Years ago my friend Jane Roberts Wood had a novel, Train to Estelline, published by a small Texas press (run by friends of mine). The book took off and landed Jane contracts for future books with big national publishers--but I've always thought the reason was that Jane spoke to every book club in the Dallas area that she could find. If you haven't read that novel, you should. It's available from UNT Press these days and is a classic of West Texas lit.
I've been following Jane's example and spoken to or booked as many clubs and groups as I can. I've spoken to a group at TCU where I sold nine books, a neighborhood group where I sold five or six, and tonight a group in the Fairmount neighborhood, setting of Skeleton in a Dead Space, where I chatted informally with five people and sold one book. They asked if I'd come back for the second book if they promised to have more people, and I assured them I'd not only come back, I'd remind them when it came out. It's not how many books you sell at any one of these meetings--it's the people you meet and get to know. If they like you and your book, they spread the word, and the grapevine grows. Marketing at its most basic level.
One of the women tonight said to me, "I love to get so involved in a book that I can't bear for it to end," and that's something for all authors to remember: create a world in your book that makes the reader want to stay in it. That's a big reason I write cozies--people like the cozy world with its absence of overt sex and violence.
A new website called bookbuzzed launched today (http://t.co/p8HRjoKm) and I was delighted to be the inaugural featured author, thanks to an arrangement made by my wonderful publisher, Turquoise Morning Press. The site urges people to publicize by tweeting on Twitter, and my fellow TMP authors were great about tweeting and retweeting. Bookbuzzed also gives away a free book and sends questions to the author throughout the day--what are you reading now? what's your favorite book? career if you weren't writing? dream vacation? character you most relate to in your book? These questions are important, just like the book groups above, because they give readers a sense of you as a person, hopefully someone they like. That makes them want to read your book.
So it's been quite a good book day and I wrote 1500 words on the third novel. Moving right along and feeling good about it.