Earlier this week, I had lunch with a writer friend. The conversation turned, as writer-lunch-conversations are wont to do, to promotion — what each of us does to promote our work, and what we should be doing. My views on promotion have changed considerably, so I thought I’d share them here, and we can hash out what we thinks works and what doesn’t work.
I promoted my first novel, The Glasswrights’ Apprentice, with a self-financed book tour. I traveled up and down the West Coast, stopping at a dozen bookstores (Borders, B&N, and independents) for readings and signings. I spent weeks scheduling the visits, phoning community relation managers, begging for a calendar slot. In addition to the West Coast tour, I visited my hometown (Minneapolis) for a reading, and I hosted a reading in my then-town (D.C.) I hosted a book launch party at the law firm where I [...]
Continue reading Get Yer Hot Fresh Books!
Two weeks ago, I wrote here about writing short fiction and how the challenges it presents differ from the challenges of writing novels. I want to expand on that a bit, and will use as my jumping off point a comment on that first post from regular site contributor Megan B. In her comment, Megan wrote (in part):
I think it’s worth considering that a short story set in a larger universe (e.g. the Thieftaker world, which you have established already in longer form) is a different beast than a stand-alone short story. It has it’s own advantages and challenges because it uses some people, places or concepts that the reader may or may not be familiar with.
On the one hand I think that Megan is absolutely correct: writing a short in an established world certainly makes the author’s job easier. In part this is just a matter of [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Short Fiction and Worldbuilding
Here at Magical Words, we often talk about the importance of perseverance — BICHOK (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard, for any newcomers reading this), writing through the doubt, making time day after week after month after year until the novel is finally finished. I’m a *huge* believer in discipline, with regard to my writing. I got far in the professional work-world of law firms by making commitments to my employers and keeping those commitments. I’d be a fool to be less dedicated to my own writing career.
But every once in a while, everyone needs to stray from the path.
That’s what I did, yesterday afternoon.
For those who haven’t been following along, I’ve been on a very tight writing timetable. I’ve been doing final edits on one novel (DARKBEAST REBELLION), which will be in stores in September. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on another novel (***Name Deleted [...]
Continue reading Expect the Unexpected
Diana Pharaoh Francis
This is a post about what you can’t do and what you can.
I had a talk with my agent today, really a schooling, about the current state of publishing and BN. She’s far more up to date on things than I am–she has to be and thank goodness for it–and made me aware of changes in the industry. I think I’m pretty good about staying on top of things, but I had missed this one. Specifically, many books aren’t even getting into BN. They are not getting shelf space at all. If a series isn’t doing well enough, the sequels simply don’t get ordered, a lot more than used to happen. Now BN has become a heavy hitter in the industry, because it’s one of the few major bricks and mortar stores left out there, and because of that, their order of a title is substantial and will [...]
Continue reading Hard and Sweet Truth
I completed my first manuscript in the year 2000 — it was a western historical romance titled Pledged to a Stranger. I revised it, queried a few agents, and then put it in a drawer. Here’s the long story why: when I was a kid, it never occurred to me I could be an author. Authors were like rock stars to me and I was a normal kid and thought normal kids from South Carolina don’t grow up to be rockstars or authors.
And then I read an interview with Jude Deveraux who said she started writing her first book when she finished reading a book and thought, “I could do that.” I had this total moment of shock — really? It’s that easy? Becoming an author is nothing more than… deciding to do it? (The answer is no, it’s not that easy but this was pre-internet days when [...]
Continue reading On branding
As you’ve probably gathered if you frequent these boards, I have a new novel coming out tomorrow. DARKBEAST, by my pen-name Morgan Keyes, will officially be in stores on August 28. With the challenge of promoting a new-to-me sub-genre (middle grade traditional fantasy) by a new-to-me name, I’ve been exploring all sorts of publicity and marketing options. In fact, I hired a consultant to help me hone my word-of-mouth marketing skills. (Okay. I didn’t hire her. I bartered with her — baked goods and tea for advice. But the advice is really good — good enough to share here.)
First off, I learned the following techniques for enhancing word-of-mouth marketing:
Make it easy. Make it easy for friends and family to talk about your book. Give people short news summaries (“the book is available for pre-order!”) and ask them to do ONE easy thing. For example, ask people to post [...]
Continue reading Word-of-Mouth Marketing (Oh, and DARKBEAST, Too)
Gather ’round, folks. I’m ready to confess. I’m about to share with you the biggest mistake of my career. (Thus far. I know that there are bigger mistakes out there for me to make!)
Once upon a time, I signed my first book contract. It was for The Glasswrights’ Apprentice, a sequel, and a book to be named later. Clever me (OK, clever agent), the “book to be named later” was actually a book already written — Season of Sacrifice. Sacrifice was the novel I wrote during the year that my agent was shopping around Apprentice. While Sacrifice was similar to the Glasswrights series in genre — traditional fantasy — it was set in a completely different world, populated with completely different characters who worked a completely different magic. (OK, actually Sacrifice included characters who worked magic; there is little or no magic in the Glasswrights series.)
So. I thought [...]
Continue reading By Any Other Name (Or, The Biggest Mistake Of My Career)