Step 1: Write
Step 2: Submit
Step 3: Publish
As anyone who has ever dabbled in creative writing knows, the above steps are an atrocious oversimplification. I have left out such memorable stages as Yell at Laptop and Eat Tub of Ice Cream While Figuring Out How to Rescue Character's Dog. (A temporarily satisfying process that required double time on the treadmill. Must not repeat.)
Initially, my goal in writing was to complete a novel. It was a (usually) pleasurable hobby. The goal evolved and I dreamed of getting published. I thought I'd be satisfied. Truth is, while I know I'm fortunate, I want more. I'd like to sell more than a few copies. I've tapped the shoulder of every friend and acquaintance, but I want others to read my book. Buying it would be nice, but checking it out of the library would be a good thing too.
I have discovered that I love writing. I enjoy my summers of getting into a focused, productive writing routine. Unfortunately, I can't make a living off a novel that sells a few hundred copies and I fear that publishers may not give a second chance to an author whose debut generates lukewarm (or cold) sales.
It is difficult to promote myself. I was raised to be modest. What's more, calling or talking to bookstore owners is awkward and a bit humiliating. Seems they'd be happy to promote your book and create a lovely window display if you're J.K. Rowling or Jerry Spinelli, but when you're Gregory Walters,...not so much. I have sent off many emails and received a little press in free community papers in a couple of areas in British Columbia. Last week I had a phone interview with a reporter in Texas who writes for TCU Magazine. However, most of my shot-in-the-dark efforts generate nothing.
I would love a decent review in a publication with a significant circulation. I believe many readers will enjoy following the struggles of Tom and Craig, but I fear too few people will ever know about these characters. There is strong word of mouth from the people who have read the book, but I wonder how far that word can reach.
This summer I'd love to try some creative ways to promote Fouling Out and I welcome any suggestions. Feel free to post a comment.