Friday, February 11, 2011

Time to Get a Buzz On

When you're talking about e-self-publishing (eSP), "getting a buzz on" means something completely different than it did when I was in college in the 1970s. It means creating an interest in what's being published; drumming up publicity; making people salivate in anticipating of your writing. For a major book launch, publishers and authors might begin getting the buzz on six to twelve months before publishing date.

In the old days writers went on book tours. Wait, they still do that and this isn't the old days, it's right now. I should say in the old way of publishing, with print on paper, writers went on book tours. They held readings. They did signings. They spoke to civic clubs. They talked to newspapers, radio, and, if fortunate enough, to television. They had a book in their hands, and copies to sell.

Now, with "Mom's Letter", all I'm going to have are pixels on a screen, organized into words and paragraphs, not even pages. A reading is out of the question, because I'd read the whole thing and then who'd want to buy it? And book signings at a bookstore are out, because, well, it's not for sale at the bookstore, and has no brick and mortar stores.

So creating a buzz for the short story will be difficult, but I've already started. When I asked my fellow writers at to comment on the two covers I was considering, several expressed interest in buying the short story. The woman here at work that I shared it with on Tuesday, before the storm, read it during the storm, and today she told me she loved it. I think she would write a 5-star review on Amazon. One Suite101 writer is putting together an e-literary magazine, and is looking to do book reviews on it. I'll be e-mailing him today. As he has no subscribers, but will be selling the mag via Kindle, I don't know how much buzz that will be, if he even decides to include me in his reviews section.

Then there's this blog, which has 10 subscribers and about 4 other regular readers, plus drop-bys. If I can convince them to say something about it on their blogs, that would be a few more potential buyers. There's always Facebook, with my 90 or so friends. If some of them would buy it and read it and post something about it on their FB page, with their hundreds or thousands of friends, maybe that will be a little bit of buzz. My son says I need to join Twitter and begin tweeting to gain publicity. Maybe. I'll give it some thought.

Also, I can become a little bit active again at Absolute Write, put a link in my signature there, and see what that will do. I will need to add a link to a blogger signature as well. I can also contact local media via press releases and see if I can get a notice there. That seems like overkill, however.

So there's no shortage of things I can do to promote the book, and I'll probably do most of them. But the good news is, beyond this I don't really have to do anything. If it gets a buzz on and begins to sell, great. If it doesn't, no biggy. If I keep submitting the short story to literary quarterlies and finally get accepted, I could expect a payment between $10 and $50. Actually, the more likely scenario is it would be accepted by one of those literary mags that offers no payment except two contributor's copies. The holy grail of publishing is to get $1.00 dollar a word, which would be about $1850. To reach that I'd have to sell 5,340 e-copies. To reach $50 I'd have to sell 145; to reach $10 only 29 copies. I think I'll wind up somewhere between 29 and 5340 (if I'm not being delusional), so already I'm thinking the short story launch is successful, buzz or no buzz.

We'll see what happens. E-self-publishing "Mom's Letter" is an experiment. The minimum price Amazon allows is $0.99, with the royalty being 35%. Some have said that's too high a price for a short story when you have novels on the Kindle platform selling for $0.99. But I feel that as long as I accurately say what the buyer can expect for his or her 99 cents, I'm not cheating anyone. I'm excited. This is the start of an adventure. As with most adventures the outcome is not clear. Let the journey commence, sometime in the next three days, I hope.


sincerelymsred said...

Hey Dave! I guess I'm one of those "drop by's" you mentioned. I wish I could get online more, but with recent events in my life, I'm doing good to check my e-mail every couple of days. I didn't realize you were on Facebook. I'll look you up and send you a friend request. I have some friends who love to read so I'll help spread the word about your work. Good luck! Hope it does well.

David A. Todd said...

Hi Poppy:

Since you are a "follower" of the blog, don't you get either a notice of a feed of my posts via e-mail? I'm not sure exactly how that works.

I appreciate your interest in my work. And, I'll trot on over to FB sometime today and we'll be friends.

sincerelymsred said...

No, I don't get an e-mail notice when you post a new blog. Maybe you have to sign up somewhere or click a box in settings. I need to look into that because there are several blogs I like to follow, but it would be easier if I got notices via e-mail. I also need to look into whether or not I need a Kindle to read your book. My stepdaughter had one for all of a couple of weeks after she got it for Christmas, then someone stepped on it apparently and now it's broken. I think I can download something to my computer and read it that way. I get off work early today and should have some spare time (I've almost forgotten what that is) so I'll look into these things later today. Talk to you later.