I am thrilled to announce my novel Stone Cold Dead will be available through the historic Denver book store Tattered Cover, at all three locations. If you don't live in the Denver, Colorado area, you can order the book by phone or via their website. Stone Cold Dead will be available in January 2014, but can be preordered now.
You can learn more about the history of the Tattered Cover at their website.
Why does my webpage list the release date as December 18, 2013, while the Tattered Cover website lists availability as January 2014? Book stores give the publisher leeway to allow for unforeseen delays in printing and shipping the book.
My husband told me he saw a moose on the way to work. His commute takes him north on Interstate 25. I was sceptical. Sunday morning we drove with our friends Jeth and Todd to Cabela's. Todd spotted the moose first. Leonard pulled to the shoulder. As cars and trucks whizzed past us, oblivious, we watched a bull moose meander along the side of the highway. While not exactly urban, this moose is close to a city. You can see the marshy habitat along a creek that drew the animal to this less-than-isolated location. I took the photos with my cell phone, so they are not spectacular, but you get the idea. For more info about moose in Colorado, see http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Pages/Moose.aspx
Eager fans line up out the door and around the block. Maybe numbers are assigned, to prevent stampeding by readers anxious for a moment with their favorite author. The cash register and credit card reader overheat with the burden of hundreds of rapid-fire sales.
My little fantasy still happens for the big stars of fiction writing, but for debut authors – not so much. My novel Stone Cold Dead is set for release December 18, so I mulled over the idea of setting up a traditional book signing. The physical book tour has not gone the way of the dinosaurs – yet – but with the depressing closure of book stores, there aren’t as many venues available for new authors.
Then I heard about the virtual book tour. Authors arrange (or are invited) to participate in blogs. The advantages to a blog tour are – no gas driving to bookstores, no need to dress up, no issues with weather, no facing an empty room. The disadvantage is I will not meet readers face-to-face.
People have been incredibly generous with their advice. Below are the gems I’ve gleaned from my research.
Blog Tour How-To:
1) Writing and reading related blogs come in dozens of flavors. Some are powerhouses of influence, others are cozy little havens in the electronic sea. Find those that fit your intended reader, matching your genre and subgenre.
2) Know the blog. If you don’t follow it, read several blog posts so you know their tone and rating expectations. PG family friendly? R and steamy? Does the blog host avoid certain topics?
3) Approach bloggers with the same professionalism as you used with agents and editors. You are applying for a slot on their blog. Treat it like a job interview.
4) Have all your ducks in a row. You may be asked for a digital author photo in the correct format. You definitely want a copy of your novel cover to be included in your blog post. Have a polished blurb describing your story, such as the back cover copy. Know how to provide a link to your book, making it easier for readers to find your book, and hopefully purchase a copy.
5) Deliver the goods. Don’t leave them hanging with nothing to post when you committed to a certain date.
NaNoWriMo is my frenemy. I both love and dread National Novel Writing Month, the annual event devoted to writing a novel (50,000 words) in a month.
A quote attributed to playwright Michael Kanin claims, “I don’t like to write, but I love to have written.” I disagree. The process of creating a story can be painfully difficult, but it is a challenge I welcome.
The journey from idea to completed story is like a road trip in a vehicle of dubious reliability. There will be breakdowns. You will blow out tires and run out of gas. Storms make the route slick and dangerous. Maps, GPS, and directions from the roadside fruit stand will fail you. You might complete the journey on foot. Or crawling on hands and knees. Maybe you won’t finish the trip you began, but will find a new, unexpected destination. If you’re fortunate, you’ll race across the finish line in triumph.
Another famous writing quote, this one from Virginia Woolf, sums up why I keep coming back to NaNoWriMo. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
Ignore the bit about having money. NaNoWriMo is free. What’s important is that NaNoWriMo gives writers, men as well as women, that mental room of their own. Participating in a global event gave me the permission I couldn’t give myself to devote every spare moment for an entire month to writing fiction.
By the end of this November, I will most probably have caffeine induced heart palpitations as I drink way too much coffee trying to steal a few more minutes from the day. I’ll have alienated my friends and family with my antisocial behavior and single-minded focus on my story, hoping they remember this madness lasts only thirty days. And I’ll be in possession of a steaming pile of… words. A story that requires brutal editing before it can see the light of day. A novel draft produced in a month instead of a year or more. I’ll be as physically drained as I was after running a marathon. My brain will be mush.
And I will love every minute of it.
Do you harbor the secret desire to be a novelist? Want to write your memoirs but haven't had time? Need an excuse to finish that story you started years ago? Sign up now for NaNoWriMo! http://nanowrimo.org/ http://nanowrimo.org/
(If you want to be my buddy, my NaNo name is Granny_Queequeg.)
Unlike many debut authors who eagerly anticipate the release of their first novel, I feel my release date is racing toward me. There are so many things I need to do, so many decisions to make. Whether published by a small press or a giant New York publishing house, most authors are expected to do their own promotion.
First decision: Do I put my energy into a book signing tour? I dreaded the prospect of the time and travel required, assuming I could find venues for my signings. Then I heard about blog tours. Writers and bloggers generously shared their experiences and requirements, which I’ve boiled down into Blog Tour 101.
What is a blog tour? The modern equivalent of the book signing tour. The author arranges appearances on blogs frequented by readers likely to be interested in his or her work.
How does it work? Depending on the blog host, the author may a) post a guest blog, b) be interviewed, c) submit a book for a review to be posted on the blog, c) run a contest to give away a book, d) provide book information such as a blurb, excerpt, and links to purchase the book which are posted by the host, or any combination of the above.
The purpose? Creating buzz. Without going overboard on the “buy my book” pitch, the author has the opportunity to gain visibility with readership. Bloggers influence readers’ purchases, some dramatically so. With fewer physical bookstores and more online ordering of books, blogs can serve as your indirect sales outlet.
How does an author set up a blog tour? Bloggers are eager to post new content. As a writer, you should already be aware of popular blogs in your genre. If not, start doing your research. Bloggers may post invitations for authors to appear on their blogs on writers’ loops. You can also check the blog for instructions for submitting posts or requesting reviews.
The risks? If you send your book to a reviewer, and the person doesn’t like your book, now that information will be posted for their readership. Or you could spend lots of time preparing blog posts for a blogger with minimal traffic. Another risk is if you get caught up in the chatty nature of blogs, and forget to treat this as a business opportunity. Be real, be fun, but be professional.
The Blog Tour sounds like a good option for a person with a full time job and a limited promotional budget. I’ll post more developments on this journey in the coming weeks.
Have you ever purchased a book due to a bloggers recommendation? For any authors who have done a blog tour, what are the benefits and pitfalls?
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