Hi everyone! Last night something amazing happened. I was relaxing in my bath when my future slammed me upside the head. Now some people have laughed and asked why my ideas are always coming to me in the bath. That’s because it’s my only alone time, ever. If I’m awake, I’m working on other people’s stuff or marketing things or spending time with my kids or husband. When it’s bedtime, I’m sleepy – I go straight to sleep.
In my bath, I can lean my head back and close my eyes or look up at the ceiling and just let my mind imagine possibilities. I have found that for regular marketing tutorials, I can do that with tons of distractions and off the top of my head. Since I want to get into fiction (and by the way I’m amazed at how many marketers are now fiction writers – did you know Sam of DLG got chosen by James Patterson as his favorite story writer in an upcoming collaboration with Patterson? Who knew?), it doesn’t come naturally to me – I need peace and calm.
So I’m sitting there thinking about the Elance and Odesk projects I listed for fiction stories and mulling the ideas some of them submitted. None of them enticed me. I decided maybe I could “what if” a storyline and give them that. I did. It was something I’d seen twice this week in the news that was horrific and startling, but true. Something that involves some money, some government, some health and some chic trend thrown into the mix.
I devised my “what if” basic storyline and then the floodgates opened. It wasn’t like before when I mapped out a story with 10 zig zags. This was complete detail – enough for an entire trilogy! I’m serious. Forget about outsourcing it. It’s MINE.
I dried off and ran out to my computer (yes literally) and started pounding my ideas out on the keyboard trying to capture it before I forgot anything and before anyone interrupted my train of thought.
I could see everything clear as day – the characters, the sounds, the smells, the emotions. EVERYthing. I wrote it all down (5 pages worth of outline and notes) and as I was writing, I didn’t know it’d be a trilogy. I just happened to know when it was enough for book 1, so I decided to separate it into two books. Then when I finished fleshing out book 2, I realized it was a good ending point and new beginning for the final book.
All three are mapped out.
So then came the ultimate test. I called Shawn over. He’s almost 13. My sons always politely nod and smile and tell me, “It’s good, Mom! Can I go play Xbox now?” and I know they’re just being nice, not interested.
Shawn sat here scrolling through, and I said, “You don’t like it, do you?” and he shushed me! He finished reading it and I expected him to joke with me about it, making fun of it. He didn’t. He said, “Oh my God, Mom – I can SEE this being a hit. I can SEE it being made into three movies, having its own video game even.”
My son sat here for the next hour brainstorming a few more “what if” details with me. Then he knuckle fived me (like a high five but I guess guyish where they bump knuckles). He leaves the room and comes back a few minutes later and sits BACK down wanting to do more. We named each of the three books. We chose a graphic for 2 of the 3 covers.
I had so much fun. My older son read it and he liked it, too. In fact I love that he said, “Mom, save those notebooks – they’ll be worth something some day.” He’s never said that to me! And it was a good idea. I know I don’t even read Harry Potter, but I know she wrote her book out on napkins or something. People like to know how hits are made.
Today I started writing the story. I took my spiral notebook out to the pool and wrote the back cover of the print book along with the first page of the trilogy. I enjoyed it so much. It’s just flooding out of me.
When I don’t know something yet, I’ll say something like, “they couldn’t go there because ____,” and just leave a blank so I can fill in the obstacle later. It’s making my writing process so faster, so that my enthusiasm isn’t lost trying to slow down and perfect along the way.
Now comes the hard part. I sat here today when we got back from the pool, my marketing hat back on, wondering how the hell I’m going to brand myself in this niche. I want to use my own name BUT I don’t want to try ranking and putting my name out there and have to compete with myself right now. I’ve already done a lot of work to claim my name and brand it – and it’s synonymous with ethical marketing (I hope).
In the fiction world, I’m going to have to rebrand as something different – something unknown. That scares the heck out of me! It’s been a long road getting to where I’m at. I feel like I’m in a board game and some roll of the dice had me land on a spot that just sent me back to the starting line. I feel exhausted just thinking about having to build up a reputation in the fiction world.
But I want it. If I want something bad enough, I go after it. So now I have to think of my name. I think I’ll use my maiden name. I bought the domain just now and the name doesn’t have much competition on Google. I will grab up all of the social networking entities. Poo. Even though the domain was available, the Twitter and Gmail accounts weren’t so I had to toss a middle initial in there. Oh well.
So now I have it all and I sit here thinking, how DO you brand in fiction? Does it all have to start AFTER the first book is released? How do authors brand themselves while they’re writing to ensure no one steals their ideas? I’d love to be building an audience for this “what if” story idea but I’m sure not going to share the premise until it’s published.
So I need to study the marketing of fiction BIG time. The self marketing – because all I know is all that traditional publishing crap and I want to self publish, so that means self market.
What do you do when you don’t have a name for yourself (meaning a reputation) and you can’t say what it is exactly that you’re doing? I have no clue. This is all a learning process to me. So here’s what I just did – always acting as a student of my craft or niche:
1. I buy the Kindle edition of Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking - again, tons of reviews, high stars – and I looked inside the book and it looks AMAZING.
Let me tell you what sold me. In one of the comments, there was a comment on the comment and I read this:
I agree on several points you made, but most notably (one that was slightly glossed over) was his emphasis (albeit primarily at the end of the book) of honesty in marketing. The whole book resonates with a sense of honest promotion and his specific points about *not* creating artificial reviews or reviewing your own works to create additional buzz was a welcome reminder that such nefarious tactics do have a way of following us most disquietly to our graves.
You know I had to have it after I read that. I’m all over the ethics. I can’t WAIT to dig in.
2. I also bought John Locke’s “How I Sold 1 Million Books in 5 Months” Kindle edition. I wanted this because aside from the 306 almost perfect five star rating, he’s an example Geoff Shaw repeatedly uses as a success story.
I feel very weird about all this! Newcomer weird. I thought initially I was just switching from minisites and domains to Amazon. I thought the marketing would be the same.
It’s not – not for fiction, anyway. And everyone keeps saying once you catch on in fiction, it’s where the big money is. Oddly, most people find it faster and easier to make money in non fiction – but I think that’s because so much of the fiction is wretched (just look at Fifty Shades of Grey).
So here I am, a novice. And while it’s kinda scary being a newbie again, it’s also exciting.
It was just April 18th when I made this post: Bored, Disinterested and Uninspired. I was just on the verge of a breakthrough into a new path. It’s happened. I’m loving it.
Come with me.