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Monday, August 15 2011

My editor sent me an author questionnaire the other day, something I'd never even heard of. Based on the title, I figured they'd ask my favorite color, why I decided to write a mystery, or who some of my favorite authors are.

I couldn't have been more wrong. The author's questionnaire was a comprehensive look at how best to market my book. Now I've heard more than once that authors do a lot of their own marketing and I have some vague ideas in my head about what I'd like to do, but this was the first time I'd actually written my ideas down.

And filling out the questionnaire was hard. Way harder than writing the actual book. Okay, telling them my birthday and my agent's name was easy, but the marketing stuff threw me. My first pass-through went something like this:

Question: Which blog sites might promote your book?

Me: I don't know

Question: Which local newspapers and magazines should receive a copy of your book?

Me: I don't know

Question: What sort of self-promotion are you planning?

Me: I don't know

 And on and on. But after the initial panic wore off, I slowly answered the questions over the course of a few days, with the self-promotion section taking the longest. I wasn't sure how much I wanted to commit to. If I said I'd do author signings at bookstores and libraries, something that makes my heart race just thinking about, would my publisher expect me to follow through? Probably. I mean, it'd be there in my answers, something they could refer back to if I chickened out.

After much waffling, I finally listed signings as something I'd do. I figure I have an entire year to warm up to the idea. And Carole, from my writing group, has a book coming out the exact same month, and Penny has one the following month, so we may hold events together. I'm really excited about that idea. Knowing I wouldn't be in the spotlight alone is a huge relief and it'll be great to sit up there with two of my friends.

Now that I've sent the author questionnaire back, I can't wait to see what's next in the process. With so much going on, it'll be next August before I know it.

Posted by: Staci McLaughlin AT 09:48 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 01 2011

It's finally happened. I've signed a book deal. Frankly, I still don't believe it. And I'll keep not believing it until that glorious day, slated for August of 2012, when I can walk into whichever bookstore still remains open and see my book on the shelf.

Thank goodness my agent handled the contract work. I was so overjoyed to hear that I had an offer that I would have signed over my first born. Heck, I would have thrown in my second born for free. All thoughts in my head were drowned out by the words, "published, published, published." Advance, who needs an advance? You want me to rewrite the entire book backwards? Just show me where to sign!

I must admit, the contract negotiations were not the nail biters you see in the movies. In fact, there really were no negotiations. Kensington sent a contract, my agent and I changed a couple of tiny, tiny items, and then I signed it. No late night discussions on whether the advance was enough, no shouting matches over the phone about royalties. Nope. The whole experience was quiet and business-like. Of course I sent the signed contract back certified mail, sure I was sending the envelope to a nonexistent address or the company next door, where they would toss the envelope in the trash with half-eaten donuts and empty coffee cups. Or else the mailman's truck would catch fire while driving through the streets of New York. Or a rabid dog would grab the envelope from the mailman's clutches and tear it to shreds. So many possibilities, none of which happened.

Now I really have a reason to focus on book two. It's a three book deal with the next one due in May. While that sounds like a month in the far and distant future, I can't slow down or I'll get lazy, pushing the writing off day after day until next thing I know, it's April 30th. Then it will be like a movie, where I'm up all night, drinking Red Bull and typing furiously, wondering how I'd gotten myself into this mess. Oh, that's right, I signed a publishing contract! Yippee!

Posted by: Staci McLaughlin AT 09:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email