Self-Publishing Part 7: Testing the Author’s Reaction Time

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

Before I could attend to the new marketing assignment, I had to repair and resubmit the manuscript. Along with the evaluator’s letter recommending A Perfect Blindness to the Editorial Review Board came an attachment with about two pages of minor mechanical fixes that needed attention. Some of these involved my habit of using punctuation to instruct the reader how I intended the sentence to be read rather than for grammar. In dialogue especially, I put full stops where grammars say comma, or commas were the same books stay none is needed. These punctuation marks are akin to director’s notes to an actor, telling the reader to hesitate a moment longer than expected to emphasize a dramatic pause. Evaluators tend not to like this I’ve found, but it’s a deep habit, gained from reading the manuscript aloud to myself as a final editing step: A period asks for a full breath before continuing; a comma a shallow breath.

The manuscript was ready the next day; I accepted most changes, keeping only those that really needed the hesitation. The now truly final manuscript was ready for design and typesetting, and left my computer for theirs.

Then, I turned to the unexpected, urgent, twelve page assignment from iUniverse, which was also essential for the success of A Perfect Blindness: the marketing plan needed for the Rising Star designation.

As with any book intended for sale, there are two main questions for the publisher:

  • Is it well written?
  • Will it sell?

A Perfect Blindness had the certification that it was the former. But no matter how well written a book, if there is no market for it, it won’t sell. Further, even if there is a market, if the writer won’t get behind marketing his or her own book, it has vastly less chance of selling: especially in self publishing. These are the same question large buyers—bookstores and book clubs—ask when considering a book.

The Rising Star Marketing Evaluation questionnaire covered a great many things: from the basic marketing text I’d sent with the initial submission over a year before and had been refining in the lulls since, to the still undecided genre, the estimated page count (360), the book’s website information, my social media presence, including usernames and # of followers, the target audience(s), the book’s local or national appeal, the selling points of the book, to my favorite quotes from it, what problems it solves (alleviates boredom?) as well as my specific plans, for how long I plan to market the book, a realistic estimate of how many hours per week I plan on spending marketing the book, how much money I might spend on these ideas, what I won’t do, and others I’d never thought of, such as what books are similar to A Perfect Blindness: A total of 24 in-depth questions.

I had 7 calendar days to complete this and send it back for consideration for Rising Star status. If it’s not back in that time, the Rising Star Board will not consider the book—end of path.

If you write fiction, do you think about all of these things before you write? During? After?

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