by Stacy Allen
I don't know everything, but I know a few things...
It has been eight months since my debut novel, EXPEDITION INDIGO, launched. So much has happened since it released, it feels like eight years. I had a
launch party, I have guest-blogged several places, I have met with book clubs, I have been on panels, and taught workshops, and guest-hosted on Facebook
and Twitter parties, and had book signings. It has been a busy, busy, busy eight months. I am hoping some of my experience, and some of my advice, can help
you in your journey to publication, or even in your journey as a writer, if you are already published. Here are some points to ponder:
1. Consider your book from every angle before you plan raffle baskets, SWAG, or promo materials. In my case, my protagonist is an Academic - an
archaeologist, who leaves her comfort zone of Boston College to help salvage a shipwreck off the coast of Italy. I created themed raffle baskets: Beach,
Italy, Travel, SCUBA, Archaeology, Survival Gear. You get the idea. I also made a decision to only have SWAG that was useful, and relevant. If you want
some links to reasonable SWAG or some ideas, please email me and I will happily share my information.
2. Make a list of questions you think (or hope) will come up during a reading/signing or an interview. Record yourself and see how your answers sound.
Listen to yourself and try to capture the salient points of what you want the listener to take away and remember from speaking with you. I do not talk
about subplots when I am being interviewed, as a general rule, unless I am asked a direct question about one. The subplots aren't on your jacket copy, so
keep your discussion interesting and relevant, and vague enough to make the listener interested and intrigued. Write 3 salient points you want to make and
put them on an index card, so if you get flustered or caught off guard, you can steer yourself back on track. What do you want people to remember about
you, your character, or your book?
3. Be grateful, and be kind. I know that sounds basic, but you would be surprised at how often I have seen a person who can't stop talking about his/her
work, with no interest in the other panelists or what they have to say. It seems like a gigantic and scary universe to a hopeful writer looking for a place
at the table, but this business is small. Tiny. Some of the nicest people I know are in this universe. We care about each other. We help one another. We
promote one another. We respect one another. The writer who is arrogant, discourteous, or talks smack about others will find it to be a lonely place.
Everybody knows everybody.
4. Never stop learning your craft. Work at it. Every single time you can, be the best you can be.