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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Process - Part 2

The Charity and I are definitely going through a process together, although different in nature.

One aspect of this multi-pronged process is the "art" of building a reader base. Right now, The Charity is in a phase I call the "Three 'F' Soft Start." Friends. Family. Facebook. This means that my book's audience is in a tight circle around me and Charylar Press (more on that later). The email campaigns and marketing push will come later, but for now it's time for me to get a real feel for what kind of legs The Charity has.

I've been very pleased by the response of my readers. I'm about as hard on myself as a person can be - a perfectionist who sometimes loses sight of the whole picture because of a perceived flaw. This means that I listen very critically. No compliment goes into my heart until it is fully analyzed through a HEPA filter of questions and assessments. I know that folks out there may not want to say something bad about work to the person who has created that work. It's just human nature to be that way and I'm guilty of it too.

But here's the thing: People are telling me they really like The Charity. Not just the polite garden variety compliment, but the genuine "Wow! You owe me a night's sleep" variety. Part of the book's process was a thorough vetting by a lot of readers of different kinds of genres. From the start, I received positive feedback but could hear the unspoken criticism that would have made the book stronger for that reader. (I received my share of spoken criticism, too.) I stayed true to my story but sharpened the book to a razor's edge on the strap of my reader's insights.

So, now I'm in the soft start phase and am listening carefully to feedback to assess The Charity's legs. This is what I'm learning: My reader base is large. Folks that predominantly read non-fiction are getting absorbed into my story. Readers that don't usually go for thrillers are finding themselves taken by the love story. Fans of the legal thriller are completely satisfied by Jessica's dilemmas. I'm finding that The Charity has a great set of legs for a pretty broad reader base.

Like a young colt, The Charity is up on its knobby legs and giving them a stretch to test them out. I'm just trotting it around the track to see who the heavy bettors are.