The Phoenix Project  - James Phoenix
 
There are a lot of aspiring writers out there...And I know just how rough it is getting picked up by and agent or a publisher because I’ve been through it...You can get some real detail on my own personal struggle to get to the point where I am now, if you just click on to: The Story Behind the Story, right here on this site.

But I thought I’d give you an update on that and tell you exactly where I am now in this great struggle of mine, I’ve formally named The Phoenix Project.

If nothing else, it will give you a real insight into just what it takes to get your name up in lights as a writer.

I had long thought that once I had been signed by a publisher, they’d do some major promotion for me and get my name out there...Nope.

That is not their business model at all.

What they do instead is to simply put your work on the shelves and hope for the best...For a first time writer, unless you’re Snooki or Sarah Palin, (neither one of which ever actually wrote a single word themselves,) as far as promotion goes, the publishers do squat.

This was a very rude awakening for me. I knew the public would love my work because with every survey we ever took the response was always exactly the same...And it’s not as if I just ran my first novel by my pals and family...I put it out there on the Internet for free and asked only for an honest assessment from total strangers...The response was always the very same, A HUGE THUMBS UP.

So I knew if the pubic knew it was there and that I had the goods, I’d have a major commercial success on my hands. I spoke to a million PR firms who were into book promotion and finally selected a local firm right next door, called Kelley & Hall.

What they told me was what I had heard from every other PR firm. That the way to get the word out was through reviews and that they were connected with all the media outlets and though they certainly couldn’t guarantee just how any reviewer would respond to my work, they could guarantee to put it in front of the right people.

It all works just like a Broadway Play: If you get great reviews you run forever and everybody gets rich...If they pan you, you close in a week and everybody goes home broke...There’s not a lot of middle ground.

They had a monthly fee schedule for this service. I put together a fast $50,000 through investors, (people who had read my work and thought it had merit, and who would stand to get a percentage of royalties for as long as the books they invested in were in print.) Then I wrote Kelley & Hall a check and let them do their thing.

I figured Kelley & Hall’s fees were relatively modest and all I’d have to do, assuming the reviewers gave me good write ups, was just to pledge whatever came in through book sale royalties right back to them to keep the ball rolling, that the whole promotion end would be self funded within just a few months.

I was right and wrong...The reviews started coming in with sixty days after I had signed off with the promoters and my God, they were nothing less than absolutely spectacular.

The very first review came in from Amazon’s #1 Hall of Fame Reviewer, Harriet Klausner. Kelley & Hall sent her an advance copy in late August of 2012.

She gave Frame Up, FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!

She set the tone. Within a couple months there after, we got something like 24 more reviews in, all saying the exact same thing. There was once screaming FIVE STAR review right after the next.

Any writer, never mind a first time author would kill for the reviews I was getting.

BUT...All of these stellar reviews didn’t seem to have any real impact at all on book sales...WHAT THE HELL?

WHAT GOING ON? HOW COME I’M NOT IN A FERRARI?

Kelley & Hall, quickly answered that question.

It was true, the reviews were spectacular...Every single reviewer who took the time to actually read my work, responded exactly as we had hoped they would, in fact beyond our wildest expectations.

So how come were not selling any significant number of books?

Here’s why: Although all 25 odd reviews in were major league thumbs up...Every single one of them was from a small to medium sized media outlet...We had yet to hear from any of the bigs, the NY Times & company, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Publishers Weekly or even Kirkus Books Reviews.

This is all very much par for the course...Literary Aficionado, one of the smaller media outlets who gave us a huge thumbs up, receives on average 2,000 requests for reviews a month. Out of that, they may pick five to eight to review, and of course, not everybody they reviews gets a huge thumbs up...Those are pretty daunting numbers.

But the NY Times receives on average 25,000 manuscripts and novels per month and they end up reviewing about the same number as Literary Aficionado...So their numbers are far more daunting still.

These are the media outlet that drive the public to buy books, not the small fry...Though we could not ask for stronger reviews, the only real value the reviews for the smaller outlet have, is that the PR firm can then copy all the bigs.

The more of these reviews we throw at the big boys, the easier it is for them to move us up on their pile of submissions...Twenty-five screaming reviews in a row? You’ve got to be kidding me...Very impressive.

The bigs will get to us on their huge pile of manuscripts...Might be 90 days, might be another 120, but they will get there...In the mean time I’m raising yet more funds through investors to cover the PR company’s fees and to keep a gentle pressure on the big media outlets to finally get to us.

Investors get a piece of all royalties for as long as the books under contract stay in print...I expect that to be one very long time...Robert B. Parker’s debut 1973 novel, The Godwulf Manuscript is still on the shelves today.

It’s still there because people are buying it. His work, like mine is timeless. The heirs of the Robert B. Parker Estate are still making money on books Parker wrote during the Nixon Administration.

The Grand Adventure continues.




Leave a Reply.