Monday, August 1, 2011

Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places

Keith here with another dispatch from the e-publishing battles.

When I was first thinking about publicity for Drop By Drop, my ebook original, I tended – as the song above goes – to be "looking for love in all the wrong places." The old standbys like Kirkus, Library Journal, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly just don’t review ebook originals. Nor do those crime fiction stalwarts Mystery Scene or CrimeSpree. Of course, it didn't make sense to be doing book signings at bookstores or libraries either – not with an ebook.

Thank goodness for bloggers and online reviewers. They really helped get the word out. (One Amazon reviewer called Drop By Dropa real screen flipper.”) I am so grateful to those folks. In addition, authors Hank Phillippi Ryan, the Anthony, Agatha and Macavity-winner, and Andrew Gross, a bestseller on his own and co-author of six #1 thrillers with James Patterson, found some nice things to say about the book online, too. The latter commented, "No one puts the crosshairs on Washington, terrorism, and intrigue better than Keith Raffel.” That kind of endorsement helps lots.

Just today, The Big Thrill, the webzine of the International Thriller Writers, ran a terrific piece by Milt Toby. The ITW is great about supporting its members.

Still, maybe it is worth visiting some of the old places after all. Some traditional reviews and stories are starting to trickle in. I did manage to get some nice coverage for Drop By Drop in The San Jose Mercury which has the country’s fifth largest daily circulation. Zelda Shluker of Hadassah Magazine, the largest circulating Jewish periodical in North America, included a review of Drop By Drop in her summer “Roundup of Chills and Thrills” right alongside Daniel Silva and Faye Kellerman’s latest. Here’s an excerpt:

“When Sam Rockman’s pregnant wife, Rachel, is killed in a terrorist explosion at San Francisco airport, his life and psyche are upended: He leaves his position as a professor of history at Stanford to become staff director to a senior member on the Intelligence Committee. The usually liberal Rockman is so angry he is ready to support a bill that will let the C.I.A. and the military operate inside the United States against terrorists….

“The plot of Drop By Drop is not inherently Jewish, but Sam is, and you are reminded of this throughout; when the president, who invites Sam (who becomes a target of a killer) to head the national anti-terrorism effort, worries that having so many Jews on his staff will trigger paranoia “out there.” Though Sam believes Judaism is less about what you think and more about what you do, his desperate search for tikkun olam [a way to repair the world] is part of learning how to live with his grief.”

I tried to find a quote to pull out of what Ms. Shluker wrote and couldn’t. (Any ideas?) Still the review drove a big spike in sales so it must have piqued interest.

That's it for now from the e-front. More next time.


Robin Allen said...

Congrats on all the press, Keith. You'll be hanging an "ePublicist" shingle soon.

Keith Raffel said...

Robin, E.L. Doctorow said, "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." I guess it works the same for publishing an ebook.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Good for you for venturing into the e-frontier! It will likely be a slog for a while, but you'll pick up momentum.

Lois Winston said...

Keith, I couldn't find anything to pull out in the way of a quote for you. The reviewer gave a book report rather than a review. Best of luck with your new venture, though. I'm hearing all sorts of success stories about authors with e-book originals.

Keith Raffel said...

Kathleen and Lois, I'm a Silicon Valley guy by upbringing and nature. It's fun to try a new technology and a new business model.

No comments from anyone on the YouTube video?