We are having the weirdest weather in Connecticut. We had record high temperatures in the nineties yesterday. The air quality was so bad, I was afraid to go outside—even with my inhaler. Now, tomorrow night it’s going to drop down to thirty degrees.
I’m hot. I’m cold. It’s like a Katy Perry song. I had to drag my son’s spare comforter out and wrap it around me because all my stuff is still in the attic. Luckily, I like Thomas the Tank Engine. I just put my flip flops away, kicking and screaming.
I think publishing is a lot like New England weather. I’ve self published. I’ve gone with small presses. And I have a November release coming out with Entangled Publishing in November and a contemporary romance series coming out with Random House in summer 2014. So I’ve run the gamut of highs and lows. Self publishing was like screaming into the Grand Canyon while wearing earplugs—I couldn’t hear my own echo. The small presses, I learned how to promote myself a little better and with the larger presses, I took what I learned and built on their marketing strategies.
Swag doesn’t sell books—but it does give you a chance to get your name out there and put your cover in people’s minds. Lessons learned: Don’t over buy bookmarks or cover flats. They’re usually thrown out at the end of the conference. Do be creative. I gave out soap with my cover on with a label that said, “Read a dirty book.” I had people come up to me and rave about the idea. People like useful swag. You want them to keep it around. Some ideas are good, quality pens with your name and website on them. That way you can use them for multiple releases. Lip gloss or a purse mirror with your cover on it, is also popular. But the best swag is a book. Or a short story, novella. Or even the first chapter of your novel. If you hook the reader, they’ll come back for more. What do you keep
Blog Tours are a fun, easy and the least expensive way to connect with readers. Lessons learned: Ask a question, give a prize to a random commenter. Don’t spread yourself too thin or you’ll be too burned out to check in and talk to the readers. As a matter of fact, I’ll be giving away an electronic copy of my eBook, Undercover Lover to a commenter on this blog post.
Then there are Goodreads and Amazon reviews to worry about. You would think that a lot of nasty low star reviews will stop people from buying a book. Not true. It’s almost the opposite. With the exception of the author behaving badly—i.e. being nasty or arguing with the review, most people take reviews with a grain of salt. What one person absolutely hated, might be what another really wants to read. In fact, a lot of five stars review has some readers skeptical. So if you get some ones and threes, don’t panic. It’s really hard not to read the reviews. If it’s a good one, my day is made. If it’s a bad one, I feel bad for awhile. It’s like a roller coaster with the ups and plunging downs, the twists and back jarring tours. Sometimes, it’s best not to even get on the ride. But that’s easier said than done.
My new release is a romantic suspense novella about an undercover detective and a psychiatrist/Reiki practitioner who are trying to solve a murder while running away from the Russian mob. Here’s a little excerpt from it:
They stood up to leave when Vera brought over their checks. Drake took both of them and pulled out his wallet.
“You don’t have to do that,” she protested and tried to take her check from him.
“It’s the least I could do. Besides, it’s my pleasure to treat a beautiful woman to lunch. I usually get to buy hot dogs from the street vendor for me and my partner.”
“Well, thank you,” she said graciously and then impulsively kissed him on the cheek.
His face was smooth and warm. His cheek just having the slightest brush of whisker, unlike Ralphie whose beard was as riotous as the rest of his blond curls. Drake turned his head and their lips just missed brushing each other. There was a flicker of desire deep in her belly and her fingers itched to slide into his jacket and see if he had muscles to go with that suit.
Staring at his jaw, she wondered again why she was comparing him to Ralphie. Ralphie was her patient. It wouldn’t be ethical to be anything more. And this detective was a little too slick for her. Maybe it was the ponytail or him not taking off his sunglasses, but warning bells started to go off when he slid his finger down her chin and tilted it up so she was looking at her dual reflection in his sunglasses.
“Are you doing anything Friday night?” he asked.
“I’m working,” she said and stepped back. Just like that the spell was broken. She slung her purse over her shoulder. “Thank you again for lunch. Good luck with your search.”
“Stay safe,” he said and she felt his eyes on her as she walked out the back door.
If you’d like a chance to win a copy, leave a comment on this post.