Back on January 22, 2010, the day I started this blog, "The World According to g," I was only months away from leaving my 9to5 grind (actually it was more like 5am to9pm).
My wife had finally convinced me to pursue my dream of becoming a published writer. I was excited … still am, even more so now, but back then, I hadn't a clue about the literary industry.
I created my www.GerarddeMarigny.com website and decided to start a blog to allow others to get to know me a bit. I've always been the type that wanted to have some sort of friendly acquaintance with people that do business with me … and yes, selling the books that I write is my business. I've always approached it as a business and that's not a bad thing – not coming from a place like Ridgewood, NY.
When you come from an old neighborhood like Ridgewood and you owned a business – from the corner deli to the local funeral home – you ALWAYS got to know the people in the community … the people who shopped in your place of business. Of course there were always strangers that you'd serve, but even with them, you said Hi and maybe a little small talk – if they wanted to indulge in some.
I hate talking at people … and I hate hawking things at people. I know it can be an effective way to sell – constantly 'shouting' at people to buy what you're selling – generic mass email and social media replies and all the rest … but I like to practice the Golden Rule – 'Do unto others …" I hate being talked at so I don't talk at people … I talk to them.
… Which brings me to this blog. Over the last year and some months, I've used the blog to share some of my memories – funny ones and some poignant ones. I've talked a little about music, religion and a few notable people. I've talked about losing weight (my endless quest), all in trying to introduce myself.
Once I published my first novel, _The Watchman of Ephraim_, a day short of one year from when I launched my website and this blog , I wanted to shift the focus of this blog to introducing readers to my writing. Not just my novel but my writing style.
I started publishing some funny stories – anecdotes really and poetry (I'm intending on publishing a collection of my poetry, when I've written enough of them). I've gotten progressively more positive feedback from an ever growing community of readers who love the anecdotes and poetry – thank you so much for sharing your feedback!
The community of people who are supporting me is growing fast. I consider it a community, I consider my readers – friends - just as if I owned a deli and was selling great meatball heroes and I consider myself just a member of the community. I just happen to be the one making and selling the great meatball heroes – but no more or less important than everyone else who is getting sauce on their chins as they eat my meatball heroes (yeah, I eat them too, they can get messy).
So, I wanted to tell you about this new feature just like I would explain a new hero I was launching – say … "g's Chicken Cutlet Parmesan hero" (I better stop with the food comparisons, I'm getting myself hungry).
First, the facts about my community:
To date, just on my website alone I have 2,734 people from 72 different countries who visit my site and that’s growing by a few hundred every month now. Keep in mind, that started at 0 on January 21, 2010 and I've only had my first novel out since January 21, 2011. Not bad and thank you all who have shown me the love! All told I have over 10,000 people following me on my website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace and growing every day – so cool!!!
My community is made up of great people from all over the globe. The top 10 countries are, of course, the U.S., then (Oh) Canada, U.K., India, Brazil, Australia, France, Philippines, Russia and Vietnam, in that order. They're about 52% male – 44% female (and I guess the other 6% aren't sure), and they range in age from 13 to 74 (that I know of).
It blows my mind and makes me feel very grateful to God and you!
Okay, so about this new feature – "SELFPUBBER'S PUB: For writers and readers of self-published works!" …
I already write a regular self-publishing industry blog (you can read it here) but that one is really pointed at other self-published writers. I want to bring together both writers and readers of self-published works. I have much bigger aspirations (like starting a "National Association of Self-Publishers" (NASP) and an annual conference to go along with it) but I need to start humbly ... and my blog's the place to do that!
I look at it the same way I would if I owned a deli in Ridgewood and someone came in and asked, "Yo g, how's things?" You always filled people in with what's going on and people always filled you in with what's going on with them … I like that! They also let you know when they liked something and when they don't … I like that too! It helps me do my best to please the folks!
So, what's going on with me?
Most of you know that I self-published my debut novel, _The Watchman of Ephraim_. It has been a remarkable experience so far! I started writing at a pinnacle point in literary publishing. As in the days of when cars replaced the horse and carriage as the primary mode of transportation and the days of when TV replaced radio as the primary entertainment medium – a HUGE change is taking place right now in the book industry! The same type of change took place, starting about 10 years ago in the music industry. The 'big' record companies lost control of the distribution of music when the internet, specifically the World Wide Web took hold. People no longer had to shop at a 'record store' and they also didn't need to buy their favorite music from the big record company websites. They could simply download into their iPods or listen on an internet radio station or watch a video on YouTube.
