Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG September: This Is Another Fine Mess You've Gotten Yourself Into

Last month I discussed the struggles I was having with my work in progress, trying to wrangle it into some semblance of a coherent novel. Progress has been slow but study, like hacking through a jungle with a dull machete. And the mosquitoes are the size of swallows. African swallows, not the European variety. I have received some good feedback from beta readers, but that only led to even more revisions and headaches.

So what's the next logical step to make when faced with such a task?

Why, submit the book to a crowdfunding competition, of course!

There are more details here, but here's the short version: I've signed up for Inkshares, a publishing crowdfunding site that takes "pre-orders" for book ideas. If you sell at least 1000 pre-orders, Inkshares will edit, design, print, market and distribute your book. It's like the most democratic publishing house ever, letting the readers (instead of an editor) decide what gets published. Of course, if you don't hit the threshold the backers don't get charged anything (though they will have to suffer with missing out on my fabulous book).

In theory, it's a great idea. In practice, there's no way I'm hitting 1000 friggin' pre-orders. That's way, way more copies than I sold of my first book (now available on Barnes & Noble). Running a program like this takes massive prep-work to build up the proper network of potential buyers. I'm a total idiot for rushing into it when I did. Why didn't I wait until I was better prepared?

I blame Chris Hardwick.

You know, this bastard. The guy who holds your hand when your favourite character dies on The Walking Dead.
Yeah, that Chris Hardwick, the CEO of the Nerdist and host of one of the best podcasts on the web. See, Nerdist is running a contest until September 30: the top five pre-ordered fantasy/sci-fi books on Inkshares by the end of the month will get published, regardless of whether or not they're going to reach their threshold. Nerdist will also pick their favourite book out of the batch to be the first official title under the Nerdist publishing banner - a huge break, by my estimation. Most importantly, I'm also working under the assumption that the winner may get a chance to be on a Nerdist podcast, which is honest to God one of my secret life's ambitions. I actually saw this as my shot.

Two weeks into the contest, the top ranking books have 300-400 orders already, and could easily hit full funding before September 30 with or without Nerdist help. I'm sitting at 32. I'm not at all surprised, but I will admit I'm still pretty discouraged. I know logically that I simply don't have the bandwith and readership to fund a project like this. Like I said at the top, under normal circumstances I never would have even considered trying at this point in my writing career. But because it filled a weird pocket fantasy, I kinda hoped it would work out, you know? That I could slip in through the back door.

One of my favourite parts of Inkshares is that it shows you exactly where your orders come from. The lonely guy over in Japan is of course Phil. And I may be one of the few authors with a reader north of the 63rd parallel.
Not that I haven't tried. I've bugged every friend and family member I could think of, contacted every group and forum I'm a member of online, touched base with other authors in the contest to exchange orders. I've been all over Twitter and Facebook, especially Twitter trying to get celebrities to post about the book (whether they knew what they were talking about or not, I can't say). Hell, I even got Chris Hardwick's mom to retweet me. And I will continue to do so, and to continue polishing the book and giving those who ordered whatever perks I can find, including preview chapters and sneak peak at artwork and maybe even a video of me reading the prologue while stark naked. That last one was my wife's idea by the way, it hasn't been made official yet. But I am fully cognizant that this probably won't work (honestly the naked read thing isn't much of a selling point).

Censored for your health and safety.
As of now, I'm accepting that I'm likely going to have to go about this the regular way: either submit my book to traditional publishers or publish it myself. I do think it has promise. I think it will very much appeal to a certain audience who like dark humour. It could very easily be the start to a series. I know this book will see the light of day some way or another. And there will be another book after that, and another book after that. Maybe some day I will get on the Nerdist podcast of my own accord (though probably only if one of my books is turned into a movie, I don't think he generally interviews lowly writers). I know this is not the end, not for me, not even for this book. I will take this whole situation as a learning experience and suck up my pride and keep going.

But, until September 30, I've gotta keep trying.

Which reminds me:

You wanna pre-order a copy of my book? I'll throw in a Smashwords download of Ten Thousand Days for free...


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...