You Just Have to Do It, Part the Second

 

 

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When I was shouldering my way into Geek Fest, April, one of my colleagues, encouraged me to donate a few copies of my book to the library, so that attendees could check them out.  Which is something I always intended to do, but never got around to, because of my shyness.  Another way I just “had to do it,” as Alys Arden said, but didn’t.

But with April’s encouragement, I did, and the cataloging department kindly had them ready in time for Geek Fest.

Of course, I earmarked a copy for my own branch that I manage.

That’s it above. One of my staff members put it on display. They were excited to finally see it.

“They could make a movie out of this!” my coworker Belami said.

(I think so too, but find the possibility unlikely.)

And now, all three copies of my book are checked out and there is even a waiting list!  I have to tell you, that makes you feel like a real author.

It was lovely to receive this support from my coworkers.  It’s encouraging.

That’s the thing about “just having to do it,” — it’s not all nerves and anguish.  It can be good too. You get support.  There are rewards. (Besides, you know, selling books.)   This is what I learned from this.

And the more you do it, the easier it gets.

So, if you are an indie author like me, you might look into donating a few copies of a book to your local library.  Particularly the first book in a series, if you have one.  It’s another way for people to discover your work.  If they like it well enough, they may be moved to buy your subsequent books.

If you work exclusively with e-books, you might look into the SELF-e platform libraries use.  Again, it’s a donation, but it’s a way to get noticed.

It’s up to the inclinations of individual libraries and librarians whether they collect indie authors or not.  Some libraries are very supportive of their local authors. Some are not.  But it can’t hurt to offer.

DON’T, however, try to sneak in a purchase request for your books as if you were just a regular patron.  We librarians can always tell, it smacks of desperation, and it just pisses us off.  Be above board and donate a few copies if you can.  If nothing else, they will go to the library book sale. You will get noticed and help the library earn a couple dollars.

 

You Just Have to Do It

I had a great time at the Geek Fest down at Main Library Saturday.  I sat on an author’s panel, and we had a really good talk, “Can Science Fiction inspire change in the real world?” (Spoiler: Yes.)

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Left to right, authors Claudia Gray, Brandon Black, Maurice Ruffin, myself, Zach Bartlett, moderator.

 

I met bestselling author Maurice Ruffin, author of WE CAST A SHADOW:

 

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Alys Arden was running the Tubby & Coo’s table, and she hand-sold my book! (Or tried to anyway.)

 

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Alys was a real team player Saturday, helping out and supporting other authors, like having an impromptu panel with Bryan Camp:

 

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Big shout out to Alys, whose third book in the Casquette Girls series, The Cities of Dead, just came out.  I appreciated her support Saturday.

Bryan’s second book, Gather the Fortunes, sequel to The City of Lost Fortunes, comes out later this month!

So I did have a really great time.  But the thing is, I had to force myself to do it.  Represent myself as an author allied with the library, who deserved to be there.

I have real issues with marketing my work.  I’m so introverted and socially avoidant, I quail at the thought of putting myself or my work out there, even if it’s just online. God forbid actually in public in front of real people.

But you have to do it.  No one’s going to read your books if they don’t know they’re there.

When my book was first published, I asked Alys, “How do you make yourself market your book?”

And she said, “You just have to do it.  You just have to put yourself out there.  It’s hard. But you just do it, and it gets easier.”

Well, I struggled and avoided it for a long time, but when I learned of Geek Fest, I thought, I have to be involved in this.  I thought, Hey, why aren’t I on that panel?

So I talked to the organizers, some of my colleagues at Main Library, and said, “Hey, I want to be on that panel at Geek Fest.”  And they said okay.

And it went well.  And there are rewards too:

 

GeekBethany

 

This is Bethany.  She came up to me after the panel.  I thought she was going to give me grief for trash-talking Laurel K. Hamilton.  (An unpopular opinion.)

But no. She said, “I’m Bethany. I work with your husband.  He gave me your book to read, and I loved it!”

