Here we are at the end of the 2013. It has been a landmark year for me. Several short stories and my debut novel were all picked up for publication. In the space of twelve months I passed from a wannabe writer to bona fide author. During this time I learned some important lessons.
At the top of my list is the importance of branding yourself. There’s a lot of work and frustration involved in becoming a published author. Doubling, or even tripling, that workload is insane. Brand yourself and then once you are firmly established you can think about going a different direction.
Marketing yourself involves getting the readers to identify you with a specific kind of story. In my case, I started out with Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror. My earliest published stories were The Coyote’s Tale (fantasy), Not Fragile (science-fiction) and Matches (horror). Fortunately, all three of these genres blend well together. Writing any one of them did not ruin the expectations among my readers.
Publication and the subsequent marketing of The Gathering changes things. Even though it is speculative fiction it has religious themes that fans of my fantasy and sci-fi may not find interesting. It has a different audience than my short stories.
As I started preparations for the upcoming blog tour in January and scheduled book signings over the next two months I realized what a nightmare this would be if I had to split my efforts between two genres. The situation would have been even worse if I had attempted to launch two author personas as I had planned.
During this past year, I had been working on a comedy-murder. I like being funny and wanted to branch out and show people that I could write about more than zombies, dragons, and space aliens running amok. My plans also included a collection of children’s stories that I planned to self-publish.
The truth of the matter is that a demonstration of my versatility as a writer will need to wait. I have to focus all of my efforts to spread the word that I have written an excellent speculative fiction story about the end of the world from an LDS point of view. The articles on my website need to contain subject matter that will interest people in reading The Gathering. Any materials I create for book signings, speaking engagements, and media interviews need to promote my expertise on the apocalypse. When people hear the name of Randy Lindsay, I want them to immediately think about that author that writes touching stories about the end of the world. And I’m just not talented enough to do that and promote a line of books, under a different name, that deal with a pair of goofball private investigators in
If I had known at the time I signed my publishing contract what I know now I would have immediately started on the second book in the series. And if I understood then just how much effort goes into marketing a book, I would have started preparing my marketing materials right away.Now, where did I put that time machine?