Sell, sell, sell

A lot of people ask me, "So, now that the book is done, what do you do until it comes out?" 

The answer, as I'm fast learning, is SELL THE THING. That means figuring out ways to promote it and build interest for it in the months and weeks leading up to the release date. When most people think of selling books, the first thing that comes to mind is probably an author in a bookstore, sitting at a table, signing books. That's a part of the process, to be sure, but from what I've seen, today publishing houses focus on social media campaigns as a far greater driver of interest and sales; you're simply going to reach a lot more people that way than you are by hoping some interested folks happen to walk by your table in a bookstore somewhere. (That said, look for me to be sitting at a few random tables in New York and the greater Boston area, come March!)

One of the first ways the nice people at Simon & Schuster explained I can get the word out is through a Goodreads promotion. Goodreads, as you may know, is like a crowdsourcing/Facebook site for books; you connect with friends, they recommend books, vice versa, everybody reads more. Huzzah. 

So, my savvy marketing types suggested giving away advance, free copies of our galleys (a galley is a mock-up of the book; it's like a 95% complete version of the final product, with a soft cover, usually used for giving to press and reviewers) a month before anyone else can actually get their hands on the book. Sounds good to me! 

So until Jan. 30, you (yes you!) can enter to win one of 10 giveaway copies of Dueling with Kings, just by clicking this link and going to Goodreads! Wow! Definitely not a Game of Skill, but who cares?

Please enter, so I can prove to my publisher that I am so good at the social media despite my advanced age!

A book!

Writing a book is a crazy undertaking, one I didn't half-understand until I was already well into it. It required a totally different kind of writing process than what I was used to, a whole new way of thinking about writing and planning. In journalism, it was really a matter of starting each day anew, and revving the engine until you finally got to the end. Then rinse, repeat. The daily writing involved in creating a book was a glaringly different beast, one that required learning a whole new approach and caused me to tackle the process in an entirely different way. To anyone who's done a book before, I'm sure that's not news -- but after 15 years of writing one way, it was fascinating to me to learn that there's this whole other world out there that I'd hardly scratched the surface of. 

I'll be delving into much greater detail on the writing process in the future, and talking about what it takes to create and then sell a book like this -- uh, once I figure out how to do that, I mean. In the meantime, welcome!