Like a lot of my blog posts, I don’t think about what I’m going to write until a few days before it is due. Sometimes there is a current event that motivates me into a writing and segueing those themes it into writing. A few times I’ve drafted text weeks in advance about something I wanted to study a little closer and then polished up the text the day it is due. This is not a good way to write a blog as I’m scrambling at the last moment, often publishing a few minutes before midnight on my assigned date. Not much different from taxes and driving to the Post Office on the elusive April 15 date.
Sometimes when I write a blog I’ll publicize it a little because I’m proud of the content, other times I don’t because I feel I could’ve written something better. Sometimes I like what I’ve written, but don’t publicize because I got distracted or feel shy about promotion. This lack of promotion doesn’t just happen with this blog, but with other events and achievements. When something happens I rarely think, I need to put this out on the web. When I think I should, I’ll usually drag my feet by over thinking and later regret not sharing that sharable event. While some people hate it, I have a degree of envy for people who are quick to post things in real time.
Last week I was involved with five writing events. This was an unusually high number for me. Living in Los Angeles, I am blessed to be a part of a vibrant community of writers and creative people. Groups like Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and Mystery Writers of America SoCal are full of active members who support each other, create literary events or participate in them.
The first event was Wednesday night. Noir vs. Cozy Smackdown organized by Writing Wranglers and Warriors very own Stephen Buehler. The concept was to put the bleak noir writers up against the more upbeat cozy writers. We read from passages that best represented the respective subgenres as well as best murder scenes, character descriptions, sex scenes, and settings. This was part of a larger event, the NoHo Litcrawl. We had a rotating crowd of 25-30 watching inside a karate studio. Cozy won and I was weak link in the noir offensive. Regardless, I had a great time.
The next four events were to promote JEWISH NOIR. I’m proud to be in the anthology with my story “Quack and Dwight.” The editor, Kenneth Wishnia, flew out from New York to promote the book. While the first event on Thursday night was in the coolest location, Book Soup on the Sunset Strip, the turnout wasn’t spectacular. Parking is tough in that area and the clubs on Thursday nights are almost as busy the weekends. (Elvis Costello had been at the store earlier that week.)
Saturday we were at the Brentwood Library, Sunday at Book Carnival in Orange and Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. We sold and signed books at every event, but the biggest turnout came on Sunday at 10:30 in morning when I expected the least. Thanks Ann at Book Carnival!
During all of this I put out a message on Facebook about the “upcoming events” and shared and liked a few other FB posts. I also sent an email to a few selected work colleagues (I was once criticized for announcing a short story publication during “work hours” so I keep most writing talk to myself) and a the friend of a professor of Jewish studies who I met at a bbq. I didn’t do Twitter or pump the events up the way I should.
Days before any of the events my wife told me that I should word out and I said yes you are right and then proceeded to do nothing. It wasn’t that I forgot, but I was having trouble pulling the trigger. My brain froze, unable to promote my upcoming appearances. I think this comes from a fear of being too pushy/obnoxious or maybe that I would set somebody up for disappointment. Yet people won’t know about what I’m doing if I don’t put me out there. Often I’ll post pictures after the fact (which I feel more comfortable doing) and I’ll get an occasional “if only I’d known” comment.
Regarding today’s blog, I thought about inviting JEWISH NOIR authors to write a paragraph in the voice of their character to promote their stories. Other authors have been doing wonderful promotions, but I kept dragging my feet and then boom, October 27 is here.
So by saying all this on the open confessional of the internet (aka blog) begs the question, what am I going to do to reverse this course? The best answer is that I need to promote more often, regardless of my nature. Authors write, but they also must sell. I can start now by naming two events that I will be at in the month of November. So if you or anybody you know lives in the Los Angeles area would like to attend, please come or invite other people.
On Saturday, November 7, SW Lauden will launch his debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. This event called Read Out Loud features several readers and live bands. Writing Wranglers and Warriors’ Sarah M. Chen will be reading too. There will be food and beverages. You can find out more details on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1653330388267270/ .
On Saturday, November 14 in Irvine, I will be a part of the Men of Mystery conference. One of fifty authors, I will get to sit a table with mystery writer fans. This year features keynote speakers Phillip Margolin and C.J. Box. You can sign up here: http://menofmystery.org/index.html
Appropriately enough, on Sunday November 8, Sisters in Crime Los Angeles is having publicist Liz Donatelli give a talk. The meeting starts at 2pm at the South Pasadena Library. http://sistersincrimela.com/ Hopefully I can learn a trick or a dozen from her. And finally, I’ve been asked to chair the 2017 California Crime Writers Conference marketing panels. In some ways I feel I’m the worst person for the job since I suck at it, but I’ve also been watching others and have dozens of questions and many areas I’d like to have covered. Although it’s far away now, the dates are June 10 and 11, 2017. If you don’t live in LA and are writer, this might be the best reason to save up and come out.
Do you have a trouble promoting your work or is it something natural?
Travis Richardson has been a finalist for the Macavity short story award in 2014 and 2015 as well as the Anthony short story award in 2014. His novella LOST IN CLOVER was listed in Spinetingler Magazine’s Best Crime Fiction of 2012. He has published stories in crime fiction publications such as Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive, and All Due Respect. He edits the Sisters-In-Crime Los Angeles newsletter Ransom Notes, reviews Anton Chekhov short stories at http://www.chekhovshorts.com, and sometimes shoots a short movie. His novella, KEEPING THE RECORD, concerns a disgraced baseball player who will do anything to keep his tainted home run record. “Quack and Dwight” is his latest short story and can be found in the Anthology JEWISH NOIR. www.tsrichardson.com