Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why I love my publisher and other thoughts on Bouchercon

First, a public thank you to the Indianapolis Airport for providing me with free wifi. Good times.

My first Bouchercon blew my mind, but more on that in a subsequent post. Today I'll share some very cool things I learned about my publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, this week.

It started when I checked in to my hotel. I was too cheap to pay $12 a day for Internet access from my room (I got over this soon afterward) so the first night at the hotel I used a PC in the Business Center to check e-mail, update Twitter, and do all those very important things that can't wait. I tried to update Facebook, but the site was blocked, which has a lot to do with why I eventually ended up paying to use the Internet from my room, but I digress.

A very nice woman in the Business Center, Caryn, also there for Bouchercon, asked for my name and the title of my book and then very convincingly and somewhat excitedly said she'd not only heard of Final Approach but had marked it on her list of books to buy at the conference. She seemed very sincere but I couldn't help but wonder if she was just being polite. I mean, come on. Me?

Well, yes. Because it turns out she has a long-time relationship with Poisoned Pen Press.

Two days later, it happened again. Bouchercon had a speed-dating pitch session for First Novelists and as soon as I laid my card on the table, a different woman said, "Oh yeah! I reviewed this book!" She flipped over my card, saw Poisoned Pen's logo on the back, and nodded. "Barbara (Peters) said great things about this book in a Library Journal interview. She's really working to get it out there."

Caryn (from the hotel story) was at one of the speed-dating tables with my book in hand when I sat down. I later confessed all my self-doubts about whether she really knew about the book when we first met, and we had a good laugh. When I saw her Saturday at the Anthony Awards, she introduced me to one of her friends: "This is Rachel Brady. She wrote Final Approach." And her friend said, "Oh yeah! Final Approach. I bought that here."

Truly, I almost cried. At the very least there was inappropriate girlish squealing.

Later at the conference I learned from a fellow Poisoned Pen Press author that the press had placed a nice full size ad in Library Journal with four covers for their debut authors. That's a big deal. I don't get those periodicals so I had no idea. So much of what the press does for us is transparent to the authors, or at least to me. It really shines, though, when you drop a new author into a conference of 1400 people and some of them already know who you are.

And there's one more.

I was talking to Rebecca Russell between panels. We were chatting and keeping our seats, and a pair of ladies was doing the same thing in the row behind us. Rebecca asked me about the novel, and was kind enough to buy it the same day :-) and the ladies behind us overheard our talk and asked me who my publisher was. I said, "Poisoned Pen" and--no joke--their faces lit up. "We get their newsletters!"

Thank you Rob, Barbara, Jessica, Nan, and the whole team for all the things you do that make total strangers excited to see me at Bouchercon. This was the neatest conference yet, and definitely the most eye-opening. I am a lucky girl!

Coming soon: Bouchercon debrief, including pictures. Write on. ;-)


  1. Sounds like you have a great team in your corner. I look forward to reading Final Approach
    (just ordered it from Barnes & Noble)...

  2. Thanks for the kind words Rachel. We do try.

  3. What a great team. And how nice to read about them.

  4. Thanks for trying the book, Bendigo! When I hear things like that it feels like Christmas.

    Rob, like I said, I count myself among the lucky ones.

    And Sheila, they really are nice people who work hard for their authors and readers.