Hi everyone. Yes, I’m still breathing. You can’t get rid of me that easily. But I can understand if you’ve been missing me. I’ve been a little scarce lately.
No, I wasn’t in the back of a limo, and I wasn’t in my bed. It’s just been a rough few months, and I was faced with more challenges than I anticipated: losing a good friend, losing my dog, nearly losing my car, and an ex-wife trying to take what little I see of my kids away, all while writing, and rewriting, and rewriting again and again. It’s enough to make one understand why traditional publishing companies have so much staff overhead. Must I do everything myself?!
Some days, it’s enough to make one want to huff off the set in a snit, like a spoiled little movie star. “I can’t work like this! I’ll be in my trailer!”
When Good Marketing Plans Go Bad
It is one thing to say, “Hey, I’m only human, I’m not perfect.” It’s another thing entirely to stubbornly ignore one’s imperfections and basic human failings, put on a stiff upper lip, and carry on—”Cheerio”— as if nothing’s wrong.
I had such good intentions for the last six months. I had not one, but TWO marketing plans—the first digital, the other traditional—and a whole road-map for how I was going to get my fourth book out to reviewers and book bloggers, there was going to be a tour and a bunch of giveaways, guest posts and a ton of Facebook events, and… and… and…
And then I fell off the wagon.
Or rather, the wagon fell off a cliff. And then—and only then—after it crashed into the ravine, and shattered into a million pieces, only then did I fall off it.
So I suppose I get credit for riding it all the way to the bottom of the ravine.
And, hey, I learned something about interstate parental rights, writing a legal brief, how to simultaneously file a motion in a New Jersey Superior Court and an objection in a Georgia Superior Court, and how to bury a dog in one’s backyard.
So, uh… Yay me?
When the Wagon Broke Down
So when exactly did the wagon go off the cliff? That’s hard to say. I could go back two years to the unrealistic plan I made to be writing the first draft of The Wedding of Eithne while I was rewriting The Romance of Eowain (that didn’t happen). Or to the beta-reader comments that encouraged me to slow down and take my time with the third rewrite (I rushed it through in 30 days). Or to the death of my dog, and my decision to not take the time to grieve. Or to any of the visits with my children (after which I always grieve, will I or nil I).
But for sure, the wagon broke down after the last visit with my kids, in March. I had just put off the publication date for Wedding because I still wasn’t satisfied with the last rewrites. My marketing plan was already way off the rails. And then, just after the kids left and I was deep into missing them, the ex-wife slapped me with paperwork demanding a change—a reduction even—in my parenting time.
SoO0Oo—SURPRISE!—suddenly I’m my own lawyer pro se, and never mind that I’m trying to publish a book in the next 30 days. My kids are in the balance, and I need a cogent defense against her petition that doesn’t sound like I dug it out of a muffinluvin Cracker Jack box.
But then I remembered something F. Scott Fitzgerald once said.
Back when I was doing my undergraduate work at my second college, I had to prepare an informational speech for a public speaking class, and I took the biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald for my subject.
Late in his career, after his best literary successes were in the past and his wife Zelda had gone crazy and his own alcoholism not only caught up with him, but took him by the collar and shook him fit to break his neck, he wrote an autobiographical collection of essays, unpublished letters, and notes called, “The Crack-Up,” about his fall from grace as a literary star, and his determination to recover. It’s a work I take down from my shelf from time to time to remind myself that even my heroes were only human, and even in moments of despair, one can find hope.
Months ago, I wrote about this in relation to my rewriting of The Wedding of Eithne, in a guest post that I’m proud to say appeared yesterday on the blog of Damyanti Biswas, The Daily (W)rite. What I’ve learned since then is that the same practices that one employs to face and overcome one’s own limitations as a writer are the same strategies one needs when confronting one’s limitations as a person:
- Make a list of my strengths and weaknesses.
- Acknowledge my limitations.
- Find a deeper understanding of myself.
- Resolve to do better.
