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Author Topic: New book idea, would love some feedback...  (Read 29693 times)
Sunny Dawn
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« Topic Start: June 07, 2007, 12:12:59 pm »

I have written a book called Life on a Broom:  A Memoir of Love and Covens.  It is almost done - I'm on the last chapter, and it will most likely be around 250 pages long.  I'm also starting to realize just how difficult it is for a new pagan author to actually get published.  Weiser just turned down my proposal, nicely.  Now it is on its way to New Page.

My book is a story about life in a decent-sized midwestern coven - it is an "inside" look at paganism written by someone who is pagan.  It is a romance about love gone wrong, but it also looks at divination and astrology, discusses polyamory, analyzes coven structure, distinguishes between black magic and magic that is merely dark, and takes a good look at the advanced magical practice of summoning demons.  It deals with the gritty sociological issues of betrayal in a troubled coven, and it explores the fallout on an individual who loses the support of a tightly-knit religious group.  It also asks a question that fascinates most pagans - to what degree are the myths actually true?  Do the gods go walking on earth, looking for mortals who will live out new myths?

If I can't find a publisher, I'm toying around with the idea of putting the whole thing on a website next year.  My website would also have other articles of interest on paganism and astrology. But a website costs money to design and maintain.  And I've spent two years writing the book, so I would like to see some renumeration from it.  My thought was that I could set up a paypal account, and ask readers to donate $5 if they enjoy Life on A Broom.  Those who really don't have the money will still have access.  But I'm hoping that those who can afford $5 for an online book will make a contribution.

What do other forum members think?  Any constructive thoughts, ideas, reactions, or opinions would be appreciated.
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« Reply #1: June 07, 2007, 12:27:17 pm »

If I can't find a publisher, I'm toying around with the idea of putting the whole thing on a website next year.  My website would also have other articles of interest on paganism and astrology. But a website costs money to design and maintain.  And I've spent two years writing the book, so I would like to see some renumeration from it.  My thought was that I could set up a paypal account, and ask readers to donate $5 if they enjoy Life on A Broom.  Those who really don't have the money will still have access.  But I'm hoping that those who can afford $5 for an online book will make a contribution.

I don't know the book, so I can't comment on that.

But as far as asking for donations goes .. don't count on getting a lot.  I've got an online novel, and I can tell people are reading from looking at my site stats.  But I've gotten practically nothing from it so far.  And you have to do a LOT of legwork advertising the book if you want to get enough readers to make up for it.

I'm not saying it can't be done.  I'm saying it's a LOT of work to do and actually get somewhere.
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« Reply #2: June 07, 2007, 12:33:21 pm »


I take it this is a novel?  At the beginning it sounded like a more non-fictional approach.  I think most publishers specialising in Pagan materials would be looking more for non-fiction than novels.

Also your book doesn't sound like it will be about Paganism so much as about Paganism of a Wiccan or neo-Wiccan orientation.  That probably won't limit your market too much, but it might be worth distinguishing.

I can't really make any more comments based on what I currently know.  You may be better off looking at who already publishes the kind of work you've written.  I can't recall if New Page publishes novels.
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« Reply #3: June 07, 2007, 02:16:15 pm »

I don't know the book, so I can't comment on that.

No, it hasn't been published yet.  There wouldn't be any way of knowing it yet.

But as far as asking for donations goes .. don't count on getting a lot.  I've got an online novel, and I can tell people are reading from looking at my site stats.  But I've gotten practically nothing from it so far.  And you have to do a LOT of legwork advertising the book if you want to get enough readers to make up for it.


This is wise advice - I trust your experience on this.  Are you specifically asking people for a donation? 

I'm starting to wonder if I should dedicate a page on the website for a good description and the first chapter or two, and then simply charge $5 before granting access to the remainder of that portion of the site.  I don't like excluding people who really can't afford to pay, but there will be other articles available at no cost to the community.  People will be able to decide on whether it is worth it to them based on the material offered free of charge.  Raven Kaldera has exploited this idea successfully with his book on pagan BDSM, Dark Moon Rising.


I'm not saying it can't be done.  I'm saying it's a LOT of work to do and actually get somewhere.

