One of the challenges I’m facing is marketing a romance novel that’s non-traditional — that is, doesn’t follow the romance formula. My book The Renaissance Club didn’t start out as a classic romance story formula. I was simply intrigued by the idea of a love story across the ages. As I imagined my heroine, May Gold, I wasn’t thinking about book marketing categories, Amazon, the Big Five, romances, or literary agents. More
In a new review for The Renaissance Club, one reader summed up the story: “Time travel and romance, a perfect combination.” I think so too, and it thrills me when someone loves my love story between the Italian genius Bernini and a young art historian who falls through a fold in time. To get a copy and leave your own review, click on THE RENAISSANCE CLUB. More
These 5 tips for balancing your creative life and your published author life might just help save your sanity. Every day when I wake up, I wonder whether I should be the writer or the author — should I spend my time on my new work-in-progress or promote my novel, The Renaissance Club. Creating and promoting are two different mindsets, thiough both involve creativity. More
I’m delighted to have a new interview up at Authors18 — a group of this year’s debut authors, of which I’m a proud member. Among the questions asked: “If you could spend a day with anyone in history, who would it be?” See my answer in today’s interview (hint: I’d travel to Renaissance Italy). Here’s a link to the interview.
Promoting your book should be fun and easy — are you crazy? When there are millions of books out there competing for attention, getting your published book to shine in a spotlight that readers can find seems at first like finding a gold ring that’s been thrown into the ocean.
If you’re a new author and waiting for your book to launch, or it has just launched and you’re obsessing over not doing enough, you know the feeling I’m talking about. After the book’s launch I felt like a real novelist, but I was worried that no one would find my published novel. And I read about this thing called an author platform — something like a launch pad from which your book can rocket into the stratosphere. Did I have one? Did I even have the planks for building such a thing?
The most wonderful thing has happened, the thing I always wanted, and I’m in here under the covers hiding from the book launch day for my first novel, The Renaissance Club. It was published on January 23 by Fiery Seas Publishing, a wonderful new publishing company. Your book launch may not be as scary as mine, but probably it will be. You might find yourself hiding like I am because after all the effort to write and rewrite a book, suffer rejections from agents and publishers, finally find a publisher who finally sends it out in the world, you just have too much wrapped up in this thing. All I’m thinking right now is how can I survive the attention?
Happy 2018! What are your new year’s writing goals? Someone in one of my writers groups asked me, while wishing me a happy 2018. I was shocked to realize I don’t have many. My debut novel launches on January 23 — The Renaissance Club, my time-travel love story, available now on Amazon for pre-order. I have a poetry collection coming out in August — Arabesque, from FutureCycle Press. And I’m finishing the last revision before querying agents and publishers of my new novel, The Romantics. Plus I’m writing a new musical play.
For me, 2018 seems to be all about finishing up big projects and sending them off to sail in wider waters, with new readership and audiences. Do you have a book making its debut in 2018? Maybe your writing goals revolve around book marketing — blogging, doing interviews, giving readings, offering giveaways. These all require a lot of writing. But my big 2018 writing goal is to start writing a new novel.
That’s perennial question, along with its corollary: Should writers be sane? Or is crazy really better for the work. If there’s one thing that drives every writer and poet I know crazy it’s the topic of publishing. Publishing is like hunting dragons — you’re not even sure they exist, you know you need some magical arrow that’s not in your quiver, and really you don’t have a killer’s heart. Especially the poets. It’s such a contradiction to be the introvert who grew up turning inward, turning to the page, and be expected to do things like:
* Give readings
* Build an author platform (my brother the musician built himself a backyard stage — I wish building my platform were that easy!)
* Doing (getting) interviews
* Contributing to the writing community by giving of your (nonexistent) time and energy
And all the other recommended author stuff. Having just completed a final-ish draft of my novel, I again read all the books and articles. They all say: Become an extrovert! Reading these lists, I feel slightly overwhelmed. I just want to stay here on my deck, ignoring the beautiful view of trees waving their branches in a soft breeze, ignoring the birdsong that spills out like Mozart improvising, and write words that take me into my own imagined world, where I imagine being a lot of people I’m not. How crazy is that.
|Asilomar Beach, Photo by Heather Osborne|
Jeannine Hall Gailey responded to Timothy Green‘s Facebook about the responsibilities (and guilt and anxiety) of a poet in promoting a book. Jeannine’s post encourages us to forgive ourselves for not doing everything imaginable at our own cost: organizing cross-country book tours, banner ads, local readings, mailing out dozens of reviews copies, etc. Tim’s post lamented the lack of support from his publisher. He gave numbers: 105 sold by the publisher, 200+ sold by the poet. Around 305 total books sold. There you have it: about 300 sales is what you can expect as a poet with a good audience.
I don’t do readings. Well, I do if invited, but I don’t go out of my way to get invited, and that’s because though I enjoy doing them, it involves some anxiety and preparation and I have a very busy life. I like to give my free time to writing new things. I can’t afford book tours and ads. And I’m very grateful to my publisher, The Aldrich Press (Karen Kelsay Davis, an imprint of Kelsay Books) for supporting my book by making a trailer and sending out review copies.
So how do I promote Gods of Water and Air? I blog. I tweet. I offer discounts. I’m an active presence on social media, posting poems from the books, news, and anecdotes that connect with it. I never stop. And I don’t beat myself up for having sold or given away (yes, I make gifts of books) under 150 in a year. I think it’s a pretty good number and it will grow. It’s a good book.
I do what I can and subscribe to Jeannine’s philosophy. Also, I’m going to take Gods of Water and Air to e-book soon. I just bought Mary Oliver’s new one on Kindle. I don’t bring paper books into the house much. I don’t care about sales, I just care that my work gets read.
Here’s a poem from my book:
with the grasses today, their herringbone
weaves and golds, purples, and greens,
the seed pods floating
like butterflies on tall stems.
at sunset, among its moving flecks
and hues, rocked by the wind
with tangled bird trills,
and tongued my neck.
My speech came in medleys
of mood. I swayed
saying the Beloved’s name
with endless vowels.
to the bone-clean rock
owned by a tiny lizard blinking
with its pebbled lid,
and when it slunk down,
hugging its planet, I went
home hugging my heart.