Devine Medium (Part One)

My editor has taken her parting shot. I’ve done my best and hit the save button for the last time. Eight months, at least nine drafts of diminishing alterations, a little over ninety thousand words cut down Elmore Leonard style, and what I think is a darn good story. I was happy about the ending, too, although I could certainly see some readers out there, rolling their eyes.

I like happy endings, so sue me.

You’d think I’d let my agent or publisher know that I’ve just wrapped a ribbon around the manuscript, right? That’s what they do or did in the movies. But I haven’t an agent or a committed publisher. I’ve sweated over this baby, and they haven’t been there to encourage, scourge, or hound me. I pushed myself, and now I’m supposed to help someone else pay their rent?

I’ll reveal my take on the agent-publisher vs. self-published thing in another post, because none of us are so young as to forget the era of big books. For now, it’s Home, Home on the Indie Range …

What’s the next thing, then? Where do I go from here, book promotion? Actually not. You’d think so, but no. Promotions in three to six months. Not now and not after I’ve done a bunch of “research” on the internet. Read this to mean, I’ve done my due diligence and gathered other peoples’ opinions, because no one quite knows this new field of Indie Books. Promoting the new masterpiece is six months off, and grist for another post, so let’s stick to D-Day (Done Day) for now. Here my opinion to toss into the literary stew:

When you wrote the book, you identified your market. That was key and you knew to whom you were writing. (The target audience.) Now, you must decide the target’s medium. Let’s say your book was written for forty plus ladies who like romance, yet take no prisoners. Kick-ass. I love that theme. Anyway, how do they read? Probably a mix of paper and eBooks. After all, it is easier to find your place when you get stuck in a line wondering why everyone, from dentists to oil change garages frontload their schedules these days. People whip out a phone with regularity just like they used to have a paperback in their monster purses. That’s your medium for quick, easy to recall characters, and a solid storyline-eBook with a paperback chaser.

My latest, novel Camelot Games aims for the American or pan European, thirty plus crowd who understand power plays, aren’t happy with most politicians, and would love to bust a few ceilings. This becomes a bit more complicated as the main plot line and several subplots require the reader to stay up to speed as the story moves along. In addition to the late night reader, I organized the book around travelers reading the requisite hour at the airport, three hours in-flight, and another hour reading at the hotel for a two or three day stay waiting to sleep in a strange bed. I finished off my analysis thinking about the airport wait on the way home and of course the flight. Ten hours is my estimate. I thought three fun crises, an adventurous and heroic interlude, and a twist with a good ending should make about three hundred pages. My chosen medium? EBook with carefully crafted chapter breaks for quick pick up and put downs. I also like to sign books because I’m not overly concerned with bottom lines, mine or the bookstore. There’s so little money in bookstores, most books signings are because you believe, as I do, that bookstore owners are heroes. You can’t worry about everything, so I spend the extra time to put out a solid paperback bookstores will be proud to carry. I’ve also been spending time with Libraries, and know they prefer hardbacks. That’s on my horizon, but not in my plans.

Camelot Game’s timing also lends itself to seven days to ten days commuting with a thirty-minute commute. Audible and an app in your iPhone makes this a cinch. So do several other companies like Brilliance and Recorded Books. Unless you’re a star, (and if you were, why are you reading this) check this out:

Keep in mind that buying our book is not a requirement for us Indies to make back our investment. Books that readers borrow from the library help our bottom line, too. This is especially good for audio books. I’ll have a future blog that talks about the challenges of marketing to libraries.

I’ve researched some popular authors (the ones who write hopelessly commercial fiction and make me listen in the driveway with the headlights out hoping no one noticed me get home). They routinely go ten to twelve discs or about 375 pages. That works nicely, but don’t try this with Greg Iles. Thirty-five hours or eight hundred pages? Way too much to remember while driving. Save Greg for a winter cabin or a long hot summer. He’s an amicable guy, and won’t mind. An audio book will be in Camelot Games’ next evolution.

Tune in next week when I finish off this little bit of brain freeze.

All my best,


Comment (1)

  1. Roland Hughes

    Very nice post Ollie!

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