Thursday, September 30, 2010

First you have to get off the couch

Two years ago, I tried to get one of my books  "Daughters" reissued.  The subject matter - a family saga set in Jerusalem at the turn of the century - seemed to fit the news.  It was relevant.  It had received fabulous (yes, fabulous) print reviews from the likes of The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune. This book had been translated into 15 languages. There was some interest from a traditional publisher, but then: No!  No room on our list. (Now I know how Mary felt when she was about to give birth.)

Last year I began to notice blogs about ebooks.  My son owned a Kindle.  He loved his Kindle.  I saw blogs about people who published almost anything, their dinner menu, on the Kindle.  But all of them were whining about how hard it was to format the books and make them look good.  No one knew what html was. 

At this time in my life, my brain only worked from 6 to 8:30 every morning. If I missed that window of hard thinking, I had to wait for the next day. One day I got up extra early and read the Smashwords Style Guide and implored my brain to work a little later.   I carefully excised all of the shadow formatting that Word slips into my docs because it wants to save me from my slothful use of the language.  I had to do it several times because Word is stubborn in its self righteousness.  Until that day, I had not been able to absorb and act upon anything harder than a recipe for pizza dough.  So, it was a minor miracle.

With Word docs at the ready (purged of all formatting frills), I implored my daughter to create new covers.  She designed fabulous covers that were better than the print covers.  She sat with me in my little office as we "pulled the trigger" and uploaded those books and covers.  I have not been that elated since the day my first op-ed piece appeared in the New York Times.

All the marketing advice had one common thread.  You have to have a blog.  I'm not adverse to emptying my mind and sharing so now I'm reading "Beginning Google Blogger" and I'm up to this point.