New Experiences Big & Small

Posted on 9 July, 2012

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I’ve now sold 30 copies of Perishables! Most of those are to people who are not strangers but many of them are to total strangers. How crazy is that?

Last week I had what is easily one of the strangest experiences of my life: being invited to join a Google+ hangout for members of a book club, some of whom had read Perishables.

It is very, very strange to have a total stranger compliment my work and ask if there will be more featuring Withrow. In my head I thought, “There are already two more first drafts, a third churning away in my brain’s spare cycles, a fourth novella I wrote years ago and untold hours of roleplay,” but what I said was, “Oh, of course, I’m already working on some.” So. Incredibly. Strange. I picked up at least one sale out of that hangout and made a couple of connections to other folks who are working in the horror fiction field, so woot! I also had the chance to meet a couple of bloggers/reviewers/writers who are also from North Carolina, so I’ve solicited reviews from them. We’ll see if they go for it.

In other promotional news, I’ve inquired about sponsoring Yog-Sothoth.com for a month, both the site and their podcast. It would eat the rest of the prize money but they’re a high-traffic site with a dedicated audience of people who love fiction with the same mix of poignancy, horror and tongue-in-cheek humor as I like to think is possessed by Perishables. If I can make it work then I think it will easily pay for itself and throw me over the bar on having earned minimum wage on this book.

I’ve also fiddled with the price on the basis of having reached the 25 sale mark. I set the bar at $4.99 for a week and saw exactly two sales, period. I wasn’t doing much promotion during that time but I also was earning zero from random browsers of the Kindle or Smashwords stores. It’s clear to me that $4.99 is too high for random people to pick it up on a whim, or at least it was last week. This week I’ve dropped the price to $2.99 and put out a coupon for the Smashwords store that drops it further to $2. I’m curious to see whether that generates any more interest given that I’m still doing essentially zero promotion, in part to maintain laboratory conditions and in part because I’m incredibly lazy.

One of the promotional activities to which I’d most looked forward was that of emailing the various people who read Part I: The Vampire where it was linked from my blog for several years. I’d saved their messages for moments when I needed a little ego boost but when I went to email them last week I discovered that the address book in which they’d been stored was exactly one (1) hard drive ago and I no longer have their contact information or their emails. Sad, but c’est la vie.

Lastly, I’ve joined Literary+, a collective of authors on Google+ who are collaborating in various ways. I’ll be blogging about world building later this month, contributing to a serialized urban fantasy story set in a shared world in August and may be writing a short script for a radio drama podcast run by one of the other members. I like the mix of writers involved and I like the way having other writers asking me to help them do things gets me energized to do things of my own. It’s not like the Hall, where both friendship and creativity can be used to sustain interest in a relationship though both of them are awesome and both of them totally work. This is a group of working writers, some of whom are doing it to pay the rent and some of whom are doing it because they’d like to do it pay the rent and some because they just love words. Having an implicit expectation of contributing is definitely a way to get myself to put things out there in front of people who would otherwise never have seen it.