Monday, August 4, 2008

Preparing for Multi-Author Events

I recently returned to my well-worn copy of Austin Camacho's Successfully Marketing Print-On-Demand Fiction (don't let the title fool you - this book is full of great marketing tips for any kind of book, presented in a concise, easy to digest manner) because I thought I remembered a chapter on preparing for team events. It took me few seconds to find the information because it wasn't a full chapter, but a topic in Chapter 15 called "The Double Variation".

So what did Mr. Camacho (http://www.ascamacho.com/) have to say?
  • If your ego is out of control, don't consider a group event
  • Choose other authors whose company you enjoy
  • Choose authors whose work you can enthusiastically recommend to others

Uh oh. With only one published book and one soon-to-be published short story, I consider myself a beginner who has much to learn - so no ego problems here. The group event in question is the release of A Death in Texas, an anthology of mystery stories. I have met many of the authors at monthly meetings of The Final Twist, and I definitely enjoy their company. That leaves the little matter of enthusiastically recommending their work. That's hard to do when I haven't read most of their books. That sounds bad, so let me just list a few of my feeble excuses here.

I found this wonderful group less than a year ago when researching how to market Hacksaw. It was once again Mr. Camacho's advice - find a writing group in your area and learn with them (Chapter 5 - Join the Club). I discussed in an earlier blog about how welcoming they were. I knew immediately that I would join. And they've been quite helpful while I muddled my way through publicity kits, book signings, interviews, etc. etc. Different members helped to prepare me each step along the way. So, as you can see, it's been all about me. I've been a taker of information on a steep learning curve, just trying to figure out how to let readers know my book exists. Even though I read many accounts on what would happen once the book was released and thought I was prepared, I was not. So it took me awhile - months - to learn to balance the marketing and publicity aspects of a writing career with the more desirable writing and reading aspects. Only recently have I become a contributor to the group, sharing my learning experiences with others and accepting responsibility for group publicity (TheFinalTwist.com). So, my first excuse - an unexpectedly hectic schedule.

My second, and last, excuse is even weaker. Many of these fine people write in genres that I don't typically read - Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance. This is a weak excuse because it isn't the whole truth. The whole truth is that I was worried about what would happen if I read, and did not enjoy, one of their books. What is the right thing to do when you can't look someone in the eye and tell them that I thoroughly enjoyed their work? I know it happens. I know I've read books that came highly recommended and did not enjoy them and I've recommended books to people who came back later and asked why, exactly, I thought they'd enjoy such-and-such. But never before have I been face to face with the authors on a monthly basis.

Thankfully, my unasked questions were answered by another member of the group. I know she bought my book and believe she has read it. I have to guess at the last part, though, because her only comment to date has been that the publisher did a great job with the cover. (Ouch!) So I had my answer - I will find something positive to say to each member when I read their work. (Shameless self promotion inserted here - two other members have told me that they couldn't put Hacksaw down. One even took the time to write a review on Amazon. So there! Back to the grown-up blog...)

But what do I do at a group event if a reader asks for my opinion on someone else's book? What do I say if I can't 'enthusiastically recommend' the work?

After reading the first few books in the stack, I know I will not have this problem at the October 10 release party for A Death in Texas. I have been working my way through books written by members of The Final Twist. I started with a book by Rosemary Poole Carter because she recommended this group to me, then moved on to those genres that I don't typically read because I thought an education was in order.

So far, I've read books by Rosemary Poole Carter (Women of Magdalene), Diana L. Driver (Ninth Lord of the Night), and Pauline Baird Jones (The Key). The result? Look for more on these books in future blogs as each deserves a great review. I can no longer say that I don't typically read these genres as I'll be actively seeking more from all three of these ladies. I hope they can write as fast as I can read.

I think I can relax now. If all The Final Twist authors are as accomplished as these three, I will have no problem 'enthusiastically recommending' their work. The thought did occur to me - what if my fellow authors don't feel the same way about my book? But I decided to leave that worry for another day.

If you are interested in meeting The Final Twist authors and happen to live near Katy, Texas, stop by Katy Budget Books between 5 and 8 pm on October 10. We'll be looking for you.

Books discussed in this article:

Ninth Lord of the Night, Diana L. Driver, L&L Dreamspell, $16.95, 230 pages, ISBN: 9781603180023

The Key, Pauline Baird Jones, L&L Dreamspell, $21.95, 476 pages, ISBN: 978-1603180108

Successfully Marketing Print on Demand Fiction, Austin S. Camacho, Infinity Publishing, $14.95, 121 pages, ISBN: 978-0741417510

Successfully Marketing Your Novel in the 21st Century, Austin S. Camacho, Infinity Publishing, $14.95, 252 pages, ISBN: 978-0976218180

Women of Magdalene, Rosemary Poole-Carter, Kunati Inc., $24.95, 288 pages, ISBN: 978-1601640147

1 comment:

Dorset said...

Keep up the good work.