I’ve been writing about PR — promotional ideas for books — for the last few weeks, despite the fact I’ve never — never! — done much for PR. PR is difficult to do in the thriller/mystery community. Few myster/ythriller readers do a lot of Internet searching for things to read, so PR there is mostly a bust. And, frankly, there is such a variety of good thriller writers out there, that when readers want a new book, they can walk into a bookstore and Voila — there they are stacked at the front door.
Yep — not much PR by me. Until now — and that in the two weeks *after* my book came out. The reason for that is the deadline that kept me BIC from October through December. Raven Cursed was turned in on Jan 3. following a rewrite that kept me tied to my desk and totally focused. Mercy Blade came out on Jan 4 to no fanfare, little PR and (as far as I knew) no chance of going anywhere.
But I dove in anyway, coming up with bunches of blogs, interviews (of me, of my character Jane Yellowrock, and her alter-ego, Beast. Making each as unique as possible, with a different slant and emphasis) andgetting them on line. So that is part of one of today’s post — the Online presence. If you do a search of Mercy Blade today, you’ll find a lot of sites that host reviews and interviews. Make a note of them. Keep a listing. And when your own book comes out to a New York publishing house, have yourPR person at the house send review copies to them all, then hit up the sites at the *contact us* link, and ask them if they want to do an interview, blog — you know — the things you *should* be getting ready for 3 months prior to a book coming out! If you go with a small pub house, you’ll have to do your research alone and likely send your own review copies, so you’ll need a good list of review and interview sites. Sometimes, it pays off. I didn’t expect it to. I knew that my presence on the net was small. But things were happening that I didn’t know about. Somehow, Jane Yellowrock and Beast had hit a chord with people and there was a buzz of which I was ignorant.
Last Wednesday evening, my editor called. It was a life changing call. Totally unexpected, despite last year’s, new, writing-life goals. Totally jaw dropping. Totally huge. A megaton WOW factor.
I’d like to share that call with you, as it is branded, seared, scorched into my memory.
But before that, let me say that Mercy Blade is my 22nd book. Coming out in the 22ndyear of my publishing life, under the third penname (despite it *being* my name).
This has been no overnight success story. Phone call starts now.
Hubby’s cell phone rings. Faith: “Rod’s cell phone.” (Yeah, I’m cute.)
Unknown Voice, sounding uncertain: “Mmmmm … Faith? Gwen?”
Unknown voice: “Hi, Faith! It’s Jessica.”
Faith: (Odd feeling sweeps through me. There is no immediate reason for her call.) “Oh, Jessica!” (Followed by a some inane idiocy on my part. Gack. I am so socially inadequate.)
Jessica: “Have you heard from Lucienne?” (My agent.)
Faith: “Mmmm. No. Why? Should I have?” (Crap. I’m being dropped. Wait. My agent would have called me with that, not my editor. But she asked if Lucienne had called. Good news or bad news? My life sucks. Or is great. Or sucks.)
Jessica: “Well, she should have the right to tell you first. I should let her tell you. But maybe she’s out of town.”
Faith: “Okaaaaay…” (Doesn’t sound like bad news.) “What’s happened?”
Jessica: “Do you know how the New York Times bestseller list works?”
Faith: (Brain goes on the fritz for a moment. Did she say the NYT???) “Yeah, vaguely.” (Okay, I know how it works. But remember – brain on fritz…)
Jessica: “Well, the New York Times Bestseller list is number one through number 20. The extended list is 20 through 35.”
Faith: (Maybe I responded with something that sounded coherent. Probably not. I made a sound. It sorta sounded like an interrogative. I think.)
Jessica: “Well,” (her voice is getting excited. My heart does a summersault. I start to cry. I get instantly drunk. No liquor involved. It wasn’t necessary.) “Mercy Blade debuted on it. At number 24.”
Faith: (I must have said something. Right? Must have. I think I said) “Oh, Crap. Oh… Oh. ROD!!!! Come here!” (I hope I held the phone away from my mouth. If not, she has a busted eardrum.)
Jessica: (Laughing) “Are you crying???”
Faith: “Yes.” (Said with a whine in it. Sorta like, “Yeeeeessssss?”)
Jessica: (Starts to cry too.) “This is great news! I just saw it. I have to go tell the publisher! This is wonderful!”
Faith: (Incoherent sobs.) “Yuh-huh. It is. Thank you!” (More incoherent sobs. More small talk. Maybe two forgotten lines.)
Call ended. The house phone rang. It was Lucienne calling. I talked with Lucienne, who was ecstatic. I was still crying. The rest is a blur. I called Mom, Dad, Joy (best friend since we were 8), Misty, Kim H. And I sat and studied the bestseller list. I was on it. Me. I was on the New York Times (extended, I know) bestseller list.
Have there been any changes in my life? Nope. No new offers of future contracts. (I have a book with Jessica now, to be revised and rewritten. It is the last one under contract.) The hubby and I have not bought a new house. No new kayak boat or new paddle. And I still drive a 15+ year old truck with a kayak-rack on top. And, as usual, the AKA (Gwen) is working on a rewrite – a thankless, sometimes boring job.
But things are changing – subtly. I feel different. I feel a sense of excitement, of joy, and expectation. I have a book trailer in the works. A photo shoot for mein the works. A website remake is in the works. An ad has been made (all paid for by me.) A photo-shoot for a Jane Yellowrock model is being photo-shopped. Small changes but good ones. And most of them are things I had planed before the NYT news came out.
Will Mercy Blade stay on the NYT list? It could stay there, but frankly, it isn’t likely. The numbers are not improving, and are growing less impressive. I made it, even if only as a one hit wonder. But the publishing industry will look at me and my work differently for a while. A short while. And I’ll be watching to see what happens next. And sharing it here, with you.
Goals help. Goals are good. Goals are … important. But character is vital. Story is crucial. And BIC is king.
I’ll be away from the .Net today for a while, but I’ll check in as soon as I can for comments and questions.