Author makes awful mess of a promotion for a novel called “The Awful Mess”

It’s so much more fun to write irony than to live it.

I poured considerable energy and money into a free promotion for my book I scheduled for Sept. 2-6, but it turns out that I screwed up in a very basic way by not realizing the Kindle Select program would consider the PG-13 edition of my book too similar to the adult version.

So, although I tried to fix the issue immediately, yanking that [utterly non-selling] title from other retail sites takes time, and that means I’m barred from that free promotion for now.

This after sending out at least a dozen press releases, plus some notes to former congregations.

And after getting a lovely, now inaccurate article in the Monadnock Ledger (maybe it’s still there, or maybe they pulled it). Which my college marketing department noticed and wanted to celebrate, of course, just when I was comforting myself that at least THEY didn’t know about my screw-up.

And after investing in advertising that in most cases I will just have to swallow a loss on.

This is where I take a deep breath. Someday I’m sure I’ll laugh about this. Just not yet. For one thing, I have way too many revised press releases to get out.

Anyway, adjusting in the only way I can, here’s the new plan: I’ll reduce the price to 99 cents for the entire month of September, and still donate any earnings to Feeding America at my virtual campaign page here. And I’ll continue to donate 10% of earnings going forward, because not having a free promotion probably means my fund will be pretty pathetic. (I was planning to do that anyway, though.)

To put things in perspective, at least I’m not pregnant by a married priest I don’t even love and unable to tell the guy I really like what happened.

Also, I’m not going to bed hungry, or wondering how to keep my family fed. Too many people in this country can’t say that.

Anyway, my apologies if I’ve put you in an embarrassing spot with any of this. The rest of you have permission to laugh. (Though to be completely honest, I wouldn’t mind a “there, there.”)


12 thoughts on “Author makes awful mess of a promotion for a novel called “The Awful Mess”

  1. She is unable to tell the priest she really liked what happened? Sorry . . . the editor in me can’t stop looking out for ways to misread text . . .

  2. There, there (pat, pat, pat…), poor baby.

    At least you haven’t submitted your book to a publisher (nine months ago!) only to find out that the last manuscript from a prevously unpublished author that they considered for publication was kept for 2.5 years before being rejected.

    I’m starting to think you have the right idea with this self publishing thing.

    • Yikes. How did you find that out? It does seem to make the odds fairly steep.

      If you don’t want to give up on traditional publishing, try to get an agent. Look for the ones that specialize in SF, especially the agents of of your favorite authors. You should be able to be working on that in the meantime anyway, right? You’d want to have an agent lined up if they say yes.

      But self-publishing can be a perfectly reasonable way into the marketplace these days. I’d still recommend hiring an experienced editor and cover artist etc. etc., though. You have to think like the publisher instead of just thinking like the author. (Of course, trying to be my own marketing department is arguably how I got myself into this mess.)

      • Apparently with this publisher, one of the few who claim to consider unsolicited manuscripts, it’s considered very bad form to secure an agent after you’ve already submitted without one because it implies that you don’t trust them. I also agreed when I submitted that I would do no simultaneous submissions, so showing my manuscript to any other publisher or self publishing before they’ve told me they don’t want it will get me blacklisted. This information is all from the author’s forum maintained by the site. The specifics were from a post by the slush culler who sent me an email in July saying that my book had made it out of the slush pile. I’m just finding out now that their estimate of 9 to 12 months before notifying you about your book applies to rejections only. Once it makes it to the next level, apparently that process can take years. Not only that, but when challenged by an aspiring author on the forum to come up a name of an author they’d published without prior publication of at least some short stories, the slushmeister was unable to come up with a single name. Looks like I’d better get cracking with the short stories.

        • An agent protects your business interests. If this publisher has a boilerplate contract you can take to a publishing lawyer instead of an agent, I suppose that might be okay, but it sounds fishy to me. (Don’t try a regular lawyer. They always freak out about things every publisher in the biz includes and considers non-negotiable, like the indemnification clause.) I’d look around on the net since there is some good advice out there on publishing contracts.

          They will be far, far more interested in you if you have publications like the stories you mention, as well as an established platform — a web page, a facebook page, twitter, in your case perhaps some active publishing on fanfiction, etc. Are you working on those already? You really must. Publishers expect their authors to the kind of people who will hustle, hustle, hustle, and it takes time for all of those efforts to take on any heft. You also want to develop relationships with fans and authors in your genre. It makes a big difference. (And yeah, I suck at all of that, because I waited too long to start, but that’s the good thing about self publishing. It can take a looooong time and that’s okay.)

          • Thanks for the advice, but apart from hopefully eventually being able to post about a successful original fiction publication for the benefit of what’s left of my Enterprise readership, I’d prefer not to be associated by name with my fanfiction. Using it as a marketing ploy smacks too much to me of trying to profit from it, and I don’t want to give even the slightest impression that I might be violating anyone’s copyright for my own benefit. Not only that, but I have extremely limited time available to write. I know from past experience that if I get back into writing fanfiction the immediate feedback will soon become so addictive that I won’t be writing anything else.

            Since I’d eventually like to be published and get paid for it, I’d also prefer not to publish my original fiction online for free. So… I’m still stuck without content to put on a website other than, “Hi, there. My name is Chris and I’d like to be published someday. Here’s a blog containing my not necessarily PC and definitely right-wing opinions about stuff. Come read it while I wait two years for my book to be published.” : P

            Off to write a short story now. Once I finally get something published I’ll create a webpage in my eponymous GoDaddy domain and brag about it. Stay tuned. : )

          • Sounds like a plan. I find myself revealing my political leanings more and more despite an initial plan not to. It just feels more authentic, but I’m sure it will get me in trouble someday.
            I read Heinlein avidly as a teenager without ever guessing he was right wing, which was perhaps naive of me as a reader. Would knowing that have changed my desire to read his stuff? I doubt it, assuming I ever gave it a try, because he sure could tell a story. (Same applies to you!) Ayn Rand, on the other hand … oh, the horror!

  3. The Ledger says they’ll run a correction next week, but the article will stay up in the meantime. Thankfully it’s not really too focused on the free aspect.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.