Saturday, July 25, 2009

All my Exes: thoughts on book promotion


Those are my exes. They represent my early impressions of book promotion, and I have a lot to learn.

I've heard authors say that once they begin to promote one book, it's tough to find the time to write the next one. This observation has turned out to be spot on. In the evenings lately, when I'd normally be writing, I've spent an inordinate amount of time e-mailing people I've never met, setting up dates, tracking down phone numbers, following up on ideas, figuring out ad placement, designing those ads, seeking advice, looking for cheap flights, and generally stressing out.

I want to approach the bookstore folks (and in my case, drop zone folks) with the lead-in, "So sorry to bother you. I'm really an engineer and I don't know what's going on here, but I'm trying to figure out how to promote this book," but I resist doing this. The researcher I work for at my day job always drills into me that nothing we want should be approached apologetically. Have confidence!

Yes. Confidence and a fat wallet.

Until now, the only ads I've ever placed have been classifieds. Like . . . to sell an old washing machine. Maybe a $15 ad. Real ads, that are not classifieds, are crazy-expensive. Think $15 with a few exponents. Enough said about that.

The other thing, maybe the hardest for me, is that it's really important to me that everybody likes me. I know that is foolhardy but I try to be a nice person and I hate to ask for anything. Maybe I'll ask you for a french fry, but usually not for favors. Promoting a book feels like going around cyberspace asking a lot of people who don't know me to do nice things for me for no reason. Awkward.

It's a learning experience. The original challenge was finding time to write amidst my family and career responsibilities. The new challenge is adding a publicity element into the mix. I'm seeking the new balance. This is just like parenting: once you find something that works, the kids change it up on you. And in writing, once I found a rhythm, the business end of publishing changed my rhythm.

It's a good problem to have, and I'm not complaining. Just whining a very little bit.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What happens to my manuscript after it's sold?

Ever wonder about that? I did. This post at Redlines and Deadlines gives a succinct account of what you might expect after signing a contract. Individual experiences may differ, of course, but the process described here is almost exactly how it went for me. I like heads-up articles like this because one thing I've noticed about publishing is that it's a good idea to look a step ahead of where we are.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Middlemarch" from Paperback Writer

I just mentioned Paperback Writer the other day but really liked her post about dealing with the sagging middle so she's getting two hurrahs this week. Good stuff.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First Book Review!

The first weird thing that happened when I started submitting the manuscript was that agents or editors would write back and mention my characters by name or talk about a particular scene, giving the impression they'd actually read the story. Of course, they had read it. That's what was so weird.

Now I've received my very first review! Yay! And it's a nice review too, a bonus. It still feels strange that folks I don't know are starting to read the story. But it's a good strange.

Here's what Paige Lovitt of Reader Views thought of Final Approach. I heart Paige Lovitt.

Final Approach
Rachel Brady
Poisoned Pen Press (2009)
ISBN 9781590586556
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (7/09)

When Emily Locke gets a call to assist PI Richard Cole in an investigation by using her sky diving expertise to go undercover, her past comes back to haunt her. Having lost her husband and daughter four years prior the case that Emily is called to assist with bears strong similarities to the one that she was working on when she lost her family. As Emily continues assisting with the investigation, she discovers that the accident involving her family might not be what it appeared to be at the time. Desperate to find answers, Emily throws herself into this investigation and in doing so her own life is now endangered.

Rachel Brady has written a novel that is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. She has built an incredible amount of suspense into this drama. Incorporating a unique twist into the plot allows for some interesting surprises. Her knowledge of sky diving and attention to detail make the story seem very realistic. This makes it kind of scary for a reader who has a fear of heights! I also appreciated her ability to create interesting and colorful characters. They added a great deal to the story.

I can’t imagine any fans of suspense that will not enjoy this novel. I highly recommend “Final Approach” by Rachel Brady, and believe that it would also make a great selection for readers’ groups.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Paperback Writer offers virtual writing workshops this week

Lynn Viehl is doing a week-long series of virtual workshops over at Paperback Writer. Great writing advice and a chance to win door prizes. Just leave her a comment. :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Strength in Numbers

Well, here's the thing. I'm a very creative procrastinator.

After a few successful weeks of regularly hitting my word count goal, I happened upon a dry spell. For one thing, I wasn't quite sure what the next scene should be. For another, I'd lost track of what the Bad Guy was doing. Further, I was reading an interesting book at the time, so the purported writer's block was a convenient excuse to visit somebody else's story instead of my own. Then (this next part is kind of gross) I nearly cut off a finger. That's a different story.

But everybody knows a girl can't type without all her fingers. It'll take a few weeks for me to recover, so I was actually looking forward to a few weeks of just catching up on some reading. My books-to-be-read shelf overfloweth. The injury seemed well-timed to my mental block. The recovery period would be a good time to let the manuscript gel for a while . . . see what the old subconscious could come up with.

But that damn Facebook! I can't stay away. And you know what? Soon I was typing despite my maimed finger, same as I'm doing right now. And this, oddly, disappointed me because it meant there really was no excuse.

I e-mailed a writing friend. "I'm blocked."
She replied: "After you read this, wash your face, eat a peanut butter and whatever sandwich and put your fingers on the keyboard. Even if its only one sentence you can say that you wrote."

I opened my file right then and wrote two hundred words. Later that night, another three hundred. Today, a thousand. What gives?

I'll tell you what gives. A kick in the pants.

I believe that in all things, sometimes there is simply strength in numbers. Encouragement. Accountability. Validation. I've seen this at play in the gym, within my running group, and even at my job. Yes, at the end of the day, we must do the work ourselves. But friends who are there to push us further when we doubt ourselves are golden. Thanks, Kate.

Take-away messages:
1. Hug a friend.
2. Facebook is physical therapy.