Posted tagged ‘#One-Match Fire’

a One-Match Fire quote with a Kansas City connection

February 20, 2023

This quote is from the “Runaway’ chapter of One-Match Fire. In this moment, the father character, David, sparks a lifelong love of running in his son, Curt. The chapter takes place (with some flashbacks) during the Trolley Run, which is an actual event in Kansas City. I’ve run it four times.

yellow is the color of forgiveness

December 20, 2022

This week’s quote is from the chapter “Twice Blest,” and a good bit of this chapter draws inspiration from the Quality of Mercy speech in The Merchant of Venice.

Sometimes people need a jolt to learn who they are, and who they aren’t.

a special quote from One-Match Fire

December 12, 2022

An especially lovely quote from One-Match Fire this week. And it’s no coincidence that it’s rainbow colored, given the chapter it’s from.

a little news about One-Match Fire

December 5, 2022

So, two bits of happy news shone through the cold-induced fog of my weekend, both about One-Match Fire.

First, the publisher released some preliminary sales figures for the months of September, October, and November. This included all of their works, not just mine. And it was qualified as not including sales from smaller ancillary vendors, so it wasn’t a complete picture. Add to that the fact that OMF has only been alive for half of that period. And since I have no idea what is considered a good sales figure for a no-name debut novel, I can’t say whether my numbers are good or sad. But I will say that One-Match Fire has sold in the triple digits. Most interesting is that a number of those sales were overseas. I don’t know how to account for that. Five were sold in Poland; five in Germany, one each in Australia, Canada, and Singapore.

I had been reluctant about courting review sites and podcasts outside of the U.S. and Canada, thinking I didn’t have anything suited for foreign markets, but this makes me think otherwise and opens some new possibilities.

The second bit of happy news was discovering that my novel is on order by my local library system, Johnson County Public Library, and the neighboring Olathe Public Library. I had been grousing a little about how they seemed to not support local authors, but in the back of my mind I knew these things took time. (I had the novel of a friend added to the JoCo Library a few years ago, and it seemed to take months.)

more timid self promotion

November 21, 2022

Here is the latest quote pulled from One-Match Fire. I think it looks very good, and I’m hoping the quoted matter builds a little curiosity in potential readers.

I posted the last one all over social media, and then I saw a slight improvement in my ranking on Amazon. Maybe they were connected. I also got an invitation to be interviewed on a Substack page because of the last quote, so I’m grateful for that.

I press on.

self promotion for the timid

November 14, 2022

On a podcast I had heard a novelist make the important distinction between being a writer and being an author. The writer part is just as fun as it sounds: you sit at your desk and stare at the blank screen until your eyes bleed or the words flow. The author part is everything else, including promoting the writing you have done.

With One-Match Fire I am in the author stage now. I am using my poorly developed hustling muscles to get some profile for the writing I have done. I’m trying to get on podcasts to discuss it. I’m trying to get book review sites to discuss it. I’m trying to get conventional media (radio and newspapers) to feature it. I’m trying to get libraries to add it to their collections. I’m even trying to get bookstores to host readings.

I’m having moderate success with this, and I remind myself that I’m paying my dues. I am a no-name writer with no track record, no budget, and no charm. But every success I get I’m adding to the News & Events on my (shiny, new) webpage

One podcast that will feature me (next summer!) recently had a Zoom launch party, and several of the writers involved were on. One man talked at length about the challenges of self promotion. He listed a number of ways he is hustling to get profile, most of which terrified me since it meant “putting myself out there!” But one was slightly less frightening. He suggested posting excerpts from my novel on various social media sites with the hope of sparking an interest to read more. And so, with the help of my talented daughter, I came up with the graphic above.

I have begun experimenting with posting this on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I don’t know if it crosses a line and would be considered an actual unpaid ad (or if that is even a problem), so I may pull back a little on where/how to buy it. Nor do I have any way to measure if my posts have generated any sales (or even mild interest). But it is relatively easy to do, and since there are 23 chapters and a prologue to the novel, I could excerpt each one and have fresh posts for a while.

It feels like I’m being proactive. Like I’m hustling. Maybe it will even work.

a package arrived today

October 26, 2022

A package arrived today

And with it came tangible evidence that I haven’t been living in a fever dream, that my novel, One-Match Fire, has well and truly been published and is now out in the world.

Many of you have told me you’d already received your copies, and my wife’s had arrived at our house a few days ago. But until I slit open the box and held the physical book in my hand, I struggled with a half-conviction that it wasn’t real, that it was some great cosmic joke.

But I guess it’s not a joke. Seems to be real to me.

Which is a good thing since I’ve been hustling over the last few weeks to get blogs and podcasts and publications interested in featuring (or even mentioning) One-Match Fire. I’ve even had some success with this despite self promotion being utterly outside of my comfort zone.

One-Match Fire followed an interesting path to publication. There are 23 chapters and a prologue in the book. Nine of the chapters and the prologue (which was chapter one in my original draft) had already been published as free-standing short stories. I had tried unsuccessfully, for several years, to get agents interested in the novel. One writing forum even had a commenter assure me that the novel could never be published since parts of it had already seen print and no publisher would want it without first publication rights. (The guy who said that said a lot of absolute things throughout the forum.)

Not finding any success with agents, I began thinking I could serialize the whole thing on Substack. A few friends use that medium to publish their work. But I had finished Obelus by this time (still on submission throughout the known universe) and was looking for likely publishers for it. I was scrolling through the literally hundreds of small publishers listed in the Directory at the Community of Literary Magazines and Publishers and came upon Blue Cedar Press, which said it publishes “creative voices from the prairie and the planet.” And while my mind was full of Obelus at the time, I wondered if One-Match Fire, set in the Midwest as it is, might be a good fit for them. So I sent it to their address.

That was last December. I heard nothing until May of this year, when one of the editors wrote to me asking if the manuscript was still available; if it was, she would continue reading it. She said she liked what she had read so far. Of course I fired back an email saying that the manuscript was still available. A few friendly emails went back and forth after that, and one afternoon they invited me to a Zoom call, which was going to start in about twenty minutes. The call was cordial. Most of the board of Blue Cedar Press were on, and for an hour we mostly talked about my grands. At the end they asked if I had any questions. I did. One big one. Did they want to publish my novel? Somehow that topic didn’t come up on the call.

Oh, yes, they said. They did want to publish One-Match Fire if I would let them! Further, they said that they intended to have it ready by October — just five months after acceptance!

I told no one about this. It was my huge secret. Some part of me didn’t believe it was real, and I feared that if I spoke of it, the cosmic accounting office would find out that someone had made a mistake and my novel had somehow slipped past their denial desk.

It was only the advent of further Zoom calls with the editors — to hash out proposed edits and issues — that convinced me to tell my wife the big news. She was delighted and excited, but I told her it was my secret to keep, that I would leak it out when I thought it was time (ever watchful of the cosmic accounting office). So she kept my secret, for exactly one day. The very next day she told our daughter about it, which turned out to be a good thing since she then put her art degree to wonderful use by designing several possible covers for the novel. The one that you see above is much like one she had designed. And since she lives in Brooklyn, she knows a number of writers, so she began telling them about the novel. It was beginning to feel real.

Today’s package tells me that I evaded the denial desk at the cosmic accounting office and One-Match Fire truly is a real thing I can hold in my hand. My contract provided me with a number of copies, and I’m required to use them for promotional purposes. (I also need to send one to register the copyright. There is a new scam going around where a foreign entity completes the registration for the copyright in place of the author who fails to do so. Can’t let that happen!) So in the coming days I’ll be mailing packages to various addresses.

But I’ll keep at least one for myself.