Litkicks Publishing: Slowing It Down

Litkicks Publishing

I announced in April that I would be publishing one Kindle book a month for a year. I've now produced four books, and gained a fast education in electronic indie publishing along the way.

The main thing I learned is that, once I publish a book, the book won't sit still. It will cry for my attention. Friends will email me sugggestions and errors to fix. Potential customers will urge me to produce non-Kindle versions, or paperback editions. Marketing and publicity opportunities will beckon. My super-fast one-book-a-month pace was designed to keep my project moving, but I quickly began to realize I was defeating my own goals by obliging myself to be always working furiously on the next book to come, instead of nurturing and marketing the books that were already published to the maximum extent each one required.

My lesson has been learned, and I am now hitting the pause button on my one-book-a-month plan. I have two excellent new Kindle publications in progress, but the next one will not come out in August, and the following one will not come out in September. These two new books are the first stab at the second phase of the Literary Kicks publishing plan, which involves not only producing books from selected content originally published on this blog, but also producing new and innovative editions of classic public domain works related to some of the interest areas and obsessions featured here. The books I had planned for August and September are very exciting ones (I wish I could tell you more about them now, but it'll have to wait). I think both books will sell well if published properly, but they're less likely to reach their potential if I rush them out. This is why I've decided to cut the fast pace, put the new books on a slower track to launch, and devote my current efforts towards improving the four books that are currently out.

The fact that I'm slowing the Literary Kicks Publishing plan down is a sign that I'm taking the plan more seriously, not less. The immediate goal I'm most excited about is an improved edition of one of the four existing books, which I'm now working on in partnership with a person who has experience in publicity and marketing (two areas in which I admittedly need help the most). There will be another announcement about this soon. We'll also be launching a new website for these books, a much-needed replacement for this primitive page. Exciting stuff to come! I know you'll stay tuned.

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The author and investigative journalist Stetson Kennedy, author of Unmasking the Klan and subject of a past Litkicks feature by Bill Ectric, has died at the age of 94. Shout out to an American hero ...

12 Responses to "Litkicks Publishing: Slowing It Down"

by TKG on

Levi, this sounds great and practical.

The idea to use public domain is something I've thought of and wanted to do as well. I am really excited to hear your plans.

I've looked a few times for classics or other writings that are now public domain and haven't been able to find them. I love the idea of having access to any of the great or not so great books of history at any time. Kindle format and other e formats allow this. But when I find a book isn't available, I thought I'll do it. It is public domain, anyone can put it together in the proper format and upload it.

I think the books should be available for anyone and secondly, I do think they will sell as well. Dollar or three dollar classics with some extra new content we can add is a service to the community and maybe some extra cash from sales.

I have no time to do these things I'd love to do so want to be as encouraging as possible to you and clearly relate my respect and appreciation.

Stetson Kennedy was a cool person to know. Very down-to earth and easy-going, until some injustice caught his attention, and then he was like a badger.

Stetson came under fire in recent years for portraying all the events in his book as happening to him, when some of them actually happened to one of his associates. Kennedy told me that his publisher had asked Kennedy to make the book more focused by reducing the number of klan-infiltrators to one and writing it all in first person. Stetson said that doesn't change the fact that he did, in fact, infiltrate the kkk and did, in fact, receive death threats from them. It was Kennedy who provided information, including secret code words and details of Klan rituals, to the writers of the Superman radio program, resulting in a series of four episodes in which Superman battled the kkk.

In 1937, Kennedy joined the WPA Florida Writers' Project, and at the age of 21 was put in charge of folklore, oral history, and ethnic studies, where he worked with Zora Neale Hurston. He wrote several books of historical and sociological importance, including Southern Exposure, Palmetto Country, After Appomattox: How the South Won the War, and The Jim Crow Guide, first published in France by Jean-Paul Sartre when no one in the United States would publish it.

According to his website, "Stetson died on the 27th of August at 9:36 AM EDT. He was with his wife and stepdaughter and was in no apparent pain. As just before his passing, he was lucid. The doctor, checking his mental faculties asked him, "where are you from?" Kennedy replied, "The planet Earth."

