This is it, the long awaited Publication Date. Uncommon Counsel is officially published as of today. In some ways it feels like the end of a long process, and I guess it is ... in some ways. Really, though, it's just a milestone in the longer journey. The draft is done, the edits finished (though never completed), the formatting set, the ARCs sent to reviewers and beta readers. Now I just watch the money roll in, right?
The hardest work (at least the hardest work for me) is just getting started. Marketing. Convincing people to buy the book. Sure, it's available for order. It's even in a few bookstores, though that's only because I hustled and set up consignment deals. There are even a few dozen copies sold, again, thanks to me marketing the book in my small circles. But if I sit back now, that's all that ever will sell.
Don't get me wrong, I know Uncommon Counsel will never be a bestseller. I'll count myself extremely fortunate to sell a hundred copies to people who don't know me. But even that modest goal will require work. Setting up more bookstore consignment deals might sell a few, especially if I can do signings. Promoting the book through Facebook groups I belong to might sell a few more. Social media advertising might sell several, maybe even enough to cover the cost of the advertising if I'm lucky. If I hustle, I might be able to book some speaking gigs at libraries, schools, service clubs, and the like, where I can sell a few more copies in the back of the room. All of this is almost certain to be a money-losing proposition.
So why do it? The obvious answer is ego stroking, and thst's probably a big part of it if I'm honest. But there's also an understanding that the only way the book will sell more than a meager few copies is if people hear about it. And there is no better way to get people to hear about it than word of mouth. If I can get the book in front of enough people, and if they like it, then they might tell a few friends enough to intrigue them into buying it. And if those friends... you know the story. Geometric progression. The same reason pyramid schemes make those lucky few at the top rich.
I'm never going to be rich from it. But I'm hopeful that it might someday break even. (That's only because I haven't really invested that much money in it, just time.) And I know that the only hope of that is to get out and hustle and do whatever it takes to convince people to read my novel.
So that's my game now. Promote, promote, promote. All the while planning the next novel (which may or may not ever see the light of publication).
Did I mention that one of my favorite literary characters is Don Quixote? Hand me my lance, if you please.