For international readers, allow me to explain: I am an American but I have lived in China since 2004. My city of Chongqing, often abbreviated as CQ, is pronounced Chong Ching to rhyme with Wrong Ring. CQ is a megacity of 30 million people in south-central China, on the Yangtze River. I’ve come a long, long way – 13 time zones to be exact – from my original hometown of Rolla in south-central Missouri, on the Little Dry Fork creek. Depending on how loosely you define “city”, one could argue that CQ is the world’s largest city. In my quest for a simple life, I write these observations and admonitions from my 18th-Floor homestead.
As we prepare to make a major announcement in the coming weeks – building the suspense, you know – here is a blog post from the past which brings back memories of a simpler place and time. This article was published soon after the book about my son’s expat life in Chongqing was released. Chester The Messer is expected to become an overnight success – although we are still waiting for the night after which the book will be a huge best-seller. Join with me now as we go back in time to Aug 27, 2018.
Adventures in Self-Publishing, continued.
My son, Chester, has become an internationally known celebrity. One of the most amazing features of the internet is the potential to reach a large audience almost instantly. In this case, the ability to self-publish a book about a young expat American boy in a Chinese city means that people around the world (anyone with internet access) can learn about his story.
And they are.
- We received our first review on the Amazon sales page. Five stars! A happy breakthrough. (Dear blog visitors, any of you who have read the Chester the Messer book are invited to go to the sales page and leave an honest review. Even if you received an advanced reader copy for free, you can still leave a review.)
Last week, I received email from a teacher in New Zealand. She had read the book to her class of young students and she reports they loved it. They plan to send messages to Chester via my blog, randy–green.com.
This week, Chester received email from France! In part, it read,
My name is Florine, from France. We never had a chance to meet yet but I hope one day we will have the chance!
I have met your dad about a year ago in Chongqing. He told me a lot about you! You are a very lucky boy because you will speak English and Chinese! If you’re interested I can teach you French too!
Tu es invité en France avec ta famille quand tu le souhaites, ce serait un plaisir et honneur de vous recevoir.
Florine (Auntie Flo = Tante Flo in French)
Chester is becoming an international celebrity at age 5.
I write these words with a smile, because achieving fame for my son was never my intention. In truth, the principal reason for publishing CTM (Chester the Messer) was to learn the procedures of launching an ebook on Amazon’s KDP system because I intend to release my book China Bound in the coming weeks, I wanted to learn how the KDP system worked. Lots of learning ensued, and continues.
However the joy of seeing the CTM book achieve some distribution internationally has been delightful.
Sales of the book remain minimal, partly because we have done little to promote the book other than tell immediate friends and family – and people can’t buy a book that they don’t know about. See the blog posts in the coming weeks as I report on marketing and advertising adventures. Another new internet world to explore.
In addition to that no-marketing activity restriction, technical problems abound. For some reason which remains unknown, some people are reporting they cannot find the book when they do a search on Amazon.com. (Even more confusing, it will appear in one search, then, the next time, it cannot be found. Sometimes the magic works; sometimes it don’t. How do you solve an intermittent digital problem? Frustrating!) Others are reporting that they can search for and find the book but cannot download it. Each issue requires a solution. Fortunately, Karen, my able assistant, has become quite proficient with communicating with the KDP support team.
Little things. Find the problem; fix it. Find the next problem; fix it. Just like real life.
Yet another new development this week is the beginning of producing Chester the Messer – the movie! Well, not really a movie. It began when I learned that Amazon.com allowed authors to upload videos to their book’s sales page. The idea is that I can upload a video to extoll the virtues of the ebook. Kind of a video format book description. I thought that this was another possibility to be explored.
When I asked a friend, who is a professional editor, about helping me to make a short video, a major new project was born – and another learning experience. (As always, once the project developed some momentum, I quickly lost control. Now, I am just hanging on to a runaway train, waiting to see what comes next.) Already we are talking about scripts, collecting Chester’s drawings (mostly from the refrigerator door and his room), coordinating with his drawing class teacher, filming times and places, and other video matters. This will be a professional-quality video! Once again, I am plunging in over my head in a brave new world. Confused, optimistic, curious, and eager – what a combination of feelings for the last week of August.
I may be a little excited… but not CS. When I told him about the video project, I called it a movie and told him he would be a movie star. He liked the idea. But… Thrilled? Confused? Cautious? Not Chester. His immediate response was, “Maybe we can make some money.” That’s my boy!
So, dear readers, stay tuned for tales of further adventures and misadventures as we work out the glitches in offering a simple ebook through Amazon’s KDP system.
And, please go to Amazon.com’s page for Chester the Messer and leave a review.