The Hard Part

Back when I was a Brownie Scout, I learned a lot about myself.

Number one: I’m not a salesman. Gaining the courage to knock on a door to sell cookies was excruciating. My palms sweat, my heart rate speeded up, and I wanted to run when the door opened. I barely forced my voice above a whisper. Decades later, I’m a softie when a kid knocks on my door selling about anything, but I still find it hard to sell things myself. I never became a Girl Scout.

As a writer, I’ve found the hardest part of writing is when the project is finished and it’s time to do the marketing. Except I just took a walk and thought about my story. Should I put fish in that creek? It’s pretty shallow, but there could be deeper holes in some places. What about mentioning the ER doc trusts his intuition when he hurriedly admits a respiratory patient before the ambulance arrives with the shooting victim?

I just added those two little details to the manuscript. When can I call this story finished and start the hard marketing part?

In the old days, a publisher either bought my book or didn’t. If he did, it was his job to market it and get it in the hands of readers. I had to do an occasional book signing, and those were agonizing. Sometimes I sat there and sold zero books and felt like a fraud. I loved it when I spoke at schools and the PTO would buy a copy of my children’s book for each student. Those signing lines stretched out before me, and I felt like a real writer.

In this electronic era, things are much different. Because my old paperback romances are now updated e-books, I vowed I’d write a Christmas romance novella each year to punch up digital sales. Even though I now concentrate my efforts on mainstream novels, this has kept me in the romance world.

A novella generally runs under 20,000 words (80 pages). My new one is over 37,000 (150 pages). I can’t seem to tell the story in fewer words. Maybe it’s because I add fishing holes to the creek.

It’s time I called Here’s Your Trouble finished and launched it into the e-world of millions of books. It gets about one week to make it. I’ll admit I hit up my friends and family to spend the 99 cents to buy it and review it. Then the numbers go up on Amazon’s site and make it visible to readers I don’t know personally.

If you feel like it, no pressure at all from this non-salesman, you might pass this link on to folks you know who might enjoy a Christmas story.

Oh, and would you like thin mints or peanut butter?