Updated: May 12
In mid-March, a box arrived holding copies of my first novel, newly released by the publisher. Called “complimentary”, these are the actual books to be distributed to outlets like Amazon and Barnes and Noble once I give approval. With trepidation, I began reading, thinking of a typo the publisher had made earlier on the back cover that took a month to correct. But by the following day I was done, relieved that the text was free of errors.
Publishing a book is like having a baby. There’s hope, expectation and waiting. The time frame for a baby is more predictable. With a book, much depends on the publisher, whether they are responsive to customer concerns or more interested in company gain. The old cliche “time is money” is especially true for the author enduring delays beyond his control.
But when the completed book finally arrives, there is excitement if not joy that the special day has come. Then any frustration with the process is mostly forgotten as the author turns attention to promoting and selling the finished work. I had written a list titled “Rollout of Book” of the many things I planned to do to get out the word, giving notice of the new novel.
Since I was first published I requested contact information from those who purchased my book, either mailing addresses or email. Many were kind enough to comply. I sent specially printed Thank You notes to some of my first readers, but the true worth of the list was for notification about my second book. I printed out the spread sheet of names then began the laborious process of writing letters to those who had bought my previous book or expressed an interest in it. After two days I had mailed about eighty of these then I began doing the same with emails. The letters included informational flyers and the emails had the same in digital form. In total I’ve probably sent out about 150 notices about the novel Alaska Deadly to various people, some I remember, but most just a name in a spreadsheet, but I am grateful to them all. Likely many of the notices will be ignored, trashed, or deleted, but these are people I’ve met, and some will be curious and possibly buy the new book.
I met them at various venues where I was promoting War in The Mountains, a Civil War regimental history of events in and around Asheville North Carolina during the last years of the war. Since 2020, I have been at many Asheville gun shows where the book does well. I have also been at Military History shows and book signings where book sales don’t cover expenses, but this is ok because my goal was not to make money but to contribute to history and especially remember the soldiers.
The preceding was written nearly two months ago. I have neglected the blog, my attention on other things. I was busy finishing all the items on my “Rollout of the Book” list, including seeing that the book was placed at the local library and the two small bookstores in town. I arranged for several “editorial” reviews of the new book, and most were released last week. Their opinion of Alaska Deadly was mixed with ratings varying from two to four on a scale of five stars. As a first novel, I am aware of the structural weaknesses of the book, but I feel the writing itself will attract readers. Although the Civil War history got greater reviews, I feel the novel is a better book.
I was at another Asheville gun show April 29th and 30th. This time I had two offerings, and many people were kind enough to buy both books. Others came to my table just to talk about history. I was especially gratified by those who had read War in the Mountains and told me “it was great.”
Just a week ago I was at the Barnes and Noble store in Colorado Springs for a book signing where both books were offered. Such venues are delightful because of the people who stop by with questions, to talk about books, and what they like to read. Seeing me standing at the table with the display, many came up and said, “tell me about your books.” These are pleasant conversations anytime someone is curious about what I've written. And those who become readers are particularly special.