February 22nd, 2008


on marketing

Michelle Sagara, who writes amazingly Big Fat Fantasy under that name, and occasionally under Michelle Sagara West, and who writes the extremely enjoyable “Cast” series for Luna as Michelle West, and who *also* works in a bookstore, has posted an entry about an encounter with a customer who wanted to know about what she did to self-promote her books.

Her answer was, “Nothing,” (but the entry is well worth reading) and it reminded me quite vividly of the first panel I was ever on at a SF convention. The panel was entitled “Shameless Self-Promotion”, or something of that ilk, and I was joined on the panel by, I believe, a self-published author of a SF or F novel, and possibly a poet, and…maybe someone else, but not somebody published with a major house. Oh! Epub, I think, now that I’m trying to remember.

They were talking about how every penny they’d made as a writer had gone back into promotion, while I sat there like a stunned ox. Eventually it came around to me, and they said, “How did *you* promote your first book?”

Um. Well. My publisher paid for me to fly to Seattle (where URBAN SHAMAN is set) and stay in a swank hotel for three days and do radio interviews with people all over the country. My publisher bought full page color ads in industry magazines and local Seattle newspapers. My publisher sent out review copies and collected review comments. I, uh. Stopped in a bookstore in Hawaii to see if they had any copies of my book, because I was there anyway, and they didn’t, so I didn’t even get to sign any.

I do generally run a contest of some kind (frequently “amuse me!”) when a book comes out, but those are seriously not cost-efficient–I have to sell about eight books per one I send out in order to break even.

I suspect a lot of self-marketing goes that way. This is not in any way to say it’s a bad thing to do–like virtually everybody, I think, I wish I had the brainpower to actually do it myself, to think up clever things and to promote myself and my writing through them. (Patricia Bray ordered lizard-shaped bottle openers to coincide with the release of THE SEA CHANGE, in which a lizard is the symbol of the royal house, and they became the Must-Have Item at last year’s World Fantasy Con, so that kind of viral thing really is appealing and does work!) For me personally, though, the best I’ve been able to do is to get out and be friendly at conventions and talk about what I do and how I do it.

Well. Actually, I think the *best* I’ve been able to do is writing books that people seem to want to read, and are willing to recommend to others. That, at the end of the day, really *is* the best I can do, and, like Michelle, I basically think that, not marketing, is my job.

But! Having said that! LJ-user astres is running a contest to give away a copy of FIREBIRD DECEPTION! Go enter! The Dermody books aren’t easy to find at this point, so it’s a rare chance! :)

(There. I’ve marketed for the day! :))

(x-posted from the essential kit)

many, many things

This has been a very busy week. Some highlights:

* I’ve been invited to be a workshop teacher at a writer’s conference in South Carolina this October. I’ll post more about that when I have more details, but it looks like a really exciting, intense weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s also the weekend before WFC, so we’re thinking we might just go Stateside and stay there a few weeks like we did last year.

* I’ve arranged a bonanza signing at the Forbidden Planet in London, tentatively scheduled for 20 September. The entire Negotiator trilogy will be out by then, as well as THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, and of course all the Walker Papers that are currently available. There should also be three issues of Chance out at that point, so, yeah: a bonanza signing event. More as I know it on that, too.

* Question from comments: The inside of HoC advertises HoF as coming in September 2008. Has that been officially changed, or was August only tentative? Answer: I just couldn’t remember when it was coming out, and kept thinking it was August. It’s September. :)

* HOUSE OF CARDS is out! Officially it’s out on Tuesday, but numerous people have reported seeing it in the bookstores! Quick! Go forth! Buy it! Get me onto a bestseller list! *hopeful eyes* :)

* Lots of Chance news:
» After discussion, the Dabels and I have decided to postpone the TAKE A CHANCE launch until July. The May schedule was a leetle too ambitious to give the comic the lead-up and promotion we all think it deserves, so we decided to give it a proper launch at San Diego Comic Con. Now I just have to figure out how to get there myself. *passes the hat*

» Chance #1 is in the can. I’ll be checking over the pages one last time today and then uploading the files for the Dabels. One down, forty-seven to go!

» I have lined up a totally spectacular cover artist for issues 2-5. I’ll do announcements as to who later, once we’ve gotten contracts and everything ironed out, but Marvel fans from the 90s will recognize his work, if not necessarily his name. I’m incredibly thrilled. :)

» I’ve found a new artist for Chance! This has been a long process with a lot of very talented artists auditioning for the job, but to my delight I’m actually going to be working with a guy I talked to…three years ago now? Wow. When I did my initial search for an artist. Aleksandar Sotirovski is a Macedonian artist with a fantastic portfolio and a lot of professional credit, particularly in Europe, and I think his Chance is going to be just as sexy and fantastic as Ardian’s, but with Aleksandar’s own twist on her. Here’s the rough draft character sketch he sent me a few weeks ago:

We’ll be getting started on the first of Aleksandar’s issues in April, probably, and start really hitting the ground in around July–after I’m done with these last couple books I’ve got due.

» It also looks like some of my Ambitious Plans regarding Chance may well come to fruition. I will, once again, keep people posted as I know more, but I’m pretty excited about the prospects.

Overall, I’m really pleased with where things stand with Chance. It’s honestly a huge relief for all of us that the comic’s not going to launch until July, and between that and having found an artist, wow, walking on air here. It’s a big burden off my back for a while, and I’m very glad about that.

* My hand is healing up. I’m even kind of using it to type today. I think as long as I remain sensible over the weekend I should be back at work Monday. Whew.

* And last, though hardly least, Ted is smashingly handsome in pinstripes:

(more smashingness here and here!)
(x-posted from the essential kit)

a kitsnaps poll

There's a womens' arts festival/exhibiton in Cork in April, and people are invited to submit...well, exhibitions. So I thought I'd submit a themed photograhy suite to it, and am now trying to decide *what* to submit. I've put together four themed photo sets, and am now throwing it open to LJ to see which set you guys like best and think I should submit.

All the images should click through to larger versions of themselves. I couldn't make the photos actually settle in with the voting options, so they're below 'em.

Poll #1142678 kitsnaps poll

Which of these themed sets should I submit to the photo exhibition?