"Writing itself becomes the subject of the writing course..."

 — Michael Carter       

When Things Don’t Go as Planned

November 30th, 2017 by

This past September, my first novel was released by a small, independent publisher named eLectio Publishers. If you get the chance, please go to their website here and look up my book under mystery. They are quite a good publisher, quite supportive of Christian writers who don’t exactly fit the mainstream. We need more publishers like them, and readers need to be aware of them.

But that is the subject for another blog. This one is concerned with what happened just three short weeks after my novel was released. This was not something I could ever find being addressed in the books, articles, and websites devoted to promoting a book in today’s market. On October 6, my youngest son, a senior in high school, took his life. Since then, promoting my book has become a much lower priority, and yet I still have people asking me how the book is doing.

It is probably not doing well. My sense of the publishing world, which looks seriously at a book’s sales during its first two months on the market, is that it hasn’t sold that well in the first two months.

But when things happen in life, that becomes the main issue. Since I find no chapters in those books on “How to Market Your Book While Mourning a Death in Your Family,” I’ve begun to improvise. Over the next week or two, as my school enters the last week of the semester and then finals, I’m going to start calling around to see if I can set up readings. I have found that I’m able to not break down when I’m focused on something else, though that is not completely healthy.

I’ve noticed that I can teach my classes now and almost forget that I am a parent who has lost his youngest son–until I walk out of the classroom and am suddenly hit with that reality again.

Things will continue as they have. Just before my book was released, my editor, who is a runner, assured me that my book’s status would be determined over a longer period than just two months. “Think of it as a marathon, not a 100 yard dash,” he said.

So I am going to act on this. And I am trying to grieve by dedicating any next book I have to write to Michael, my son, whose presence I miss daily now.

Thank you for reading.

Posted in Uncategorized| 3 Comments


Comment by Tim Riter on November 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Tom, I can’t begin to imagine the grief and loss, but applaud your commitment to slog through. My prayers continue to be with you.

Comment by Tom on November 30, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Tim, thank you for your kind words. “Slog through” are probably the best words for how this feels. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Comment by Joseph Bentz on November 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm

I like your publisher’s idea that the process of getting the word out about your book is a marathon, not a 100 yard dash. Novels like this are timeless, so there is no need for everything to have to happen in the first two months. I wish more publishers took that perspective. I wish you well as you put everything into perspective.

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