I wonder how many authors there are like me…
You go through the long haul of finding a publisher to publish your book, in my case a book of 22 short stories. It’s a euphoric feeling when you have news that your manuscript that you have sweated over, finally has a home, is finally going to see light of day. For me what happened afterwards was perplexing and frustrating. Sending e mails back and forth to somebody I have never met, in the USA, who would alter MY work, to such an extent I felt like it was morphing into the work of somebody else. At certain points I had to lay the law, because important elements were being erased and I felt like my editor didn’t follow my intentions and ideas, he didn’t get what the stories are about. There was also cultural differences, I am from the UK and my stories are British in character. He told me my book was for the “American Market”. I wondered if JK Rowling was ever told to adapt her ideas to be more Americanized? I went through phases when I thought my work would never be published. Editing and polishing is an endurance test, a battle of wills, I don’t know if this a general rule, but this was the case for me.
When this long drawn out process was finished (I have to admit it would have been faster if I had grasped the notions of the process a lot quicker) I received a barrage of e mails, which included a PDF on how to market my book. Yes …you arrive from published author to promoter, before you can take a deep breath and take a pat on the back for completing the work needed. I have been on Facebook a while and had a dormant Twitter page, so I had to spring into life and learn all manner of things about marketing…a year ago I had no idea what a hashtag was…I had no idea what retweeting was…and had never pinned anything on Pinterest.
I rather ask myself, what category does my book fit into? Ok they are short stories, my publisher seems to reckon they are “Dystopian” . I often classify them as “Dark Fiction”. Some might say they are “Horror”. It is true there are some pretty horrific elements in them…but at the same time there is social criticism, wit and humor in them as well.
What to do? Do I use some of the comparisons I received to other authors, for example Edgar Allan Poe? Ray Bradbury? Or Stephen King? I suppose readers are attracted to books that are similar to books they have previously read. Perhaps they might take a chance on an unknown author…if they know the stories are in a style they are familiar with. If I was writing straight down the line horror stories, I would be in competition with other horror writers, but maybe marketing such a book would be easier.
I am in a way smugly proud of having a paperback version of my book, by a traditional publisher. It is of course way more expensive than people who are selling an e book. Maybe if my book was an e book, I would have sold a lot more copies by now and would be feeling much more content. I also have noted that a lot of authors have written titles that seem a lot more geared towards commercialism. There seem to be a lot of EL James wannabees. There seem to be an overload of kinky sex books out there. Should I be writing books about bondage? Is my book in a limited niche market? Promoting a book can be disheartening and frustrating. I did a reading in Paris and I had a very positive response, I was happy that the people in the audience seemed to appreciate my work. Reviews have also been encouraging, people picking up on my ideas. However I feel that for a large readership to discover my work, I need a big publicity machine behind my book…this is not the case.
I tweet, I retweet, I post and post and post, but it seems hard to make any real headway.
About Francis Powell
Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis H Powell attended Art Schools, receiving a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English as a foreign language while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Paris, songwriting, doing concerts, writing both prose and poetry. Powell has published short stories in the magazine, “Rat Mort” and other works on the internet site "Multi-dimensions." His most recent work is a book of 22 short stories called "Flight of Destiny" published by Savant publishing. It has been described as being
"They're a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell's own unique twists. Very interesting read."
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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