When I volunteered to fill Meg’s slot, I thought I best study some. There are books on blogging, but the good stuff is reading blogs, including every blog on WF’s web site since last December.Two observations. First, the underlying rule is to give more than you get. This translates into a strong tendency to give advice, tips, one blog even called them “tricks.” Second, most people who post a blog know what they’re talking about. Not all, but even the advice by people who have no idea what they are talking about is good – because it stands out!
My conclusion: I am sunk! I am older than almost everyone here in our little blogger’s room and yet I know the least, need the most, and most certainly cannot give advice. The most I can do is ask if you would be willing to undertake an excursion with me.
After a self-published a novel in 2009, Telluride Promise, I decided to seek a third party publisher for my next novel. I had bought the books, gone to the conferences, read the admonitions to create a writer’s platform. All very dispiriting. The valley of despond was pierced only by the peaks of five short stories published along the way to securing a signed contract and promised publication date, May 15, 2014, from Duke Pennell and Pen-L Publishing.
Duke’s Yes was energizing. One book out there, one coming, now I started to think in very tangible terms. How to market this book Duke had shown faith in and I knew was worth 5 years of my life?
In our very first conversation after the agreement (Frontier Tales published one of my short stories in March 2012.), Duke said, “Writers have to write to have product, but to sell it they have to create fans.”
Two words and all the writer’s platform B.S. fell into place. Create fans.Here is my invitation. I don’t have the expertise or track record to tell any of you anything about writing or marketing yourself as writers. On the contrary, I am launching on a voyage of discovery. I welcome your willingness to come along. Maybe the adventure will be worth your time.
How do I create fans? Simple question. I welcome your answer. Please send it to me, or comment.To spur you on, I invite you to look over my shoulder and to judge if you think what I am doing could work for you – and will work for me. (Remember rule 1: Give more than you ask for.)
There are hundreds of tasks facing me, but I have a great need to find a limited number of simple steps that I can succeed in doing over and over again. So, I am going to pick three. (I am not recommending three or these three for you, I am facing the fact I need to find a limited number of simple steps I can succeed in doing.)First, describe the story in a way that touches people: This story of a chase recounts a journey but the story is about choices. Our life is the product of our choices. Those choices are made within a framework that governs our lives. Still they are our choices. Sometimes that framework is too big and too strong to overcome. That reality is not the source of sadness; or, at least, not sadness to the core of your soul. Soul sadness comes when you don’t make the choice. You may ignore it or you may turn away from it but the life well lived results from making the choice.
Second, describe myself in ways that touch people: My love of the West grew after I left the West. From poorly educated, working class roots, I learned the freedom and independence that had been breathed into me with that clear, cold mountain air was what propelled me. Inside a very clear set of boundaries I learned I could benefit from working as long and hard as my energy allowed and that I would observe those boundaries because our civilization depended upon it. Not because anyone was watching. When I started writing it was not an effort to write about the West. When I wrote a story set in the West, I was told it would not sell because it was not set in the 19th Century. The person who told me that knows nothing about the West. I’ll never move back, but that is all right. I never left.Third, go out and touch people. Here it gets tangible. In Every Soul is Free a Sheriff leaves his grandson and Thanksgiving Dinner to pursue his calling in 1948. Over the next twelve hours he
|(Promotional card, cover to come)|
All this work remains to be done because Every Soul is Free comes from Pen-L Publishing on May 15, 2014. I have time to use every comment, idea, or suggestion you make. My goal was to give more than I got. I hope you think a focus on three ideas gave you something. Describe the story in a way that touches people; describe yourself in a way that touches people; get out and touch people. Your three idea focus may be different, but remember the central idea is to touch people.