The musical The Music Man begins on a train with a group of salesmen talking about the changing marketplace. One section of the song has one salesman, named Charlie, declaring that no matter what, they need to know the territory.
For me, writing and publishing is a whole new territory that I am exploring. I am not sure how successful my exploration is, but I am continuing to learn. It is certainly not something I have mastered.
I released Princess to Prioress at the end of June. Some people might think writing a book is the most difficult task. Others would quickly shake their heads and point out that rewriting and editing is a monumental chore. What outsiders might not realize is that marketing is also a huge undertaking, and in my case the marketing in primarily in my hands.
Unless you are an already well-known writer, getting word of your book out there is not always easy—unless you have a huge family and enormous circle of friends—or in my case, former students who might relish taking a red pen to my words. There are many services out there offering help in marketing in exchange for large amounts of money. Even a Goodreads book giveaway is expensive for the author.
I did not write Princess to Prioress to become a New York Times best-selling author—although I wouldn’t object to being ranked higher than 1833 on Amazon. I wrote the book because the subject, Adele, Countess of Blois, is a remarkable woman overlooked by the traditional history books. This is her story written to be accessible for people who are not medieval scholars.
I envisioned Adele’s world and attempted share that vision with my readers. Writing is familiar and comfortable territory.
I am struggling with the marketing, but I won’t learn any younger. I also am working on another book, Hell Hath No Fury. It is a very different type of historical fiction, and I am pleased that the first chapter has been selected for publication this fall in the Petigru Review.
Still, I got to know the territory.