A Book in a Bottle

“Okay, so I wrote the book . . . now where’s the readers?”

– Me

A Year in (the) Rear-view New Bayou Books

This episode is also available as a blog post: https://newbayoubooks.com/2022/03/07/a-year-in-the-rear-view/
  1. A Year in (the) Rear-view
  2. Be Prepared to Say Goodbye to Old Habits and Friends (and Welcome New Ones)
  3. The Meaning is in the Commitment
  4. Is this a Hero’s Journey, and if So, Who is the Hero? (Surely not me?)
  5. All Saint's Audio–Pages 1-14 (episode 1)

October is going to be a big month for me. And not because I’m going to release my second book. Okay, partly because I’m going to release All Saints Day of the Dead, my South-Louisiana religion and music tale of murder and desperation. But mostly because it’s the month when I make my big push to get into the game. 

My strategy has always been to get the second book published before I start my marketing push in earnest. Johnny and Sean, the boys who wrote Write. Publish. Repeat, hit this point pretty hard in their must-read guide for independent writers. The basic idea is you need to have more than one product on the market before you can really start building an audience. The sales-word “funnel” factors heavily into the strategy. Read the book to find out more.

To be totally honest, I’m expecting the real turn for me to come once I have book three out in the market. I already have the title and the rough outline for that one, and I’m psyched to write the first draft in November. It’s called The Asian Cajun, about a Cajun dude and a Chinese girl who open a fusion restaurant in Lafayette, but before they can open the restaurant, they have to get married in order to get the Chinese girl into the U.S. The two big questions are will the restaurant succeed and what will come of their marriage of convenience? 

But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even put out All Saints Day of the Dead . . . but that manuscript is with the copy editor, and the original painting that will be the basis of the cover is almost finished, so I’m feeling pretty good about it all. While I’m proud of Tattoos and Tans, the first book, I do think All Saints is on the whole a stronger book, and I can’t wait to share it with readers. 

Which pretty much brings us to October. As I’ve said in various forms in several other blogs, the main challenge for independent writers, as I see it, is balancing the commitment to writing new material with the need to market your existing works. I really think that’s the crux of the matter. Now, I know a little bit about hard work and especially about best practices when it comes to productivity, and one of the central tenets of getting shit done is to forget about the traditional concept of “multi-tasking”, which just doesn’t work. 

Rather than try and do two things simultaneously, which is inefficient at best, but more likely impossible, the thing to do, to my mind at least, is to find logical transition points during which you pivot from one activity to the other. My personal belief is these periods of focus need to be substantial–we’re talking weeks at a time. So for me, October is the month that I focus on expanding my virtual footprint. 

It’s a bittersweet decision, to be sure. I’m not only going to start my own YouTube channel, but I even signed up for a New Bayou Books Twitter account. Which means in addition to my main job as a novelist (a job I’m not getting paid for, at this point), I’ll be a blogger, a YouTuber, and a . . . tweeter? God, I hate the sound of that!

Though the word “tweet” makes my skin crawl and I certainly don’t have any desire to be an internet celebrity (not that there’s much chance of that), I’m wading into these waters because of something I do want. Which is readers. Above all else, I want people to read the books I write. 

Until now I didn’t have a good handle on this age old question. You know the one . . . it’s something like, “if you were stranded on a desert island with nothing but a manual typewriter, would you write?” The “art for art sake” answer is a resounding Yes! But as someone who labored to write a first novel that something like fifteen people (so far) have read, I can report unequivocally that it’s no fun at all to write a book no one reads. 

And so, one the cusp of putting out All Saints Day of the Dead, I’m going to do everything I can to reach my very first sales goal: a mere one hundred books sold. My feeling has always been that if I can sell a hundred, I can sell two hundred. And if I can sell two hundred, I can sell five hundred. And so on. 

Plus, I have to say I really like making little videos! It’s like talking to friends you haven’t met. The stuff you’ll see on the New Bayou Books YouTube will all be entirely unscripted and real. Going forward, I’ll do at least a video a week, to coincide with the weekly blog. Do me a favor and check it out. And please, tell your friends about this middle aged dude trying to sell enough books to quit his day job and start a revolution in Louisiana literature at the same time. I need to get off this desert island! 

Consider this post my message in a bottle.

Published by New Bayou Books

JR Reed started New Bayou Books to spark a revolution in Louisiana literature. The goal of the company is simple: to great writers out of the shadows to carry on the Louisiana literary tradition.

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