How it started and how it’s going

So, this blog was started, among other things, to promote my novel (although how this is actually supposed to work is still a little murky). To that end, I feel obliged to occasionally make announcements. This is one of them.

Recently, my novel received first place in the 2022 Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book competition, in the mystery/thriller category. A Netflix series is still far away, but the award is a clear step in the right direction.

During the actual writing of my novel, I studiously avoided doing any research regarding publishing. This was because the internet, while a great source of information, also can be profoundly discouraging. I knew that the first thing I would find would be someone telling me that writing novels was stupid, and that I should stop immediately and devote myself to learning to code in Python or something like that.

And I will say, when I finally did look, the internet did not fail to disappoint—that person is legion.

Once I got past this, however, I spent a few weeks reading a great number of websites and blogs about the publishing industry, and ultimately decided to release the novel via Amazon. There were many reasons for this decision, and I wrote three paragraphs describing my rationale that I subsequently deleted because, even after multiple edits, they had a weirdly defensive timbre that didn’t reflect my feelings. Most basically, I learned that finding an agent and publisher might well take years, and that was a time commitment I didn’t want to make. I also already had access to excellent editing and design services, and was confident that I would be able to turn out a professional product with the resources at hand. This decision also seemed to fit the zeitgeist: the most interesting music on Bandcamp always seems to either be not on label or on very small labels, and this was the world with which I wanted to be party. Finally, at this point in my life, I wanted to be in control of myself and my product.

One factor I underestimated, however, was the difficulty of promotion. While the publishing process was elegantly straightforward and the assistance provided by Amazon was everything I could want, the novel remains at the mercy of obscure, possibly sinister algorithms and SEOs. Getting reviews has also been a challenge. I fear that there is still, unfortunately, the assumption that the imprimatur of a recognized publisher denotes some kind of official acceptance, and that books without this seal are suspect.

Hopefully, the astute judgment of Writer’s Digest will help to change that.

If you have read thus far, please read the book—or listen to it—and leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

A better future for all of us may well depend upon it.

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