Today I began the first mailings of my new Civil War book, “Rough Enough” which follows 15 years of the life of young Richard Clow as he writes letters home to his sisters from the battle field at Petersburg, VA and later moves on to fight on the Montana/Dakota frontier during the Indian Wars. These are the first dated copies that go to family members, the early endorsers and reviewers of the book as well as signed copies for local friends who have already purchased copies. It’s exciting and fun! I’m looking forward to the next few weeks during which time I’ll be sending out copies directly from home to those who buy books directly from me.
To order a book, you can go directly to :
If you are interested in receiving a signed copy of the book, you can do so by sending $26.00 directly to me at: Richard McBee, 4431 Riverside Drive, Hood River, Oregon, 97031, with the name of the person for whom it is to be signed and the mailing address to which you want it to be sent by priority mail. Also send me your email address or mailing address so that I can notify you that it has been sent and can mail a receipt to you. I will be setting up a direct Pay Pal method of ordering in the coming weeks, but that won’t happen until after Christmas, so if you want it sooner, rush me the information. Happy Holiday Seasons Greetings to everyone.
Thanksgiving was great! The loss of the Oregon State Beavers to the Oregon Ducks was horrible, but now I can concentrate on my writing. In particular, some of my prep for marketing my Civil War book, but even more interesting to me at the moment is the completion of my Seashells of the Caribbean book. The interactive e-book format intrigues me along with all of the macro-photography. The book is up to 300 pages of correlated photos with descriptions of anatomy and collecting tips all linked to internet sites that expand the possibilities of the book almost beyond limits. This will be the future of many hobby books, the ability to have them on your laptop, I-pad or e-reader and take them out into the field as you do your own collecting and photography. I only hope they make a really waterproof laptop soon, I’d love to be able to take one when I go diving!
I hike up the hill to the mail box. There inside is an express envelope from American Book Publishing. My heart leaps and I am smiling as the dog and I head back down the road to the house. Even when Elliott does a lunge at Tod’s two dogs as we pass and I drop the letters while trying to hold him, I’m still smiling.
Jill can tell there’s something special when I come in the door and simply say, “Got an envelope from the publisher,” in response to her question of, “What did we get?”
I tear off the corner, slip my pocket knife beneath the tape and slit the top of the packet. My hand comes out with the book. My eyes sparkle as I look at the cover and realize that the real thing is even better than I’d envisioned it from the PDF file.
We break out the peanuts and pour ourselves a glass of sherry. Jill thumbs through the book and hands it to me. “My husband the author,” she says smiling and raising her glass.
I flip the pages to the Acknowledgements and read her the section about her help. I can see her eyes begin to glisten and a smile twists her lips as she sips her sherry. I turn to page 58 and the brief letter written by Richard Clow on that epic day of April 9, 1865 from which I derived the title of the book. I read his words and look at the ceiling to keep my own tears from running out of my eyes.
I take a deep breath, a sip of my sherry, and pull myself together.
“Yes,” I say, soberly yet with a smile, “I hope it sells a million copies.”
One of the great things about doing e-books is the instant feedback given by computers to your wishes and needs. When I first put my Civil War book , Rough Enough on Kindle some 18 months ago, the satisfaction of completing the project to that point was rewarded almost instantaneously with icons and the ability to put the book on view for the rest of the world. On the other hand, the book at that point still needed editing and I was fortunate enough to find American Book Publishers (ABP) willing to take me on.
The result was over 18 months of correspondence and working with one editor to rewrite the entire book, consolidate the references, put in foot notes and pick up a few loose ends of research that the Prince of Serendipity threw my way. I took the book off Kindle because I was assured that it would be radically better by the time I completed it with an editor. A fact that I am glad to say has really come to pass now that I see the cover and manuscript and full manuscript.
I think you’ll love it once it comes off the press and is also exhibited with the 4 main e-book publishers (Kindle, Nook, I-books and Google books) in their formats.
So now what to do with the next week or so while waiting for the books?
1. I’m going to work on my two presentations that will accompany me when I travel and do any speaking engagements. one geared towards Civil War fans and the other geared towards University students in the event that I am asked to speak to a class on the subject. This will take me a couple of good weeks of work.
2. Then when I run out of steam on the presentations, I’ll be putting addresses on my envelopes from the lists that ABP has assured me they will be sending.
3. Finally, I always have my e-book of Caribbean Seashells to fall back on. This is a unique e-book that should rock the market place with the ability to jump from keys to specimens to anatomy to web links…. you name it. I had hoped to have it on the e-book sites for Christmas, but you all know how that goes…..
