Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now What?

Having a book published is a lot like getting married or giving birth. Even if I don’t remember all the details, I know I was there. Important words were exchanged and actions taken, and in the end, it’s a done deal. But it’s a surreal experience in many ways. And at times a little nauseating.

When I saw my son for the first time, I remember looking at my husband. We were both thinking the same thing, “Now what?” All that waiting and anticipation had led to the big day, but we hadn’t thought too far beyond it.

This week, after months, years really, of anticipation, my debut novel For Better, For Murder is published and on the market. And again I’m thinking “Now what?”

I’m also thinking, “Will it sell?”

Good news, it did get positive reviews. CrimeSpree Magazine said, “Lovely book.” Kirkus Reviews said, “Bork juggles multiple puzzles deftly in her witty debut.”

My ten-year-old daughter read the Kirkus review. She said, “What does deftly mean?” I knew the answer—I’d already looked it up just to make sure.

“It means skillful.” She scrunched her forehead. “It means I’m a good writer.” She nodded.

Then she asked, “What does witty mean?” I knew the answer to that one, too. Yes, I looked it up, just to ensure I understood all the nuances.

“It means very clever and humorous. It means my book is funny. That’s what I wanted it to be.”

She smiled. All was good in her world. I could only hope the same for mine.

I know “Now what?” includes promotion. I’m doing my best. I don’t really like to toot my own horn, but it’s hard to stand out in the crowd of mystery writers without making the effort. I’ve sent email announcements to book clubs, flyers to independent mystery bookstores, and registered for Bouchercon. I’ve contacted my alma maters, the local press and booksellers as well as visited with my town librarian. I’ve written guest blogs, posted announcements on all my yahoo groups, and scheduled my first signing. Everyone has been very nice and receptive. I can only hope it pays off in book orders.

I do have a few other self-promotion ideas, all of which require me to be less reserved than usual.

Did I mention I’m a homebody, perfectly happy to be the solitary writer? Not so eager to be the worldly promoter? But I’m doing it nevertheless.

I’m doing it because I enjoyed writing For Better, For Murder, and I think people will enjoy reading it. It is a murder mystery. It’s also part romantic suspense, part family saga, part tourism, and part car trivia. It’s fast-paced, light-hearted and cozyish. The protagonist, Jolene Asdale, is interesting, smart, and capable, not to mention attractive and unwilling to suffer fools. Overnight, her life is filled with murder and mayhem, but she’s up to the task. Her almost-ex-husband is uncompromising, an honest deputy sheriff who takes his job seriously. Her sister, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. The three of them are a potent combination.

Now I can only hope skillful, clever, and humorous is an equally potent—and selling—combination.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think that, like giving birth, after the baby arrives we start worrying about them. Are they growing at the right rate? Are they healthy? What should we be doing as parents? Like you, I'm not a natural promoter, but practice makes perfect.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Alan Orloff said...

Skillful, clever, humorous (and deft and witty) are all good blocks to build upon.

Good luck with the promotion! (and please take notes, for those of us who will follow you).

Dorothy Thompson said...

Loved this blog post...and isn't it great that you can promote online and sell books that way?

G.M. Malliet said...

Kirkus is reputed to be a tough nut to crack, so this glowing review says a lot about your book. Congratulations!

Lisa Bork said...

Elizabeth - Great analogies.

Alan - Thanks! I'm taking notes :)

Dorothy - You know it!

Gin - Thanks! My librarian called Kirkus "the Cadillac". I thought that goes well with my sports car dealer protagonist.

Keith Raffel said...

Lisa, signing books I'd written for the first time was one of my all-time highs. The book sounds great, good luck, and I'll see you in Indy.

Becca's Dirt said...

I want to read your book. It has all the things I like - mystery, suspense sprinkled with a little romance. I am so proud for you. What an accomplishment. Congratulations.

Brian Keaney said...

Now you get writing the next one or, if you've already done that, the one after that

G.M. Malliet said...

Following on Keith's comment: The first time I saw my book in a local store, I took a picture of it with my cell phone. It was *so" thrilling. Also took a picture the first time I saw a copy in an airport store--believe it was a Borders.

Yes, people looked at me like they thought this was a peculiar thing to do. Yes, I did not mind that in the least.

Becca's Dirt said...

I just went online at Amazon and bought your book. Can't wait to read it.

Lisa Bork said...

Keith - Looking forward to seeing you in Indy as well.

Brian - No. 2 is done and sold to MI. No. 3 is done. No. 4 is percolating.

Gin - I haven't seen my on a shelf yet, but then I've been busy with back-to-school stuff. I know it will be a thrill. I'll probably get my cell phone out, too!

Becca - Thanks so much for buying my book! Enjoy!

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

I'd love to do a review of your book, if you'd like.
Email me if you're interested -

Sharon Galligar Chance

jbstanley said...

Congrats on your release. i love the cover and you should be smiling over those reviews - especially the one from Kirkus!

I really dislike promotion. I feel like I'm shooting arrows at a target while drunk and blindfolded. Let's hope we all hit our marks this year!

Good luck!

Diane said...

Your book sounds so great! I will have to search it out. I hope it sells like hot cakes and you are blessed. I have the same thoughts about giving birth. I was there and remember an overall vagueness about it too. :O)