Publishers don’t really do that anymore

Nathan Fillion at the 2005 Serenity premiere.
Nathan Fillion at the 2005 Serenity premiere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

E-readers, rampant piracy and just plain outdated business models have turned publishing into totally different animal from what it was, or what it has ever been fictionalized to be. Just like most actresses have bodies of ridiculous proportions, the characters themselves enjoy careers of ridiculous dimensions. The show Castle comes to mind. Castle is a best-selling, richer than God novelist who wines and dines beautiful women. Only his duties as a father hold him back from losing himself in the mirror ball of relentless glamor. So charismatic is both Nathan Fillion and his character that he co-stars with a cardboard cutout and no one seems to care. Book tours happen every few seasons because that’s what publishers do… in fiction land.

Now, to reality: the only modern novelist that falls in the “richer than God” category is Steven King. I’m pretty sure that most days of his life, his wife is lucky if he puts on some pants before he scratches his balls and heads over to the keyboard. His breath probably stinks, his glasses have smears and at this point in his career he likely does his damnedest to get out of book tours. No, we’re not discussing Neil Gaiman/Mr. Palmer here. Dudes that marry rock stars do not count.

Divorcing a Real Witch went to editors this week. Since then, the question asked most about the book: “So when are you going on tour?”

I really wish more people would ask, “Great, so how can I help you get the word out?”

Books tours… don’t really happen anymore. They didn’t all that much in the first place. While I am in the coming months putting together workshops on divorce and handparting ceremonies for Pagans that I plan to offer to metaphysical shops within a 500 mile radius (and perhaps anywhere with friends that have relatively few cats and crashable couches) but that will not constitute a book tour. That’s stuff I’m going to have to pay for myself. First, most of those shops require room rental. Then there’s gas, food, lodging, supplies… I  won’t be able to offer my workshops free. Not only will I need to pay for gas for my car and lodging, there’s the matter of assembling the material in the first place.

My book especially will not get any special treatment.  First, it’s not a glamorous subject: divorce. I write it as a journalist, not as a mental health expert, famous mistress or even as a Big Name Pagan. It’s a bummer to begin with and all too easily buried under the topic of same-sex marriage.

Next, It’s a first-time book from a first-time book author. I’ve been published before, but never something book length and more than 10,000 words. My publisher has no idea how this is going to turn out. They’re going on an educated guess based on my willingness to market the book and based on their current goals in their corner of the publishing market.

Because the publisher is relatively small and niche based, so is my marketing budget. To get them to help me with marketing I have to earn it. So that means the first 1000 copies have to come from my own marketing efforts. A book tour will not be how that happens.

How will it happen?

With a lot of help from my friends.

By help, I mean:

  • tell everyone who might have even the slightest interest in the subject of divorce from a non-montheistic perspective about the book. Yes, divorcees, of course -but sociologists, anthropologists, nosy people, non-denominational ministers, people coming out of long non-marital breakups, people preparing for marriage – tell them all. You can start by sharing this blog post EVERYWHERE.
  • Pre-order the book when pre-orders come available. No, really, that makes a MASSIVE difference in how long a book stays in print. I’m skipping putting in an index so you can get it to your e-reader with as much ease as possible. Yes, there will be a print run too.
  • Write about me. Interview me. Have me on your podcast or vidcast. Pester me to write something for your publication on this topic. Now is the time to hit me up. I give a great interview.
  • Ask me to come to your shop and teach a workshop – maybe something on “turning your ex from a toad to just that guy/gal you know.”

So no, I’m not going to have a book tour. That does mean that you can be part of what makes Divorcing a Real Witch successful – and through this I can bring some success your way, too.

 

 

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