Click here to read Part 4.
So much about the creation of books is collaboration--but sometimes that collaboration comes in different forms.
When you are writing a book, you may gain inspiration or support from other people. And then when you're publishing that book, you might get help from an agent, a publisher, editors, cover designers, and an entire marketing team. By deciding to self-publish, I am deciding to be all of these things at once--and yet I am not losing the collaboration. I have given the final draft to a few people to look over. I will probably not be designing the cover myself (at least not completely). I will make use of the consultants that are available from the company I have chosen to publish through to answer any of my questions. And while I will be the beginning of my marketing team, everyone that I speak to will in turn become part of that team.
The Internet can be extremely instrumental in getting word out. But in my case and in the case of this particular book, it seems that word of mouth will be more important. I already have people (either friends of mine or friends of my friends or simply people I/we've come across who have shown interest) who want to buy this book when it comes out. Perhaps there aren't a huge number of them. But once they get it and read it, they can share it with their circles. And the number will increase.
There is a certain enjoyment that comes when fiction takes place in a familiar place. There is a random horror movie from the seventies with William Shatner called Kingdom of the Spiders that was kind of cool to watch just because it was filmed in central Arizona (I've talked to people who remember when they filmed it). And other than the novelty of it, there comes a point when you want some representation for the place you call home. This brings me to some of my goals for this book.
Most of the fiction that takes place in Arizona belongs to certain genres. Westerns. Border stories--or other stories that are generally concerned with race, ethnicity, and culture. Country stories. All of this is good. It's just that, as someone living in Arizona, these aren't the only things that occupy my mind: so many people live here now and live very "regular" lives here that I don't think Arizona stories need to be constrained by genre. I want my book to be an Arizona book that is not the traditional genre such a book would be considered.
So I want to attract readers who are interested in Arizona, who will want to read my descriptions of the natural landscapes in this state. But I also want to reach people who don't read Westerns or who don't feel like reading another Border story. I want the landscape to remain the setting and the subject perhaps but not the genre, not the theme. The landscape helps to carry the theme but it is not the theme itself: it is the symbol of the theme. The theme is such that it could have taken place in Iceland or France or China instead--but I chose this setting because I wanted the representation to go to this place that I love and that so many other people love, too.
There has been an awakening in Arizona, if I may borrow the phrase--or perhaps it has always been there and I am simply absorbing it more now. I go out to different cities and I see all of the art. The galleries, the paintings, the jewelry, the furniture, and yes, the books, too. So many people are inspired by this land. And I want to be part of that; I want to share in their inspiration and share mine with them--and with you.