Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Bane of Most Authors

My husband and I just got back from a three and a half week book tour to promote my new mystery, Glitter of Diamonds. We began by driving to Washington, DC, where I attended Malice Domestic, an annual event for the writers and fans of the more genteel form of mysteries. We then drove up the coast to Boston and then across to Buffalo, down to Cincinnati, back up to Madison, Wisconsin, and then home via Ann Arbor, Michigan. Something like 8,000 miles altogether. And a blur of stores, some of which had everything ready for me, including people who were eager to hear me talk about myself and buy my books, and some of which gave me a table and left me to do the pitching.

Now we're getting ready to do some promotion in our own area. Crime Writers of Canada is working with the Toronto Reference Library to put on "Look Who's Reading Canadian Mysteries" June 5th and I'm privileged to have my book being read by Herbie Kuhn, the Air Canada in-house voice of the Toronto Raptors. Okay, switching sports there a bit, since the events of Glitter of Diamonds are set in the milieu of professional baseball and its surrounding media, but Herbie and his wife both like mysteries! And I'm sure they like baseball, too.

I also have a book launch from 1 to 3 PM Saturday, June 9th, at Chapters in Markham (on highway 7 between Warden and Woodbine).

Then I'll be participating in Book Expo, where I get to read from Glitter of Diamonds and then do signings for booksellers and librarians.

And a panel in Burlington on Monday, June 18th... (See my schedule for updates.)

And I'm working on creating a press kit and a new website for Glitter of Diamonds, and putting together a promotional tour in Canada this fall, and getting more radio and TV interviews, and looking for more places on the internet to connect with, and more reviewers who will read the book, and ...

And I sometimes wonder what happened to my being a writer! But such is the world these days that most writers have to reinvent themselves as salespeople if they want their books to sell. A marketing guru I recently heard speak said that most publishers are good printers. In other words, they can bring a book into physical being, but even they don't know how to guarantee the book's success in the marketplace. So it's left to the authors, who presumably have the most invested in their books, to get out and flog them.

I'll leave you with this word of advice from my recent experiences. The next time you walk into a bookstore and see a lonely author hawking his or her wares, don't be afraid to walk up and say hello, and ask what the book is about, and how long it took to write, and what it's about. You don't have to buy the book unless you decide you really want to; we won't mind. We're just glad of the chance to interact with you. What we really dislike is watching someone see us and quickly walk the other way or go around three tables and trip over a dolly in the middle of the far aisle in order to avoid walking near us. That tends to get embarrassing. And yes, it really happened.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

good work keep it up...

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Marci said...

Just be glad that person didn't come back and try to sue you because he/she tripped! :)
Hope the trip turns into lots of sales and fruitful connections.
:)Marcia

Belinda said...

When I saw the photo of you signing your books, I thought that you must be living your dream--but not really eh?

Well, you are out of your comfort zone for sure and thanks for the words of advice for the panicky public who are awed at the sight of an author.

violet said...

Aww - and glad for that bit of advice. I never know how to react when I'm in situations where I face someone who is hawking their own wares and I am not really planning to buy (even such venues as craft sales). Knowing that friendliness and conversation are sometimes enough will probably make me less likely to flee. All the best in your marketing endeavors!

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