Friday, July 27, 2007

Atlanta Visit Makes Me Feel Like a Real Author

At the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta, my publisher's booth had banners with their new titles, and mine was up there! Even though I’d just recently turned in another round of edits, I spotted a copy of my novel Desert Medicine and ran up to grab it, amazed at the quick turnaround. But the book was just for show: A wrapper with my artwork was pasted onto someone else's book!

I got to meet, again, the wonderful folks at Kregel Publications. The highlight of my visit was meeting with the sales representatives and talking to them about my novel. This is the advice they gave me:

  • Connect with “frontliners” (the people working the bookstore counter) and get them to read my novel. Bookstore customers don’t just buy what’s new: They buy what’s good, based on recommendations from a person they trust, such as the frontliner at their favorite bookstores.

  • Create a readership via the Internet.
    So, my next steps in marketing Desert Medicine (which will be released in November) are to start sending out a newsletter to my email list (create a readership via the Internet) and to visit local bookstores (connect with frontliners).

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Photo: I hold the mock-up copy of my novel, Desert Medicine, at Kregel's trade show booth, on July 10, 2007 in Atlanta.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Author Plans to Keep Cool in Atlanta

I leave Sunday for Atlanta, for the International Christian Retail Show. I’m attending as an “author,” so that’s exciting. Actually, I’ve invited myself, so the trip’s not something I should flatter myself about. But isn’t a big percentage of success just a matter of showing up? So, I’m showing up in Atlanta, with author cards in hand to pass out to anyone who gets within ten feet of me.

And I’m bringing my camera with me. I’ve discovered that I’m much less introverted if I have a camera around my neck. Yes, I’m resorting to using a security blanket when doing self-promotion, but having observed many other authors’ book signings, I know that writers don’t lack personal tics and dependencies. What about the author who brings her lap dog with her, and even gives speeches with the puppy tucked under her chin? What about the author who clutches a Sharpie pen like a dagger to keep fans from hugging her? What about the author who plays the piano on stage instead of reading from his book?

Actually, my novel Desert Medicine hasn’t even been released, so I’ll have it easy. I’ll just introduce myself to Christian booksellers and tell them that my novel is coming out in November.

And I’ll try to keep my cool, literally. July might not be the mildest month for an Atlanta trip.

My last trip to meet booksellers was to New York in June. I visited Ground Zero and the nearby St. Paul’s Chapel, where the firefighters napped and ate between recovery efforts after September 11, 2001. Visiting this landmark was a very sobering, yet inspirational, experience.