Wow! My first time hearing from a fan out in the field. What an incredible moment.  Isn’t this why we write at all? To reach people, to be heard? Thank you, Bethany!

“She said, “I just wanted you to know.”  I offered her one of my cards with this website on it, and she said, “I have one, Sam gave it to me.”  So, hi Bethany! Great to meet you!  We talked about my follow-on book to Daughter of Atlas, which isn’t a straight sequel, but shows what happens elsewhere when Atlantis falls.  Which Bethany said was what she was curious about in a sequel. So that was wildly encouraging.

They say that’s the way indie authors build their fan base, one reader at a time.  The only way you can do that is by reaching out to them, both on and off-line.

So, if you are struggling with marketing your books, don’t be afraid.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  Go ahead and shoulder yourself onto a panel at your local sci-fi con.  You never know who you might meet.

 

Book Update, July 2

I got back the final draft of my paper book cover from Selfpubbookcovers.com, and uploaded it to CreateSpace.  So I am waiting now of the proof copy of the book to arrive from CreateSpace, which should take about a week.  Once I approve the proof, the book will be for sale.

I’m probably going to lose my mind when that proof comes in.  My book!  Made real! Something I’ve been waiting my whole life to see.

I should have done this ages ago. It was surprisingly easy, and I feel really good about it. As my friend Rob Cerio said, the only difference these days between a published author and an unpublished author is clicking that Amazon button.  So click it!  You’ll be glad you did.

What To Write Next?

I’m wondering what course I should take next to advance my writing, hm, project? I can’t really call it a career, as I don’t work at it full time and it earns me little money.  Maybe one day.  But the question now is, which of the several things in front of me should I do?  Well, of course, I need to do them all, but which should I do first?  Which would most benefit me at this time?

Here they are:

  • Atlantis novel — publish.  My Atlantis novel is complete and I have done my own editing of it.  I’d say it’s on the fourth draft by now.  I would like to indie-publish it as an ebook, just to have done it.  It needs a copy-edit, a cover, formatting, etc.  This would be the obvious next step, but as written I find myself strangely afraid of it.
  • Write some short stories — selling the first Steve McCray story to Dirty Magick: New Orleans has interested me in writing short fiction again.  Urban fantasy was not previously my thing, but that story practically wrote itself.  I already have a second — no, a third! — one in the works.  And I have a few partial stories from before Katrina that I should complete.
  • Grandmother Theory for Baen Books — I have a hard science fiction story, “The Grandmother Theory,” that would be a good fit for the Baen Books Jim Baen Memorial Award.  It needs to be shortened slightly and could use a polish. The contest opens on October 1st.
  • Get back to Lion of the Dawn — I could get back into writing the first draft of my follow-on to my Atlantis novel, which I am calling The Lion of the Dawn for now.  This was my Nanowrimo effort two years ago and I’ve got about 60,000 words.  It has a LONG way to go, though.  Really epic.  I may split it up into two books in the end.
  • Prep for Nanowrimo — I could spend the next month getting ready to participate in National Novel Writing Month again this year.  Doing Nanowrimo is fun, it’s a special time, and it also gets easier each year — unless something happens like a bad bout of the flu, or your cat’s fatal illness, which are the things that have torpedoed my efforts in the past.  Also a lot of the local genre writer’s community does it every year, so there’s a good hangout scene during the month.  This could either be a continuation of The Lion of the Dawn, or a new effort.  These evening my husband gave me an idea for a Steve McCray novel.  I could write that.

Any of these would be good.  I should do them all, but in what order?

What, in your experience, would be your suggestion?  What should I write next?

UPDATE: I forgot that life has a way of often resolving these questions without your input.  I received an invitation to submit to an anthology with a two-month deadline.  So, that pushes the third Steve McCray story to the top of the list, because it would be a perfect fit for this anthology.  It is started but not yet completed.  Have to finish writing it.  So thus my dilemma is resolved.