Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Hellava Time To Be Writing

A friend consoled me. “Bad luck really, what with the presidential elections and then the economy crashing. Who’s gonna have any time or strength to get into a novel?”

The really sad part was that, though quite aware of all that is happening around us, I wasn’t actually depressed before he said this. Our new President will be installed when my book is launched, and should generate an air of optimism (at least with half the population), but more likely, we’ll settle back into our ways pretty quickly.

Economic fears make people feel vulnerable and without hope. With disposable income rapidly shrinking, consumers may well hold back from buying new books. Why not cut corners and go to the used bookstore or the library?

Oilspill Dotcom is about feeling vulnerable and disempowered. It’s about facing a huge machine that is greedy and without care. It’s about multinationals, not Wall Street, but there is a clear connection. Perhaps the actions of my lead characters might help inspire others to reach above a feeling of helplessness. If Oilspill Dotcom says anything, it is that an individual can make a difference, even against a rich and powerful system.

I have spent the last week schlepping a 700-page book around. 1001 Ways to Market Your Book by John Kremer seems jam-packed with ideas and stories gleaned from real life experiences. I’ve barely made a dent in the book and it’s left me feeling daunted by the prospect of marketing myself. I’m not afraid or shy to put myself out there; it’s just working out where to start.

Perhaps I should take heed of Mr. Kremer’s warning at the beginning of the book: “Don’t go overboard and dilute your efforts by trying to do everything at once.” I’ll continue reading and fastidiously make what is fast becoming a very long list of ideas.

To help prevent myself from feeling overwhelmed, I will already take one particular piece of his advice and focus on establishing myself locally. For the first three months I will focus on selling and marketing in California, and particularly in the Bay Area.

As a wise Chinese sage once said: Even the longest journey begins with a single step.

Good Writing, and good voting on Tuesday!

Alon

2 comments:

Simcha Daniel Burstyn said...

I notice you mention your book is going to be published in 100 days. I would check out how that falls in connection with the inauguration. January 20 might not be the best time to get that sort of attention. But, hey, maybe you should check out the star charts, and seek an auspicious date that way...

Peter Cooper said...

Book sales do tend to go down during a recession, but I wonder by how much..

I'd assume the sales of fiction (though not non-fiction) would be more resilient since people will be going out less and spending less on expensive hobbies.