Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Taxi down the runway

I'm preparing for takeoff, which is now nine months away. The same amount of time it takes to grow a baby, coincidentally.

Here's a list I was given by a published mystery author friend--things I should be doing to prepare for my book launch in May:

1) My main advice is BOOK FIRST.

That's not an issue until I get some edits to work on. The novel is written and the publisher has it. So I'll go on to the next suggestion.

2) Then...get as much PR done now as you can, a day at a time.

OK, PR now, since I don't have any work to do on the book. Sounds like a plan.

3) Guest blogs? Line them up now and write them now. Don't do more than 12 and only do the ones that are friends or have big audiences. Don't say yes to every Tina, Denise and Harriet.

It's probably too late for that. I've accepted the first three blog invites, two of them interviews. I'm not sure I can be that choosy--not sure I know 12 people whose blogs have huge audiences. But I'm very pleased with the interview that went up Friday!

The second friend who asked wants to do an interview in September and another one closer to my publication date. Isn't she smart? That will be at this blog, Writers Who Kill. The first one should go up September 8th, I think. It will be a two-part interview! Not sure when the second day will be.

A third blogger invited me and I'll do hers next week. She has a feature called Made It Moment, where a writer relates the moment they considered they had made it.

I've been reading all three of these blogs and am very pleased to be on them!

So I guess I have 9 to go. I hope I can find 9 more places to blog, besides my own.

4) Don’t do too many conferences. Do only the main ones where the audience reads your style.

That's not much of a problem. I can't afford to go to many, unless that Texas Lotto comes through for me. Before I got the contract, I had already scheduled Left Coast Crime, mostly because it's going to be in Santa Fe next spring. I was on the fence about attending Malice Domestic again, although I love the conference, have gone many times, know lots of people who attend, and have a daughter and her family close by. I'm going now, of course. I may even be able to sell some books there, if they are printed in time. The publisher says that's a possibility!

5) Hit as many bookstores as you can - close to home. Go in now, have some artwork, a postcard, a PR package. Make friends. Shop first in the store so you're not just "an author" coming to pitch a book. Buy a book. Take in bookmarks, of your book, of friends' books.

I guess I can't do that until I have a cover. Shopping in the local bookstores is not a problem--been doing that for years. But I don't have any PR material until some things get finalized.

6) Start making lists of people you know and can send an email or snail mail to a month to two months ahead of publication as a reminder. Make it so it can be a label-producing list.

Ah, this I can do now! In fact, I've been copying off the email addresses of all the people who congratulate me. I figure they might possibly be interested in a newsletter and in buying my book. After I post this, I'll bet I won't get any more emails for awhile.

I plan to send an initial email to the whole list I've collected and ask them to opt in if they'd like. I hate opt out programs and won't do that to anyone.

7) Lastly, start making new friends on twitter and FB, about 20 a day and you won't feel overwhelmed.

That's an awful lot! I think if I did that many I'd be overwhelmed. But I am trying to accumulate followers and I follow lots of people, too. Many seem to magically appear and I have no idea where they came from. But I'm glad they're following me.

It also occurred to me, when I got an email about donating items to the charity auction for Left Coast Crime, that I could now do this! Maybe. My book won't be published until two months after the conference is ended, so I emailed and asked about that. I want to donate a gift basket that contains a preorder of my book and other items people might like. I have no idea if this is good form or not. I hope the coordinator will tell me if it's not! I did ask her to.

I visited Archie McPhee's, which I just learned about a week or two ago, and found some items that would be perfect for a charity basket. Or for just general publicity give-aways for CHOKE.


  1. Hi Kaye, Good list, thanks! I'm going to steal them for my own purposes (Aug 2011 pub date). In case they're of interest, I've also planned the following: to pre-write tweets as well as blogs, both for myself and in my character's voice (though I'll do only about 1/10 of character/me posts); to pre-write or plan ideas for the first couple monthly newsletters I'll do; and to plan other tidbits of info I can pass along or blog about that have to do with the arena I'm writing about (car racing). Like you, I'm hoping that as much pre-work as possible will make things less crazy later. Good luck!

  2. You sound on top of things, Tammy. Where's your blog? I'd love to follow along.

  3. Um, yeah, blog. :-) Getting there! Doing all the research and prep now, but I'll let you know when I've got something going. In the meantime, I'd love to swap whatever good ideas we each come up with!

  4. I'll be posting whatever I can think of here at least weekly. Feel free to contact me by email if you want. I don't have access to your contact info here. I'm at

  5. Kaye-You are indeed scheduled on on September 8th and 15th for the first two of four interviews that will appear. I want to do another as you approach publication to gage your reaction to the publishing process and the fourth for plugging your book! Let's do it!

  6. That's great, E.B.! Thanks for the exposure.

  7. Kaye,
    Great advice. Why don't you set up a Google alert for mystery blogs and check them out for the number of followers.
    Best of luck!

  8. MT, I just checked out your very nice blog, but don't see a way to comment. I very much like your last post!

    I can tell some that have high traffic because I ask for followup when I comment. Google alert is a good idea, too.

  9. Kaye,
    Many thanks for the kind comment. At the end of the post, if you look carefully, you'll see "Leave a Comment" among all the rest of the tags, etc. Click it.