Window on a Burning Man

The title of this blog post is the title I have chosen for my book. I will save the pretentious, hour-long explanations of the deep meaning behind it for when I am speaking to vast, excited throngs who have come to see me on my global book tour.

The blurb I have settled on is as follows:

And it started off so well.

When a middle-aged British man meets a charming Russian émigré, he thinks he might have found what he’s looking for. But she lets slip a secret and everything changes, forcing him to confront her past and the choices she’s made. Filled with self-doubt and seeking answers, he plunges into the world of Brooklyn’s artists where relationships don’t follow the normal rules, and third-wave feminists join misfit hipsters in an annual pilgrimage to the Burning Man festival. But the more he discovers, the more questions arise. Why did she leave Moscow and move to New York? Why did she divorce a husband she loved? And why is she sticking with him, a man with a complicated past of his own?

Provocative, funny and refreshingly honest, this is a story of an ordinary man in love with a very modern woman.

I don’t intend to change this, unless someone comes up with a minor suggestion in the comments which is immediately obvious to me as an improvement.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who contributed in the comments of my previous two posts on this subject, and a very large thank you is due to commenters Bloke in Germany and Matthew McConnagay whose re-writes I leaned on heavily in coming up with this final version. Both are entitled to a free copy of the book, should they want one, and a beer or several should I ever meet them. Really, thanks guys.

The good news is, as I said previously, that my running it as a free serial will be the main marketing pitch for the book so the blurb isn’t as crucial. If it turns out to be a runaway success, I can always hire someone to write a proper one for me.

I have finished implementing my editor’s recommendations, accepting without question the overwhelming majority of them which were inherently sensible and definitely improved the final product. My next step is to contact the outfit I am hoping can make me a professional cover, both for the e-book and paperback versions. Once that’s done I can launch the e-book straightaway I think. From what I can see, the paperback will take a little longer because I’ll need to get one printed out for myself to check before putting them up for sale on Amazon and ordering the thirty-thousand copies I’ll sell by the side of the road. I’m not sure how long the cover design will take and the uploading process, but I’m hoping to get the e-book published sometime in January. I’ll keep you all posted.

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29 thoughts on “Window on a Burning Man

  1. I hope\assume that comment about 30,000 books published before sales is facetious.

    My partner’s sister husband, he wrote 90 page book on local history of medium size town they live in and decided to get 10,000 copies published and he refused to do ebook because he thought it would be bootlegged online. Nearly ended his marriage – I think sold 27 copies in first year – while he had planned for first batch to be sold and he would be on second round of printing.

    Husband had his ego tied in with book and low sales made him belligerent towards neighbours, work colleagues and anyone else who wasn’t interested in $25 self published book of middling quality. His wife was able to get him out of that phase after about year when she told him he had 2 months to return to normal or divorce would occur.

  2. I think émigré needs an extra e, thus: émigrée (or is that a plot twist?).

    That aside, he might have found what he’s looking for is what you could say of someone rummaging in a toolbox. Is it woman, love, wife, concubine, au pair, cook?

  3. @William of O

    Maybe Tim’s next book could be about the Thirty Years War?

  4. My partner’s sister husband, he wrote 90 page book on local history of medium size town they live in and decided to get 10,000 copies published and he refused to do ebook because he thought it would be bootlegged online.

    Bloody hell. What a clot!

    No, I’ll order one to check it, then probably 20-30 to start with.

  5. I think émigré needs an extra e, thus: émigrée (or is that a plot twist?).

    Heh! I looked it up in Websters, in French it would have the double e but from what I can tell when transferred to English it only uses one even if the person moving is a woman.

    That aside, he might have found what he’s looking for is what you could say of someone rummaging in a toolbox. Is it woman, love, wife, concubine, au pair, cook?

    Women love that term when talking about dating, obviously more so than bisons.

  6. Tim the man teaches business courses at decent Canadian university, I’ve joked with my sister in law that her husband and his book could be terrific example in one of his lecturers on how not to sell products and goods.

    I know advice to new authors is to write about you know, is your book autobiographical? Excuse my ignorance, I am new to your blog. I look forward to reading the serial you plan to publish.

  7. Love the title and the blurb and just like bilbaoboy my credit card is primed. And my Kindle is fully charged.

  8. A friend who self-publishes found (after some truly woeful submissions) a graphic designer who came up with a thoroughly professional cover. This is essential. His book is on Amazon as an e-book/kindle/whatever, or you can buy a hard copy which Amazon will print and bind and then send to you. AFAICT, there’s no need to order a printing run unless economies of scale apply, i.e. > 1,000 copies.

    I don’t know exact figures – and my friend is nowhere near a best-seller – but I believe the e-book outsells the printed option by about 20:1

  9. Heh! I looked it up in Websters, in French it would have the double e but from what I can tell when transferred to English it only uses one even if the person moving is a woman.

