Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Keeping up with the ??? by Cathy Ace



How do you get yourself and your books noticed by the public? We hear that many publishers aren’t doing much PR anymore. How do you stand out from the crowd?

PLEASE BUY MY BOOK! ” …a pleasant mélange with a garnish of death and danger.” Kirkus Reviews
My first Cait Morgan book was published in 2012, by a small Canadian press with just one PR person responsible for overseeing the efforts of about 60 authors. I now have another, much more prolific publishing house for my WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, but even they aren’t blessed with a huge team. I know they all work as hard as they can for me, but it’s unreasonable to expect them to be able to promote my work as effectively as I can – or with as much passion and vigor as I have for the task. To be honest, I’ve not been around for long enough to know anything other than the way the business is today.  One thing I have learned is that publishers can be much more effective at getting reviews in mainstream press than an author can - and I'm grateful they do that for me.

Online: I find I spend a lot of time planning how to promote my work, then writing blogs, guest blogs, interviews, Facebook posts and Tweets about my work. I also spend a certain amount of time every day interacting with those kind enough to follow me on Facebook and composing posts not just about my work, but about subjects that are interesting to me, and which might prove appealing/interesting to the sort of people who choose to read my work. There’s also an ongoing reading of blogs by industry bloggers, and the reading I need to do to keep abreast of developments in the marketplace. I’d say all of that needs about two hours of my time each day, pretty much seven days a week. When I have a book about to be launched I have to spend more time writing series of guest blogs for blog tours, then following comment threads when those blogs appear; this can take an additional couple of hours each day in the run-up to launch and during the period of the blog tour. I write a newsletter that goes out to a mailing list every two months, too, and do my best to make sure my website is up to date and looking fresh. You can like my author page here: https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ace-Author-318388861616661/

Face to face: Beyond that daily, and launch-dictated online effort, there’s also the aspect of getting out to meet readers and potential readers, so I spend time trying to set up signings and get myself invited to various events or book club meetings either in my local area or in other parts of the world via Skype; the amount of time I spend on this varies tremendously. I also attend fan conventions when I can afford them; I try to go to Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic, CrimeFest and Bouchercon each year. All these events require an investment of time (several days’ attendance each, plus travel time) and money…but are a wonderful way to reach out to readers and meet them – as well as having the chance to meet other authors. Find out where I'll be, when, here: http://cathyace.com/events/

Giving back: While I recognize the importance of promoting my own work, I also try to give back as much as possible, by helping to promote the work of others. I have been on the board of Crime Writers of Canada for the past four years and am Board Chair this year. As such I am heavily involved in representing our more than 300 members’ interests. I find the role takes about 10 hours a week (which basically means there’s a whole book I won’t be writing this year). I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers Association (UK) and Mystery Writers of America; all these bodies allow me a chance to spread the word about my books through the lists of work by their members they publish and promote. I don’t teach writing courses, nor am I a reader or judge for any competitions, because I know those areas are not my forte, but I am often approached via email by new authors and offer what help I can, when I can. You can find out more about Crime Writers of Canada and all our wonderful members' works here: http://www.crimewriterscanada.com/

Overall: it’s a real challenge to try to bring my work to the attention of readers without looking as though I am always begging them to buy my books – which is, really, what I am doing. So, help a girl out? Buy one of my books – please? There’s a new one just about to come out in Canada & the USA. Thank you, Cathy

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries (#8 The Corpse with the Ruby Lips was released on November 1st) and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (#3, The Case of the Curious Cook, was released in hardcover in the UK on November 30th and will be released in the USA & Canada on March 1st).  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers: http://cathyace.com/  

10 comments:

Art Taylor said...

Hi, Cathy -- I appreciate your comments on "Giving back" here. While I don't think of it particularly as promotional, I do think that being an active part of the community, engaged and supportive in various ways, is important. Supporting and promoting other people's work is much easier than promoting your own, I think--though yes, others in the community you support may well come back and check out your own work. Bottom line, we're all in this together!

Kristopher said...

What Art said above!

Catriona McPherson said...

You are a dynamo, Cathy!

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Art - you are a glowing example of being a particularly supportive person in our community. Your comments, sharing of posts etc goes far beyond that of many, and in this social-networking world in which we all now exist it means a great deal. Thanks :-)

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Kristopher - as a person whose own excellent reviewing, blogging and overall input into, and knowledge of, our community is second to none, I know I'm not alone in appreciating all you do for those of us who benefit from your insights and enthusiasm. Thank you :-)

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Catriona - not feeling very dynamo-like this morning, so thank you for your kind words. I'll now work on visualizing that pink bunny with the never-ending batteries and will aim to power my way through a day when I'm trying to catch up from a long weekend away which became even longer when we arrived home to 3 feet of snow. The 400ft driveway had to be cleared so we'd be ready for the extra foot we're due to get tonight. Two chocolate Labradors here are a bit fed up with snow that's nose-high and too deep to get through. Yes, doggy pathways are necessary ;-)

RM Greenaway said...

Good moment to say thank you for your generous work on the CWC. Also am reminded to get better at sharing posts ...

Danny Gardner said...

Wonderful post, filled with practical and experience-tested advice!

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Rachel - thanks for your thanks, but, as you can see, I do believe you get out what you put in...so I'm really only doing it because I'm selfish ;-)

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Danny - thanks for your generous words...I should take this chance to add that the work my publishers do really does pay off - there's no way I'd have been able to get a review in the Globe and Mail (which I did last weekend) without TouchWood Editions constantly sending books for review there - so it's all about team work, really :-)