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Launching Your Book Off Right

How to improve your work's chances in that big, cruel world.

by
Sarah Hoyt

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December 7, 2013 - 10:00 am
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Selling your writing in 13 weeks, week 9

Launching a book is like launching a rocket.  You make sure you built it right and have the right fuel mixture, and then you hope it won't blow up in your face.

Launching a book is like launching a rocket. You make sure you built it right and have the right fuel mixture, and then you hope it won’t blow up in your face.

There is something magical about taking a book you finish and letting it out into the world. There is something very scary too.

Back when I was doing only traditional publishing, or as I call it non-Baen publishing (since of all my traditional publishers Baen is the only one I continue to work with because they aren’t like the others) the process often resembled taking your infant and feeding him to the volcano god.

In the later days of the push model – before Amazon forced bookstores to stock in accordance with what was selling and not what the publisher said would sell – you often submitted a book in order to see it endowed with the most absurd cover or edited by a process that made Smashwords’ meatgrinder look good.  And then…  Nothing.  It just vanished without a trace never to rise again.

To call the process soul-killing is to understate the truth. For those of us making a mid-list living and often feeding three or four books – or more – a year into this machine, it became an abusive situation that gave us a feeling of combat fatigue. I found, recently, while looking over my books delivered towards the end of that period, (i.e. when I’d been doing it for a long time, and there was no prospect of indie in sight), that I’d started playing elaborate games with myself, such as including some outrageous detail and wondering if anyone else would notice it. This was, in retrospect, reckless and often stupid behavior. (And no, they were never discovered by the publisher, but that means now I need to discover them myself. No, I didn’t remember most of them.)

So – thank heavens for indie, right?  Where that never will happen?

Well, to quote a line from one of my favorite movies (Independence Day) “That’s not entirely accurate.”

Hence the comment about how putting the book out there is very exciting… and very scary also.

Anyone who has put a few stories or novels out there has experienced the weird release that just won’t sell.  This is particularly puzzling when you have a following that – generally speaking – will buy at least a few copies of anything you put out.  You put the short story or novel up on amazon and… nothing.

Sometimes this is a temporary condition, fixed later as the novel starts selling. And sometimes it just stays that way, and you have no idea why.

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Thanks for this article, Sarah. I write non-fiction, but can already see ways to apply your advice to my situation.

-Steve
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
-- Back when I was doing only traditional publishing, or as I call it non-Baen publishing (since of all my traditional publishers Baen is the only one I continue to work with because they aren’t like the others) the process often resembled taking your infant and feeding him to the volcano god. --

Bless you, Sarah, that gave me the biggest belly laugh I've had in decades. And all your subsequent points strike me as inarguable.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Okay, sinus? Gargle with warm water, spit, repeat. Do this for about twenty minutes. You don't really need salt water, unless you like it, at the first few times. The first few spits clear out the obvious gunk. Then the less obvious gunk starts sliding down into the now clear area. Then you gargle and spit that out. Over about twenty to thirty minutes of this you can clear out most of your sinuses' back end, and clear out your ears. You can even clear out the plug of bacteria that's driving all the infection- you'll see it- it'll look like an egg yolk or a green pencil eraser, or something memorably bacterial and revolting. It just takes time.

And, second, if you know it's something bacterial-ish, a shot of three drops of oregano oil swirled in a shot glass of water kills strep bacteria on contact. it tastes like rat poison, it blisters skin if it's not diluted, but it works. It works nigh instantly, too. So, if in two days it hasn't helped, stop. Like, don't keep going- you might be enabling something viral. But if it's bacterial- it works.

I read it in a checkout stand magazine, tried it against strep- worked wonders. I also took too much, and sweated oregano for a day and had a weeping lesion on my skin for a few days- really, three drops, not ten or twenty- and I was breathing oregano fumes for 24 hours- which cleared up my lungs- but I didn't get strep, which my husband and son had already been diagnosed with- and had wiped out the budget for the month buying antibiotics.

The husband now uses it more than me, the kids use it, my world-travelling friend packs a bottle and uses it prophylactically- he says these are the first years of his life where he didn't get intestinal distress in third world countries--my dad uses it- and there's now a hospital where the office staff and doctors use it- but prescribe antibiotics to the people who come in with strep throat.

IOW- get better soon. You sound miserable. I'm looking forward to your many articles, since I've really liked your articles up to this point.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Write what people want to read.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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