Exciting News

Why does good news always make me want to run away and hide somewhere? Must be those early childhood experiences that contribute to my ability to write while making the real world a bit of a challenge.

Anyway – today I have two exciting pieces of news to share.

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Drum roll please – my novel, Disappearing in Plain Sight,  is now being previewed on the Friesen Press site and should be available for sale through them by Tuesday, March 5th. Just follow the words YIPPEE to have a look. The release date for Amazon will be two to five weeks later.

The second piece of news has to do with a writing contest I entered on the blog – Postcard, Poems, and Prose. I won an Honourable Mention for a short piece of fiction. The winners will be featured on the site during the month of March. I encourage you to check out this WordPress blog – it’s a very eclectic showcase of writing with interesting contests being offered most of the time. I’m really enjoying reading the work of the author’s they showcase on the site.

Entering the World of Book Promotion – Part 1

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The title to this blog might more aptly read – Being Dragged Kicking and Screaming into the World of Book Promotion. From what I have seen so far of my book promotion material, (provided for me as part of my Friesen Press publication package) I can’t decide whether to run screaming out of the room or roll on the floor laughing.

But, all kidding aside, the next phase of my self-publishing journey is upon me and though I have been committed to taking each thing as if comes, learning as I go – I admit to trepidation. This stage seems more than a tad intimidating.

Where to start? At the beginning I suppose – self-publishing a book is like starting your own small business. I need to find my target market, get a good understanding of where my future customers hang out, suss out the competition and find out what makes my product unique. Are you still with me? I know I’ve lost all the writers, they have run out of the room and are now hiding in a corner of a cluttered closet under a blanket.

I must answer questions related to my motivation for writing the book in the first place, my personal idea of success, what the purpose of my book might be, and how would I define the obstacles in my way of moving forward with promotion. (I resist scrawling – I’m so afraid – in the blank spaces of the module workbook.) And finally I come to the six million dollar question – What is the unique selling point of my novel (USP for short)? It’s critical for marketing, this USP. It tells people why they should buy my book rather than one of the million other books out there clamouring for their attention. It’s a signature that stays with and becomes synonymous with the title of my book.

No pressure there, right folks?

Here is what I have been working on as USPs ideas for Disappearing in Plain Sight:

  • If you’ve ever felt like life disappeared you, a little or a lot, then this book is for you.
  • If you are a parent, or someone who works with or provides care for young adults, if you were young once yourself and remember the experience – this book is for you.
  • Have you ever had to work at rebuilding your life after the loss of a friend or loved one? You may find that the complex emotions that surround such an effort are reflected in parts of this novel.
  • The novel handles complex and challenging life issues in the authentic voices of both young people and the adults who act and react to them
  • You will be drawn into a unique setting – an isolated lake on Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia
  • The novel will touch your emotions (people report crying) but also manage to evoke humour (indicative of reality – even people who face very difficult life events have other things going on. They laugh as well as cry.)
  • The novel may give you  a feel good happy ending (but that depends on what you were looking for – no spoilers here), but expect to be challenged in your concepts of right and wrong. When it comes to complicated life choices, Disappearing in Plain Sight provides no black and white answers – only shades of grey.

OK – seriously – reading that USP stuff – I’m not sure whether to pat my back or run as fast as I can. So far – promotion is way harder than writing.

In my next post, I’ll give you an overview of the four major sections of a book promotion toolkit.

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I think Jack London would have been the right type of guy to do self-promotion – do or die!

The Next Big Thing

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I was recently tagged by Delancey Stewart  to complete the following questions related to my most recent work. I also read an excellent post on Cow Girl in New England  dealing with these same queries – she didn’t tag anyone specifically, but said consider yourself tagged if you want to answer these questions. So, I decided to go for it.

What is the title of your next book?

The title of my first book, which will be released on an unsuspecting world in the early spring of 2013, is Disappearing in Plain Sight.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I wish I totally understood the answer to that question, myself. I’ve always mulled over writing ideas while out walking. When the idea for the novel came to be, I was supposed to be writing my PhD candidacy papers. For some reason, all I could think of was these few fictional characters that had sprung up in my mind and what it might be like if they found themselves in certain situations. Soon the characters were letting me know what was going to happen next. Though it was a crazy thing at the time, all I could do was sit down and write the story that was forming in my mind.

What genre does your book fall under?

I have chosen the following Book Industry Shelving Codes: Fiction – Literary; Fiction – Romance/Contemporary, and Fiction – General. I described the first draft as a woman’s romance type of book. As the novel developed the genre shifted. A reviewer said I would be short-changing the book to limit it to such a description – this reviewer described the novel as Dramatic, Literary Fiction. I’ve also had a reader say that the book has appeal for men as well as women. I guess time will tell on that issue.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m going to skip over this question. A couple of times, within the novel, I gave way to the temptation to describe a character as looking like a well-known movie personality. I won’t do that in future writing because I think it cheats the reader out of their own visualization of what a character looks like.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I’m going to cheat a bit here and give you my book cover synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lisa-Marie has been packed off to spend the summer with her aunt on the isolated shores of Crater Lake. She is drawn to Izzy Montgomery, a gifted trauma counsellor who is struggling through personal and professional challenges. Lisa-Marie also befriends Liam Collins, a man who goes quietly about his life trying to deal with his own secrets and guilt. The arrival of a summer renter for Izzy’s guest cabin is the catalyst for change amongst Crater Lake’s tight knit community. People are forced to grapple with the realities of grief and desire to discover that there are no easy choices – only shades of grey.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m self-publishing my novel with the help of Friesen Press

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The first draft of the novel took about one summer to get down on paper – oddly the same amount of time and season that the main action of the story takes place. The first draft was shorter than the final version turned out to be – a sort of bare bones copy. Someday I think I’ll go back and read that first draft – I’m sure it would be quite an experience.

What other books of the same genre would you compare yours with?

I wouldn’t put Eden Robinson’s book, Monkey Beach, in the same categories that I’ve chosen for my novel. I also wouldn’t put myself in the same universe as Robinson in terms of writing talent. But for some reason, whenever I think about his question, Monkey Beach is the book that pops into my mind. Perhaps it’s the West Coast setting.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The geographical place where I live and the life experiences that I’ve had serve as my inspiration for fiction writing.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The novel deals with some hard-hitting topics – bullying, trauma issues, death and grieving, sexuality – but I think I’ve managed to place those topics within a realistic life framework that highlights the fact that people aren’t all one thing or the other. All of the characters in the novel have problems to deal with – but their lives are also light-hearted and funny at times.

I’m going to follow Cow Girl’s example. If you see a good post for yourself within this set of questions then consider yourself tagged. And feel free to link back to me if you decide to write on your next great thing.