DoxCover

Doxology: Brian Holers’s Debut Novel

Doxology, the debut novel from author Brian Holers, is available in both paperback and digital format now! Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss and the healing power of community and family. Doxology examines an impossibly difficult...

Brian Holers

Not for the fainthearted

               I learned a long time ago, writing is not for the fainthearted.  I’ve said before, it is the hardest thing I have ever done, and so far being a published author isn’t any easier.  I remember telling my wife a year or two after I started Doxology that if no one ever read my book, writing it at least kept me entertained.  And I am here to say right now—marketing a book is just as entertaining.

                I started writing in 2005.  It was an odd time, we had sold a business and spent most of the year shutting down another one, as well as doing all the work involved in preparing to leave home for a year.  The day I signed the papers to turn over the business was the day I started a writing class.  I intended to waste no time getting started.  But it was hard to get started.  Writing sounds so fun, so romantic, so expressive when you’re just thinking about it.  You picture yourself sitting in a café with a cardigan and a beret, wire-rimmed glasses and a pencil thin moustache, sipping espresso from a demi-tasse, spurts of brilliance and clarity swirling in your head.  Doing it though, that’s different.  One week I was working and the next week I was staring at a blank computer screen in my basement.  It would have been easy enough to say, I’ll just think about this for now, spend my time doing all the other stuff I need to do to get ready to leave town, get started on it later.  But, I didn’t. 

                Now move forward to 2011.  I’ve learned something in the last month.  There are lots of people like me out there.  Countless people who have really good books.  Sure, the thought that if it were a really good book a publisher  would have picked it up, that thought will stick around for awhile.  Not sure when it will go away.  When you’re out here marketing yourself, it’s pretty obvious the difference between a self published book and a traditionally published book can be very small, or in many cases no difference at all.  We all have our tastes.  Half the stuff that ends up on bookstore and grocery story shelves I’d be embarrassed to use as a doorstopper.  My Life as a Vampire Mafia Housewife.  We’d have been better off had they just made it into toilet paper.

                But just when I start to think all hope is lost and I’m destined to remain an unknown, along come the gorilla marketers.  Sell a Million Books in Thirty Days.  All I have to do is figure out what sort of an expert I am.  What can I talk about, what will groups of professionals and hobbyists pay fifteen or twenty grand to have me come and speak to their groups about?  The speaking fees are only half of it.  I’ve got to turn them on to the products.  The key to making millions in this game is simple.  Paint myself as an expert in my field, come up with consumer products people would gladly spill their hard earned cash on, and laugh all the way to the bank.  The book, in this scenario, is really just a prop.  I’d be making so much money, I could practically give them away.  I just came up with a great idea.  I’ll sell bars of soap with Doxology engraved in their flesh, rolls of paper towels with the book’s cover emblazoned on each one.  Or maybe make a book-cover label for a seaweed energy drink or packages of those cure-all pills like they sell at 7-11, I’ll call it Doxology in a bottle or Doxology in a pill.  Wonder how much I could get for life-size wax figures of characters in the novel?

                All I have to do is pay $2500 and fly to Philadelphia for the weekend to make this dream a reality.

                Here’s my take on the situation.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, knows what the future of books looks like.  The only thing certain is the future belongs to those who get out there and making something happen.

                A lot of us, myself included, spend our time trying to make something happen.  Advice from others like me is everywhere, and who knows if it’s any good.  I do know this—the hardest part of this deal is getting people to hear about me.  Once they do, they’re a lot more likely to spend a little on an e-book than to spend $15 plus shipping on a paperback.  I’ve already figured that out. That’s precisely why I priced the e-book at three dollars.  But now, some suggest I price it at one dollar.  Apparently that’s the threshold to market as an “impulse buy.”  I still can’t figure out why a person would buy an 80,000 word literary novel on an impulse—more than a dollar’s worth of commitment will be needed to read it—but that’s what I have been told.  Who knows.  Who in the devil knows.

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