I recently attended Malice Domestic, an annual celebration of the traditional mystery. Participating authors were invited to enter a drawing to earn a place on the roster for Malice-Go-Round. "It's like speed dating for authors," explained Barb Goffman, who organized the event.
I've been involved with Malice for years, but this is the first year my name came out of the hat. I teamed up with my writer-pal Molly MacRae. Convention attendees (i.e. readers) settled down at twenty banquet tables to be enlightened.
Teams of authors moved from table to table. Each author had two minutes to introduce readers to our newest titles, and thirty seconds to move to the next table.
|That's me introducing readers to the latest Chloe mystery,|
The Light Keeper's Legacy. (Greg Puhl photo)
If you're considering participating in this or a similar event, here are a few observations:
If you have the opportunity, work with a friend. Molly and I quickly developed a rhythm that perfectly fit the allotted time. It also helped, I think, that our books have some common elements.
|Me and Molly at Love Is Murder in Chicago Last Febraury,|
where we were each honored with LOVEY Awards.
I asked several readers afterwards what worked best for them. Their suggestions were simple: Be friendly. Make eye contact. Share why this book is important to you instead of simply summarizing the plot. Don't over-hype.
|Since I'd just received my ARC of the next Chloe Ellefson mystery,|
I couldn't resist showing that too. And my latest kids' mystery is on the table! (Greg Puhl photo)
One table was left empty so each author team would get a four-minute rest break part-way through. I assumed "part-way" meant "half-way," and so steered Molly to Table 1. What I didn't notice was that the rest table was the *last* table, so Molly and I didn't get a break at all. Not my best move ever, but hey, somebody had to take Table 1. And Molly's still speaking to me, so all ended OK.
Finally, I have to give a shout-out to Barb Goffman and her team. Malice-Go-Round worked like the proverbial well-oiled machine, thanks to their organization. (And Barb does this on top of organizing panels, too.)
|Here are all the participating authors. (Greg Puhl photo)|
(Until then, you can always visit me at www.kathleenernst.com - I have some great book giveaways going on!)