What if: Reckless Book Marketing

flying-carpet

Book marketing can be thrilling.

What if you wrote a novel as a blog, for the whole world to read free of charge, chapter by chapter?

What if it became popular enough to attract sponsors, or to deal out the sequels as hardbound books?

What if it was completely ignored?

What if it meant you could never see it in print on a library shelf, ever?

Might be a really dumb book marketing idea if you’re looking to capitalize right away, but it sounds like fun as a breakthrough author marketing platform. In the 1800’s, serial novels were popular features in magazines and newspapers, with a huge following, distinct from the crowd who bought novels from bookstores.

Why aren’t more authors, especially unknown authors, pursuing this option in the Internet age?

Update: Check out this article on serial fiction, and how it’s changing the publishing world. It doesn’t address the idea of giving away a good story free of charge, but it does spell out the commercial prospects if you work with a digital publisher.

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The last day is the shortest.

So, Nano happened.

I took a break from the novel (and the blog, apparently).

I wrote whatever the heck I wanted.

That was good.

There was this essay, which I can’t post, because for once I actually submitted it to something, which led to an audition, which could lead to reading for the Listen to Your Mother show in May. (I hope so!)

And there were a few short stories, and a hundred poems, and some letters.

It’s been good.

But I’ve noticed that motivational posters and Ted talks seem especially loud lately. Little sophistries like, “Done is better than perfect.”  They all seem to pertain to that fat stack of novel on my shelf.  Guess break time is just about over.

 

taking a break

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Win!

 

 

NaNo is finished.

And I am FINISHED with NaNo.

It felt really, super, crazy good to finish something.

I wish that meant I finished my novel, but it doesn’t.

At the end count, I had 51,196 words, but only about 39,000 of those will probably make it into the actual novel, and I’ll still need about 30,000 more to finish. But to be honest, I’m relieved to be done with the rush. It feels good now to savor the process of writing each chapter.

Careful and slow is my new motto.

For now.

I’m starting to understand that there are a million ways to write a novel, and you’ll probably end up using half of them at one point or another.

That’s okay, too.

In the meantime, there’s a new short up in the Unrelated Shorts tab. It’s a three-minute fairy tale. (Apparently that three minute bar suits my short attention span as a writer. It is what it is.)

Thanks for cheering me on!

Now I will mount my virtual trophy on the sidebar.

Bling!

 

trophy

 

Chapatah 10

 

ALMOST done. I’m expecting to knock it out during the write-in today, along with Chapter 11.

Yeah, Nine happened last week, quickly and stealthily. Like a ninja.

This process might be getting easier.

 

The next obstacle will be

EMOTION!!!

TURMOIL!

SEPARATION!

ANXIETY! (The words ‘separation’ and ‘anxiety’ will forever be linked. Motherhood.)

And all that drama that I just don’t do, not in real life anyway.

But I’m going to suck it up and conquer my fears and be

DRAMATIC.

Without the all caps. I swear.

 

Not the kind of drama I meant, but it’s true, nonetheless.

 

I Am NaNo. Hear me roar.

Boom. Chapter 8.

Never underestimate the power of peer pressure and bad coffee.

Today I locked myself into a library boardroom with twenty would-be novelists. We spent three frenzied hours in silence, tried to type just a little faster than the two people at our elbows.

On another note, writers are anti-social weirdos with ego problems.

I am one of those weirdos.

Feelin’ the love.

I SLEW THAT BEAR.

The monster is DEAD.

Chapter 7 is WRIT.

Wassup? Take that, stupid trepidations!

Also, I signed up for my first NaNoWriMo, which means I’m committed to at least 1667 words a day. Yesterday I did 3500.

This marks the beginning of a new modus operandi:

Write November; edit December.

I’m trying to make peace with the rough draftiness of it all. The peacemaking needs to wrap up in the next hour, because I’ll be at my first NaNo write-in, typing frantically with a bunch of other NaNo heroes at the library around the corner. Onward.

Let’s bag us a Chapter 8.

Progress

Why, yes.

Yes, I am still writing Chapter 7.

Still.

STILL.

I’m writing it, and that is sufficient.

It’s not important that it happens to come out in tiny pieces, all over the map.

It’s not important that I’m bad at jigsaw puzzles. Like Chapter 7.

It will come together in the end, and it will be acceptable.

Just keep writing.

P.S. You must try Write or Die. They have a free web version, if you just want to give it a spin. I’m in love.

A Very Deep Hole

So I hit a roadblock.

It should have been a teeny-weeny, easily-surmountable road block, but I made a big deal out of it and turned into a skulking coward baby and let it hold me back much longer than I should have.

The situation: a medical question needed answering– one that would have a huge impact on the plot. I couldn’t google this one, but I had the contact info of a lovely OB who wanted to help me. Instead of emailing her right away with my questions, I sat around being an introvert afraid to make the first move.

A few weeks later, my 10-year-old child found out what a pansy I was and offered to write the email for me. So I bucked up and sent the darn thing. That weekend, the OB replied with the information I needed, and I sat on it a few days longer.

I’m done sitting on it now. The itch to finish this thing is back in force. Tomorrow night I plan to be up as many hours as I can stand after the kids are in bed, writing the heck out of chapter 7.

Here’s the good news from this little trip: Looks like writing is a habit now, even while I’m hiding from it like a bunny shaking in his burrow. During the weeks underground, I wrote a short story for NPR’s Three Minute Fiction competition, as well as a poem or two a day. (Poems are here, if you’re into that.) No stopping it now. It’s ingrained. I wondered if that would ever happen.

I also gathered a few bits of advice from the other writers on NPR’s 3MF page. This was the best bit. I’m going to put it into practice as soon as possible. It’s simple, really…

ALWAYS KEEP TWO NOVELS RUNNING.

Work on one while you put off the other.

Brilliant.

A Week of Sundays

Losing momentum sucks. Big time.

I had to spend most of the last week flat on my back, not writing, not moving forward in any way.

Why?

Probably because of the past six weeks, when I stayed up until three a.m. typing and typing. With atrocious posture. And caffeine. And a stunning lack of leafy greens in my diet.

Finally my back said to heck with this and went berserkers on me.

Sneaky jerk.

So, what to do when you’ve got a wasted week with no way to type or scribble or even dictate?

Well, read some good fiction. Pick it apart and chew it up and let it sink deep in your chest.

Read your own story. Pick it apart and chew it up and let it sink deep in your chest.

Visualize the next step, and the one after that, and the one after that.

Dream up dialogues and conflicts and disasters and heroic saves.

Store it all away in that rusty locker at the back of your brain, so that one day, weeks from now, when you’re writing a big scene, all those preconceived inflections and tics and nuances will resurface naturally in the flow of your narration. You won’t even remember where they came from, but your voice will be better for it, and so will your characterization.

That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

We’ll see.

In any case, it’s Sunday again, but I’m done with rest for a good, long while.

I ate my greens, drank my water.

I’m working on my posture.

Now to crank out some story.

And stretch my back, now and then.

Sundays

Sundays are good medicine for a novel.

Monday through Saturday you build and shape, and rebuild and reshape, and break out the coke bottle glasses and paint on the fine print.

And by the time Saturday night rolls around, your week’s work looks less like a sculpture and more like an incomprehensible lump.

But Sunday, you turn your back. You walk away.

You walk far, far away, if you’re lucky.

And Monday morning, when you come back, when you open your files and look over the last few chapters, they’re back in focus, and so is the next step.

Sundays are magic like that.