Are you feeling overwhelmed? I am. No surprise overwhelm hits upon leaving the beginning — step one and step two — of this plot a publishing plan. Step three sends us into the middle of the program. And we all know what happens in the middle of the Universal Story! Suddenly, I’m faced with how much I don’t know. I love writing. I love teaching. Independent publishing? Not so much. Honestly, not at all. But… I set myself a goal. And I do believe inspiration appears with a purpose. We learn that which is beneficial not only for now but in the future as well. So, I’m willing to do my part and trust the process. Together let’s see this endeavor all the way through to the end. For now, simply concentrate on Plot a Publishing Plan – Step Three.
How Things Have Changed
The first book I wrote and self-published was Blockbuster Plots: Take the Panic Out of Plot (BBP). Sales for BBP were strong enough that a few years ago Writers Digest republished an updated and revised version as Writing Blockbuster Plots: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure, and Scene.) At the time I self-published BBP there were no hashtags, no social media, no need for a platform, or plot a publishing plan. Things have changed. Now social media and platforms are critical for success.
Concept, One Liner, Blurb & Hashtag
A concept statement, one-liner, blurb and hashtag for your novel are helpful in reaching out on social media, and with so much more. Screenwriters generally spend time developing a sellable concept before launching into writing. If you generated a compelling concept first, good for you. Or, perhaps before writing you spent time pre-plotting (which I highly recommend — for help how: The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master). Usually, however, writers jump right into writing. Either way, now is the time to solidify your novel concept (for help: Writing Blockbuster Plots: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure, and Scene. Or, Jill Corcoran does a terrific job explaining concept and offering examples early in the Revise Your Novel in a Month video course we produced together).
Create a one-liner, a concept statement, a blurb and a hashtag for your novel.
For the novel I plan to independently publish — The Avenue — are as follows:
~With an open heart and a willingness to forgive, you can go home again.
~A dark, grown-up version of the children’s story The Secret Garden collides with a dangerous drug gang on an avenue of boarded-up houses in the middle of a decaying surf-town neighborhood as a mysterious stranger steers Clara into a yearlong journey of self-discovery and forgiveness in THE AVENUE.
~Driven to the edge by the dissolution of her marriage, the foreclosure of her Nob Hill penthouse, and the bankruptcy of her business, fifty-year-old Clara Russell is left with no money and no resources. Reeling from betrayal, she secretly withdraws to the deserted studio of her father—whom she believes is dead—on a neglected corner of the sprawling estate of her 90-year-old estranged mother of 30 years. Locked behind a hidden gate on a dead-end avenue in the middle of a decaying surf-town neighborhood, Clara schemes for way out before her mother or her ex-husband’s loan sharks discover her.
Like so many during the 2009 depression, Clara quickly learns just how difficult mere survival is. A dangerous drug house, characters living in abandoned cars lining the avenue of more boarded-up houses than lived-in, and a mysterious stranger steer Clara into a yearlong journey of self-discovery and forgiveness.
The heart of the story rests in the expanse of the Monterey Bay where Clara’s father took her surfing as kid. Her counterpoint is a seemingly dead garden separating her father’s studio from her mother’s house. Battling drug dealers as she battles her own demons, Clara works to restore the garden shut away for nearly three decades. Between the watery realm of the bay and the earth that grounds and gives life, Clara braves each barrier on the path to discovery. The changes she brings as she transforms the weed-choked and garbage-strewn parkland as a vegetable garden to feed many slowly reflect in the avenue’s outer alterations and the inner transformation she undergoes.
These descriptions come in handy in all sorts of ways — to entice beta-readers to read your story, as you begin pre-pub social medial outreach, material for the back of your book, in publicity. These four descriptions announce and support your novel every step of the way.
You may have seen the photos I’ve started posting of different settings in The Avenue on social media along with actual text from the novel. For examples, check out #TheAvenueANovel on Twitter and Instagram.
- Create a one-liner, concept statement, blurb and hashtag for your novel
- Begin outreach now using the above