I recently went to Imaginarium Creative Writing convention and managed to escape with only three new books to add to my To Be Read pile.
These are the three.
Why did I buy these books?
Let’s take the center one first. It’s published by DAW Fantasy, so the cover doesn’t have to be grabby and readable online. People will see it on bookshelves. I didn’t like the title, THE STEPSISTER SCHEME, and I didn’t like the cover, which was three cute babes posing with weapons.They are, however, fully clothed and realistically boobed, which was a refreshing difference.
I like the author, Jim C. Hines, for his stand-up attitude in favor of events having and enforcing anti-harassment policies. While I was waiting to talk to him, I picked up this book as if I were thinking of buying it. There was a blurb on the front by Esther Friesner, one of my favorite authors. On the back was another blurb by Jane Yolen, an absolute idol. Then there was the back copy, ending with: “Can the three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland’s most nefarious villains?”
Reader, I bought it.
The second book, I was interested in before I even saw it. The author, Dave Schroeder (pronounced SHRAY-der), was going around to the other author tables looking at everybody’s products and presentation. He was wearing a shirt with a business logo stitched on it and, when he handed me a bookmark for his series, I saw the logo was for the company he had invented for the books. That hooked my attention.
Xenotech is a company that does tech support for alien technology used by earthlings. Imagine if Microsoft technology seemed to be arbitrary, needlessly complex, difficult to navigate, and next to incomprehensible. …Oh, wait…. ANYWAY, it sounds deliciously geeky. Even better, the aliens are not all anthropomorphic! Some of them look like pyramids!
The cover has a picture of our galaxy with a word ray coming out of it: “Xenotech Support. How can we help you?” The back cover copy ends with, “We’re from the Galactic Free Trade Association and we want to cut you in.” Like, what could go wrong, right?
Yeah, I bought that puppy. *
The third book is DISSONANCE, by Amanda Staley. The cover is creepy and beautiful. I spoke to the author for a little while, and the fact that she works in a small police department caught my attention. Any police procedures in her novel are going to be realistic. The main character is a pianist. (I thought our #2 Daughter could have been a concert pianist, but she assures me she wasn’t good enough. I think she’s too modest. I think she’s wonderful!) The back cover copy was compelling, especially the last line: “Dissonance explores and exposes a violent relationship, infidelity, substance abuse, depression, and lies.”
The prose bumps just a little to me, but well worth supporting this writer in the first book of a projected series.
What does this tell me about marketing? About marketing to me, anyway?
Interaction with the author helps. A lot.
In all three cases, I looked more closely at these books than I did all the others on offer because I interacted with the authors. I also found the connections between the authors and their books attractive. I know Jim Hines respects women, so a book by him featuring strong women interests me. Amanda Staley works in a police department, so her book will represent police procedure and officers in ways I can trust. Dave Schroeder has worked in IT and he believes enough in his series to buy freakin’ business shirts for his imaginary business.
Kids, if you go to a book-selling event, for God’s sake don’t sit like a lump behind your table and play on your phone or something. If traffic is slow, visit around to the other vendors. If people approach your table, stand up and converse. Offer them a bookmark or a business card, in case they want to find your work later. Be a person.
That is all.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: How does your book, story, main character, series connect to you, personally?