by Michelle Gagnon
As a fellow MIRA writer, I have been following with great interest your discourse on the recent snafu regarding Harlequin's new vanity imprint and the RWA, MWA, etc. Now that some of the dust has settled, who do you believe are the winners and losers, and what do you think will happen next?
Good question, Joshua. I'm not sure that the dust has settled- it's more that the debate has fallen into limbo, with everyone retreating to their respective corners. And at this point, what will happen next is really anyone's guess. What I've heard through the grapevine is that Harlequin might be waiting for the RWA national meetings in January to see what they decide. Whether or not Harlequin makes further adjustments to their Dell Arte Press imprint based on the results of that meeting remains to be seen. If the current stance of the RWA (among other organizations) holds, and Hq authors will no longer be eligible for awards for their work...perhaps Harlequin will make more changes. But I suspect that there's a lot of negotiation going on behind closed doors.
As I wrote in my post on The Kill Zone, the real losers in all of this so far have been the authors currently published by Harlequin. More on that here. I'm not sure there are any winners per se, at least not as things stand at the moment.
Rebecca asks: How was promoting your second book different from promoting your first? Any lessons learned about what worked and what didn't?
The main thing that I learned is to never, ever send promotional stuff to bookstores- some of the larger ones get literally barrels of it weekly. It costs you a lot of money, and nine times out of ten is promptly discarded.
Honestly, I think that at the end of the day we can promote until we're blue in the face- at some point, it doesn't make that much of a difference. I know people who drove hundreds of miles to sign stock at dozens of bookstores- and still their series was canceled. Other authors spend countless hours on social networking sites because they heard that propelled one writer to the bestseller lists- but then their sales don't reflect that investment of time and energy.
At some point, either your publisher gives you that bump, or they don't. So much of it comes down to distribution and generating buzz- and that is something that again rests largely with the publisher.
I'm not saying you shouldn't promote your book- of course, you should. But it's important to figure out where to draw the line. It's frustrating, but at a certain point, there's only so much you can do.