Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Speaking of Books...

Yesterday I mailed eleven advance review copies of The Desert Hedge Murders to newspapers and online book review sites, looking for those extra opportunities for publicity. I still have more to send.

The book's official release date is August 19th. The next three months are for planning--scheduling promotional events, designing and ordering bookmarks and/or postcards, blogging, tweeting, and, if all goes well, setting up a blog book tour.

In 2007, when The Prairie Grass Murders was released, I joined four other Colorado mystery authors to form a panel called "Mystery Through the Ages," based on the idea that our protagonists' ages crossed several decades. We appeared at bookstores and libraries up and down the Front Range. I'm not sure how that panel impacted my overall book sales, but I definitely had a good time.

For this new book, I'm looking for more local and web-based marketing opportunities. One of our independent bookstores has a Sunday booth at a popular Farmer's Market and features authors whenever possible. And our Senior Center has added an authors' room to its widely attended annual craft fair the two days after Thanksgiving.

I plan to attend two big events this year: Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference in Denver in September and the October mystery convention, Bouchercon 2009, which will be held in Indianapolis.

Even after a full year of promotional activities with the 2007 release, I still find the process a mystery. What works? What doesn't? Why did this work last time but isn't working now? The debate goes on. I'll keep on trying to figure it out, and I'll keep you posted on my progress, or lack thereof.

In the meantime, would you please request that your library order a copy of:
The Desert Hedge Murders
by Patricia Stoltey
From Five Star on August 19, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1-59414-785-2

I'd be happy to do the same for you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all this -- I'm still learning about the process of promoting, so I'm very interested to hear what works for you.

Karen Walker said...

What a go-getter you are, Patricia. Would you mind sharing an approximate number of books you sold in the 2007 release after doing all that?


Galen Kindley said...

On another blog you wrote…”And yes, when I’m writing the bad guy’s POV in my current WIP, I am a big vicious obscenity-spewing creep.” That made me laugh aloud. Very funny.

Now, down to business…Yes, a local library request is easy to do…Consider it done, and, kudos for thinking to put it on your blog.

I’m conflicted about promoting in-person. I did a bunch of it for my first book. Mostly signings at the usual bookstores, and…a way more fun time…attending book clubs.

Both resulted in book sales. The signings were just plain old hard work for reason too detailed to describe here. The book clubs were more intimate, interactive and enjoyable. Only downside? Some readers got the book from the library. Which is the drawback of having them IN libraries. One library sale negates out how many book purchases???

In both cases, I found I sold a few books, but, didn’t garner much notoriety. That is, sales and fame are not the same. Hey, one more line, and I’ll have a Shakespearean rhyming couplet to close out! Uh…”Remember that, and you’re in the game.” HA!

Best, Galen

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning! You three must live on the east side of the U.S. or you're dedicated morning people. No matter the reason, I love seeing those early comments.

Alexis, nothing really worked. I did not receive a major review, which impacted library sales. The panels and conferences were more to show my publisher I was serious about promotion, and to get my name, face, and book title in front of readers.

Karen, I don't mind telling the sad story of my sales (to the extent I understand my royalty statement). I sold more than the first printing which was probably 500, and I've sold less than 1,000 total so far. Five Star was willing to publish book two of the series, so it can't be all bad.

Galen, I'm not a fan of solo book signings, but I think I can do it better now that I've had more experience attacking bookstore customers and wrestling them to the ground (just kidding). My goal has been to keep The Prairie Grass Murders out there in one form or another. It's now available as an audiobook and MP3 download from Books in Motion, and I also have a contract with Harlequin Worldwide to do a mass market paperback book club addition. There's more than one way to skin a cat (just kidding again).

Geesh, my answer is longer than my blog post. But one last comment--if we're realistic, we write because we want to and have to, not because we expect to make a lot of money. There's less pain if we don't have unreasonable expectations.


Karen Brees said...

What an ambitious undertaking! Great job, Patricia. And of course I'll contact the libraries in my area.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering those questions, Patricia.

I like your point about writing for OURSELVES and not for book sales. I'll keep that in mind.

And yes, I'm a morning person. I make my rounds on blogs in the AM, so I have the rest of the day free to work. So I know exactly which people from our class post early!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Be sure to let us know what works for you! I put in a request online at our county library.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,
Yes, all that marketing is an ongoing battle. You're courageous in spending the next three months at it. But then, I'm doing the same thing in exploring this whole internet marketing business - plus some in-person signings and panels, for which I don't have high hopes.

The most promising in-person marketing gambit on my agenda comes this fall, when the Sisters in Crime of Upstate New York will be featured at a local theater's cocktail benefit party preceding a performance of Sweeney Todd. A few glasses of wine never hurt sales, IMHO. Marie Corcoran, our publicity chair, is very outgoing and enjoys marketing, and she set up this gig.

Today after my Nia class I chatted with the woman in charge of adult (aka senior) programming at the YMCA, and she's interested in setting up an event for us at the Y, with refreshments. At least the folks there can afford a membership, so there might be some sales opportunities. We can always hope.

Bob Sanchez said...

May I suggest you contact Julie McGuire at -- she is the fiction editor of the Internet Review of Books -- and ask whether she'd like a copy of your book to review. The web site is

I'm the web master there, and I think Julie will be receptive.

Bob Sanchez

K. A. Laity said...

This is all so helpful!

N A Sharpe said...

Wow - learning lots about marketing here...I am such a newb (rolls eyes) Oh, and yes, I will be happy to pass a request to the library like you asked.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

Jina Bacarr said...

Libraries can be an excellent opportunity for readers to "discover" a writer then later purchase their backlist or their next release online or in a bookstore.


The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks to everyone for great information and ideas and those library requests. I'll keep everyone posted if I stumble across anything that seems to be working.

And thanks for the review site info, Bob. I had never heard of that one. I'll send an e-mail to Julie first thing tomorrow.