Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Promoting Your Book

I was multitasking this morning -- reading my favorite blogs and listening to the Today show with half an ear.

The Today show announced that Al Roker had written a novel. A mystery novel. So, okay, I thought. Then I listened to the story. Talk about promoting a debut novelist. The entire Today show team acted out the start of the mystery. It helps to have at least 60 seconds of air time, Matt, Meredith, Ann and the rest hamming it up and giving Roker a huge send up for his novel. Alas, all it takes is money, a big name, access to top morning show personalities, air time, etc. What the rest of us poor writers lack.

I turned back to my blog reading. Rachelle Gardner noted a brilliant trick one author uses at her book signings.

"Novelist Wanda Dyson puts yellow crime tape around her table when she does books signings. Do you think that attracts more readers than tables that have nothing interesting to draw a reader's attention?"

I sent the idea to Sally Roseveare for her next signing. If she coupled crime scene tape with her large black lab (stuffed), everyone would stop to see what was going on.

Whaddya think, huh? Crime scene tape for those of us who write mysteries and who don't have the access that Al Roker has?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Faster Pastor, new comedy by Sharyn McCrumb

On Tuesday, Nov. 17th, I went to a writers workshop led by Sharyn McCrumb and Adam Edwards. Everyone knows Sharyn. New York Times best seller. Author of 22 novels, including two in a NASCAR series. Great person who generously gives her time to people like me who want to write better.

Here's the premise of the novel:

Imagine what happens when an irresponsible young NASCAR driver crashes his car into a funeral in a blink-on-an-eye Tennessee mountain town and is forced to perform two weeks of community service by teaching the town’s ministers how to race stock cars. Camber Berkley, the hapless protagonist of Sharyn McCrumb’s new novel, Faster Pastor, can’t afford his fine and court costs, so he has no choice but to turn nine ministers into race drivers competing for a $2 million prize.

This is Sharyn's third entry in her popular NASCAR series and the first one written with a collaborator, Adam Edwards, a NASCAR/ARCA driver. She and Adam is at her best in this laugh-out-loud comedy romp around a country short track.

If you like Janet Evanovich's NASCAR series, you will love Sharyn and Adam's book. Why is it that women can write very funny comedies about a testosterone-dominated sport? Could it be that we don't take the drivers as seriously as they take themselves? After all, strip off the flashy fire suits and generally you have a short, scrawny guy. Not so with Adam, who is a NASCAR/ARCA driver, about oh, six two, lean, dark, very good looking. Um, what I think a real NASCAR driver should look like. . . .

Vuy the book when it comes out in February 2010. I was lucky to get my hands on an advanced reader copy, stay up two nights in a row until way too late, and loved every laugh.

Oh yes, I also learned that you can be successful with a collaborator -- if you are compatible to begin with, if both of you can write, if you have similar work ethics, and if you can meet deadlines without whining. Maybe that's why I failed with two previous collaborators. Didn't have any of the mix except that they could actually write coherent sentences.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Using the Tritest Opening Yet

I have always wanted to use the oldest and tritest line to open a story. And I got my chance to do so in last week's Laker Weekly.

"It really was a dark and stormy night when I joined my friend Karen Wrigley of Hardy and seven others for ghost hunting at Avenel, an historic museum home in Bedford."

Yup, stole Bulwer-Lytton's line and used it in print. I couldn't help myself! Will somebody stop me!!!