    Well that’s Websters for you with their espièglerie! Might they be using the word as a noun?

    Women love [what he’s looking for] when talking about dating, obviously more so than bisons.

    Oh, so it’s for women and not bison? Natch!

  10. My next step is to contact the outfit I am hoping can make me a professional cover, both for the e-book and paperback versions

    ——————-

    “Not that long ago there was a general theory that book covers were less important for ebooks because the item wasn’t a physical book. But the rules that apply to bookshops are true of online retailers. You can search, or you can be emailed newsletters, but the first thing you will be presented with is a cover, or a series of covers, and instead of picking up the book to read the blurb, you click on a cover instead. ”

    https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/608/self-publishing/design-and-formatting/

  11. Sounds good, Tim, and it sounds like there’s more of a narrative punch. The protagonist comes across as much more sympathetic and likable in the blurb. I’ll pick up a printed copy or two, I think, if only for loaning purposes (my friends who would enjoy this are all Luddites who don’t ebook).

  12. I know advice to new authors is to write about you know, is your book autobiographical?

    A lot of it is, yes. But it’s not so much a thinly-disguised autobiography as social commentary akin to this blog in the form of a story where the narrator is a lot like me, and a lot of the conversations and scenes have been cribbed from real life (or from online).

  13. I’ll pick up a printed copy or two, I think, if only for loaning purposes

    As promised, I’ll send you a signed copy as soon as I can. If it’s not banned in Canada, that is.

  14. Can’t wait! Please let your readers know when the Kindle version’s available.

    My advertising campaign will make that of Windows 10 look subtle and unobtrusive.

  15. A friend who self-publishes found (after some truly woeful submissions) a graphic designer who came up with a thoroughly professional cover. This is essential.

    Absolutely. I’ll back myself to do the proofreading and formatting, but professional editing and a professional cover were essentials for me. It’s costing north of $2,000 though, so I can see why people skimp.

  16. Oh, so it’s for women and not bison? Natch!

    Not at all! It’s aimed at bison as much as anyone, although they might want to skip the burger-eating scene. But when it comes to marketing spiel I need to narrow the focus and middle-aged women just edge out bison in the expected readership.

  17. I like your blurb and I have two minor suggestions, Tim.

    1. Put the last sentence first…

    Provocative, funny and refreshingly honest, this is a story of an ordinary man in love with a very modern woman.

    And it started off so well…

    Beginning with ‘And it started off so well’ is too bland.

    2. In forcing him to confront her past and the choices she’s made, replace ‘confront’ with a less masculine and more psychobabblish word or phrase – e.g. ‘acknowledge’, ‘come to terms with’, ‘reflect upon’…

    Good luck!!!

  18. When a middle-aged British man meets a charming Russian émigré, he thinks he might have found what he’s looking for.

    Now hang on – that’s how mine starts. In Bond Street.

  19. Now hang on – that’s how mine starts.

    Of course it does! Everyone who set foot in Russia has a story that starts like that. 🙂

  20. I like your blurb and I have two minor suggestions, Tim.

    Thanks, Theo. I agree about the first line, I might change it. I’m probably going to keep “confront” on the grounds that it prepares the reader for a rather confrontational situation! “Come to terms with” generates images of calm reflection while sitting in a bay window; “confront” directs the reader towards drunken rows in apartments. 😉

  21. On the blurb – agree with Theo – last sentence first.

    And you can probably get rid of a few bits to tighten it up:

    – delete “he thinks”
    – “confront her past” is enough, so remove “and the choices she’s made”
    – Maybe flip the next to “Seeking answers, but filled with self-doubt, he plunges….” (‘Seeking’ feels more action-worthy and has motion, best at the start of the sentence)
    – Is just “to Burning Man” more tantalising than “to the Burning Man festival”? Being at the end of a list I don’t think it matters if you don’t know what BM is; just adds to the intrigue.

    HTH!

  22. Tim, congrats on getting it done. It’s a big deal for any writer, and good on you for taking the criticism the right way. I know how hard that is.

    Amazon and Createspace are very fast. Once you hit approve then it’s a matter of days. My first book went up so fast that it was out and selling before I realised it, (and before I had time to adequately get the word out.)

  23. Tim, congrats on getting it done. It’s a big deal for any writer, and good on you for taking the criticism the right way. I know how hard that is.

    Thanks, Adam!

    Amazon and Createspace are very fast. Once you hit approve then it’s a matter of days. My first book went up so fast that it was out and selling before I realised it, (and before I had time to adequately get the word out.)

    Yup, I’m going with Createspace for the paperback and KDP for the e-book. I think I’ve worked them both out, more or less!

  24. New year and well done to get this far. The first draft was, err, challenging to read but since then it has improved out of all recognition. Soon there will be book tours, then protests, then your name will raise the hackles of left wingers when they find this blog and your book will be selling like hot cakes.

    Here’s to drive and desire to do something with life! Cheers!

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