Book Goals, I Has Them

Everything about this commercial is so stupid and offensive, and yet, I think that dude is fucking adorable.

So, here’s where I am with the book thing. Cover illustration is picked. Illustration and cover copy are with the designer. Manuscript is at the typesetter for clean-up. Press release is done. I have some stuff with Amazon to get straight, but I’m not quite ready to do that.

I have my media list pretty much finalized. This is where things really differ between a self-published book and a “real” book. If I had a publisher, I think my media list would easily be 100 places that should at least get a press release. As it is, I have about 20. Folks are very clear that they don’t want to see self-published books.

Which is fine. I just wonder how long they can continue to do so.

But it took a bunch of folks off my list. I kept Chapter 16 on my list, even though everyone says they don’t do self-published crap. What is CPO Publishers if not a front for self-published crap? The writers of Williamson County is somehow a bigger market than ghost stories about Middle Tennessee so some publisher snapped that right up? I’m not buying it. I think Chapter 16 has a way around their “don’t do self-published crap” rule when the need hits. So maybe they won’t review it, but maybe they’ll run a story or interview me or call me up to heckle me in the middle of the night.

That’s my hope, anyway.

That’s really my hope with all my media, that the local angle will trump the “oh, how cute, she did it herself; it must suck” angle.

So, here’s the thing. I asked my trusted book advisor, if she were, say, working marketing for a small, regional publisher and someone had brought my book to her, realistically, unless lightning struck, how many would she say she could sell, don’t worry you won’t hurt my feelings.

She said, “A thousand.”

For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the state of literary fiction, believe me, a thousand seems about right.

Okay, I’m not going to sell a thousand. My press release list is about 1/5 of what it would be.

So, my realistic expectation is to sell 200, that would be a 1/5 of what I might sell with a regular small publisher and a regular small publisher publicity machine.

My goal is to sell 333. That would roughly net me the same royalties as if I’d sold 1,000, and would have covered the production costs, if I’d had to pay full production costs out of pocket and not had some damn fine generous friends. I’m hoping that, with the unique publicity machine of Tiny Cat Pants, I can sell that many.

But let me say, if I can sell more than 333, if I can sell closer to 1,000, just myself, you and I, dear readers, are going to learn something about the future of the publishing industry that… I don’t know… It’s one thing to pontificate about how much the publishing industry is changing. But if one lone person, namely me, can, with the help of her friends, put out a book that sells as well as it would sell if she had a small publisher… I don’t know.

It’s hard to wrap my head around it.

But anyway, that’s my hope–333 copies. Everything on top of that will be “the ground is shifting more rapidly beneath our feet than we knew.”

Also, if you need someone to come read ghost stories to you and your friends in October, I am available. And, yes, I’m still trying to think about how to have a book launch of some sort.

Edited to add: It just occurred to me to reiterate that most places like lots of lead-time on non-news stuff. That’s why I’m getting all this stuff lined up now. I’d like to, if possible, have materials to the media by the end of August, beginning of September.