Saturday, August 4, 2018

The First Pancake

There’s a wonderful indie comedy from 2003 called Pieces of April about a young woman who invites her suburban family to her walk-up apartment in the Bronx for Thanksgiving dinner, only to have her oven go out Thanksgiving morning. I saw it years ago, but there is one line that stuck with me.
Asked by some friends about her relationship with her parents, April says, “I’m the first pancake.”
The film goes on to explain that the first pancake is the one you throw away so the others will turn out okay.
The Demon Always Wins is starting to feel like the first pancake.
I thought learning to write a book was hard–and it was, it’s taken me 15 years of dedicated effort to get to this point–but I’m starting to think marketing may be even harder.
On Sunday, I uploaded it to Amazon and set it up for pre-order. That involved making a some decisions, both about the book and about my business path.
Business decisions:
  • Where should I  put the money (!) Amazon pays me?
    • Based on conversations I’ve read on Marie Force’s Author Support Network Facebook page, I know that Amazon sometimes recalculates their payments and takes money back out. I’ve been married to Old Dog long enough to know he’d have a howling fit if he saw that going on in our shared account, so I decided it’s better to send it to an account where I’m the sole owner.
    • I actually have two accounts like that. One is at the credit union where I used to work. Now that I don’t have a paycheck feeding into it, it’s no longer very convenient, so I’ve been planning to shut it down, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet.
    • The other account is at the bank where Old Dog and I have our shared account.
    • The next decision was whether to use the bank account that I use to pay my credit card off every month, or to use the credit union account. The plus for the credit union is it would make it easy to isolate transactions for my tax guy in January. The negative is that it’s still inconvenient. Also, I don’t know the institution routing number.
    • Bank account it is.
Book decisions:
  • What 2 categories should I choose?
    • I went with Fiction/Romance/Paranormal and Fiction/Romance/Romantic Comedy
  • What 7 keywords should I use? I selected:
    1. Redemption
    2. Temptation
    3. Feel good
    4. Soulmates
    5. Forbidden love
    6. Opposites Attract
    7. Tortured hero (snicker)
  • The good news is, I can change those as often as I like. And there are tools available to help me fine-tune them once I have some data.
  • Do I want to enable Digital Rights Management, aka DRM?
    • DRM determines whether Amazon will allow a buyer to share my ebook with another person. This is one where you have to make a one-time, up-front decision and live with the consequences.
      • On the surface, it sounds like a bad idea–whoever buys the book will be free to give it away at will.
      • On the other hand, returning to our first pancake metaphor, anybody you can get to eat this slightly-burnt, slightly-raw sucker is one more reader who may buy a future book for actual cash.
      • Note: The Demon Always Wins does not feel like a first pancake to me. It feels like a beautiful, brilliant, funny, touching, heart-warming, feel-good story that someone would have to be crazy not to love. That said, back in 2015, one of my Golden Heart judges gave it a two. The reality is, every book is not for every reader.
      • I think I’m going to bypass DRM on this one. (Ouch.)
Okay, more stories of the trials and travails of the self-publisher next week.


  1. I can't believe how complicated getting a book published is. Good thing you have a lot of IT experience.

  2. Call the Credit Union and they will give you the routing number. You could also start another account at a close to you bank just for your books:)


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