It’s one thing to write a book, another to get it out to the world.
As you’ve read in my earlier posts, writing is the fun part.
Publishing and promoting, not so much. I just finished reading a book written by a prominent editor who described the whole process of getting a book into print and into the public eye. The amount of work is daunting. For unknowns like me, it is probably an exercise in futility.
My approach to getting my books out has been simple. I e-publish them on Amazon, make up business cards with the titles and my name, and give the cards out to random people I run into who appear to be the types who might enjoy the books. I also spread the word to people on my contact list through emails. Unless you get a real publishing house to accept the book, there’s almost no way to get it into stores. Even if I did, the percentage I’d get of the sales would be a pittance. I may look into submitting to a house for this one, but the odds are small they’d bite. Mine is not a formula for commercial success, but it is one for low stress.
I rarely get feedback, but when I do it’s all over the place. Of those who purchased “The Brief Long-Term Therapy of A. Lester Lord” a few loved it, a few said they couldn’t get into it and most never commented one way or the other. Presumably they either didn’t read it or read only some of it and lost interest. Even many of my friends and relatives have not bothered to read my work. I believe it’s a function of “familiarity breeds contempt.” Though they may like me personally, they cannot imagine I could possibly write a good novel. Fortunately, you know they are wrong.
I would like to think that those who don’t enjoy my writing are those who are not particularly introspective. That pretty much includes most people. They prefer action and the familiarity of formulaic novels cranked out by best selling authors and promoted heavily in the media. The action in my novels, especially in the latest one, occurs as much in the grey cells of my characters as in their behavior. Not that there is a dearth of actual action, plot turns, dramatic tension and snappy dialogue. It’s just that, as narrator Joe Nehemiah, made clear in “TBL-TTOALL,” there is more drama and excitement going on in all our secret hearts of hearts than most people suspect. To those who don’t enjoy my work, I’ll quote my Texarkana character, Luanne. “Bless their hearts.” Translate that as you wish.
One thing I know for sure. Just as I am a person who is “not for
everyone,” so are my books. I take that as a positive thing. Like Sara Jamison, who can’t make any money on her art, I can’t make any on my books. So what? The joy is in the writing and in having a few appreciative fans. Like Sara, I don’t need money. What I would like is to know there are some people out there who enjoy and appreciate my work. That leaves me free to write as I please. What you read in my books is always genuine and from the heart. If you know that, you know me. I write a lot about the anonymity of people in our society, and my writing is, itself, an effort to reduce my own anonymity.
After a year of planning and intensive writing, I am in the process of the final edit of my latest installment in the Lester series. It may be the end of the Lester series, but there is room for a sequel should the spirit move. This latest is tentatively titled “Guitars of the Gods.” It pulls together the themes of the previous books and re-introduces the supernatural characters while following events in lives of the human ones as they struggle to make sense of the class war and social upheaval of our post-Trump era.
Lester, having lost the election, now must re-invent himself and, once again, make sense of his life and of the human race. Lester battles mightily with his own conscience throughout the story in a way readers will readily identify with. Luce is constantly in the background wheeling and dealing and inserting his snide comments into the text from time to time. Luce is one of my fave characters because, despicable as he is, he’s not afraid to speak the truth.
Additionally, through Lester’s college course in philosophy, the book takes on the question of the existence of God in some depth. It also takes the reader into the world of musical performance, touches on the #metoo movement, the opioid epidemic and other major social and political issues as it rushes toward a breathtaking climax in which the fate of Mankind hinges on a contest between Boss and someone whose identity I will not now divulge. In writing the ending, I tried to emulate the power and emotionality of the climactic scene of “Cosmic Casino” where Lester stops in on a gospel church service. I’m hoping the conclusion of the book does justice to the memory of Joe Nehemiah and carries his story through to a conclusion he would have approved of both artistically and conceptually. If all goes well, the book will be available in early spring.
I know if you enjoyed “TBL-TTOALL” you will love this book, and since you are likely to be among only a handful of readers to ever read it, you, like me, can enjoy feeling like, let’s say, not a plain vanilla kind of person.
Meanwhile, please spread the word on “TBL-TTOALL” Promote it to your book club, recommend it to your friends and please write a brief review at its Amazon site. It would also help if you forwarded my blogs to your friends and mentioned them and the books on social media. I myself avoid social media, but I’m not too proud to accept postings from others on my behalf.
Hold on to your hats, this next one is a doozy. I’ll let you know when it’s available, but will probably not blog again until then. Be well and stay patient. It will be worth the wait, I promise. ND