Also wise advice.

Since I will be putting my astrology business on the same website (something that will require an actual advertising budget), I may simply piggyback the book on the advertising directed at astrology clients.  Then it no longer reaches its target audience - the pagan community.  But maybe word of mouth, and talking it up at festivals would help spread the word slowly.  Of course, the gods could grant a real blessing and find me a publisher...
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« Reply #4: June 07, 2007, 02:24:15 pm »

I take it this is a novel?  At the beginning it sounded like a more non-fictional approach.  I think most publishers specialising in Pagan materials would be looking more for non-fiction than novels.

Also your book doesn't sound like it will be about Paganism so much as about Paganism of a Wiccan or neo-Wiccan orientation.  That probably won't limit your market too much, but it might be worth distinguishing.

I can't really make any more comments based on what I currently know.  You may be better off looking at who already publishes the kind of work you've written.  I can't recall if New Page publishes novels.

This is a memoir.  It is non-fiction.  It does read like a novel, and of course the magical realism blurs the distinction on whether it is a purely non-fiction genre.  Since it includes discussion of voodoo, hoodoo, Asatru, Northern Shamanism, and Hellenic Reconstructionist beliefs, I went with the all-inclusive pagan label.  Some of these are neo-pagan traditions, and others are meso-pagan traditions, but I want to reach a broad target group, so the emphasis on distinctions is less important.

Weiser recommended New Page.  I really wish that Weiser had picked it up, though, because they did a very good job with DuQuette's Life of the Spirits, his autobiography, and one of his better selling books.
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« Reply #5: June 07, 2007, 04:00:32 pm »

This is wise advice - I trust your experience on this.  Are you specifically asking people for a donation? 

I'm starting to wonder if I should dedicate a page on the website for a good description and the first chapter or two, and then simply charge $5 before granting access to the remainder of that portion of the site.  I don't like excluding people who really can't afford to pay, but there will be other articles available at no cost to the community.  People will be able to decide on whether it is worth it to them based on the material offered free of charge.  Raven Kaldera has exploited this idea successfully with his book on pagan BDSM, Dark Moon Rising.

I do have a "feed the author" button.  I think it's pretty visible .. and I don't want to be constantly begging for cash, either! Cheesy

The other problem, of course, is that by making it a pay-only site, you're making people need to choose yes or no based on just the first bit.  Which means that bit has to be STELLAR.  You can't have people linking to the specific pieces that mean something to them or their group, which really cuts into word of mouth advertising.  Doesn't mean it won't work, but again, you'll need to do a cost-benefit analysis.  What's more important?  The money for the book, or that it gets read by people?  Not saying either answer is *right*, but it does give you a better idea which path you might want to follow.  (f'ex, my religious work is available free on a different website from my online story.  I want that to be free to anyone.  It would go against the point of the work to make it paid.  Not saying you should do that, just pointing out the alternate).

Quote
I'm not saying it can't be done.  I'm saying it's a LOT of work to do and actually get somewhere.

Also wise advice.

Since I will be putting my astrology business on the same website (something that will require an actual advertising budget), I may simply piggyback the book on the advertising directed at astrology clients.  Then it no longer reaches its target audience - the pagan community.  But maybe word of mouth, and talking it up at festivals would help spread the word slowly.  Of course, the gods could grant a real blessing and find me a publisher...

heh.  I know that feeling. *sigh*  I'd love a publisher myself.  and an agent, and a movie deal or two ... Cheesy

Something to keep in mind: even if you GET a publisher, doing your own advertising on top of what the publisher is doing is going to be CRITICAL.  Make people want to know you.  Make people want to read your book.  'cause, y'know, the memoir of someone I've never heard of isn't going to leap off the shelf at me. Smiley
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« Reply #6: June 07, 2007, 04:02:10 pm »

The other problem, of course, is that by making it a pay-only site, you're making people need to choose yes or no based on just the first bit.  Which means that bit has to be STELLAR. 

It was STELLAR!
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« Reply #7: June 07, 2007, 04:05:02 pm »

It was STELLAR!

