I’d been warned by my writing colleagues who have published books that marketing one’s book is a time-consuming beast. They were right. In today’s publishing climate, authors must become small businesses and take charge of all facets of that business. Gone are the days when writers wrote, publishers published, and marketers marketed. Now the writer can do one, two, or all of those tasks. Even if an author lands a contract with a Big 5 publisher and receives an advance (which are becoming smaller and rarer), that author is usually required to do most of if not all the marketing. Only the top handful of bestsellers get the pre-arranged book tours, TV and radio interviews, and reviews in the major news outlets like the New York Times Book Review.
So after devoting about two months to advertising, marketing, promoting, and selling Castle Danger, I’m forcing myself to get to work on the prequel. Writing must always come first because, without a book, I have nothing to market.
Fortunately, I have the basis for a solid prequel, since I wrote a complete novel before writing Castle Danger. Its title is An Inconvenient Death and it tells the story of Matt Lanier and the events that led to his self-imposed exile in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness that began Castle Danger.
AID (as I refer to it in shorthand) has a decent basic plot and some engaging characters and scenes, but I knew it wasn’t ready for “prime time” so I shelved it. Now that Castle Danger is receiving a positive response, I’m revising AID, publishing that as soon as its ready, and then I’ll begin on the sequel to Castle Danger and complete the Matt Lanier Trilogy.
My question to my followers, and especially those who’ve read Castle Danger, is what do you think of this possible title for the prequel?: Straight River
Straight River, MN, is Matt’s boyhood hometown and the setting for the majority of the story. I came up with An Inconvenient Death as an oblique reference to the inciting incident but never gave it much thought after that. I like Straight River because it’s consistent with using the key location as a title, plus it’s short, sweet, direct, and is a title strategy used by many other successful books.
So feel free to weigh in with a comment in the comment section and I’ll consider your opinions. OR, if you have a better suggestion for a title, I’d LOVE to hear it.