Monthly Archives: October 2009

Happy Halloween!

Jack-o-lanterns3

When my publisher was first discussing Deadtown’s publication with me, a fall release date was mentioned. This would’ve been great, because Deadtown’s climactic scene takes place on Halloween. (When else? :D) I ended up with a late-December release date — and believe me, it’s wonderful to have a release date — but it would have been fun to have Vicky and friends out in the world today. They join me in wishing you a happy, spooky, candy-loaded Halloween!

If you missed my guest post at the League of Relucant Adults earlier this month, click here for a helpful list of safety tips in case of a zombie attack while you’re out trick-or-treating.

And speaking of trick-or-treating, if you’re in the U.S. take advantage of that sugar high to set the clocks back while you’re zipping around the house.

Have a great Halloween!


Two Months to Go!

deadtown_santa

Deadtown releases two months from today, on December 29, 2009. It’s strange to think that by the time the book comes out, the last of the leaves will be gone, we’ll probably have had at least one snowfall, and the holidays will be (mostly) done. But just in case you’re looking for something to celebrate after Hanukkah, after Christmas, but before New Year’s Eve, keep Deadtown in mind.

 


Fall in the Finger Lakes

Well, no, don’t fall in the Finger Lakes — some of them are pretty deep — but enjoy a few photos of autumn in central New York state. The colors have been pretty muted this year (I grew up in New England, so I always expect  glorious October foliage). And it doesn’t help that a lot of the month has been gray and rainy.

But this past weekend had clear blue skies and sun that lit up the leaves, so Steve and I got out to do some leaf-peeping. Here are a few photos of autumn in my part of the world.

By the lake 2

Along Cayuga Lake

Near Sheldrake

Looking across Cayuga Lake from Sheldrake Point

Yep, we got maples

Yep, we got maples!

Deer

We got deer, too!

grapes

Grapes at Lucas Winery

Lake 2

Cayuga Lake

Lake 1

Cayuga Lake again

Nancy_Lake_cropped

Me!

Maples 2

Love those maples!


Poll Results: Where Readers Find Books

A week and a bit ago, I posted a poll to ask people how they find new books to read. Because I’m trying to figure out how to spread the word about Deadtown, I wanted to get a sense of where to focus my efforts. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and took the poll!

The top three methods of finding new books to read were these:

  • Recommendation from a friend: 17%
  • Bookstore browsing: 15%
  • Previously read something by the author: 14%

In what I think of as the “middle group” were these four methods, which will be the focus of my promotional efforts:

  • Mention on social networking site (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.): 12%
  • Book review: online: 11%
  • Auto-recommend feature (e.g., on Amazon: Readers who bought this book also bought…): 10%
  • Read an excerpt: 9%

And at the bottom of the list were these methods:

  • Contest or other event: 4%
  • Other: 3%
  • Book review: print: 2%
  • Advertisement: online: 2%
  • Advertisement: print: 1%

See that one on the very bottom? The method that came in at a whopping 1%? Guess who’s wishing she hadn’t been talked into buying a pricey RT ad now. Oh, well. Look for me on the New Author Spotlight of the January issue. 🙂

There doesn’t seem to be one dominant method for finding new books to read, although I’d say that recommendations by someone whose opinion you trust — whether a friend or a reviewer — is right up there. Book people love to talk about their finds and are endlessly interested in what other book people are reading.

I realized I left a few things off my poll, including in-person bookstore appearances, workshops/talks, and conference panels. But no one mentioned these in the comments. If any of these are a significant way that you find books, I’d love to hear about it.

What does all this mean to me? I want to get Deadtown into the hands of lots and lots of readers, in the hope that they’ll enjoy the book, tell their friends, and watch for the sequel. Between Penguin and myself, we’ve sent out between 30 and 35 ARCs, and I have a list of about 20 reviewers who’ll get an early copy of the final book. I’m also planning to give away at least 40 copies of the final book — watch for announcements of contests.

So here’s what I’m planning to do from the middle of December through the end of January:

  • Review copies. As I mentioned above, we’re sending out quite a few review copies to both print and online reviewers.
  • A blog tour. I’ve got about a dozen blog appearances lined up and would like to have at least 20. If you’re a book blogger and you’d like me to do a guest post or interview, please contact me.
  • Contests. People like free stuff, right? I’ll be running or participating in several contests, ranging from autographed copies of Deadtown to bigger prizes. (Watch here for details.)
  • Free fiction. I’m working on a couple of short stories that I’ll post here to give people a taste of Deadtown‘s world. I also plan to post the first chapter about a month before the release date.

I hope that these strategies will get my book out there so that people will read it and recommend it to their friends. If you’ve got suggestions of anything else that would attract readers’ attention, let me know.

Interestingly, I got this in an email from Publisher’s Lunch last Friday as I was thinking about the poll results:

In the UK, a survey of heavy book-buying habits conducted by Book Marketing Limited and Lovereading demonstrated that while 56% of the approximately 1,300 respondents use the Internet to find out about books, social networks were less useful as a recommendation tool — only 34% found social networks as a whole to be helpful, and Twitter even less so (at 17%). The figures contrast with author and retailer websites, which 83% found “useful” when taken in total. (Of course, when Facebook now allegedly accounts for 1 in 4 pageviews, one could argue about what the definition of a website is these days, especially with specific author pages set up as “fan” sites that attract sizable traffic.)

I haven’t figured out yet what to make of this report. It’s odd that the write-up doesn’t mention publisher sites or review sites/blogs — just social networking sites, author sites, and retailer sites. Personally, I usually check out review sites first and then, if I’m interested in a book, look at the author’s site. I’d also be interested to see the survey results broken down by genre. Are the urban fantasy readers I’m trying to reach more likely to be plugged into social networking sites than, say, readers of historical nonfiction?

At any rate, I guess I’d better add “create Facebook fan page” to my to-do list. 🙂


This Made My Day

Mary Poppins may have said it first, but when something is fun, people are more likely to do it. As this video proves. I mean, how could you resist going up those stairs?


Win an Autographed Copy of Deadtown!

SB Frank, who blogs about fantasy novels at Fantasy Literature . . . Frankly, will be giving away five copies of Deadtown over the next several weeks. The first giveaway is today.

They’ve got an interesting discussion going on about whether or not it matters to you, as a reader, that bloggers receive free review copies from publishers and authors. Do you think that getting free books skews (or could skew) their opinions?

When I send out review copies, I do so hoping that reviewers will like my book and will want to spread the word about it. But I don’t expect a positive review. I send out copies with the understanding that any given reviewer may dislike the book or may decide not to review it. The book is out of my hands, and it’s up to the reviewer (a) to choose it for a review — or not — and (b) to report on his or her experience of reading the story.

If you’d like to enter the giveaway, head over to Fantasy Literature . . . Frankly and join the discussion there. The site will give away five copies, so keep checking back for more chances to win.


Of Weddings and Zombies

As I mentioned last week, I was out of town for a wedding over the weekend. Everything was perfect: the bride was lovely, my nephew looked handsome in his spiffy tuxedo, guests had fun at the reception, and I got to catch up with a lot of family members that I hadn’t seen for a while.

The whole thing put me in a sentimental frame of mind, so as soon as I got home today I Googled “wedding” and “zombie” and found this cake. It’s the only thing I can think of that would have improved the day.

(Just kidding, Nate and Julie!)


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