*laughs* I mean her book, not mine.

but thanks, I needed that smile today. Smiley
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« Reply #8: June 07, 2007, 06:19:14 pm »

I have written a book called Life on a Broom:  A Memoir of Love and Covens.  It is almost done - I'm on the last chapter, and it will most likely be around 250 pages long.  I'm also starting to realize just how difficult it is for a new pagan author to actually get published.  Weiser just turned down my proposal, nicely.  Now it is on its way to New Page.

You can always self-publish via Lulu or one of the other on-demand presses if everyone turns the book down. However, before doing so, you will want to find someone with good editorials skills who does not know you to edit the book for you.

Quote
My book is a story about life in a decent-sized midwestern coven - it is an "inside" look at paganism written by someone who is pagan.  It is a romance about love gone wrong, but it also looks at divination and astrology, discusses polyamory, analyzes coven structure, distinguishes between black magic and magic that is merely dark, and takes a good look at the advanced magical practice of summoning demons.


One think you need to do is stop using the the generic term "Pagans" and use the more specific term "Wiccans" or "Witches" What you are describing is a specific sub-group of Pagans: Wiccan/Witches.

Quote
My thought was that I could set up a paypal account, and ask readers to donate $5 if they enjoy Life on A Broom.  Those who really don't have the money will still have access.  But I'm hoping that those who can afford $5 for an online book will make a contribution.

Chances are good you will not see much that way. Few people will donate. You'd do better going the Lulu route if you want money and can't get a publisher interested.
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« Reply #9: June 07, 2007, 07:16:43 pm »

This is a memoir.  It is non-fiction.  It does read like a novel,

Hmmmm....something occured to me.  If it is non-fiction and you name names within the coven, you will need to watch for libel.  Not to mention that most covens have you take oaths that what happens in the coven remains there.  That will a thin line to tread; you don't want to be declared oathbreaker by your audience.

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« Reply #10: June 07, 2007, 08:37:38 pm »



What do other forum members think?  Any constructive thoughts, ideas, reactions, or opinions would be appreciated.

I'm interested in the difference between black and dark.  You up for elaboration?
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« Reply #11: June 07, 2007, 08:51:24 pm »

I'm interested in the difference between black and dark.  You up for elaboration?

That might be worth spinning off into its own thread so that it doesn't get lost in the book discussion (or vice versa).
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« Reply #12: June 08, 2007, 08:38:28 am »


 One think you need to do is stop using the the generic term "Pagans" and use the more specific term "Wiccans" or "Witches" What you are describing is a specific sub-group of Pagans: Wiccan/Witches.


I use the generic term pagans to describe polytheistic believers.  Most of the people in our coven considered themselves Wiccans, in that they believe in a God and Goddess, and focused on the Celtic roots of Wicca.  I would describe myself as pagan rather than Wiccan, because I do not focus on specific Wiccan beliefs, even though I received good old-fashioned Wiccan training in my first coven.  Our coven also had a very active spouse, married to a Wiccan, who still considered herself Christian.  There is fluidity at the coven level between the terms "pagan" and "Wiccan" in this particular coven.

There is also fluidity at the terminology level.  Wicca has become an umbrella label which outsiders use to identify pagan believers.  These phenomenon also influences my decision to use the broader, more inclusive term of "pagan".  This book will eventually be read by people who are not pagan, who are less interested in the myriad distinctions among us.  This doesn't denigrate a traditionalist's desire for respect conveyed through proper terminology.  It is simply a realistic attempt to appeal to a wider readership.
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« Reply #13: June 08, 2007, 09:12:43 am »

That might be worth spinning off into its own thread so that it doesn't get lost in the book discussion (or vice versa).

Has anybody done it yet?  I'll toss one out, cause I don't see it yet, and we'll kill it off it it's already going and I missed it?
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #14: June 08, 2007, 09:19:32 am »

Has anybody done it yet?  I'll toss one out, cause I don't see it yet, and we'll kill it off it it's already going and I missed it?

Aack, wait, let me get to this.  I'm still trying to figure out how to respond to earlier post.  Hey, Mandi, love your articles on witchvox - wanted to let you know that, too.
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