Friday, October 21, 2011


Gabriella Herkert

Catnapped and Doggone

Publicity is one of those things writer's have to do that no one ever explains to us. It's not that we don't know it is required. It's that there is no manual. There's no checklist. There's no guarantee that anything anyone has done in the past will actually lead to readers and buyers and cool people we want to hang out with. We do the same things that others have done before us in the hope that, one day, we might grow into the big name who gets their books put at the front table of the big bookstores. We can't afford to take out a full-page advertisement in USA Today or hire a director for our television spot. We also can't afford to not stand out from the crowd. So, we brainstorm ideas (usually lubricated by a favorite barkeep) for finding the people who don't know it but are looking for our books, want our words, would enjoy our collective senses of humor. Today, my little gray cells are thundering with ideas for my fellow criminal minders.

Sue Ann Jaffarian's Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries should be sitting next to the cots in every blood mobile in the country. This isn't just the people who don't faint at the sight of the red stuff. They are a captive audience replete with orange juice and complimentary cookies with some time on their hands.

Lois Winston’s Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun should be sitting next to the actual glue guns in a place like Michaels. Yeah, there’s a risk someone will say she’s provided a blueprint and the necessary tools to implement a major crime but she can always come back with the you can’t lead a felon to a crime scene defense. I think the crafters are both her demographic and unlikely to be suspected based solely on a receipt. There could even be a glue gun holster merchandising deal.

Becky Cantrell and I have chatted a lot about the places and people who’d be passionate readers of her iDracula and Hannah Vogel mysteries if they found the books in the right place at the right time. Comic-Con is a perfect location for her new take on the Bram Stoker classic. iDracula is written as texts, emails – basically every medium the gamer generation venerates (and us old fogeys try to manically catch up to) as the only forms of communication. Furthermore, the gothic novel Dracula is the grandfather of the graphic novel that reigns at Comic-Con. For cross-pollination purposes, I highly recommend seeking out one of these conferences in Germany. Heck, I know the language -- okay, I know the words streusel and schnitzel -- so I'll go with for moral (immoral, amoral, bail) support.

I couldn't decide where Josh Corin should go. Esme Stuart is a Real Housewife of New York. Or maybe New Jersey since it's close to Long Island and Esme isn't all polish. As quick with the wit as Josh is, he'd be an excellent moderator for one of the RH national tours. And Esme can show them how it's done.

Am I the only one who thinks that Tracy Kiely should be posting on the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners website and/or newsletter? Murder on the Bride's Side. These people probably live it every day. They can relate. A match made in heaven.

To Graham Brown I say two words -- Malice Domestic. It's a great conference and you'll be the only testosterone in a three mile radius. You can sell your entire supply of Black Rain and end up with a harem as a bonus. A star is waiting to be born. If your wife kills you, I shall deny all knowledge.

I think Kelli Stanley should be booked for the American History Television on C-Span 3. The authors they book seem to be all non-fiction but if you've ever talked with Ms. Stanley you know she can hold her own with the factoids. With her vibrant personality and ability to speak to both the academic and entertainment readers, I see an upgrade to C-Span 2 in their immediate future. Someone will have to show me how to work my DVR.

The Bad Kitty Lounge and The Last Striptease by Michael Wiley are set in the midwest but with those titles there's only one place for you. Vegas, baby. Prop a copy in the ticket booth of a clothing optional show and you'll make readers out of all the players. I'd bet on it.

Meredith, you need a book on tape so the tourists doing the walking tour from the Waterfront Museum in Red Hook, Brooklyn can listen to Dead in the Water. Listen, heck, they can feel the hair on the back of their necks while seeing the sights. I'm freaking myself out just imagining it.

For Reece Hirsch, I have excellent legal advice. Lawyers are required to sit in incredibly dull continuing legal education classes, particularly near the end of the year when our reporting is required. How many books could you sell if The Insider was sitting next to the recent developments in federal income taxation handbook at the entrance to another day of mandatory mind-numbness in a room that doesn't get Wi-fi? I know I'm in.

Gary Phillips is my stumper. The man has done every job, met all the big names and commands a room. I don't think he needs my help. Just tell me, and everyone else, when and where. We'll be there.

I don't know how many people know that Hilary Davidson wrote Frommer's New York City Day by Day in addition to her mysteries. Any hotel in the city on her must see should have a couple of copies on hand to offer to travelers running low on reading material who don't want to schlep books with the new airline luggage restrictions. All Hilary, all day. Great fun. And that's before you realize The Next One to Fall is being released on February 14, 2012. Some people might think of it as a romance holiday. We know it is an annual commemoration of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Perfect timing.

Finally for Vicky Delaney Seattle has the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. This is a great place to meet Constable Molly Smith. The gift shop is calling your name. Bonus points for getting to play with J.B., Bill, Fran and the rest of The Seattle Mystery Bookshop and for adding some friendly Canadian to my home town.

There are my out of the box ideas. I don't know if they are any good. All I do know is there are some great writers on this blog and some great readers out there looking for them. They want thataway----;

Thanks for visiting.



Vicki Delany said...

Great tips, Gabi. I have been to the Seattle Mystery Bookstore (one of my very favourite stores anywhere) and dropped in at the Klondike Museum. Hopefully we can catch up next time I'm in town. I was last there in June.

Gabi said...

I happened across the Klondike in my first days in Seattle when I was getting to know my new city by foot. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Fabulous and creative ideas all! You're hired! As for your suggestion for Reece, tomorrow I will be sitting in an all day CLE conference for paralegals (required in CA). I shall take a stash of bookmarks with me.

Stephanie Jarkins said...

Great suggestions. I'm planning my own "guerrilla" gorilla marketing for my cozy. Thanks for making me giggle too.

Stephanie Jarkins

Meredith Cole said...

Great suggestions, Gabi! Very fun to hear how we could all increase our readership (especially love the glue gun holster/Michaels idea for Lois).

Michael Wiley said...

Wow, Gabi -- and impressive list, and I like it. (I've never even been to Vegas, but now I could go and make the trip tax deductible.)

Lois Winston said...

Gabi, love your ideas! Now if the sales force at Midnight Ink can only convince the Michael's buyer...As for your books, they should be at every vet's office and all Petcos.