more the First Amendment’s wisdom. It favors openness over control. After all, some people will be in power, and they are the ones who’ll say what’s permitted and what isn’t. What if you are on the wrong end of the people in power?

All it says, as adopted in 1791, is this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Here’s some of what Rushdie had to say about the importance of that brief paragraph.

Bad ideas don’t disappear if you forbid them.

I want to know where the assholes are. … [T]hen we’ll know where they live.

Lest we try to believe that censorship can be used for good, in the interests of protecting those segments of a society that are smaller, less recognized, or less vocal, he gave us this heartfelt advice.

Don’t use censorship to defend minorities – it will backfire.

Rushdie was clever, funny, and sincere. His friend, Professor Mehta, conducted the conversation elegantly, with minimal fuss.

I am grateful for the chance to sit there, take notes, and take it all in. All writers can be brave. Some like Rushdie are called on to be publicly, conspicuously, so. That night, he did not let us down. Seated in his chair, under the spotlight, he stood up for all writers.

— AM Carley writes fiction and nonfiction, and is a founding member of BACCA. Her company, Chenille Books, helps nonfiction authors develop their books. Her first nonfiction book, Becoming Unstuck: The FLOAT Approach for Writers, is forthcoming in 2016. #becomingunstuck 

158 Queries or, Another Case for the Growth Mindset

“I queried 158 times before I sold my first word.”

I was sitting in a Just Buffalo writing workshop led by Nancy Davidoff Kelton, the author of Finding Mr. Rightstein (Passager, 2016) and Writing from Personal Experience (F+W Media, 2000) and countless personal essays. “158 queries” was part of Nancy’s opening remarks.

The rest of her workshop was useful, personal, and entertaining—even if you don’t count the law firm’s noisy party on the floor below. But “158 queries” is what I needed to hear the most. I walked into the workshop, thinking “I don’t need a writing workshop—I need a query pep talk.” Unlike most of the other workshop participants, I’ve taken writing classes…several. I’ve spent a couple years, in those classes and working with 2 different writing groups, developing control over my voice, so the academic in me doesn’t come out unless invited.

But so far I’ve not developed a successful query process. I think I know my query issues, AKA false beliefs that serve to self-handicap, AKA the fixed mindset when it comes to querying. What’s ridiculous is, when it comes to writing, I’m the queen of growth mindset, which is the idea that if you keep doing something, you will improve. And improving depends on regular practice.

I shouldn’t be surprised by this because the research on mindsets (made famous by Carol Dweck who wrote the book) says that indeed, a person can have a growth mindset in one area and a fixed mindset in another. Here’s what I mean:

My attitudes about querying (Fixed Mindset):
– I query intermittently, not on a regular schedule.
– I, inaccurately, see querying as separate from writing in the sense that I “can’t” make room in my schedule for both at the same time.
– I dread querying because of the (extremely high) chance that I will fail.
– I don’t believe that if I keep doing it, it will pay off (meaning, result in an accepted piece).

My attitudes about writing (Growth Mindset):
+ I write regularly: multiple times per week, if you count academic writing, which I do since it’s my day job.
+ I make time to write in between all my other obligations.
+ I look forward to writing, because I see it as something that I can improve if I do more of it.
+ I believe that if I keep writing, I will end up with a piece I’m satisfied with.

Before Nancy’s “158 queries,” mini-pep-talk, I had been lying to myself. Telling myself that querying is too hard, that it’s not in my skill set because writers aren’t natural marketers, and that if I just keep entering contests I will eventually, miraculously, be found through that process by an agent or publisher who can’t wait to publish eerything I’ve ever written: my books, short stories, personal essays, back files, rough drafts, and even random, lightly polished journal entries (hey a girl can dream).

Ha. Please don’t tell Jane Friedman, or Anne Janzer, who helpfully present more on mindset-as-applied-to-the-writing-life here.

So now I’m trying to stop lying to myself. Querying is difficult, but Nancy did it. 158 times before she had any success. And now she is a grand success. She had, and has, a growth mindset about both writing and querying.

They (people, somewhere) say identifying the problem is half the battle. So here I am, problem identified.

Time to stop writing—for now. I need to go send in a query letter.

Marketing My Self Published Book: A first-time author’s journey

Part One

After spending years writing KINGSLEY, I felt like everyone knew everything about my novel.  Family and friends had heard about it, read excerpts, and even backed my Kickstarter campaign to push KINGSLEY through the final steps of publication.

 

A month before KINGSLEY launched, I contacted a local book store to host the launch party.  The date was set, invitations sent, menu planned.  About 50 people attended, filling the small bookstore.

Certainly by now, everyone in the world had heard about KINGSLEY, right?

All I had to do was watch the sales numbers to learn the truth.

Over my next few posts, I will lead you through my meandering marketing of KINGSLEY.  My failures, my successes, and what I learned along the way.

Let’s start at the beginning.   I decided to publish KINGSLEY through Amazon (eBook) and Create Space (an Amazon company that prints paperbacks.)  I found both easy to use and cost effective.  Their websites are clear and their technical support is great.  Need help in a hurry?   Create Space gives you the option to input your phone number on their help page and receive an immediate call back.

The upside to using Amazon and Create Space is obvious.  Amazon is the largest book seller in the world!  This meant I could market my novel to the entire world.

Theoretically…

Good luck with that.  It’s hard enough getting people in your town to buy your book, let alone readers in France or Japan to purchase an unknown book by an obscure author written in English.  But at least by using Amazon, readers in other countries have the opportunity to buy my book.

The downside of using Create Space to print your book is that some bookstores, including Barnes and Noble, won’t work with Create Space.   Amazon is their competitor. If you find a way to make a deal with Walmart, Barnes and Noble, or Costco please let me know and I will pass it along!

Now that I’ve told you what you can’t do, stay tuned for ideas on how and where to sell your self-published book.