Novel Launch Tactics... ?

-K2-

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Here is my situation (or skip to the punch-line in bold below):

Right off, I have never published anything. That alone makes me realize that the first attempt at publishing will very likely be a learning experience. Not just regarding this or that, yet the whole nine-yards. Understanding that, one might consider using their first try to publish some lesser effort to work the kinks out, however, the whole idea of publishing garbage simply to learn sounds like a great plan to establishing a bad reputation. So, nix that thought.

That leads me to what I'm seriously working on, which is part of a series I have already mapped out. Regardless of its reception, I'll end up writing it all... to a point. That point being novel four, maybe five, at which point I'll be able to set it down if I'm tired of it.

That said, novel 2 of 5 is finished except for minor edits being firmed up in novel 1 of 5. Novel 1 of 5 is simply being written to draw some of the exposition/world building out of 2 of 5 (I've come to the conclusion that my supposed info-dump chapters are something more and written as such. BUT, I'm seeing how much of them I can integrate into the stories using the advice given by members here). 1 of 5 is actually an easy write and plot (the difficult part being not giving away too much as told in 2 of 5), most of the chapters events are mentioned in 2 of 5 during discussions between characters.

More importantly, 2 of 5 will be the best of the two... I'm good with that, 1/5 was written to support 2/5 and build up to it.

All of that said... by the time 1 of 5 is finished, I will have 1 of 5 and 2 of 5 ready to go at the same time. They will be firm and finished. More so, 3 of 5 is already started and firmed up as to its storyline. Finally, considering the appendices that will be needed in each, (glossaries, translations and so on)... there is additional material I've put together that could be put elsewhere. Even shifting some of those background exposition chapters into it, vocabularies and so on. IOW, I could even have ready a 'companion guide.'

What I'm wondering is;
1. Considering 1/5 & 2/5 will both be ready at the same time, I have no intention of NOT releasing 2/5 (or for that matter 3-5/5) if 1/5 flops.
2. How worthwhile would it be to publish 1/5 and 2/5 at the same time?
3. Further, if I actually try and sell these things, I could offer 1/5 at a reduced price, 2/5 at a nominal price, and if generated the 'Companion Guide' would be free (and will be ever growing having additions as subsequent works are generated. So Ver1, Ver1+2, etc.).

Thoughts? Thanks for your input!

K2
 
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thaddeus6th

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Can't offer extensive advice as, mostly, my own marketing talent level is baked potato.

If you've got two books ready to go I'd advocate releasing one, then letting the next out into the wilds a short time later, maybe a fortnight (and putting the date of its release in the back of the first book). Also, link them as being in the same series on Amazon (assuming you're going down that route). For book 2, I'd make it available for pre-order, but just stall the actual release date, that way people who finish book 1 early can pre-order it if they want to.

Something else you may want to consider is lining up reviewers with ARCs (advanced review copies). If you need/want an embargo date (ideally so the review only comes out one ordering/pre-ordering is possible) be sure to mention that, and bear in mind bloggers and reviewers will need a little while to read the damned thing(s).

And don't be put off by any bad reviews. A bad review is still miles better than no review. The single biggest problem for a writer is getting work noticed. Even if someone reviews your book and says, for argument's sake, there's excessive sexy time, some people will read that and think "Excessive sexy time? Sounds good!"
 

-K2-

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...And don't be put off by any bad reviews. A bad review is still miles better than no review. The single biggest problem for a writer is getting work noticed. Even if someone reviews your book and says, for argument's sake, there's excessive sexy time, some people will read that and think "Excessive sexy time? Sounds good!"

Thanks for all of the input, I'll consider everything you suggest. Regarding your example however, I don't have to worry about that. I slid down the 'sexy-time' slide right into the smut cesspool long ago. So that along with other sensitive issues (expletives, violence, etc.-etc.), I warn readers on right up front.

Offending people is not my bag ;)

K2
 

tinkerdan

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I would second the release of 1 and a two week wait for the second--if by then you have a third it would do well to do that two weeks after the second. On a quick guess your books have a three month window to take hold and as you get further into that window chances lessen so the refresh every two weeks manages to keep all of them fresher as you go. It could give your first book an added month and the weight of three could give you more momentum.

