Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness
As April aged and the launch marched ever closer, I tried to put all the various pieces of what I had been able to do into some form of order to suggest to me what to do next. So, I assessed my platform, the total of all the working parts of the machine, as it were, that I’ll use to make people aware I exist, A Perfect Blindness exists, and then to entice people to buy the book.
Compared to what I had been reading about, the examples given in the books I’d decided to use as rough blueprints, my platform was scrawny and undeveloped. I had a personal Face Book page with a handful of followers, and a couple of hundred “friends, ”i.e., people with whom I’d agreed to share some content: Mostly people I personally knew, or were within a couple of contacts from someone I knew.
I’d started a public group for A Perfect Blindness with a couple of dozen semi-active members who had helped me choose artwork. That was the whole purpose of the group’s start: the ability to run poles. I’d added around 80 more people, some of whom joined, others who simply didn’t leave. I didn’t, and still don’t quite frankly, understand how FB Groups work, and had done only little to improve it: Changed the header, updated my avatar, and that’s about it.
Twitter was much the same; I’d been blasting away with a whole miscellany of tweets, likes, and retweets, and had a handful of followers, but here, most of them were people I didn’t know, which did seem more useful: I’m reaching strangers.
On Pinterest I’d opened up a board dedicated to the venues in the novel, collecting and pinning what images I could find and that gets hits occasionally, mostly people repinning some items. All strangers here as well, but whether or not they noticed it was associated with a novel of the same name or not is unclear. At least it was getting some action. I also had a few other boards including found street art from my photo collection, which I’d long been planning on using to build some sort of brand/following as itself, alone.
Instagram was mostly dedicated to this found street art, which I started collecting a few years ago, and was posting a few selected shots, erratically. The idea developed here and on Pinterest to get a following, and then indirectly sell by floating the name of the novel around, along with having information about it and me. I’m unsure how this might work, but they both exist on their own as something I’m doing anyway, so why not try to use them. Somehow. Some day.
The websites were up, but rudimentary. I wasn’t satisfied with the template I had on WordPress.com (not org). I had a free one, but it wasn’t very close to what I had imagined and vaguely sketched out on paper at least three or four times already. I finally settled on one that was cheap but had some features that were slick, but still clean. I started posting slices of the essay on publishing with iUniverse. It was nearly 50 pages in a Word document, and if I parsed it out well, could last a good long while as I continued to add to it as I rolled out the book.
This lead to a number of trips to Canva snagging sections of the PDF with the cover artwork for the book, and fashioning elements for the site and blog, and this kept absorbing more and more time as these images got tested and placed on line, and in posts on social media, with nothing looking quite right. Or rather, looking great here, not so great there, so guessing at how to get good in both places. More self-education, blog surfing, experimenting, all the while the days passed.
In addition to the online portion of the platform was email: my own emails saved in the address book on Mac and in DirectMail for Mac, an Email Service Provider, like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact, but Mac native. I’d gotten somewhat familiar with from dabbling with it for a few years, thinking of launching a newsletter off and on. To that list, I added a few of the most active folks from the FaceBook Group and planned to invite them to the launch once it happened, and then use it to give them stuff as bonuses for being a fan. I had loads of ideas in long lists for these giveaways, but as usual with this launch, they stayed on lists that kept getting rearranged, with none of them acted on—a constant theme of this launch—too many ideas, too few actions. A book that hardly anyone knows exists, and so many ways they could find out about it laying trapped in priority levels, a busy work prison I built to make me feel good about doing something.
At least, I’d kept telling myself. Then, I got the final change sent back. I signed off on it. Then it occurred to me, I’d not been asked to make any additional changes owing to the lyrics in the text, and that the last changes had been made, and I approved the finally PDF.
This meant the book was sure to go live in days, not weeks.
My platform consisted mostly of lots of undeveloped parts, with very many unexplored facets; a lot of pride, time and money, to say nothing of the future of me as a writer, teetering on this shabby foundation.
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