And so I join the ranks of the published. St. Martin's is going to publish my medieval noir VEIL OF LIES in 2008. It's so cool I can hardly breathe. But now I figure, I've got work to do. How to get buzz going on a book more than a year away from release? Who do I buzz it to? I mean, I've had my blog for a year, and it helped me network with other writers (a few readers, but mostly writers), it certainly helped open doors at Bouchercon 06, and it got me some keen blurbs from big name authors which surely helped cinch the deal. But what now? Veterans, I'm looking to you for dos and don'ts. What's the thing I should definitely NOT do? What's something I should be doing right now?

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I'm a debut author myself, so I don't have any advice, but I do want to say CONGRATS! Feels marvelous, doesn't it? *big grin*

If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out and apply to Killer Year.

Congrats again!!!
I'm a debut author too, Jeri, so there are others with more experience. But I just wanted to congratulate you on scoring with St. Martin's, an excellent house. And I wish you much success. Way to Go!!!
Congrats, Jeri! Isn't it exciting? And isn't it nice that you can make the announcement on crimespace and other virtual communities?

Since you have a blog, you're already ahead of the game. I'm assuming that you've purchased your domain name already, because you'll eventually need a conventional website with your bio, etc. three months before your book comes out. I don't know if you are active with either Sisters in Crime or MWA, but it would be good to start going to a few local meetings and making more connections. (Members in your area will be helpful in securing library and other book talks when your book eventually comes out.)

You already seem active in medieval circles; I would explore this further. Get a simple business card made with your name, e-mail address, blog, book title, publisher, approximate pub date, etc. and hand out when you meet new folks. We mystery writers in the mystery community are a dime a dozen, but in other communities, we are unique and memorable.

What I would say NOT to do is give out your phone number or residential address out indiscriminately. Get a P.O. box.

And personally, I would replace the cat photo with your head shot. You need people to start to associate your name with your face.

Good luck! So happy for you.
Ooh, ahead of the game. Already on all of that. Except the cat photo. I guess you're right. But the cat definitely looks better than I do.
Congrats Jeri, and my 2 cents is in addition to Naomi's, and since she's covered a lot of things I'll say this: concentrate on the writing first. Focusing on too much promotion can be a real detriment to meeting deadlines and overall quality of work. You get one shot at a debut and long after this year is over you want to be able to hold that book with no regrets.

(Well, truth is, there will always be some. But you want to tell yourself you did the absolute best you could based on your experience at the time and know that's the truth.)

A lot of people (and in some ways I'm one of them) find the second book is the acid test of the author. You'll probably have deadlines on that book. Make sure you don't let marketing focus get in the way of that. Just one of the stories I heard in the past year was about someone who went so far into the promo side they could never settle back to write. One book wonder.

People also have short memory spans. 2008? 2007 isn't even half over. Pace yourself.
Well, the good thing is I've already written three more in the series, so hopefully I'll only have to do some tweaking and not too much worrying about the second one (and third and fourth!) so I can concentrate on the fifth! I will always make time to write.

As for short memories, what I've been hearing from others is to develop that buzz and keep it going up to publication. Not that my name will become a household one (Drano?) but that it will be familiar enough that bookstore owners, librarians, and readers will not hesitate to order or pick up a "Jeri Westerson" title. But it's a fine line, isn't it. One doesn't want to sicken the public either so they stay away. I'll take your advice and try to keep it balanced. I think immersing in the writing will do that.
Congratulations! Can you get speaking engagements in your community? Local Book stores, writing workshops (host one), local Friends of the Library meetings. Start tuning your public speaking and stage presence. (On a personal note, when my contract comes in, I'm going to find out when my high school reunion is and finally go to one!)
Fortunately, I was also a drama major in college before I switched to art. I've taught theology and made it fun! (No, really!) and I sing semi-professionally. So that's down, too. The bad part is my community is woefully sparse on bookstores and opps for speaking, but I'm not too far from San Diego where those options are better. All good ideas. Thanks!
Congratulations, Jeri! I know you've been involved in writing and marketing your medieval noir mysteries for a long time, and it's great to see you're going to be published with St. Martin's. As the I Ching frequently says, perseverance furthers!
Thanks, Julie. I owe a lot to the encouragement and patience of my husband and my fabulous critique group, the Vicious Circle.


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