A rolling stone...
 

Brian G Turner

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Thoughts?

It's never finished when you think it is. :)

Do you have beta readers or an editor to look at your work and suggest corrections, changes, and generally provide constructive feedback? That always delays things.

If you don't have beta readers or an editor, then the danger is that you simply have a first draft - which is not usually something to rush to publish. :)

Factor in some form of feedback cycle and rewriting/editing to follow. Otherwise you're in danger of rushing into things too fast.
 

tinkerdan

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Might I also suggest:
Once you have your beta's-editors-copy-editors and other eyes look at it all; and you make the changes necessary.
Invest in createspace and format the entire thing with a cover and purchase a review copy.
One copy shouldn't cost more than ~ $12.00 US--unless it's really long.
Then with highlighter in hand, read through and correct everything that everyone missed.
I've done this and ended up going through the process 4 times which cost me around $48.00 US total for my 3rd edition--which, incidentally still has errors--however I caught the lions share this time.
 

-K2-

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Thanks @tinkerdan & @Brian G Turner ; some sage advice from both of you, every bit of it impossible to argue. Unfortunately, anyone who currently reads my work I cannot get a truly honest, educated or objective opinions on it. Thus far, what I'll get as responses are 'rave reviews,' yet then I read it back a month later (my reading/writing skills advancing daily), and I have trouble understanding how they waded through it.

So, either they're dumber than I am, or sparing my feelings, or perhaps simply enjoying the 'story' on it's own merit (which I feel very confident in, in all cases), yet disregarding shortcomings in wording and grammar.

IOW, I'm on my own I suspect. To that end, not being in such a rush and performing the numerous re-reads (with time between) is what I'll have to do. Nevertheless, great advice from everyone, I'll heed all of it.

K2

P.S.: For what it's worth, though 1/5 sets up for 2/5, the way I'm writing them 1/5 could be bypassed by the reader and it won't hurt the experience of reading 2/5. In the same vein, 2/5 could be read first and then the reader could read 1/5 and it won't hurt the experience 'that much.' They'll know some key points that aren't revealed until 2/5, however, it would simply add to the impact of 1/5.

In fact, the reason I mention releasing both at the same time is that aspect jumped out at me... IOW, if they liked the 'better' story of 2/5, it feeds some of the need to get more time with the protagonist (who is gone in 3/5 and on).
 
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Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
You don’t have to be on your own. Seek beta readers. Ask here for a start. Offer to read theirs in exchange. It’s not a luxury- it’s essential imho.

Use that time to build your platform be it a mailing list (they take ages to build) , a blog following (difficult to sell books from), extended forum presence, a SM presence with significant following on at least one platform.

When you launch, assuming you launch in quick succession, if you don’t get traction in the first day or two your book will be lost on Amazon.
So, slow down. Get the product right. Get the launch right.

And consider an editor. I wouldn’t ever dream my book is finished without one -
 

-K2-

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Thanks @Jo Zebedee ;

In a lot of ways I'm well behind the curve and frankly, not too keen on learning about them (things like facebook, twitter, etc., or even blogging). I could go into a long discussion about it, yet I'll just save you the eyestrain and leave it at I don't know anything about them and I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of using them (heck, I don't even use a cell-phone now-a-days).

I'm sure the 'editor' suggestion is a solid one... There again however, I'm not even sure what to google to figure out how to find one.

So, I guess I have a lot to learn :cautious:

Thanks again!

K2
 

tinkerdan

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A word of caution here:
Unfortunately, anyone who currently reads my work I cannot get a truly honest, educated or objective opinions on it. Thus far, what I'll get as responses are 'rave reviews,' yet then I read it back a month later (my reading/writing skills advancing daily), and I have trouble understanding how they waded through it.
Don't burn all the bridges; and most certainly don't tell them what you just said here.
I've no doubt of the wisdom in knowing that your friends and family might be weak in the area of useful help; however I think that sometimes people go over the top to make certain that it's true.
If you approach people from the POV that you have written a novel--given a synopsis--asked if they are interested in reading it and maybe even have them ask for a copy, you have more obligation here if you expect some help--you need to ask them if they can critique-check grammar; spelling; punctuation. Maybe even have a guideline for some of the things you're looking for.

