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Authors in Strange Situations

Nobody tells you that promoting the books you write requires you to be adaptable and have a sense of humor. We picture authors jetting all over the country, sipping champagne and telling adoring fans about their latest novel, but that's not reality for the vast majority of us. I loved the story one author told about arriving at a bookstore where he had an audience of one. The fan told him he'd really liked the book, though he admitted he might not have chosen to read it except, "It was the only one they had in solitary confinement." I haven't met any ex-cons who are fans (that I know of), but I have ended up in strange situations. I want to state here for the record that I am EXTREMELY grateful to libraries and bookstores who allow me to come for a Sit & Sign or, even better, a talk. However, it doesn't always go the way one might imagine. *** There was the library where they'd booked two events at the same time in the same room. The othe

The Skinny on Author Appearances

Muskegon Book Festival 7/17 Some might have a mistaken idea of how author appearances go. I know I did way back when. I thought I'd sit at a table at the front of the bookstore and people would come in, see me, and say, "Oh, my, what have you written?" I'd tell them a little about it (it's called a pitch, and you practice it) and they'd say, "Sounds lovely. I'll take one--no, make that two. My sister likes mysteries too." As the girl says in A Chorus Line , "That ain't it, kid." Some ask you where the bathroom is. Some ask if you can recommend a good children's book for their granddaughter. Some ask if you carry the Wall Street Journal. Some walk in a half-mile circle to avoid passing close enough for you to speak to them. Some tell you about the book they're going to write when they get time. Some tell you about their second cousin, who wrote a book about her near-death experience and her talk with Jesus, wh

Biblioboard

I heard about an e-book program for libraries called Biblioboard. Books are offered there through your local library, so you can borrow e-books just like you borrow print books. The authors don't get paid. It's a way of getting people acquainted with your work so that (maybe) they'll buy at some point. I got notification that some of my books are now available there, but when I tried to look, I had to choose a library. Our local wasn't listed and I'm not a member of any other library systerm, so I can't look to see what's there. I think it might be the Maggie Pill books, the Sleuth Sisters. If anyone knows about this program or is part of it, I'd appreciate hearing which books of mine are available.

Not Exactly a Book Tour

In the minds of many, a book tour is a glamorous thing, but like most everything else, reality is more prosaic than poetic. There are authors who draw crowds of adoring fans, like Rick Castle always does on the TV show. (BTW, I wish I had a quarter for every time someone asked me if I think Nathan Fillion really writes those books. PulEEZE!) Most of us don't draw crowds; in fact, we're happy for every person that shows up. A speaker at Sleuthfest, the conference I attended in Florida last week, described arriving at a bookstore to find every audience chair filled, only to have them empty when it was announced over the loudspeaker that his presentation was about to start. He learned the homeless of the area were allowed to come in out of the cold and sit in the chairs, but they knew they had to leave when his talk began. Not only did he have an audience of only one person, he was responsible for the rest being tossed out into the cold! People also imagine that publishers arr