I’m encouraging you to talk to your friends and family about your writing. While you might not have any other writers in your circle of friends, there are many people in related fields who might be of help to you in promoting your books.
Anyone in TV, radio or print is a potential contact for you. When the book comes out, you’ll want to contact the media to get interviews. Again, you’d be surprised at how well this can work. A former boss of mine had a daughter-in-law who worked as a TV camerawoman; she helped me to get on the morning show at her station. Likewise, a TV news anchor spotted me selling copies of Canine Christmas at the mall while wearing a Santa’s hat and asked me to do an interview.
Serendipity plays a role in finding people who can help you with your book promotions. After I announced my first book to the people that I worked with, one of the men there pulled me aside and told me that if I’d written a mystery, I needed to talk to his mother. I had visions of some little old woman who sat at home with her cats, reading mysteries. Boy, was I wrong. It turned out that his mother was the events coordinator for the largest independent bookstore in Southwestern Ohio. He gave me her number, and I was able to set up a booksigning. Since then, I’ve been in to do signings and lectures a half dozen times. Just imagine if I hadn’t talked about my writing or not followed up with his mother! On another occasion, I was talking to the manager of a local bookstore. He mentioned the name of his district manager. Because of the unusual last name, I suspected at once that the district manager had gone to junior high school with me. He’s been an invaluable contact.
You’ll be amazed at the amount of information you’ll be offered by friends and family who know people in bookselling. However, there is one major catch to this. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Telling your friends and family that you’re writing can be difficult or awkward. You’ll get the familiar questions: are you published, are you a best-seller, do you know James Patterson? (yes, depends on the definition, and he’s my Facebook friend.) It’s difficult to measure up to these people’s expectations especially at the beginning of a career, but being honest and open will get you contacts that you can use.
All of these people can be contacted about signings and media events. Now, I don’t encourage you to use the people you know! Don’t hound them for help or stalk them in hopes of a big break. There are enough people you know who can lend a hand without seeming calculating. Just be honest, open, and the rewards of contacts will come to you.
That biography (Who Was That Lady?) encouraged him to write mystery fiction. His works include Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s, and a biography of mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher entitled Anthony Boucher. It has been nominated for an Agatha and fittingly, won an Anthony. He is currently completing a biography of Erle Stanley Gardner.
He is the long-time moderator of MurderMustAdvertise, an on-line discussion group dedicated to book marketing and public relations. He is the author of Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel, the only how-to book for promoting genre fiction.
His work has won a number of awards including the Barnes and Noble Prize and he was nominated for a Maxwell award (DWAA), an Edgar (MWA), three Agathas (Malice Domestic), two Macavity awards, and three Anthony awards (Bouchercon).