I recently received the contract from EDGE Publishing to be a part of their "EDGE-Lite" program, which is a preliminary program this Canadian publisher is doing. It's not their main publishing line--it's sort of a "farm division" where the publisher tries out someone like me whose work is not ready for the big time and starts him off in the e-publishing world. If the work sells and sells well, EDGE will move it to its print line.
So this contract.
It's a standard contract, to be sure--it resembles the JournalStone one for Vale of Stars--but it includes some marketing stuff that I haven't had to do before. The folks at EDGE want to know how Beltrunner is going to be marketed and how I can help make that happen.
I find I am calling in some favors with various media outlets with whom I have worked already. I've already spoken with Dave Caldwell at SCVTV, my local television station, with whom I have worked every now and then on football television commenting. He also runs a morning chat show that I was hoping to be a part of when the time comes to market the novel.
I also will contact my people at the Signal, our local newspaper, to see if I can get some free press there. I've already seen them run stories featuring local authors, so I might be able to get something there.
I will also contact the local radio station--I've worked with the sports guys there, so maybe I can parlay that into some kind of radio time to push the book.
What I haven't really done much of is have a presence in the blogsphere, or on God forbid, Twitter. It's been something I know in the back of my mind I need to do for a profile, but I guess I still have that old-fashioned idea of a writer banging away on a typewriter, cut off from the world, while readers simply show up. That world doesn't exist, if it ever actually did.
Antother thing the EDGE guys ask in the marketing plan is what conventions I regularly attend. That would be zero. I'm sure not EVERY writer is a regular attendee at DragonCon or GoblinCon or whatever, but that's another blind spot in my field of vision.
It's too early to tell, but the sense I am getting is that I am on the "edge" (pun very much intended) of moving from writing-as-a-minor-hobby to writing-as-a-second-profession thing. I have no delusions that I will turn into a full-time writer who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly and attends the Hugo Awards or Nebula Awards as a hopeful nominee and whose name is known across the nation. But to put this in some perspective, the last number the Edge folks mentioned in regards to electronic unit sales was 5,000. That is--5,000 e-book sales would be the number they are looking for before they will consider the book for print.
That's quite a bit more than I have ever sold before--by an order of magnitude. From the contract they sent me, and the numbers they've quoted, and the way they are talking, I know I haven't hit the big time yet. I haven't even hit the middle time yet. But I think--I THINK--I may be leaving the small-time.
I'll keep you posted.
Be seeing you!