Otherwise you can't expect much more than; oh yeah, it was really great. I really enjoyed it. You have something there. Or maybe even I'm not into_____<insert your genre here.

If you can find someone who agrees to objectively critique, you need to cultivate that and find out if you can build a mutual relationship that allows for discussion both ways to help you best decide what advice you are going to keep and what you are going to put aside. It's important to find people who fit both with your style of writing and being comfortable with offering good criticism. People who are interested in helping you succeed with your writing.

You also have to do a lot of work.

After you fix things that are suggested, you need to read through the whole piece and if you don't find anything more to fix then--unless you've gone through the process several times--it isn't ready.
Put it aside until you can read it and you see room for improvement and then start the process over again.
Try to remember that what you find in further reading doesn't reflect as much how bad your first line of edit was, as it reflects on how much you have learned since the last time you edited your work.

Until you send this to a professional editor--your first line of edit are learning along with you--you still need to consider eventually paying for editing. And even then that may not be the last set of eyes to work on the piece; because as the author you have a responsibility to find what everyone else has missed.
 

-K2-

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Keep asking here - we all use editors we can recommend. Make networks. And since you’re here and can post - you can go for the make connections on forums option ;)

Past the editors discussion, I'm not really sure what the rest of that means :confused:

K2
 

tinkerdan

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I was just rereading the post title and had a strange dialogue in my equally strange head.

'Gentleman, we have a Tactical Novel Launch in Progress. We need a response team--stat.'
 

Matteo

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I was just rereading the post title and had a strange dialogue in my equally strange head.

'Gentleman, we have a Tactical Novel Launch in Progress. We need a response team--stat.'

Same here. In mind was:

[Mission Control] "Hey guys, let's do the countdown in a funny voice"...."Can anyone do Elmer Fudd?"
 

-K2-

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For the record, since my last post I have been performing searches and so on and here is what I have been carefully reading through:

Specifically regarding editing:
EDITORS AND ASSESSMENT SERVICES - SFWA

Publishing in general:
WRITER BEWARE® - SFWA

And finally this as an example of a service, which seemed to have a relatively good explanation of editing services:
Services

@tinkerdan & @Matteo ; I actually intended for the title to read as you inferred (not that I'm clever, I just simply wasn't sure how to cram what I meant into a brief title), so maybe I'm better at this than I thought :p

New to this whole process, it really feels as though once you do 'launch' a novel, it's then totally out of your control. IOW, once you press the button (the much smaller and less powerful button than a certain nutter of late), that's it... It's now pass or fail, or more appropriately, in orbit or blown up on the pad ;)

K2
 
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-K2-

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Thanks @Jo Zebedee ; Unfortunately, I'm going to have to be careful selecting an editor, even beta readers. Thus far, I don't write for minors, ministers or normal adults... and that means every bit of what you could possibly infer into that. :eek:

However, I live by one hard rule in my life (and though I could definitely be bettered by many others, perhaps the best recourse at this point would be to find me a suitable cage in an appropriate freak-show)... Make every effort to offend no one. If they choose to peek into the shadows that's their issue... but I'll not drag anyone into them. ;)

K2
 

Joshua Jones

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I don't think asking people to beta is dragging them into "the shadows". If you tell people up front your work contains significant dark subject matter, and give a handful of examples, they are making the choice at that point.

Personally, I use quite a few dark elements in my stories, but I endeavor to make them 1. make sense in the context of the story and 2. be essential to the story beyond merely establishing that the antagonist is bad. In other words, what is gratuitous for me isn't when things are dark, violent, explicitly sexual, or otherwise reprehensible, but when it is thus for no other reason but to be dark, violent, explicitly sexual, or otherwise reprehensible. But, even at that, I am not offended by it; I merely think it is better left on the editors' room floor, and will advise accordingly.

So, my encouragement is to not let your fear of offending people get in the way of sharing your work. Letting people know ahead of time what to expect is one thing, but I wouldn't make the determination for others that they are potentially too sensitive for your work, as you will likely unnecessarily limit your own market.
 

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