It’s time for the September edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which meets the first Wednesday of every month to commiserate over worries, fears, doubts, and struggles.
I recently put out the third edition of You Cannot Kill a Swan: The Love Story of Lyuba and Ivan, stripped as promised of all those unnecessary accent aigus I included in Russian words and names for the last 19 years. (As I’ve explained, I think it started as misguided overcompensation for how inaccurately I transliterated certain letters when I’d just learnt the Russian alphabet at thirteen.) I then had to put accent aigus back in French loanwords, like fiancée, ingénue, and soirée.
I believe very strongly in hashgacha pratit (Divine Providence), and as embarrassing as it is that I barely sold any copies and haven’t sold anything since November, it really seems like Hashem were protecting me. During the edit I did while running the book through Kindle Preview, I came across a couple of typos and some formatting errors I never caught. Mind you, I don’t want to give the impression that the book was riddled with them, but there were a few things. Thankfully, I have several older versions to check back on, as well as the original-originals still on disks.
A lot of bizarre things happened to the manuscript as a result of an unnecessary conversion from Pages to Word 2003 to Pages 5.0 to Pages and Word 2003. I thought I’d caught and added back in all the missing/messed-up words and lines, but a handful had slipped through. I also changed a few lines of dialogue to sound less “As you know, Bob” and reflect my greater familiarity with the Imperial Family’s history, particularly in regards to Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, the pretended Emperor in Exile. (His claim was disputed for numerous reasons, and almost no one in the family supported or even liked him.)
The second edition, if you’re wondering, didn’t involve any big changes like that. It just changed the title Tsarevich to Tsesarevich. I have a future post on the differences between the titles Tsarevich, Tsesarevich, Tsarevna, Tsesarevna, and Tsaritsa. No Russian ever referred to his or her heir as “Tsarevich,” even though that title is more common in the English-speaking world.
I’m hoping to finally hear back from a potential new cover artist sometime within this month, and will issue a fourth edition with a revamped cover. (This artist is definitely legit, but has recently indicated she’s quite in arrears with messages.) I’m definitely proud of the cover I drew with oil pastels, wax pastels, and colored pencils (both wax and oil). I’ve come a long way in my evolution as an artist (particularly in regards to human figures), and I’ve always loved to draw. However, I really feel I might sell more copies with something more professional.
If the price is right, and I like the potential revamped cover enough, I may ask the artist to do a cover for The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks, which is now going through its final major edit. It’s mostly just removing infodumpesque dialogue and unnecessarily excess verbiage at this point. I decided I’d like to still release it this year after all, in spite of my almost zero sales.
I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts lately saying cover reveals, release day blitzes, and book tours aren’t as exciting or successful as they used to be. A lot of people complain they’re tired of seeing the same book or writer featured on multiple posts a day, or in a very short time period. Have any of you actually experienced a significant uptick in sales because of a book tour or cover reveal/release day party? I’m kind of afraid of once again getting astronomically more congratulations than actual sales, plus the risk of annoying people who already don’t like those posts.