These days, launching a new book project can be daunting indeed. Working with a traditional publisher is one thing, and has its own story to tell. Doing it all on your own through self-publishing is a whole other adventure.
Writing and self-editing is only the first part, as difficult as that may be for many writers. In addition to a well-told story, what comes after will determine the success of the project. The author must be an astute marketer and not be afraid to push the sales of the book. That kind of pushing does not come easily to many authors, especially those who are introverts and prefer to stay out of the limelight. I knew early-on that this would be one of my biggest challenges, and solved it by adopting the pen name R.Z. Halleson, a very old family name basically forgotten by remaining members of my family. I can now market and sell to my heart’s content because its more like selling an object, or entity, rather than selling me and how wonderful I am personally, which sounds like bragging and soooo open to all the skeptics who love to put people down.
My first step was to make a marketing plan on Microsoft’s Excel so I could keep track of the dates on which I implemented the plan. Second, I ordered postcards through Vistaprint.com (See image above). A few of these will be sent through snail-mail at 33 cents each, but the majority will be inserted into envelopes that I have to send out anyway.
As soon as I finish updating my Halleson,net blog, I will embed the above postcard into an email and send it to the long list of relevant people whose emails I have collected over the years and kept up to date. Although I have several email providers, Gmail is my preferred venue because, for me, it organizes contacts and emails simply and easily. All my other email providers feed into it, and I can choose the return email address that I want for whatever I am sending out. For this postcard, I will use the return address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When this is finished, I can then turn back to my Excel spreadsheet, enter today’s date on the “Blog” row and on the “Postcard” row, and move on to all the other ways that I need to market this book.
The novel Ambiguous is a remarkable story based on the experiences of a friend of mine who is now openly gay, but during the 1950s and 1960s, men were dismissed from the Air Force for no other reason than gender preference. Written by a straight woman about a gay man and his friends, you’ll have to judge for yourselves whether or not the two of us did justice to that time and place.