The Woes of Publishing in Quarantine

So. One of the things we attempt to do, when we’re about to launch a book, is gather advanced readers and reviewers. We then line that up with as many events as we can, usually centered around a convention, and launch the book in conjunction with that convention in order to boost sales as much as possible. This is about the only way we know to have a shot at getting a small-press book on the front page of Amazon; and let’s face it, that’s about the only way we can compete with the big boys in terms of sales.

Which means this whole quarantine thing is a real stumbling-block for us.

A while ago, we conceived the Neverwhen Chronicles project. This is going to be an ongoing series of novellas set in the fabulous Neverwhen tabletop gaming universe by Dragondyne Publishing. It’s an exciting project for both companies, and we were super-excited to be launching it at this year’s Miscon. It would have been an amazing launch – the energy that runs through that little Montana convention is just incredible, and I have no doubt it would have put the first book of the Chronicles, entitled Blackbox Protocol, up on that front page. We had pre-launch parties set for a number of conventions to gather advanced readers, including a collaborative one with Dragondyne at the great Norwescon.

That’s all kaput, now. And worse, we can’t re-set for the launch, because Amazon is only letting us delay the launch of a book by one month. That means, at this point, that Blackbox Protocol is launching on June 21, 2020, and it’s launching with very little buildup. Very few ARC readers. None of our planned momentum, and none of our buildup.

Now, I like to tout success. And our first project, Well, It’s Your Cow, has been wildly successful. It’s being sold nationwide, is in bookstores, constantly sells out on the convention table, and was, as far as the first project we took on as a small press, just a fabulous success.

I’ll be honest, though. Blackbox Protocol is not currently lined up for success the way we want it to be. Which is a shame, because Bethany Loy is an incredible new author. It’s true that I co-authored this with her, worked with her on structure, wrote many of the scenes within, but this is really her brainchild–and she hit it out of the park. When we showed it to Dustin Gross–the owner of Dragondyne Publishing and the genius behind the Neverwhen universe to begin with–his response was “it is a marvelous story that encapsulates the diverse elements of Neverwhen and Manzala. You knocked it out of the park.”

He’s not wrong. This is a gripping, high-speed story that will draw you in and then sucker punch you when you least expect it. It’s really good, and it’s not getting the launch we think it deserves, because quarantine has really thrown a monkey wrench in how we go about launching a book.

So. We need help. We need people to pre-order, and then we need them to review the book. Normally, I’d be at the con table, glad-handing and scraping for every review. I’d be smiling and pushing and trying to get this done. Instead, I’m at home, quarantined, and sending this blog post out to the internet. Please, please do not let this great story languish because we’re not at cons doing what we can.

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