Already, these go-getters have garnered a great blurb for my debut novel from a suspense author with more than 4 million books sold across the globe (I’m waiting on ARCs for those authors who agreed to offer a blurb). The staff have their contacts and connections for blurbs, reviews, interviews, and more, but as an author I hope to bring my own opportunities to the table, resources available to me from being an active and supportive member of our crime-writing community. There is so much I need to plan on my end, yet so much I don’t know about what works and what doesn’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a GPS for traveling this part of the road to publication?
That’s why this year’s mystery conferences couldn’t have hit at a better time for me. I’ll be in NYC June 1-2 for Thrillerfest’s main event, two days for which I’m both excited and nervous. I’ll be hobnobbing with the biggest authors in the business, those whose novels debuted within the last year, and everyone in between. I’m eager to learn from old friends and new, picking their brains for best ideas for marketing and promotion, taking advice whenever it’s offered on celebrating the highs of launching a book and coping with the lows that are inevitable. At the same time, my heart will be racing and my knees knocking as I approach authors for blurbs and co-promotion opportunities—author appearances, guest blogs, podcasts, and more. Many of these slots are already filling up for the fall book season, so going after these opportunities now and in-person is imperative.
I’m more nervous contemplating my approach to Bouchercon in September. Sure, I’ll meet up with many of the same authors who attended Thrillerfest. The difference for me this time around (my fifth Bouchercon) is that I will be attending as a soon-to-be published author meeting avid readers—people I don’t (yet) know who review books on online platforms every week to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of followers all eager to see which books get coveted five-star ratings. I’ll be pitching my book, handing out beautifully bound ARCs, and taking names for eBooks, perhaps audiobooks, too, all to people whose recommendation could bolster pre- and post-launch sales of Lest She Forget to a wide audience.
I imagine my best strategy is to talk to these influencers and learn what and who they like to read before pitching my own book. I may do a bit of research before Bouchercon, checking out the attendee list and cross-referencing it with the reviewers on Goodreads and other online reader resources. My daughter and her friends are into BookTok, so I’ll enlist them for some help, too.
How about you? If you are an author at least one book launch under your belt, what advice do you have for those of us gearing up for the release of our debut work? What types of promotions worked for you? What didn’t? How do you approach influential authors for blurbs, readers for reviews?