Stetson's wishes were for a party and not a funeral. A luncheon celebrating his life will be held at Beluthahatchee October 1st.

Wow, Levi. I had no idea. That's why I guess it's so important in the Information Technology Age to have a mini-entourage of sorts that can field those "pesky" questions for you while you focus on your art. Therein lies the conundrum of life: you want people to love your work, but then you want them to go away long enough to take their suggestions, edits and questions to heart. Keeping it indie is what I guess intrigues me the most about you because I think you really have a lot of valid things to say and it's all really interesting and palatable to the masses. We read, we care. So it's always a challenge to balance it all to make sure you're not swallowed up by "the machine" of progress. I mean, we all want to be relevant and acknowledged and lauded just as long as we sorta know what's coming. The trouble is you won't know what to expect until you're in the throng of it. So my suggestion is to bring your #2 pencil and be prepared to take notes...there may be a quiz later. Good luck.

by TKG on

Bill, thanks for that mini-bio of Stetson Kennedy.

by Bill_Ectric on

You're welcome, TKG.

Levi, there is no way I could put out one book per month, nor do I think it would do the book's quality any good to try it. I realize the ones you've published so far were at least partially written already, but still, I think slowing it down is a good idea.

Bill, I just want to add an interesting point to your mini-bio that we have talked about before: Stetson Kennedy and Woody Guthries were close friends, and Woody stayed for a while at Stetson's place in Florida and wrote a number of songs there. Here is a song he wrote about Stetson:

I done spent my last three cents
Mailing my letter to the president
I didn't make a show, I didn't make a dent
So I'm swinging over to this independent gent
Stetson Kennedy
Writing his name in

I cain't win out to save my soul
Long as Smathers-Dupont's got me in the hole
Them war profit boys are squawking and balking
That's what's got me out here walking and talking
Knocking on doors and windows
Wake up and run down election morning
And scribble in Stetson Kennedy

I ain't the world's best writer nor the world's best speller
But when I believe in something I'm the loudest yeller
If we fix it so's you can't make money on war
We'll all forget what we're killing folks for
We'll find us a peace job equal and free
Dump Smathers-Dupont in a salty sea
Well, this makes Stetson Kennedy the man for me

by Bill_Ectric on

Good call, Michael.

Following the end of Operation Desert Storm in February 1991, the Pentagon, led by then defense secretary Dick Cheney, paid Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root Services over $8.5 million to study the use of private military forces with American soldiers in combat zones. Halliburton crews also helped bring 725 burning oil wells under control in Kuwait.

by Steve Plonk on

Going slower is good, Levi. Frantic pace may tend to burn one out. Pretty overly ambitious to try to put material out that fast
anyway. I second the emotion for slower, more carelful perusal before publication. One or two titles a year might be more realistic. Very few writers are prolific enough to keep up a frenetic pace like you suggested at first. Good luck with your
new schedules.

by Finn on

Levi:
Slow and steady wins the race. Good luck with your publishing.

Michael:
Nice lyrics. The duPonts, incidentally, were not only war profiteers on a grand scale, they were also implicated in the planning of a plot to overthrow Franklin Roosevelt in 1933/1934 and install a thinly-veiled dictator. Fascism was fashionable at that point, and the idea of militaristic rule held appeal for several industrialists.

by Claudia on

Levi, I think your new strategy is very wise. Slowing down the pace of publication to cultivate the chances of each book getting the widest audience it can--and the publicity it needs--will pay off much better in the end than publishing on a strict and fast schedule. You're just adapting to the best marketing strategies and you have already built an interested readership over the years through litkicks.

Finn, I knew about the duPonts being war profiteers, but that part about the plot to overthrow Roosevelt is very interesting. I'm inclined to believe the plot continues to this day, in one form or the other.

by finn on

Thanks for the reply, Bill. I started to write a detailed description of the plot, but the comment began morphing into a rather pedantic-sounding mini-article, so I'll just say, yes, it's a very interesting episode of history, and yes, it has contemporary resonances. (FWIW, I've actually written a novel about the plot. One reason why what Levi is doing with Litkicks Books interests me is that I may end up following a similar strategy in order to publicize the novel.)

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