Sunday, August 30, 2020

Marketing Roadblocks in the Time of Covid

 This year has thrown us plenty of curveballs. Have you (and your publisher) adapted new ways to market your books?

Brenda Chapman blogging today.

It's safe to say that 2020 has proven to be a challenging time for authors in figuring out how best to market our books. A I wrote previously on this blogspot, my book Closing Time was released as the pandemic was shutting down shops and restaurants and people were going into lockdown. My publicist began working from home and her hours were cut. We tried a few virtual events but they were last minute and not well publicized. All the in-person events and media that I had lined up, including the launch, were cancelled or postponed. 

Not all was terrible, however. One of the nicest moments from this time was when my daughter Julia, whom I'd asked to introduce me at the launch, recorded her remarks and posted them on YouTube. (You can view her video here.)

My other daughter Lisa posted about the new book on Instagram and got almost 700 likes and comments.

My publicist and I had planned to do a big promotion since Closing Time is the last book in the seven-book Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series. This never happened because of Covid. Since then, she has moved on to another job, emphasizing once again, the upheaval in the publishing industry. 

I will therefore take this opportunity to share the Closing Time cover blurb:

Secrets abound at a northern Ontario lodge when a teenage employee is murdered.

It’s late summer and a restless Officer Kala Stonechild has taken her foster niece, Dawn, on a canoe trip at Pine Hollow Lodge in the wilderness north of Sault Ste. Marie. But the getaway turns deadly when a teenage girl goes missing on her way home from an evening shift at the lodge’s restaurant.

After the girl’s body is found between the lodge and the nearby town of Searchmont, Stonechild reluctantly agrees to help with the investigation. She’s teamed with Clark Harrison, an officer she worked with during her last posting in northwestern Ontario. As the investigation heats up, Stonechild’s past threatens the close bonds she’s forged back home. Will she return to her life in Kingston, or will the rekindling of an old relationship lure her away for good?

And a few reviews to entice you ...

Complex and filled with menace, Brenda Chapman’s tale of sex, lies, and betrayal will keep you up at night. (Barbara Fradkin, author of the Amanda Doucette mysteries)

Series fans who have followed the evolving relationship between Stonechild and Rouleau will be just as interested in what fate has in store for the duo as in unraveling the fair-play plot. New readers will want to go back to the beginning. (Publishers Weekly)

Another nice thing has been how many readers have messaged me or posted about Closing Time and the series. Many have told me that they're recommending the series to their friends and bookclubs and perhaps this is the best news to come out of this time. Word of mouth is powerful and hard to quantify and has to grow organically. I think readers are realizing how hard authors are having it during this time and helping us any way they can. (If any of you past sharers are reading this post, a heartfelt thank you.)

Here are snippets from a few of my favourite reviews on Goodreads:

A moment of silence please, as I mourn the passing of one of my favourite series. I’ve enjoyed every one of these books & feel like I’m saying good-bye to old friends….friends with lives waaay more exciting than mine. -- Sandy

Just last year, around May or so, I happened upon Cold Mourning in a bookstore and started what became the most delightful journey through a new series. Despite only having known the books for a year, I've read this series through multiple times, loving the characters and their dynamics more each time I do. -- Natasha

Thanks Brenda for writing a great series. I enjoyed these characters and seeing the develop with each book. All great things must come to an end. You leave us wanting more. -- Peter


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