Friday, October 05, 2018

The book that was snake-bit






Apologies in advance for a whiny post, but my latest Kelly O’Connell Mystery, the eighth, Contract for Chaos, was snake-bit from the beginning. The manuscript was finished, ready to go in June, with publication scheduled for early September. That left the summer for advance publicity.

I was “under the weather” most of the summer, so lethargic I barely turned on my computer. My publicist was distracted by severe illness in her family—she has nothing but my most sincere sympathy. Blogging and review opportunities were missed—I just couldn’t bring myself to write much. Contract didn’t get much attention, though I shared its terrific cover when I could.

Then I tangled with Amazon. I thought I was posting the book for advance orders before September publication; instead, they listed as published June 18—which calls to mind that old saying, “IF a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”—and the listing said, “Limited availability.” Limited! I wanted to scream, “No! Lots of availability! Come one, come all!”

 Today, there was to be a guest blog, one I was rather proud of. It dealt with what a character looks like. I suppose most authors envision their characters in their mind—you must in order to get an adequate description. But you rarely actually see them. This time, I sent the designer several descriptive passages about Keisha, Kelly’s idiosyncratic assistant, along with a request to have her in the cover art. Thanks to artist Sherry Wachter, the art work came out spot on—Keisha was every bit as flamboyant and larger than life as I’d written her, and I was delighted to have put that into words in a blog post.

So the post this morning showed the cover (above) and talked about the agrarian myth as it relates to two previously published small-town novels: The Perfect  Coed and Pigface and the Perfect Dog. The agrarian myth, the concept that life in small towns is somehow more simple and pure, is really hard to relate to an urban novel about racism, complete with neo-Nazi protestors and snipers with deadly aim.

I’m not even sure if I should share that misplaced post wide and far or not. You suppose it would do the two earlier novels any good—or simple confuse people? Or worse yet, make them think I’ve finally gone off my rocker?

As you can tell, my health is better, my lethargy gone, and I’m energized—but frustrated. Sure, this is a subtle plea for each reader to rush to order Contract for Chaos. But more than that, I wanted to explore and explain how delicate and complicated indie publishing is. You can’t just put your book out there and forget it—it becomes like that silent tree falling in the forest, lost in the forest of books that are published daily. Authors often spend more time marketing their books than they did writing them. Gone are the days when you wrote, and a publisher publicized.  It’s enough to make a person take up scrubbing floors. Remember Erma Bombeck? Writing in pre-computer days, she said a blank sheet of paper always gave her the urge to scrub floors.

I’m going back to defending the Alamo. I guess some day I’ll have to explain that. Suffice to say now, I’m working on a book about the second battle of the Alamo.




2 comments:

Judy said...

I bought and read Contract for Chaos. I loved it, my favorite of the Kelly O'Connell series. I wish you would publish some of the recipes of the food you write about.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, from one Judy to another. Which recipes? I'm about to publish my own cookbook--Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Watch for it in NOvember, or, better yet, signup for my mailing list at http://www.judyalter.com.