And that’s what I did. I realized that The Law is just language and the interpretation of language, and I went to Cornell’s School of Theory and Criticism and studied linguistic interpretation with doctoral candidates from Yale, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge, under the tutelage of professors from all those places and more. And I held my own.
So reading and understanding the law? Check!
Doing research? Check!
Writing? Check, check, double-check!
Busy saving the kids? You bet your ass!
So yes, I’m not a natural-born marketer, and I have a weakness for wanting to see my kids, and that’s why book-marketing and blogging had to take a back seat for a little while. A weakness on my part, and I’m sorry about that. But I’m back now, and happy to finally say:
Announcing (at last):
The Wedding of Eithne,
Fourth Tale in the Matter of Manred
So for those of you who’ve been asking for months already:
The answer is:
We’re back, we’re bad, we’re loud and we’re mad! 🙂
The Wedding of Eithne is now alive and well, in print and for Kindle!
- As a signed paperback collector’s edition, and
- direct from my own bookshop to your Kindle, and
- from Amazon for Kindle, and
- from Amazon for Print, and
- from Createspace for Print.
I’m also proud to announce that four signed print editions have gone out to the winners of the Wedding of Eithne Goodreads Giveaway!
- Pamela G., Mesquite, Texas;
- Melony N., Midwest City, Okhlahoma;
- Arturo O., North York, Ontario, Canada; and
- Jeanette S., Sompting, West Sussex, Great Britain!
These four won not just a signed, print collector’s edition of The Wedding Eithne, with that beautiful cover art by Saša Ristović Ritza on an amazing matte-finished, 6″ x 9″ trade paperback, with interiors by Glen Edelstein of Hudson Valley Book Design.
But I didn’t stop there! As a sign of my deep appreciation to them for being my readers through a difficult time, I also threw in some surprise bonuses!
- Official Matter of Manred bookmarks;
- A signed collector’s edition of Hedge King in Winter; as well as
- a discount coupon for signed editions of my other two books, A Merchant’s Tale and The Romance of Eowain!
Because that’s how I roll. Money, fame, fortune, none of that matters. I’m thankful just to have the best readers in the world, and I like to show it!
So What’s Next?
I’ve now officially come further as a writer and indie-published author than I had planned to this point. Which means it’s time to move on to Phase 2.
What that means for you:
- The Adventures: We’re going back to the business of writing on this blog for a while, with a series on matters such as book queries, book proposals, editorial planning, and other such behind-the-scenes mundanities of the writing life. And a lot of this is new even to me, despite all my experience in publishing. So we’ve set our sights on the next horizon in this indie publishing adventure, and we’re riding for it! Come along!
- The Redesign: I’m getting a little tired of looking at my own website, and I expect you are too. So this summer, I’m going to be working on a major site redesign and reorganization, to make it more aesthetically pleasing and easier to navigate and find the most popular and useful content.
- The Thirteen Week Novel Writing Course: With the redesign will (finally!) come my long awaited, complete Thirteen Week Novel Writing Course, with daily guidance and encouragement, videos, and even direct access to me, to help creative writers of all kinds tackle their novel projects!
- More Matter of Manred on Wattpad: I have an already written fifth tale in the Matter of Manred that I’m going to be keeping under lock and key to rewrite through the rest of the year, but I also have other fresh, new projects that I’m working on, such as a sequel to A Merchant’s Tale that fills in the timeline gaps between that tale and The Romance of Eowain, as well as a separate tale with separate characters, but set in Droma during the days leading up to The Romance of Eowain. I’m going to publish these as installments on Wattpad to garner some feedback.
- More Fresh Fiction Here: Once the site re-design is done, I’ll also be publishing installments of fresh fiction here on the blog. I’m not quite sure what the schedule for that will look like yet, but once or twice a month seems about right.
So thanks for sticking with me through the last hellacious few months. With these doubleplusunpleasantries behind me, I’m looking forward to this exciting new chapter in my Adventures in Indie Publishing!