Monday, May 07, 2007

Let There Be Questions (Part III)

Working through the questions from the Kennesaw State students as time permits --

Julie M. poses this question -- "Who is in charge of marketing your books, you or Dragon Moon Press?"

Me. I know there are authors who still believe that their publisher should do all the heavy lifting when it comes to promotion, but that's not an option anymore. Two decades ago -- sure. Not today. Dragon Moon Press (DMP) supports me in all ways they are able, but ultimately it's up to me to see that my books are a success. That doesn't trouble me in the least. If five years down the line I've found my career hasn't gone anywhere, I do not want to bitch and moan that my publisher(s) should have done more. Perhaps they could have, but that's not the point. I don't want to have any personal regrets that I didn't take this to max when I had the opportunity.

From Zenia L. --"'History is much like a python. Once you're in its grip, there's little chance of escape.' Can you explain those words from your webpage?"

Geez, try to be cryptic just once. Let's look at it from the point-of-view of the prey. I can pretty much imagine a rodent's thoughts the moment it gets caught in a python's grip. "Gee, how'd that happen? Well, no sweat, I'll just sneak out... Humm... getting a bit tight here. Maybe if I wriggle this that didn't work. Whoa, now it's really getting tight. Maybe I better--" End of rodent.

We often find ourselves in the middle of a dicey situation before we realize it. Traveling in time would present the same opportunity to get entrapped in a situation that you hadn't anticipated. Like the python, once you're there and into the flow of events, it's darned hard to get free. That's the case with my characters, especially the time traveler Jacynda Lassiter. She goes to 1888 to do a job. Once there, she's trapped in a different reality, one that she has virtually no control over. She's a lot like the rodent encircled by the python, except it would be good if Jacynda survives to the end of the book so there can be a sequel.

Jennifer J. asks, "What have you found to be the most difficult part of promoting a new book?"

Attracting the readers' attention. Authors have so much competition: Lost, American Idol, CNN, longer work hours, elderly care issues, the Internet, XBox, ITunes. Not counting all the other new books. Capturing a reader's attention takes a lot of persistence. You have to have a topic that intrigues them, a really good delivery and leave them wanting more. In otherwords, published authors are a lot like high class courtesans (though those ladies get better pay). We have to be very good at what we do EVERY TIME. Not easy.

Persistence is a lot of it. So is luck. Author J.A. Konrath talks a lot about hitting that point in your career where luck kicks in and things start to happen and the years of effort needed to reach the sweet spot. I'm still creeping up on that point. When I reach it, I can't wait to see what happens next!

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