Confessions of Nervousness

As I take the final steps toward publishing my novel, Flowers to Dionysus I admit I am a bit nervous. A certain nervousness I wouldn’t have experienced before I published Thank You For Ten last year.

Last year when I launched my first ever self-published experience with that short anthology of short fiction, I had what I thought was a base of interest and a simple network for spreading the word about my work. Not expecting nor requiring that companion piece to the upcoming novel to go viral, I did have certain expectations that it would reach and touch a specific type of individual, who would in turn know a few more such people. Given the number of theatrical and artistic people just within my simple network, I didn’t think I had set my sites too high to generate some buzz within my own communities that might here and there splash over to folks I didn’t know.

I didn’t work out that way at all. Most (but not all) of my friends ignored the project, even as they continued pushing and selling their own projects to the same people. A dollar was too much to spare right then, but they’d get around to it. I offered it for free for the holiday season to anyone who wanted it, as a gift of sorts. The numbers changed very little. I’ve been somewhat worried ever since then. I don’t know exactly what I do differently within my sphere than those who have bands, performances, or small businesses with some degree of success. I only know that reciprocity has not, for the most part, worked.

Now that the novel is coming, (on which I work every day now to prepare for formatting), I don’t know where to stand. I am in no position to pay someone to promote it. Furthermore, I don’t think this is the sort of novel that fits in well with wide promotional tactics anyway. It’s a simple, at times quaint but nonetheless, (I think) fun story about a group of community theatre actors, with the tiniest touch of supernatural activity thrown in here and there. I figured those who experienced theatre, as I have, would find the concept interesting enough to pick up a copy, but that’s what i thought about Thank You for Ten, which takes place in the same setting. I was mistaken there.

So, I stand here only a few months before releasing it, not knowing exactly how to change my approach, other than to not count on my built-in network of theater-minded folks as much as I thought I could. Some of them will be there, sure, but as a whole entity probably not. This was the first idea fo a full novel I ever had, and I have been working on it for several years now. I doubt I’ll ever let myself spend this much time on a novel again. So I’d hate to think of it being ignored.

They tell you that it takes a lot more than luck to make something a best seller, and I’m sure that’s true. Yet my goals were and remain, quite modest for the novel at this time. Not instant fame, not wealth. I want to reach and touch a few hundred people who see what i see in the creative arts, and who will understand what these theater folks are going through in the novel. I know I’m supposed to remain confident and never let anybody know that I have doubts, but that’s not me. Based on the support I’ve been able to drum up for previous writings, I do have my doubts as to whether I can promote the book.

I will continue to work on it, of course. But something new has to happen, something positive, in order for me to feel I’m accomplishing even my modest goals this time around.

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