Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More thoughts on marketing my novel

Having had a nice break over Easter I've had plenty of time to think about how I can improve the marketing of my novel A Half Life of One.

Here's the conclusions I've come to:

1 Getting the product right- the primary imperative. I've decided to subject the book to one more re-write. I'm going to strip down the prose; flesh out a couple of characters; add some colour to the tone; and change the ending by adding three paragraphs. I'm actually quite excited about the new ending - it's the one I should have come up with in the first place. During the re-write I'll incorporate some of the helpful suggestions readers - my "focus group" - have made.

If I get a clean run at it the foregoing represents about two weeks solid work. Rather than make this a chore I think I'll take two weeks off and go somewhere alone and remote and just do it. I did an early draft of the book on Lesvos and it added a dimension to the writing that my little cell in the Pundy House doesn't allow.

2 I'll continue to promote my book online both as a Word and a PDF file. Currently most readers come to the book via Free Novels Online. As I've said in an earlier post this isn't entirely satisfactory and I'll continue to search around for other platforms that will also attract online readers.

However, it has finally dawned on me that many potential readers will only consider a proper printed book. Therefore I'll look seriously - and seek advice - about the best way of offering this option. Some variant on Print On Demand I imagine. I know Carla Nayland is looking at this option too, so I'll see how she gets on. I think this new framework is the most important way forward for me, especially since my book, however well it is written, may not ever be a commercial proposition. Readers will be able to sample the book online and then obtain it in whatever format they prefer. Sounds pretty obvious really, but it's taken me a long time to reach this conclusion.

3 Despite my reservations about the commercial nature of my book I'm going to have another crack at breaking into the world of traditional publishing. In other words, I'll start sending the revised book out to those agents who haven't already rejected it. Why am I doing this? Simply because traditional publishers and bookshops still represent the best way to get your product in front of as many readers as possible in a short period of time. The internet does not yet have a decent platform for attracting book readers in quantity. Someone will devise one someday soon but it isn't here yet.

So, that's it. The way forward with my book seems clear to me at long last. I'd like to thank everyone on this blog who has come up with the suggestions and encouragement that have helped me reach these conclusions. I couldn't have done it without you.

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