First 3 Weeks Published


What a wild ride! I have waited most of my adult life to publish my first book, and to do 3 books simultaneously has been nerve-wracking and exciting.

Former attempts to publish have been thwarted by inept agents, publishers, and repeatedly by loss of a job (publishing correctly is not cheap!). For this reason, very few knew that I was planning this beforehand. Even my family was surprised, and only a few close friends, those who I saw frequently and who helped by proofreading my earlier manuscripts, were told.

Of course, the planning was intense, and this was followed by a horrendous learning period about the limitations of the modern printing processes; I was a former member of Graphic Arts International Union, and we could print ANYTHING! Apparently, the printing equipment that they use now is so poorly-designed that my original spines and back-covers had to be trashed, and I finally published my books after they were already 2 weeks past their planned release date.

If I had been able to publish as planned, they would have been released at a huge dance, followed by 12th Night, and then Rustycon.

The tension was enormous; would my books be liked? To be honest, I'd had over a dozen proofreaders, so I'd already heard many widely-varied opinions. But midnight terrors attack everyone, and I am no different.

By Ursulmas, a large SCA event that I have repeatedly autocratted, I was starting to feel better. Several old friends had bought my books on Day 1 and were already deep into the story; their words of praise buoyed me.

What do you write in a book that you are signing? To be honest, I had not thought much about this. I am only now really coming to grips with what people want. This I hadn't worried about; I had too many other concerns.

Having someone ask you to sign something feels weird; before publishing, the only autographs I was ever asked for was on credit card receipts. This will take a while to get used to.

Most people probably don't want to reveal their marketing plan, but I know my friends and many readers of fantasy novels; generally, that are a smart bunch. I approached publishing like any other business, and I have been a technical writer creating business documents for decades. Yes, only an idiot starts a business venture without a plan; many of the graphics I have posted were created in the last month before I published. Where to post notices and fliers; all that was planned.

My starting goal was to get the word out as widely as I could, and keep the announcements going, and I did that. My goal now is simple: Let 'word of mouth' be my advertising. I have to give people time to read at least the first book. I am starting to get feedback ... and it is all positive so far.

Reviews are the best; posted anywhere, but especially on, so that people can read them. Hey, I understand living on a budget (I'm still doing it!), and many desire to make sure that others like a book before they invest in it. Now I have multiple reviews, all golden (5 stars!), and more coming; I will be eternally grateful to those who write reviews, even if it is just one sentence. People at the SciFi cons, dances, and those in the SCA can talk to each other at events, but reviews can reach people who just cruise Amazon looking for books that other people like.

Another good thing is that other writers are asking for my advice; that's a good sign. I write because I enjoy writing, and I love talking about grammar, punctuation, plotting, and character-building. There have been bad times when I decided to give up writing, but I could never stop for long; writing is my passion, and I try to funnel that passion into my books.

Being seneschal of Aquaterra actually helped a lot. I wrote a regular column in our monthly newsletter, Murmurs, and got constant feedback, which is essential to good writing. If you know an unpublished writer, and want to help them, read what they have written and give them an honest critique; when they are finally published, their success may hinge upon the help that you gave them.

After I approved the printed covers, I clicked the one button for each book (3 books; paperback and ebook), and at that moment I was published. That day I ordered 100 copies of each book so that I would have some paperbacks for sale, and they took more than a week to get printed and arrive.

Let's see ... my first real event was Rustycon. All that I had was my business cards, a few fliers, and the 'proof' copies (1 each) of the books which I had approved only days before. My next real event was at a dance, but the owner had asked me not to put up a display or make an announcement, and I respected his wishes, but word spread quickly; practically every dancer came over to look at my proofs. (As Karen and I are accomplished dancers, we were already quite well-known.) Most of my dance-friends were amazed; despite years of seeing each other every weekend, I never told most of them that I wrote anything.

Ursulmas was a blast - I was among friends and I was in familiar territory. Most of them knew that I was a writer, and many had already seen posts of my cover art on Facebook, but had not made the connection that Jay Palmer was the same Sir Valtorr of Oslo that had been in AnTir since we were a Principality (I have the photographs to prove it!), used to host killer parties (in the red barn by Northgate), and fought in armor every weekend for decades. I got to see many old friends that I hadn't seen in far too long, and most had seen my books online, and a few had already finished the first book - that was a blessing!

What is my goal now? Obviously I want my publishing to succeed, but my primary goal is to gain readership. I am a writer: our primary goal is to be read.

My biggest asset is my own confidence; I believe in my story, in all 3 books, that they combine to make a good, exciting tale, well-written, which people will be glad that they read. It has something of everything: romance, sex, danger, intrigue, puzzles to be solved, tons of action, and a lot of educational value; I have studied the Dark Ages, Norse mythology, Druid artifacts, and early Catholic dogma more than many scholars, and I think that most people will find a lot to learn about the thoughts and practices that were common back then.

Anyway, that is where I am at today. Odin knows where this will end, and I can only hope that he is smiling.



From Alyne DeWinter

Great post Jay!
I'm glad its gong so well.
And you're past the hard part!
Keep going!

From Jay Palmer

Thanks, Alyne! I hope that your books are selling well, too!


From Greg Greer

Great post Jay!
Vikings! Vikings!
Nice job Jay! I saw your books on!! It's good that the general public will finally be able to enjoy your books!

From Jay Palmer

Thanks, Greg!