Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Echopraxia by Peter Watts is great

It's not on sale anymore, but you can read the prequel short story for free, and I'm currently enjoying the similarly-themed Starfish, which is $1.80 right now (but should come with a lot of trigger warnings).

He participated in an AMA while supporting Echopraxia and had a lot to say about the marketing of the book:

How well were you served this time around in terms of support, promotion, and other behind-the-scenes stuff?

Better than Blindsight was served, certainly (which is, admittedly, a low bar to clear). They did a bunch of Echopraxia/Ultra-Thin-Man giveaways. Commissioned "The Colonel", gave me their Tor Author Pop Quiz, posted a rave (but hardly unbiased) review at Tor.com, passed on third-party requests for email interviews, that kind of thing. And let's not forget, I got a much better cover this time around.

As far as I can tell they didn't really push the title, though-- nothing that involved laying out a budget (I asked them about a book launch, which has always happened in the past, and they blew me off). I don't know if they advertised it or anything. They didn't put any blurbs on the cover except for one I hand fed them, which is kind of odd given how many good reviews Echopraxia has got from the usual suspects. None of this surprises; I'm just another midlist author, after all, and publishing is a business like any other. You put your money where you expect the greatest return.

Also, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I was told explicitly that any kind of active promotion was unlikely as long as I insisted on a title that people in Marketing wouldn't be able to pronounce. I was open to alternatives, but I couldn't come up up with one that worked on multiple levels the way "Echopraxia" does, and neither could Editor #2-- and to give her credit, she let me keep the E-word despite her misgivings. I do think it's the best title for the book-- and it's not as though Tor was about to run 30-second ads for "State of Grace" during the Superbowl anyway-- but I acknowledge that more people might be buying the thing if it had a two-syllable title.

I'm pretty sure, though, that those extra people would have stalled out before page ten. If the word "Echopraxia" on the cover scares you off, you're not going like any of the words behind it.