Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lovely Edenton and Roanoke Island Festival Park

I won't bore you with the details of our recent trip to Edenton, Roanoke Island Festival Park, and Manteo, but I will tell you it was a successful adventure. I took several good photos of the Lost Colonists' ship replica, Elizabeth II,and other boats; we visited with dear friends, and we splashed in ocean after a fine lunch dockside in Manteo.

A worthy trip, given I wanted to take back-up shots for my novel's cover (and to have others on file -- just in case). For those of you who haven't been yet, Festival Park is a great place for children of all ages. There are exhibits, hands-on activities in the museum, and of course the Elizabeth II on which to play first mate (or cast-away, or whatever your heart desires). I heartily recommend it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book Cover News

An excellent image taken by South African photographer Lourens Naude will grace the cover of The Pirate's Bastard and I couldn't be more excited. In the next few days, we'll finalize the details, and start posting links.

Speaking of details, I've received two of the three book reviews requested that will appear on the back cover and website. I'm thilled at how it's all coming together.

I'm still working on the marketing plan, and hope to have that nailed down by the end of next week so I can move on to another important task. This marketing stuff could easily become a full-time effort. More about that next time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

Unless the last name is Grimes, Grisham, or Clancy, authors must market their works. Since my last name isn't any of those listed here, I'm building a plan. It's a good one, but boy, it's going to take a lot of time and work to move books. Writing the book, by comparison, seemed easy! Since this is "my" area (I've been writing and executing marketing plans for businesses of all stripes for over 20 years), I thought I could dash off something quick and make it stick. Nothing doing, though.

In an attempt to capture as much information on how to market a novel, I've visited and revisited dozens of websites and several books I own that each have wonderful nuggets on marketing books. The website/blog  MarketingFloozy.com is an excellent blog and repository for all things marketing. The author, Pat, is also a Second Wind author, so I know I'm in capable hands when I visit her site.

The book which has held my attention this week is Peter Bowerman's Well-Fed Self-Publisher. While I'm not going the SP route for The Pirate's Bastard, a good bit of what to do in Peter's book still applies. Since my book is truly a "niche" book (historical maritime fiction), I'll be pushing it in less-conventional places, like to historical sites, museums, and associations serving members intersted in the topic. But Peter suggested something that made me go "hmmmm": pushing me to seek speaking gigs at conventions, writers' conferences, and the like. The author status carries some weight in some people's minds, and Peter says it's not necessarily the topic that matters to them. Stay accessible, and the possibilities crop up like weeds.

Really? Now I have to consider how I feel about speaking. Oh, sure, I love to talk (anyone who starts a blog must, I reason). But in front of a room full of people?? I'll have to think about that.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bits and Pieces

I'm working down the long list of items necessary to make a book complete this week and discovered something interesting. Although I can write, write, write about most any subject, coming up with just the right words (and the proper amount of words) to describe me for the "About the Author" section on the back cover is challenging.

How would you explain who you are and what you're like in two sentences? It's an interesting experiment! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reviewing the Manuscript ... Again

Today, my task is to read aloud my story. I'm listening for flow, pacing, structure. Yes, I've done this several times in the last few years as I've rewritten, edited, and tried hard to figure out what I needed to improve to have it accepted by an agent or a publisher.

Today though, I'm reading it for me. This is not the absolutely last time I'll have a chance to see my story before it becomes a book, but the manuscript does have to be in near-perfect condition before I send it off to the publisher for layout purposes. I also want it to be as close to perfection before sending it to published authors Jane Tesh and to Claire Wharton, both of whom have agreed to write reviews for the back cover. A third review from James Bartley has already been secured. As former site manager, he was gracious enough to help me when I researched my story's location, NC Historic Site Brunswick Town. He's now moved up the food chain to another position in the NC Cultural Resources division, and agreed to have his comments captured on the back cover. Simply put, he said it was "an awesome story" -- I couldn't have asked for better for my first novel.