Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Other authors, and should I stalk them? Hmmm

As I’ve taken baby steps into this funny little world called e-book publishing, I’ve come to the shocking realization that (deep breath) … I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. There, I said it. And it’s true.

I don’t consider myself to be an overly stupid person (not all the time), but I never realized how much went into this process. I mean, the line edits and developmental edits — these are things we writers always hear about. I used to think of them as a rite of passage for the authors who made it, so naturally, I used to think, “Ooooh, fun.”

No, not fun! Not fun at all! (Smacking self in the head)

Thank God for line edits and developmental edits, and the editors who recommend them. But I felt like a colossal idiot when I first went through the file my editor sent back to me. Talk about head-slapping and lots of “D’oh!” moments! I felt incredibly stupid at times that I’d let some of that junk slip past me. I even wondered, “Why in the world did they accept this? Dang!”

I now can’t imagine self publishing or e-publishing anything on my own. There is a strong purpose for editors, and not just editors, oh, no.

Then there's publicity and marketing and formatting and a host of other things I've never dealt with before.

I have to say that Carina Press, thus far, has been great at guiding me through the process. I’ve heard horror stories about other e-publishers and publishers, and yes, I admit, I was a little worried. Now that I’ve been added to Carina Press’s author list (my, that sounds so important!), I’ve been hanging back and taking in all of the information being sent my way by list serv and e-mails. Information not just from Carina’s staff and editors, but from other authors as well.

I’m grateful that Carina Press is living up to its reputation, because I really do want my book to be a success. The main reason I want “Cry Wolf” to sell more than, oh, five or six copies, is because I want to write more. I’m a busy gal, and as much as I want to write 24/7, it’s just not possible. I have a full-time job, a part-time job and other various obligations. I feel more compelled to write in the little spare time I have when I know people actually care that I’m not writing. So, in my happy little fantasy world, someday I will have readers who want more stories from me. They also wear superhero costumes in my fantasy world, but the main thing is that they like my stories enough to pound their Kindles and Nooks against their pillows yelling, "More! More! More!"

Hey, no snickering! It could happen!

But this leads to a dilemma. How to market my e-book so that does happen.

Fortunately, I have a very talented friend waiting in the wings waiting to help with this. But I’ve been looking around at other successful authors and — I’ll admit it — trying to flat-out copy whatever it is they do. Author website? Check. Facebook and Twitter accounts. Check and check.

Aside from offering online classes about these things, Carina also seems to promote interaction between its authors, and I have been tip-toeing around the idea of chatting up complete strangers to steal some of their vast and varied knowledge. These are the folks who have been there, done that. These are the folks I need.

But what is appropriate and what’s not when contacting an author, especially one you don’t know and haven’t read? I’d love to settle down and read them all, but, um, did I mention I have two jobs?

Fortunately, I think most authors welcome contact of any kind, as long as it doesn’t raise red flags or ideas of, um, stalking. I’m sure if you’re Stephenie Meyer or Stephen King, you might shudder in fear at checking your inbox, but the rest of us mere mortal authors probably aren’t so overwhelmed or busy that we don’t like to collaborate on ideas or hear from a friendly person every now and then. Most people, in my experience, like to be helpful.

So, apparently, tip No. 1 at learning how to market your e-book is talk to others who have been there, done that. Exchange ideas. You never know when a great one will take seed.

I’m going to go do that. Right now. I just hope I can keep my stalking tendencies in check and don't scare anyone. Yeah, it's been known to happen…

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