With a number of developments afoot, I thought I'd take stock of the situation before going to work this morning. There are a number of beta readers in action now, some of whom have provided extremely valuable and constructive feedback. I'm in no doubt now that I have a novel, and that people will read it, given the chance.
I also (small fanfare) have hired a cover designer. There's no way I can do that part myself, and have it look anything like good enough to satisfy my own standards. So the very far away Scarlett Rugers will shortly be settling down to the impossible task of figuring out what I want the cover to look like, and making it into reality. This is somewhat momentous, because it marks the first point at which this book is no longer just the work of one person. It's a real thing, and it's really happening.
I have in my head, if not yet on paper, a marketing plan (and, fear not, Emma, I'll be hitting you up for ideas and advice!) and it goes like this:
- March - final edit and proof, work up ideas on a mailing list, and social media connections
- April - cover design, blurb, publicity work, about a million other things I haven't thought of yet
- May: Launch electronically, with Amazon at a minimum. There's no benefit to restricting myself, so much work needs to be done on getting published through Kobo etc.
- June or July - Crank up Create Space and move into the actual world of print. Why the delay? I think it needs time to see what kind of market is out there before we go the whole print hog, but I've been doing a lot of reading on this, and I think there's a decent chance, as long as I keep working at it - the worst thing I can do now is to sit back and assume that I've done the hard bit.
(We'll be in the UK in August; it would be nice to have some actual copies to hand out to those who have helped get me this far. Don't hold your breath, though...)
So, this morning, I reckoned I should curtail my beta reader list, since I need time to absorb and act on feedback, and a month is probably about as long as I can leave that. I decided I'd make two more copies available on a first come, first served basis. Then I looked at my email - a friend of my sister wants a copy: one down. I tweeted that I had one copy left to give away. Half an hour later, a complete stranger from Florida emailed me asking if I had a copy to send.
Now, no chickens are being counted here - I'm a long, long way from the finishing line - but it is possible to build an audience of people who don't know you (and who therefore have to be persuaded of the book on its own merits), and I've just seen it happen.
I'm counting that one as a sale, even if I did give it away for free...
Couldn't have done that a few years ago - modern life has its benefits.