What’s Done Is Just Getting Started

 

Here it is: the cover. (Design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
Here it is: the cover. (Design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Home is a refuge. I’m holed up, contemplating the day ahead, and trying to be creative.

This is the way most days begin. Precisely this. I get myself ready to write by trying to cultivate coherence, cohesion, and, quite possibly, several other words that begin with “C.”

Soon, and tentatively, July 14, my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, will be published by Kindle Publishing. It is “a KindleScout selection,” which means it won a competition of sorts. I hope this means it has a better chance of being successful. Amazon has an interest in my novel not only being “crazy,” but successful. Through all the books I’ve written — a history of high school football in my hometown, numerous books about NASCAR, a book about Americana music, and the novels The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles — one lesson I’ve learned is that if a publisher has no investment in an author, it has little incentive to promote his or her work.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

I submitted my work to KindleScout, and KindleScout invested in it. To quote no less a character than Carl Spackler (Caddy Shack), “I’ve got that going for me.”

Here in the refuge, I’m pondering ways to sell my book. More of it will take place in the refuge. I won’t be driving three hours to have six people show up for my book signing. I can’t sign my book. It is being virtually published. It will be read through Kindles, tablets, laptops, desktops, and mobile phones. I’m a little concerned when I hear loyal readers say, “Aw, darn. I don’t have a Kindle.”

You have a cell, or else you wouldn’t text me. You have a laptop, or a tablet, or an iSomething. You’re on social media, and you can’t post there with smoke signals. Almost surely, you have a way to read my novel. Perhaps you prefer reading “real books.” You may have to really want to read my book in order to give it — not just the novel, but reading a book that exists electronically — a shot. It’s my job to instill that desire in you.

I’m no expert on promotion, though social media has given me some modest knowledge. I’m just an expert on writing a novel, and even that may be debatable to some.

Innovation is important. I’m not going to make this project successful by doing what everyone else does. Maybe doing what everyone else does creates a base, but writing is a competitive business, and the more everyone follows the same path, the more the returns diminish. I must find methods that set my novel apart.

I’m going to call on my friends, acquaintances, and fans to help me. It is going to take a village. It could use a vast, virtual, metropolitan area. I won’t be able to reach out by myself. I’m jaded. I lack standing. Of course, I think my novel is fantastic. I wrote it. I didn’t write it to be bad. Some may consider it thus, and they have the right. In their view, they are right. If it is criticized, I hope it is criticized constructively, not out of spite. I can’t control that, though. I did my best. As we used to say on the farm, the hay’s in the barn, and now we will see if it’s enough for the cattle to make it through the winter.

If not, the measures we take to keep the farm in operation will grow more and more frantic, and the odds will tilt toward failure.

No matter what I do to promote it, Crazy of Natural Causes will need a foundation of quality. It will need to be different from what else is out there. It will need to give readers a perspective they find compelling. It won’t work if it only provides readers what they already know.

This I know. Now, what do I do about it? Stay tuned.

 

              Please do me the favor of examining my earlier books, most of which are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

 

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