It could have gone either way. I could have picked up my first novel after years of letting it sit on the shelf, read it,and been deeply embarrassed. Then I would have felt foolish even considering asking readers to take a look. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised. Much of it was unfamiliar but not unpleasant.
And then I got to choose my own cover. I picked one my designer, Al Pranke, had created for another book – fortunately, that author wasn’t as crazy about it as I was.
But the biggest surprise was unearthing old reviews. At the time, I suffered over one or two. Now I have no idea why – they're better than I remembered. And this time I could include them in the front pages of the book and on the sales pages. Unabashed vanity, I know. But sometimes you need something to remind you of what you’ve accomplished.
I’ve picked out the interior design by Lorie DeWorken, put together the back cover. All choices I didn’t have before.
As a result, I’m less nervous about sending the book out there. After all, what have I got to lose? The book wasn’t selling before anyway.
I’ve seen authors use a re-issue as a new launch, a new way to get readings and reader reviews. I’ve never been keen on public speaking, so I was going to shy away from lining up readings, even before that became impossible. Editorial reviews are less likely - it’s not a new book. But there are at least a dozen ways to offer my book to readers, especially if I’m willing to discount and spend a little money on promotions and ads.
And I'm offering all Bacon Press Books at $0.99 for as long as we're all stuck inside.
Why Now? (I wrote this before the quarantining - otherwise my answer might be more specific)
I went into this as a kind of experiment. A fact-finding mission. If I’m encouraging other writers to re-issue their back lists, I needed to know what it felt like.
About a year ago, I self-published a new novel. To be honest, it didn’t feel nearly as good. I’m not sure why. All I know is that I was reluctant to do all the marketing I’d encouraged other writers to do. I felt funny pushing it. The reader reviews were great and still, I put off doing more to get exposure. It surprised me. And the sheer number of self-published books hitting the market overwhelmed and discouraged me.
More than that, it made me question whether it was fair to publish original fiction or nonfiction when I couldn’t honestly tell other writers I enjoyed the process.
That’s why I’ve become even more determined to shift the focus of Bacon Press Books to re-issues only.. And why I decided to re-issue Waiting for Next Week.
The good news is – so far I've enjoyed all of it. I have no idea if that translates into sales. But the process has been more fun than I expected.
Give It a Try
It’s easy enough to do it yourself or there are other presses besides this one who can help.
You might want to dust off your back list and give it a try.
Pick up a copy
You can pick up a copy of the eBook of Waiting for Next Week for 99 cents.
I started this piece long before the virus became our main preoccupation. I know so many people are too distracted to read or write while others will take any distraction they can find. I've already virtually-toured three of the national parks; watched the Northern Lights; and learned how to make roll-up French toast.
So I offer both the suggestion of hauling out your back list and/or reading this book in case you're ready to look for something to do.
I keep thinking of that line from the movie Airport when Lloyd Bridges says – “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.”
That’s what it feels like to launch a re-issue of my novel in the middle of a health and economic crisis unlike anything we’ve ever encountered. Anxiety is high. People are already too distracted to be able to appreciate distractions.
But maybe forgive me for going ahead with this? Like everyone else who’s self-employed or has a small business, I’m just bumbling through..
I’ll contribute to other causes where I can and at the same time I’m lowering the price on all Bacon Press Books eBooks to 99 cents. I’d give them all away, but that wouldn’t be fair to the authors.
So if you’re looking for some good reading, please consider:
Short Story Collections
You Won’t Remember This: Stories by Kate Blackwell
Blues for Beginners: Stories and Obsessions by Judith Podell
The Man Who Built Boxes and other stories by Frank Tavaris
Man from the Sky by Danny Wynn
The Call House: A Washington Novel by CP Stiles
Waiting for Next Week by Michele Orwin
Sigga of Reykjavik by Solveig Eggerz
Getaway by Maureen Brady
Identity Thief by JP Bloch
Landfall by Joseph Jablonski
Sunset at Rosalie by Ann McLaughlin
The Clear Blue Line by Al Sprague
Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts edited by M.E. Hughes
The Lost Town: Bringing Back Trochenbrod by Avrom Ben-David Val
In Search of the Fun-Forever Job by Ellis Chase
Networking: Career Strategies that Work by Ellis Chase
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