book promotion

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.


Creation to marketing, obsessive-compulsive all the way. 

I’m working through my novella, revising. Except for one or two chapters in the middle, I’d truly thought it finished, except for commas, etc. Now I find my logic in one area less than acceptable. It sounds pretty good if you don’t think too hard, but when I pick it apart I am unhappy with it. I never did feel it was strong enough, and I’ve also thought I could wring a lot more fun out of it. I hadn’t figured out what to do about it until just the other day.

Motivations are what I fixate on: Does this really make sense? It meets a need, but is it essentially bullshit? My bullshit meter, one to ten, tells me certain behaviors as a basis for subsequent doings are about a five. I still like what I have in general, but I love my new idea. I’m going to fold them together. They do not conflict, they work hand-in-glove.

My first question is: Do you ever feel ready? Do you ever stop cramming your back pockets with scribbled sticky notes?

Chapters one to five are done. Six and seven will get the just-dreamt-up stuff plowed in. The remainder (another seven chapters) is, I believe, pretty OK. I have avoided decisions near the end by treating my novella as a cliffhanger: This might happen, it might not. (My characters may only discuss it. They do a lot of discussing.)

The full book will have resolutions to all the speculation. Nonsense that I’ve removed to create a shortie will be restored, and the second half will be completely new. There will be some overlap, most of it in the first quarter, but the novella is meant as a teaser, and will be cheap, perhaps ninety-nine cents, or maybe even a give-away.

Where to publish? Let’s talk about that.

I see ISBNs are pricey unless you buy a block of them. Does anyone have a number to sell? Should we buy a block as a group and share them out?

KindleScout looks interesting. It feels rather like a game to me. Find something great, help it along with a vote in favor. It takes no time, you’re looking at a blurb and a few paragraphs. On Scribophile, however, is a negative review concerning quality of the offerings:

“. . . many of the covers and descriptions are not professional and do nothing to promote the book. One doesn’t even have a picture or a layout, just the title and a sentence describing it. I had to look at it to figure out what was what, which I wouldn’t have done if I weren’t coming back here to comment. Same for the blurb. It’s repetitive, and it’s boring. The sample chapter has no paragraphs and it’s unreadable – spelling, grammar, spaces between sentences.” A few pieces like this would discourage me away real fast.

What are your thoughts on KindleScout/Kindle Select?

Here is the link for an interesting looking post on marketing yourself. I haven’t read it yet, but the response on Scribophile is enthusiastic.

My climb-every-mountain/follow-every-rainbow neuroses may have been counterproductive until now. From here they may be a plus.


12 thoughts on “Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

  1. Nickie Seidler says:

    I’m much different than you in the way of picking. I typically only go back twice through my book and change/add things. Then I mark it done. Doesn’t work for everyone of course but I always feel if I keep going back and back I’ll always just find something and that doesn’t mean it’ll make it better necessarily.

    I just put Beat of His Heart in kindle select. It’s my first time doing it so I don’t have much of an opinion, yet. It’s cool to see “how many pages read” in KDP, And it does rank you differently as well. But mine was a novella and I thought what the hell? KU it is. I’ll see if I pull it out in 90 days or not.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. GD Deckard says:

    I know I’ve finished a work when changing anything causes regret. What I can’t know is how the work will be received. But that’s a different question.

    ISBNs are issued to publishers, who then assign them to individual books. (A self-publisher is still a publisher so you, yourself, apply for an ISBN like anyone else.)
    Here’s more info:

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Right now, the process is: I know a work is done once I’ve gotten one or more solid critiques from my fellow writers here at the co-op. Each of you have provided invaluable feedback which improved the writing. Only then do I submit for publication.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nickie Seidler says:

    Agreed with Carl! Once my beta readers give me feedback and I fix things up I tend to leave it and don’t go back!

    ISBN from what I remembered looking were $100? Maybe I’m wrong but I thought I remembered them being $100, maybe less. I need to invest in getting me some because the ones amazon provides I can’t use to get my book in stores that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Perry Palin says:

    I will go back and revise, sometimes with just a few words, to foreshadow events that I am working on in later chapters. It takes a long time to write a story this way, but I don’t have an end date in mind for completion. I enjoy living in the story, and almost regret finishing it, because then I have to find somewhere else to live.

    I worked on a deadline when I was a correspondent for a regional monthly. This was not fiction, but rather creative non-fiction. The publisher would give me the focus of an issue maybe five days before submissions were due. I would spend three days finding the story, and on the fourth day an hour and a half writing a draft and the rest of the day in revision. This was enough for a thousand words, but sometimes I wished I’d had more time.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. atthysgage says:

    I concur with Nickie and others. It’s possible to work a text forever and still never be satisfied. If there are serious problems with plot or character, well then, yeah, you might need to keep at it, but you also might not. There’s a famous story from when Howard Hawks and his screenwriters (including William Faulkner) were shooting The Big Sleep (1946). They all realized that they didn’t know whether the chauffeur was murdered or had killed himself. So they wrote Chandler and asked him, and he had to admit that he didn’t know either. The point is, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t a major plot point, and neither readers nor viewers gave a lick about the plot inconsistency. And mostly, that’s the way people read. If they’re caught up in the story and the characters, they won’t notice even gaping holes (or won’t care). If they’re NOT caught up in story or characters, they won’t care either because they’ll have stopped reading.

    I guess the real point I’m trying to make is, there is such a thing as good enough. Finding it is ultimately your call. You have to like your book, or the whole thing is kind of pointless.

    By the way, as far as ISBNs go, there is an advantage to buying your own, because a lot of bookstores won’t carry books with Amazon’s ISBNs. But if you’re only planning on selling on Amazon, then you can use the free ones. I’ve done it both ways with not much difference to speak of.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A great Chandler story there – fully confirms what you say about plot holes. Some readers will be incredibly picky for the sake of it, but most will enjoy the story for what it is (as long as the characters engage them). I do aim for plausibility, though, within the world I’ve created, and because that purports to take place in the real world, I worry about it. Needlessly sometimes – one reader criticised a point for being implausible (when in fact it was drawn from the real world) while ignoring another I made up because it suited my purposes (though it had no basis in reality).


  7. mimispeike says:

    Well, I am giving it a last look, for flow, repetition, etc. I am adding a few more laughs, in hopes of propelling dismayed readers past the stretches of history and background that I have been criticized for, but that I adore and refuse to remove. It wouldn’t be the same story, it wouldn’t be my story without that stuff.

    And I’m borrowing a Chicago Manual of Style from work this weekend, and reading up on punctuation. Then I start with the formatting.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I read and revise a story as I go along and then several times before giving it to my beta readers. Their feedback is invaluable. Two of them are my editors too and they pick through very carefully. One mystery which I wrote locally to where I live, prompted him to ride his bike to check if one of my scenes was possible in the tight time frame – that was dedication for you. As far as ISBN’s I’ve launched a writers’ publishing CoOp. We then publish under one imprint and the ISBN’s are linked. Our books are ordered by bookshops and libraries, although the orders for non fiction more consistent than for fiction these days. Best of luck with your recent project.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that input, Diana. Yes, good beta readers are invaluable, all the more so if they’re editors with whom you’ve built a good relationship (based on honest but constructive criticism). Interested to see you get your books into bookshops – maybe you could write a guest post giving the details of how that works? 🙂


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