Monday, May 10, 2010

Process, Redux

I'm interrupting this post to add some information that I had forgotten to include yesterday,which is a continuation of last week's post on Process:

1) I attended one day of the Los Angeles book fair. There were readings and panels and signings by ‘name’ authors, few of whom I got to hear since Ticketmaster had screwed up my ticket order (and I didn’t notice until it was too late). I’m not sure what I had expected, but what I learned is that it is not worthwhile to have a booth there to sell my book as there were hundreds (maybe a slight exaggeration) of self-published authors there, and I didn’t see a lot of books flying out of their booths. Plus, I don’t know the quality of these other independent publishers or the quality of their materials, but I don’t think being among them (no offense intended) would serve me well. So knowing that saves me a lot of time. But I got to spend time with the friend with whom I went up to LA, and we got to hear Carol Burnett speak about her book and sign them. My friend, Zoe, was thrilled (so thrilled that she got a signed book for me, too).

2)I’m working on writing a variety of blurbs of different lengths to describe my book: One that a reviewer might want to use when describing the book as succinctly as possible, one that might appear on the Amazon page [NOTE TO SELF: Check on length requirement/limitation].

3)Last Saturday, I received the Proof copy of my book. It was quite cool to see it made up the correct size, and bound. Even if the back is mostly blank. That copy was supposed to be for me to proofread, etc., but instead I used it for another, important purpose: I send it to Elie Wiesel, whom I had contacted earlier and who promised a blurb for the book. Once I have that, I hope it will be easier to invite other authors to contribute quotes.

4)I posted a job on Elance, the site at which I found my book jacket designer and editor/proofreader. I'm hoping to hire someone who knows about driving traffic to a blog, as I knew I would like to have more people discover this blog and participate/comment in it. But I guess the requirements for the job were just too much, as I haven't gotten any applications. I may try to post it at UCSD, where I would imagine I can find someone skilled in this area. But if anyone has any recommendations for someone who knows how to drive target traffic to a blog (and the posting at Elance identifies the markets), please send him/her my way.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled content:
I had a very nice mother's day-- my first as an empty nester. But both boys called me (without prompting, at least by me) and talked at length. And one of them sent flowers, too. Even though we couldn't all be together, being able to talk to them without their being in a hurry to get off the phone -- for good reasons, as they're both busy, made me really happy.

So I'm a little overdue on updating the blog.

Continuing now about the Process of bringing this book to publication:
1) The past few days have been spent on research: which independent bookstores in San Diego, New York and Miami will read and consider carrying an independently published book? I want to write to each of them and schedule a time to go in and meet them and make a pitch for my book. I've also been trying to locate the email addresses of several particular authors from whom I would like to solicit a quote. I've managed to find most of the contact information, but I'm going to wait till I hear back from Elie Wiesel before I approach anyone else. Having a blurb from him will give the book the credibility it needs for me to approach the authors I'm thinking about. Plus I'm researching publications that will review independently published books. Some are more prestigious than others, though most of my focus will be on Jewish publications, as they are my primary/initial market. I may also pursue some academics, leaders in the field of knowledge about the Russo-Japanese War. Professors of Military History, Japanese History, Russian History, Jewish History and several others. I'm going to need to start building a list, and plan to send each of them a chapter (or portion of a chapter) and suggest that they might want to use the book in their classes. There's a chance that they may only want to buy excerpts, but there was a recent discussion in an online Self-Publishing group in which I participate that talks about how to price excerpts.
2) I'm also proofreading, again, the entire book, and have rewritten the opening, which I wasn't happy with, anyway, though now I am. I just have to decide whether it should stand alone as something like a Prologue (though prologues are currently out of fashion. Doesn't bother me too much, especially since I have an Epilogue describing life for my grandfather when he got to the U.S.) One unfortunately thing about proofreading is that I'm a chronic rewriter; I always think something can be said a little better, or with fewer words. Plus, I'm looking forward to getting feedback from my book club when we meet in a little over a week. They're reading my book for this month, and I hope they'll point out areas that don't make sense or are confusing, as well as typos. One friend who finished the book already expressed confusion about one of the characters, and I understand why; it's because in one part of the book my grandfather refers to him, primarily, by his first name, and much later in the book primarily by his last name. That's an easy fix, and a great catch.
3) As soon as I have the text finalized, I'm going to convert the file so that it can be downloaded. I haven't yet decided how many platforms to offer. If anyone is thinking about wanting to buy the download version, let me know what platform you use.
4) I'm working on an essay about getting to know my grandfather through the process of working on this book. I'd love it to be good enough to appear on the back page of the NY Times Sunday magazine, but that's a long shot. On the other hand, I think I have a pretty good sense of the style of article they publish, and am going to try to fit that. It would be awesome if I could get that published before the book comes out, as I need to work on ways to get attention for this book so I can sell it.
5) I need to work on some pre-marketing materials, too, such as descriptions of various lengths that can be used for different purposes, such as the rear jacket of the book (I'm writing a few versions of it, and will take it to booksellers to get their advice on what works), for Amazon to use, and for me to use in letters to booksellers, reviewers, etc. And if you think it's no big deal writing a letter, guess what: it takes forever. Writers obsess over every syllable, which is why we always ask someone else in the family to write a card to a friend. It must be performance anxiety .

So I'm putting together, and following, my (Pre-)Marketing plan, but a big part of it is something I can't do alone, and that's Getting the Word out. So, if you enjoy this blog, or ready an excerpt that you particularly enjoyed, please let other people know. Just as we've seen in even presidential elections, each vote is collected/each book is sold one person at a time.

Thank you for your support.


  1. Will the book be offered on Kindle? (Amazon)

  2. Yes; that's definitely one of the platforms into which I will convert the text. But thanks for indicating a desire for it.