Monday, October 3, 2011

Promotion: Chance Encounters

Another writer recently asked me what I felt were the three most effective things I'd done for promotion. I thought for awhile about that. It's not an easy question to answer! I came up with three. I'm not sure they're the most effective (who knows what works and what doesn't?), but they're things that I think have helped me in my writing career.

I'd put networking first. I've done a lot of it over the years, online and at conferences. The conference I've attended the most often is Malice Domestic. That's where I've met so many fellow Sisters in Crime members, and especially fellow members of the Guppies chapter that has been so much help to me. Having met a few of the published writers in person made me brave enough to ask some of them for blurbs when it was time for my novel to come out. All but one gave me wonderful blurbs, for which I am so thankful. Attending Malice for years might have also helped get me my Agatha nomination last year.

Number two, would be commenting on other people's blogs and making myself known to bloggers who host writers. Aside from learning a lot from the bloggers I follow (when I have time), I feel I know the blog hosts a little better. When I've requested guest blogs, I had no trouble getting them. Some bloggers have even asked me to blog for them before I ask.

Third, I would put hanging out in bars. Not just any bars, though. A group I sat with at the bar a few years ago at the Agents and Editors con in Austin invited me to their writing group and this month we're putting out a short story anthology together. That's this group, All Things Writing!

Another chance meeting, also at the bar, was at Malice. I sat next to a fellow Austinite whom I didn't know in person. We had emailed and were both going to look for each other to try to meet up, but Malice is huge and that might never have happened. Janice Hamrick  was a first-time attendee at Malice and also the winner of the 2010 Mystery Writers of America/Minotaur Books First Crime Novel competition. So her first novel was in the dealers' room, as was mine (though from a much smaller publisher!). I just happened to sit in the chair next to hers the first night I arrived, a happy coincidence. She wanted some guidance on how to get the most from the conference and I tried to help her out. I shepherded her a bit and we ate together a few times. She became a friend and eventually suggested my name to a radio host who had interviewed her (I assume Minotaur got her that interview, but I'm not sure). Now we're doing a panel, together with another local mystery writer, Robin Allen, (whom I also don't know yet!), arranged by that radio host, Hopeton Hay, at a local library.

Hopeton has also agreed to do an interview of me, Steve, and Mary Ann for our ALL THINGS DARK AND DASTARDLY release. (Coming October 21st!)

Maybe all of these just amount to networking. But I'm not going to admit that, because then I'd have to come up with two more.

Illustration: Social networking, public domain


  1. Thanks, Kaye. I can sit in a bar anytime, anywhere. Nice to know it can be a promotional tool (and then you can deduct the price of drinks, too).

    Edith Maxwell

  2. I know! I must resolve to sit in more bars, more often. It can only be good.

  3. Bars are the best when it comes to meeting fellow writers!

  4. You were the best shepherd ever! And thanks to you I had the best Malice ever, so I heartily second meeting in bars.

  5. Hey, you made it a fun Malice for me, too, Janice! Thanks for stopping in here.

  6. Excellent advice, Kaye. Like Edith, I'm particularly fond of option three, but the other two work well, too.