Writing is a business. I’m learning this the hard way. Like any good business, it’s hard to break into. I liken it to trying to get your very first job. You remember how that went, right?
Interviewer: Describe your previous experience.
You: Well, I’ve never had a job before.
Interviewer (frowning): We are looking for someone with experience.
It’s the same in any business. James Patterson, for example, could write anything right now and get it published. Dude has experience (rightly so, I love him). Me? Not so much. I don’t belong in the same ball field as him (yet) but here I am trying to sneak onto his field.
Publishers and agents are too nice to come right out and say it, mostly, but I’m a risk. The advice is all the same: develop a platform and grab readers.
Then, suddenly, a crazy idea hit me. I have this book, 30 Days Without Wings, that isn’t going to be published. I love it and it has merit, but it’s not the one I’ll fight for (if that makes sense). I have 5 finished books. This one falls in that grey area for word count, it’s too short. So it got put on a back burner to simmer for awhile.
What if that back burner could work for me? What if I can make that one pull in readers?
I thought about publishing it somewhere as a short story. Blogging it, sending it to magazines, etc. Quick research showed me what I suspected…it’s too long for that.
I was sitting on the couch, drinking a glass of wine, online shopping by looking through someone’s online clothing Facebook group when it hit me: Facebook.
What if Facebook could be the answer?
People share things on Facebook all the time: pictures, videos, news stories, opinions, jokes, etc. Would they share a book?
It didn’t take long to get other people (we’ll call them my brain trust) on board with the idea. Here’s what we finally came up with:
Release the book a chapter at a time
Measure it’s success or likability by counting LIKES to the page
Release it as a video (reading the chapters) but then “publish it” on wattpad at the same time.
As we garnered enough likes, we would release more chapters.
Now I’m a perfectionist, so it was hard to pull the trigger on this idea. Epic failure is an absolute option. I even said to the brain trust “what’s going to happen when no one wants to hear it?” Brain Trust seemed to think that was NOT going to happen. (They’re fans of some of the other books already and they were confident this one would be just as good). Brain trust was more worried that I couldn’t “keep up” with the page/chapters if it came as fast as it COULD.
So I (probably over-)prepped.
Then we launched.
Chapter 1 went up on July 6th. I told viewers that once we hit 50 likes on the page I’d post Chapter 2 (keep that number small, brain trust said).
We hit that many by July 7th. Chapter 2 went up immediately. It was less than 24 hours. I was pleased, but still reserved.
We have been going pretty strong since then, having earned Chapters 7 and 8 on October 24. We are about 50 likes to the page away from Chapters 9 and 10 as of this evening.
What is the plan?
Short Term: Keep giving away the book, if there’s interest.
Long Term: Maybe people will see what kind of writing I do. Maybe people will want to read more. Maybe one of those other 4 books will end up somewhere people can buy it. Maybe they buy that one.
The long term dream is the same, man. This is just my entry-level job.
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Thanks for reading!