There you have it for today, never a dull moment on the Oregon farm, but now that the rains are here and the winter wine is fermenting, I can really concentrate on the writing full time…between tips to the ski hill that is.
Take care more on my writing/editing tomorrow.
A book is like a small business start-up when it comes to having inventory to give away, sell, or send out to a wide range of reviewers. Unless you are a well known author already, you are very likely going to have to invest in Galley Proof and early release copies of the book with your own money. This can seem like a big expense, but in reality it’s no different than having to purchase materials to build a house or manufacture a batch of quilts. The expectation is that the PR buzz that is made with the early copies and reviews from the galley proofs will drive sales to the point that the book and the author can then become a known entity and further drive sales through presentations, expert advice and appearances….. (The sky’s the limit). So putting down $5,000 to $10,000 for those advanced copies is a gamble, yet it is also a statement of your commitment to the promotion, hard work, time and energy that will be necessary to make your book a success. Keep your records straight on all of these transactions with proper receipts and evidence of communications with your editors and the PR manager of the book company so that everything ordered can be traced in the event that something is mistakenly held up or lost in the mail. If you have an accountant doing your taxes or an agent helping you with your book, keep them informed and make sure you follow any advice they give you for your records and security of money transactions. Check out coming books at Publisher Direct Store for “Rough Enough” and other new books!
Now that you have written that cover letter to send out with with the Galley Proof copies, you want to get feedback before sending it out to 500 pairs of critical eyeballs.
Bounce your cover letter off of a few close friends or your marketing editor with your book company to see what they think of the presentation. Remember once it’s in the main with a book, you want it to bring some business!
In my own case, after sending my letter to a couple of advisory friends, I got back the first comment.
“Why did you put that picture on the letter? Who is the guy and why is it there? It doesn’t do anything for me.”
“Well, uh! …Enough said…”
I got it off the page. That was the easy part. Now there was a whole bunch of white space to fill in and I needed something to attract attention and pull them in. A bit of meat on the hook about the book!
Fortunately the next friend’s comments came back with a really good suggestion.
“Why not take some of those first endorsements for the book that you got when you first sent out the synopsis? Some of them are pretty complementary and they show that someone else already sees your book through positive eyes!”
“Yes!” I say, ” I have some really good endorsements that didn’t go on to the cover of the book.”
As I paste several one or two liner’s into my blank white space I also realize that by doing this and attaching the endorser’s name and link; I may be giving them a bit of spin-off book business as well. I don’t think they will mind that at all!
It’s beginning to come to me that marketing my book is a lesson in applied salesmanship. If I can continue to work hard at it and keep positive and never give up (persistence is a key in both writing and sales), I will eventually succeed.
So if you’re out there reading this and haven’t had success yet, keep taking that feedback from editors, friends and more experienced persons in a positive manner and don’t give up. All of us can learn something new and that can lead to new successes.>)
I am finding that writing the cover letter to send with my Galley Proofs and early release books is a delicate yet very important task in pushing the marketing of my new Civil and Indian War book, “Rough Enough.” Putting down the facts: title, author, ISBN#, release date, size, pages, etc. about the book is not a problem. Neither is slipping a short couple of blurbs from early endorsements, or a short synopsis.
The real problem and is to transmit an image on that one sheet of paper so that at first glance the reader will be drawn into taking a second look at the cover letter and will actually pick up on key points such as: sales distributors, bulk offers and the depth of the book. My hope is, that the recipient of the letter and complimentary book will then actually write some kind of endorsement on their blog, or for their newspaper, or for Amazon.com. etc… I want to make sure they know that I am seeking assistance in marketing my product while also making a sales pitch that will convince them to recommend the book to others.
If the letter succeeds with this objective, then I can hope that the endorsements will flow in and that sections of these reviews will be publishable both on my blog and on the cover and inner pages of my book. It is the cumulative effect of these small endorsements, associated with well known names that will help to build interest and market for my book and keep the momentum running long after the first IPO frenzy of opening bell buyers.
So what am I planning to do? Well, in addition to putting all of the items I’ve mentioned above onto the cover letter, I’ll also add at least one photo on the cover letter, use a font that perhaps gives the impression of 19th century writing and some colored items to attract the eye to key phrases. In addition, I’ll try to distribute key points on the page in a three point artistic manner so that the reader’s eye is pulled to key items. Hopefully this will act much in the same way that an artistic painting draws the eye to key sites.
