When I enrolled in the James Patterson Master Class for writing fiction, I also started this blog. Initially part of the reason was because I wanted to share what I was doing in the class and offer up whether or not I thought it was worth the price of admission. I wasn't sure what to expect, I had taken a number of classes in writing fiction and I always did well in the classes. This was an opportunity to get information from a very successful writer, even if it wasn't really first hand, though there was the possibility of him reading something I did and commenting.
I have completed the course, and I continue to review lessons and I still participate in the Facebook group. What I like is that I can review the videos as often as I wish. There are only a couple of hours, but it is after all James (Bloody) Patterson and he is an extremely successful writer. It was $90 to take the class and it is money well spent. I continue to learn and as I mine nuggets of information I will share my perspective on the class.
First It Was All About Writing
This blog is more about my journey as a writer than a review of James Patterson's class. It is about writing, but it is more about being a writer. The easy part is being a really good story teller. I know I am that because I have gotten good reviews from people who do not even know me. I am a virtual unknown successful writer. The next step is to become a known successful writer. I would love to fund my retirement by writing. So here I am sharing some of my journey with you.
Briefly I have been writing a long time, but I only started getting serious when I retired. The problem was that I was too successful as a Programmer Analyst, and it funded my family and me for a lot of years. In a way, it had become a trap. I escaped the trap by getting old. I was too expensive and although I was one of the best. Unfortunately, companies were willing to settle for mediocrity then have the best. First I became unemployed, than unemployable. I retired and turned to my real love, writing.
I have been an avid Science Fiction fan and had always thought I would be a science fiction writer. My second reading choice was mysteries. It was while I was reading the short story collection “Continental Op” by Dashiell Hammett that I got an idea for a story. That idea translated into the character Jonas Watcher and became the inspiration for at least six novels and perhaps more.
|The Case of the Running Bag|
My first novel, ”Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Running Bag” was born sometime in early 2013, but I didn't start putting “Pen to Paper” until November of that year. As I started writing, I started looking into how to get it published.
Then It Was About Getting Published
About twenty years ago, I had tried to get a political thriller published and I spent a bit of money to accomplish it. In truth, the book wasn't ready. Instead of getting advice on what to do, I got silence or people looking for how they could milk me for money. Perhaps that why I took so long to start writing again.
In 2004, I had successfully created a political satire comic book, paying homage to “Mad Magazine”, and Iself-published it. While it didn't sell a lot of copies, I had discovered that “Publishing is actually easy. Marketing and selling are hard.”
By April of 2014, I had found Smashwords and Createspace and I released my first Novel to the fanfare of my blowing my own trumpet in an empty wilderness. The only thing that kept me going was that people who had read my book and were not friends told me they enjoyed it and asked when was the second book coming out. So I persevered and started working on my second novel, “Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Bourbon Street Hustler”.
Then It Was About The Internet
At this time, everyone is telling me the internet is the place to get recognized. Great! Now I need to digress a bit here to share some irony with you. The last ten years of my career I was an Internet Consultant. My primary area of expertise was in delivering education over the internet. I took legacy content and translated it into course material and made it engaging for students while designing quizzes and exams to not only test a student's grasp of the content but test the course material itself to make sure it was delivering the content in such a way that students could and would learn the concepts that the content was suppose to be teaching. Additionally I was a Web Master for a company and took the eCommerce site that had been grossing about $8000 a month to grossing more than $35,000 a month in four years, by redesigning the website for ease of use, implementing Search Engine Optimization, and an email marketing campaign. “Toot, Toot”.
How do I do the same for me?
The company I worked for already had a clientele, they were already a part of the industry they were in, I was able to use existing marketing strategies already in place for the industry, and there were set keywords that provided a limited return on search information. In the simplest of terms, I was able to move them to the first page of every search option that related to their product. They became visible on the internet to their customer base. The key word here is visible.
Now It Is About Becoming Visible
If you type “Mystery” in the search box of your favorite search engine, you will not get a single writer, book, or series. You will not see James Peterson, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, or Rex Stout. You don't see “Murder She Wrote”, “Sherlock Holmes” or “Castle”. You do see Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. Every other author and I are in the same catch 22, and if you are a self-published author you are in even a deeper hole unless you have a hook. That hook could be in the guise of a person or organization that is willing to give you a leg up. It could be a large legitimate following that will help you get you and your book out there. If you have no hook and you are not James Patterson, (sorry for picking on you, James, but you are a household name that people will type into a search engine to see what your latest book is. And if I type mysteries novels in "amazon.com", you get... John Grisham. Sorry about that James, I thought you would show up first.) The point is that both John and James have a hook, that is a publisher willing to publicize their books. We, self-published novelists, have ourselves and a decidedly smaller marketing budget.
Here Is My Game Plan:
Keep writing. The more books you have the greater your credibility, especially if people like what you write.
Get yourself out there as a writer. Join a local writer's group and participate. Join online writer's groups and participate as a writer. Avoid firestorms of personal opinions, ask questions about writing, getting published and marketing.
Have a website and a blog. Work at becoming a household name in your genre. Don't have the money or the time for a website, then have a Facebook page. If you have a Facebook page, then create an author or book page. I chose to create a book series page for Jonas Watcher. If I am doing something that deals with Jonas Watcher, it goes on my Jonas Watcher Page and I announce it everywhere I can. A year ago if you searched on “Jonas Watcher” in a browser, you mostly got stuff about the Jonas Brothers. Take a look today, the first page of links is about my books. If you search on my name, you will see a lot about me and my books. By the way, I am Gene R Poschman, not Gene S Poschman and I do not live in Berkeley. Who knew there were two Gene Poschmans.
There are a number of sites for free blogs, join one and write. Write about your books, writing, publishing, or whatever your books are about. Just write.
|Jonas Watcher: |
The Case of the Jade Dragon
Find a couple of free press release distribution sites, and write a press release each time you release a book. Contact you local paper and let them know when you are releasing a book. Let them know you are a local writer. If you have something unique about your book, let them know. Get your name out there.
Have a local bookstore then visit them and let them know you exist. They might carry a copy of your book. See if you can do a book signing.
Contact your local libraries, give them copies of your book. Know a librarian somewhere contact them. Is there a library event taking place, join in.
If I failed to mention it, start writing on your next book.
More to come. We are not always defined by how we succeed, but also by how we fail.