Sunday, March 27, 2016

"One Writer’s Journey Through Publication and Promotion" by Marie Bacigalupo, author of 'Ninth-Month Midnight'

I can’t remember when the seed for Ninth-Month Midnight, a story about love after life, took root, but I do remember the two years I spent bringing it to fruition.

From the beginning, I understood that critical objectivity and professionalism would be essential to the success of my venture, so after many revisions I showed my work to two trusted readers (not family members and friends—they’d worry about hurting my feelings!).
When I had the final draft in hand, I thought about shopping the manuscript out, but I had heard and read about the difficulty of getting past the gatekeepers of traditional publishers. According to many bloggers, they considered only agented manuscripts and, to make matters worse, were providing less and less support in promotion and marketing.
I decided to take the direct approach by self-publishing through Amazon and its paperback arm CreateSpace. Self-publishing would put me, the writer, at the helm and would be relatively quick to pull off. I accepted the fact that my book would probably never grace the shelves of a retail store without the mojo of a traditional publisher.
As soon as I realized I didn’t have all the skills necessary to go it alone as a self-publisher, I searched the Internet for people who could help me and who charged reasonable rates. I hired Polgarus to do the layout, and Ellie Augsburger of Creative Digital Studios to create the cover.
Once Ninth-Month Midnight was available for purchase, I had to figure out how to sell it. (I know now I should have started the ball rolling six months prior to publication.)

The hardest lesson I learned was that the most saleable book in the world—think Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code—won’t sell a single copy if your readers don’t know it exists. And wouldn’t you know it, I happen to be an introvert!

Promotion and marketing were huge challenges for me, but I bit the bullet: I established a website and blog, created author pages on Goodreads and Facebook, and opened a Twitter account. I’m currently engaged in a virtual blog tour.

Here’s the rub: Promotion now presents me with a continuous dilemma. I worry that maintaining a media presence will become so time consuming I’ll be left with little time to write. And what would I have to promote in the future if I stopped writing?

I’ve decided the best I can do is try to strike a balance between writing new fiction and promoting published work. For my next book, I may hire a social media publicist.
To authors who ask me if I would recommend self-publication, I say, Go for it if you’re organized and multi-talented, or willing to hire people to do what you can’t do yourself. Self-published authors exercise control over content and pricing; their royalties go as high as 70% of sales (as opposed to about 25% minus the agent’s fee for traditionally published authors).
Once you’ve settled on a final draft, Amazon instructions guide you step by step through the uploading process. The turn-around between manuscript upload and epublication is about 24 hours and, if I remember correctly, it’s two or three for the paperback. That’s a lot sooner than the yearlong wait between contract signing and traditional publication.

However you take the journey, its success depends ultimately on the three p’s: patience, persistence, and professionalism.

Find out more on Amazon!


A former copywriter and administrator, Marie Bacigalupo studied creative writing under Gordon Lish at the Fiction Center and participated in workshops sponsored by the University of Iowa and Story Magazine. Her work has appeared in The Examined Life Journal; Romance Magazine; New Realm Magazine; Perspective Literary Magazine; Spark: A Creative Anthology; and other publications. One of over 7000 entrants, she won First Place in the 13th Annual Writer's Digest Short-Short Story Competition. 

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