If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied


Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson


Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson













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E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.


Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).


Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!


Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.


Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.


Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!


Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.


KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!


Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

New Tricks by Annette Dashofy

When I look back to the time before I was published, I had a definite picture in my mind about what my days as a “professional author” would look like. I’d write in the morning and read in the afternoon—either research material or new mystery releases to keep up with current trends. 

Nowhere in that mental image did I include hours of marketing (cue hysterical laughter). 

In the years since my first book came out, my daily schedule has morphed and pivoted as I adapted to changes in my status and changes in the publishing world. I still write in the morning. That part has remained fairly consistent. But my afternoons are rarely spent reading, at least not new releases. More often than not, I’m working on marketing, accounting, and all sorts of business stuff after lunch.

Up until this spring, I’d become proficient at speaking in front of crowds…something my younger self was horrible at. But I truly enjoyed interacting with an audience. 

That all changed in March. Since then I (and most of my fellow authors) have had to build a new skillset: Being “on camera.” Whether it’s Zoom, Crowdcast, Facebook Live, Google Groups, or any of the new (or new to me) meeting platforms, suddenly I had to figure out how to interact with an audience that I either couldn’t see at all or was visible in tiny squares on my laptop’s screen. If they’re muted, I can’t tell if they’re laughing at my humor or if my joke fell flat. Questions often are read in the chat feature rather than asked by members of the audience. It’s all unnerving. And where to look? If I look at an audience member’s face to read their expressions, to them I’m not making eye contact. If I look at the camera, making it appear I’m looking right at them, I can’t see their reaction. 

Ack. 

I miss face-to-face events. 

But this is our current reality, and I try to make the best of it. Early on, I bought a new laptop and boosted my internet speed. I’ve tried various microphone/audio combos. My good pal, Liz Milliron, observed during one virtual conference that audience members’ biggest complaints involved audio. Too soft, too garbled, too echoey. It didn’t matter how wonderful your presentation was. If your audio was poor, no one paid attention. After much experimentation, I keep coming back to my old headphones and mic. I occasionally get teased about them, but I’ve yet to receive a complaint about my sound quality. 

Lighting is another matter. I bought one of those ring lights, only to discover that it glares on the eyeglasses I need for seeing my notes. My laptop location has been another source of experimentation. I’ve learned the camera should be at or slightly above your eye level to be most flattering. So my current set up involves having my laptop propped on a box. I have a lamp on my desk that I can dim or brighten. It provides fill light (did you know I used to be a photographer?) while my main lighting comes from a window for day events or from the ring light, which I now set 45 degrees to the side instead of right in front, for evening events. 

The most recent addition to my video set up has been the background. This, like the audio lesson, comes from audience members’ comments. They love seeing our writing world, messy or not. They love seeing our bookshelves with our awards. Unfortunately, my bookshelves aren’t very grand, and I don’t have any awards to show off. Someone in my book marketing group suggested posters. 

Brilliant! For $8 each, I had four of my book covers enlarged and tacked the posters on the closet doors I’d been using for a backdrop during my virtual events. 

Here’s a laptop-camera “selfie” I took before a virtual book club meeting last week. It’s not the greatest quality (the laptop does better video than still photos), but you get the idea. 


Fellow authors, have you been doing any virtual events these days? If so, have you made any equipment purchases for that purpose? Readers, do you enjoy taking part in them? Do you have any additional advice for us (besides good audio is a must)?

8 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I'd say you've done well in adjusting.

Annette said...

Thanks, Jim. I keep adapting as I learn more. What I'm doing now may not be what I'm doing next month!

Kait said...

Great advice, Annette!

Annette said...

Thanks, Kait. I didn't invent any of it. Every time I see a post or how-to article about virtual events, I pick up some new tidbit. Some work. Some don't.

KM Rockwood said...

Wonderful to hear how you've adapted! All your hard work is paying off.

Annette said...

Thanks, KM!

Kelly Brakenhoff said...

Great article Annette!
Your selfie came out great! Creative use of the book covers.

Annette said...

Thanks, Kelly! And I've said, I stole the idea from someone else. Why have those white panels behind me when I could be promoting my books? :-)