Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hit and Miss

On Monday, there was a funeral in my town for a boy who'd just graduated from high school. I heard over 700 people attended. He went boating at a nearby lake with friends, said he was hot, and jumped into the water to cool off. He never came back up. The water was so deep in that part of the lake that each diver could only make one dive a day, so they took turns until the boy was found.

No one is sure exactly what killed him. Was he so hot and dehydrated the shock of the cool water was too much to take? Did he hit his head on something? Will we ever know?

A handful of years ago, my nephew was driving a tractor down a busy highway to get from one farm field to another. He needed to make a left turn across traffic and when he turned on his blinker, it didn't work. So when an 18-wheeler semi truck carrying toxic chemicals approached him from behind, it didn't see a turn signal to know not to pass my nephew.

To say the least, they collided. The tractor was totaled, mangled into a ball of wadded metal with only one tire left on the thing. Whatever substance the semi truck driver carried caused the entire roadway to be closed off until a HazMat crew arrived to clean up the mess.

And what happened to my nephew? He only cut his hand on broken glass when he climbed out of the crushed tractor.

Isn't it strange what can take a human life? A huge, automobile accident can leave a one practically untouched while diving into water can kill another. It's all part of the mysteries and wonders of this world that will probably never be solved.

I'm sure all this is making you wonder as well...what the heck does this have to do with writing?

Well, okay, nothing. But you certainly can equate it. What makes one person's book not sell yet another person's story a bestseller?

You can set up StatCounters and follow ratings and reviews on your story. You can watch the sells go up and down on Amazon or FictionWise or OmniLit. But does that really, accurately answer the big mysterious question whether it's your website that gets your name out there, or joining chat groups, or advertising on Review sites, or having book signings, or sending out a regular newsletter, or if it's simply word-of-mouth that sells your book?

I guess the safest way to get your story noticed is to do a little of everything. I wouldn't focus all my advertising efforts on one venue, but spread a little out to social networking, donate a book to a contest web hunt on a review site, have a couple bookmarks or postcards printed for your friends and family to pass out, contact local libraries, keep your website updated, get interview, join chat group conversations, support other authors.

And in between accomplishing these million and one tasks, don't forget to finish that next manuscript you're working on...oh, and then there's your everyday life you have to deal with. Probably should keep practicing that walking-on-water trick you're working on too...

Sigh. Wears me out just thinking about all the work that goes into book...after you sell the story.

Good luck on your book sales. Here's hoping you're a big hit, instead of a miss!!


Carol Kilgore said...

Someone was watching over your cousin. You're so right about all the things we don't know.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Linda, one sees this so often. I'm glad for your nephew.

The collection of life and work obligations as well and all the joy of creating are exhausting. But the energy comes from creation. Maybe there's a spiritual message in there, too. Keep creating.

Big Mike said...

Accidents can be freakish. I remember a kid from my HS simply planning Basketball, getting hit in the head by the ball off the rim, and dropping dead on the court. Weird stuff.

Yes, also strange what works and doesn't ref book sells. I wrote a Ezine article that quantitatively evaluated 2 dozen promote avenues across 2 years and ranked them in terms of their merit, weird what you think on surface is great only to find out its not. Article is on the link page of my website.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Marie Rose Dufour said...

So glad that it turned out right for your nephew. The universe is a funny thing.

It is crazy about all the work that has to be done AFTER you sell your story. ;)

January Bain said...

Life is mysterious. Daily, there are so many questions unanswered... And then some (hopefully long) moments of time you become luckier and feel the wisdom and oneness of just being connected to it all. That being connected happens for me when I'm creating.