The same is happening in literary publishing … and it's happening now! eBooks have changed everything! The internet has changed everything!
After spending a year trying to shop my first manuscript – the traditional way of getting published (for the last few decades) was to query agents to try and land one that would 'sign' you and then they would shop you to one of the big publishers. I sent out 34 queries and got 30 rejections (the other four didn't even have the decency to reply and reject me).
I thought the whole process was silly. When agents first came around in the literary field, they were only supposed to negotiate contracts for you, with publishers. You hired them! Nowadays, agents have been acting as gatekeepers for the big publishing companies … to me, totally a conflict of interest – and for that, I'm supposed to pay them 15% of my royalties, forever?!
I ended up shelving that first manuscript – not because of the rejections but because it wasn't the story I was trying to tell. Then I wrote, _The Watchman of Ephraim_, finished in December 2010 and once again I queried agents (still didn't have enough confidence in going it alone) – this time 54 of them - but this time I immediately got interest from a half-dozen. But this was where it all changed for me because I started reading about self-publishing.
The more I read, the more I wanted to self-publish. I could control what I wrote, how I wrote it, how I published it, WHEN I publish it … the cover design … everything! I love that!
I started reading the blogs of a great writer and publisher, Dean Wesley Smith and within a week of reading his critiques of traditional publishing and his endorsement of self-publishing, I was hooked!
I self-published _The Watchman of Ephraim_ on January 21, 2011 and I've never been happier, but for all that freedom, there are a bunch of responsibilities that I have to personally handle. When you self-publish, you're not just the lazy writer – you're the harried publisher!
Here's what I'm working on now and what I have in the works:
+ In my ongoing quest to make available the best quality novels, I just released the 3rd edition of _The Watchman of Ephraim_. My son Jared performed a fantastic editing job – finding 14 typos (not too bad for 86,000 words) and this after three other people edited the novel. It costs me time and money to publish new editions but I only want the best quality books out there with my name on them. NOTE: if you have already purchased an earlier eBook from Smashwords.com, you can download the new edition for free – do so, so you have the best edition available.
+ I'm about 60% finished with writing the sequel to _The Watchman of Ephraim_, called _Signs of War_. It's due out by September … specifically because, if you've read _TWOE_ you know the series begins on 9/11. I want to have _Signs of War_ available by the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – a date that's the climax of _TWOE_. _Signs of War_ continues the story of Cris De Niro, a billionaire hedge fund manager who lost his wife and unborn son in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. He dedicates himself to protecting the United States from its enemies domestic and abroad by acquiring a counter-terrorism firm. He renames the firm "The Watchman" from a passage he read in the Bible (Hosea 8:4) where he reads about "The watchman of Ephraim" Ephraim is the symbol for the United States in prophesy.
+ I'm planning to redesign my website, www.GerarddeMarigny.com. Remember, I do all the work, including creating and maintaining my websites, so it takes me time. I have a particular concept in mind – in any case, I intend on making the site look cleaner, friendlier and cooler! I'm intending to launch the new look by 9/11.
+ I have blog talk radio interviews scheduled for June 14 and December 21 with two great ladies/book reviewers – Fran Lewis and Marsha Cook. They should be fun – you can find out more from my Facebook page here.
+ June 15, Booktown is publishing an interview I had with Susan Whitfield at their site here.
+I also have the concept written for what I thought was going to be a stand-alone novel, but now it may be the third book in the Watchman of Ephraim series. I'm planning to have it out by either December 2011 or January 2012.
This blog rambled but I wanted to let y'all know about this new feature. It will be the focus of most of my blogs from now on. Yes, I will continue to publish the occasional 'funny-thing-that-happened-to-me' stories and of course, my poetry.
In following blogs, I'll be talking more about fellow authors – both TRADPUBBED and SELFPUBBED. Authors like Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler on the cutting edge and at the top of the heap in self-publishing. Also authors like Brad Thor, James Rollins, Vince Flynn, William Tyree, Kathleen Antrim, and others – all thriller authors that I respect. I want to also talk about a few yet-to-be-famous authors too (brother and sister writers working in the trenches next to me). I'll also report on the newest happenings in the world of Self Publishing. It's my world and now it's your world too if you're in my community!
I know this one was a long one – no worries – mostly much shorter after this one. I hope you all enjoy my new focus here. Let me know what you think!
That's it for now … gotta get back to Cris De Niro & company. Out …