Of course I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I do all of this in hope that I don’t just end up with one big muddled jumble. Fortunately my wife has a keep eye for this kind of thing and I will probably run two or three drafts by her before we get it “right”!>)
If you haven’t already checked out my book, make sure you stop by the Publisher Direct Bookstore at: http://www.pdbookstore.com/comfiles/pages/RichardMcBee.shtml .
One of the big things we all talk about on the book market groups is the question of how to improve the market for your book in advance of it’s release date. Here’s how I plan to do it!
With my new non-fiction Civil War book, “Rough Enough” covering almost 20 years of Richard Clow’s life during and after the Civil War, I have decided to send out a number of Galley Proof copies (in the neighborhood of 300) to magazine and newspaper journalists, college professors, other CW authors, Amazon.com reviewers, CW parks and museums and persons who already have a high profile in the Civil War and early frontier book writing community. My hope is that these persons will review the book in their particular fashion in the months after the actual official release date on March 1, 2013. These comments and articles will then generate blurbs for the cover of the book and further media coverage such as speaking engagements, radio interviews and TV appearances…. The sky’s the limit!
In addition to these initial Galley Proof copies, in the next 2 – 3 months I will also be giving away a few signed copies of the book to persons who have already assisted me in my writing endeavor, editors with whom I have already corresponded and several famous persons who have shown a special interest in the Civil War and the post CW era. The interest generated by these persons will act to build more force to my release date.
Finally, following the release date of the book, I will be mailing other copies of the book to specific other persons who will then hopefully help keep the book moving by their input on into the future.
It would be very interesting to know how other authors have done their planning on this important portion of the book marketing process. Take a look at my link to the book cover synopsis at the Publisher Direct Bookstore under “Coming Books”. The link is:
In my book, “Rough Enough”, Richard Clow at seventeen years of age seems to have been eager to head off to fight in the Civil War in 1864 with his 100 day enlistment followed by a three year reenlistment in the early weeks of 1865. In his case, statements from his letters would indicate that as a young man he was drawn by such ideas as: patriotism, serving one’s country, getting to where the action is, being with a rough tough fighting unit and being in a combat unit rather than one that functions as support.
Veterans know that there were a variety of reasons why they ended up in the military. Some may have been drawn to the military for the same reasons that Richard Clow was. Others may have been involuntarily drafted and were not willing to take the step of leaving their country in order to escape that drafting. Many other military personnel joined in order to learn a trade or skill which would serve them well both in the military and upon return their to civilian life. Others wished to serve while going to school, or even have their schooling paid for because of their military service.
As we look at veteran’s day it is good to look back on those original reasons for being in the military and reflect on how that decision, whether mature or immature, self-serving or giving has affected our lives today.
For myself as a Vietnam era veteran, I know that enlisting allowed me to complete some schooling that would otherwise have been cut short by being drafted, while at the same time cutting off a career path that I had hoped to follow. I now know that some of the skills I learned during my first year had very little use or application in civilian life other than giving me bad dreams. Other portions of my training and experience are still with me today as positive ways of facing the trials of this world directly and confidence, directness and flexibility.
With Veteran’s day upon us, I hope that you as a veteran or a person who knows a veteran will also reflect on the positives and negatives of how your own personal military experience has affected your life and the lives of others. I hope you will share both sides of your story with your friends, children and grandchildren so that they may better understand the importance of military service to our nation and also the hard cost of that service to those who serve and those near them.
Blessings to you all on this important remembrance day.
See and order my new Civil War Book at this site!
“Rough Enough: Including Richard H. Clow’s Letters and Diary from the Civil and Indian Wars, 1865 – 1875.”
At the tender age of 17, Richard Clow leaves to fight in the
Civil War. In Rough Enough, read his actual letters home as
Clow tells of the bloody battles of Petersburg and Lee’s retreat
to Appomattox Court House. Upon returning home, Clow is
unable to readjust to civilian life, reenlists and ultimately fights
against Sitting Bull’s Sioux.
But the stress of war and life as a soldier are almost too much for
him to handle. Clow struggles with battles and constant death.
He begins to show symptoms of the frontier disorder known as
Is he tough enough for war? Can he handle going back to civilian
life after the fighting when he leaves the army? His personal diary
describes travel with trader Charles Larpenteur. He befriends the
influential Deadwood miner, William Story. Can he find love and
success on the frontier?
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