Saturday, 11 August 2007

Now Comes the Hard Part

Last weekend, my husband and I drove three hours north to Corbeil (near North Bay, Ontario) to visit his brother's family. On the way, we stopped at Weber's on Highway 11.

Weber's is famous for its burgers. I don't think there's a single moment that there isn't a lineup outside the door. Traffic got so snarled they had to build a walkway over the highway to accommodate extra parking.

The Webers staff is very efficient. They take your order while you're still standing outside, and you hand over your money and receive an order slip two minutes later, while shuffling forward, closer to your goal. I took this picture just inside the door.

Their burgers are so damn good, it's a crime to pass them by while heading to the cottage or returning home, even during off hours.

I'll update you about our visit to the north country in another post. Today I'm going to talk about self-promotion.

I still don't know how my book is selling because I haven't received my quarterly statement yet. I haven't received a single review, so I don't know how The Space Between is being received. My publisher sent out copies to various reviewers, and I sent a couple myself. Heck, it's only been a month or so, but the lack of feedback from total strangers is really bugging me.

I'm sure I'm not alone. As much as I love writing for its own sake, a little validation doesn't hurt. It gives me the motivation to keep going.

Now that the print release of The Space Between is looming in the distance (October 5th), I must begin thinking about promotion in my home town. I plan to send a copy to my colleagues in the editorial department of the newspaper where I work. The chances are excellent that they'll do a story.

Last week I ventured into a privately owned bookstore that sells both new and used books. I like the store -- it's full of lovely old books and comfy couches, too. I like the informal, personal attention, too.

I waited for the lady behind the counter to finish with her customers and worked up the nerve to introduce myself as a local author. To my surprise, she yelled, "Hey, Sandra Cormier!"

"Hi, how are you?" I responded with enthusiasm. Problem is, I couldn't remember her right away. I have a tough time remembering someone I met five minutes ago.

She asked about my family and I happily updated her, waiting desparately for a clue. When she mentioned her son by name, it all came back in a flash. We hadn't seen each other for twenty years. Can you blame me? Sorry, Fran...

She was married at the time to a local musician and they had rented my mother's basement apartment before he hit the big time with his eighties rock band. So here's a big Hi to Fran; it was great to see you again!

We finally got around to the subject of my book. She informed me that the owner was responsible for purchasing new books, and didn't usually feature local artists. But since mine is a romance, she might make an exception. I took her business card and promised to send the information.

Now I must buckle down and create a press kit with all the pertinent information about my book and its availability, ISBN number, distributor contact info and all that wonderful stuff. I also have to learn about the subtle art of book signings. Fun, wow.

In the meantime I have at least two other novels simmering on the back burner, and one completed manuscript on submission. No, I haven't touched the garden or even ventured into the back yard, which is crispy from the drought.

Happy reading and writing!


ScaramoucheX said...

Thanks for publishing a very nice precis of what it's like to have had a book recently those of us who aspire to that, who fantasize about it, it's a treat; captured my imagination, y'see...
I should be so did you do it?
How do you?

Chumplet said...

I don't think anybody knows the secret -- a combination of hard work, perserverance, and a little luck.

Bernita said...

You might contact book study groups in your area too.

Chumplet said...

Thanks, Bernita! I'll look into it, although I'm very shy about meeting new people.

wordtryst said...

Ditto what scaramouchex said. I'm sure I've read thousands of posts and articles on publishing, especially on submitting work and getting an agent. The parts that come after you get an offer from a publisher are not too clear, and those are the parts I'm interested in now.

Thanks for sharing.