Okay my new book is upright on the launch pad and centered so that the scorch marks from my previous launches are barely visible. I’d like to think of it as a gigantic NASA rocket surrounded by a gantry hundreds of feet high with clouds of liquid oxygen swirling around it. Anticipation is high as the countdown begins. In the control room the “ignition” button is flashing green. All systems go. Soon there will be a deafening roar and the very earth will tremble and off into the stratosphere and mesosphere and outta-here it goes. Next stop: infinity and beyond.
How’s that for dramatic flair?
In reality my book is more like a model rocket being launched from a couple of overturned cinder blocks in my backyard (look out birds!) and I’m kneeling beside it with a flaming match in my shaky hand trying to ignite the fuse, hoping that when it blasts off it goes up, up, and away and not sideways over the fence into my neighbor’s yard and generate a threatening call from his lawyer. Yeah, it’ll make an impressive roar when it takes off and it’ll shoot out red and white sparks that will make the kids in the neighborhood jump up and down and clap their hands. And after a few seconds of glory it will spit and sputter and fall ingloriously back to earth. But here’s the real kicker: you can’t shoot it off again.
Any of this sound familiar?So I’m preparing to launch my latest book. It’s been proofed by people I trust. All the typos have been caught and corrected (I hope). My good friend and fellow author Claude Forthomme’s suggestions about changing the placement of several chapters have been implemented and the book is better because of it. Thank you Claude. All systems go, right? Well not quite. Haven’t got a cover design yet. Haven’t formatted it into any of the ebook formats. Haven’t written a synopsis yet. I do have a title but I’m keeping it secret until I really am ready to launch – that’s just how superstitious I am.
My dilemma is this: which launch pad do I want to blast off from?
I’ll be very candid and admit I’m only interested in blasting off. I’m pretty mercenary when it comes to my work; always have been. I’ve been creating content in the entertainment business for 45 years in film, TV, video, live shows and now books. Hundreds of projects over the years; I’ve got a storeroom full of the end results. The ones I have the fondest memories of are those that were the most successful. Egotistical? Probably. But the fact is that the most successful ones reached the greatest number of people. And isn’t that why we go to all this effort? Some say they do it for ego gratification or that they write because they have to. Fine, but I’ve got a wall full of ego gratification and yes I had to write too — or not get paid. Putting food in the bellies of my wife and kids and keeping a roof over their heads has always been my greatest motivation. To some this approach may seem crass and crude and maybe they’re right. Doesn’t change how I feel.
I’ve previously published two ebooks: Unthinkable Consequences and Letters From The Front. The latter effort was merely to make a play I wrote in 1991 accessible to those in the ebook market who have expressed an interest in reading it. Most plays are never published and are hard to come by. Unthinkable Consequences is a romantic suspense adventure that has received great reviews among readers and did moderately well in sales. I was new to this platform and I think I made just about every mistake a novice to self-publishing sales and promotion could make. I now question whether I want to go that route again and investigate more traditional methods instead.
I know most of you have faced this same dilemma. Many of you are authors whose work and opinions I respect. Perhaps you also have new books that you are pushing out onto the launch pad. How do you feel about it? I would love to hear your comments.