Carrying the gauntlet.
The latest question in the turbulent publishing world is whether Key Porter Books is in trouble. I hope not. They have been such a respected name in the business for so long. Hopefully it's just a rumour. But times being what they are, nothing would be surprising. Not after Random House of Canada downsized its sales rep staff recently.
So, that was my opening paragraph this morning...before I heard the dreadful news that Key Porter has actually closed its doors. What a loss...and how quickly things change. Which makes the remaining portion of this blog all the more relevant. Read on!
What's an author to do? That's the real question.
It may be up to the published authors to get sales moving and save the publishing industry -- how's that for a challenge! But how to do that? It's what we do already but need to kick into high gear -- self-promotion.
The American cosy authors know how to do it. There are blogs galore with such snappy names as Cozy Chicks and Killer Characters -- each offering a bit different take on the genre.
The RendezVous Crime authors are no slouches, either. Just look at the blogs -- Type M for Murder being the main one, a consortium of authors, and then there are all the individual author blogs (Vicki Delany, Brenda Chapman, Louise Penny, Gail Bowen to mention just a few). And when it comes to social networking, they are "in your face" -- and I mean that in a very positive way, on Facebook and many are on Twitter. They are headliners at signings and conferences, giving workshops and as guest speakers. Their goal -- instant name recognition and it's working.
It's not just the RendezVous gang that makes Facebook work. Of my 'friends', the Canadian author names that appear most often are Anthony Bidulka, Peggy Blair, Pam Callow, Cathy Astolfo, and Hilary Jane MacLeod. Good on you!
Readers want to know the authors as much as they want to know their characters. The end result -- happier readers, more sales, happier publishers, and authors with careers.
Writing the book is only part of the process. These days, even more than before, it's the self-promotion that takes the time, the effort, and often, it's at the author's personal expense. But it's also a great way to connect with the reader, and readers are part of the best things about being an author.
So, back to the question...what can authors do?
Linda Wiken/Erika Chase