By Stephen Buehler
In my last blog I talked about my anticipation of going to Left Coast Crime, a mystery writers and readers convention that will be held in Phoenix 2/25 – 2/28.
On the very first day of the conference at 9am, I have signed up for an event called, Author Speed Dating. For 2 hours, 40 authors will hop from table to table pitching whatever they want. It works like this; there are 10 chairs at each table and 8 of them are already filled with other writers and readers. When the first bell rings, 2 authors will sit with the group of 8 and talk. One author gets to speak for 2 minutes, a bell rings, the other author gets to talk for 2 minutes, then the bell rings again and the traveling authors move to another table and start it all over again.
Most authors have new books or even old books to pitch. I don’t. I have two short stories in anthologies that came out over a year ago. It’s just not sexy, (Hollywood term for what’s exciting right now.) Don’t get me wrong, I feel it’s a big accomplishment to be published in anthologies but I’m just one author among at least 12. It’s a hard sell to get people to buy the book just for my story. So this is what I’m doing instead. I’m making Stephen Buehler a brand. By the time I’m done with my pitch I hope each person will know that when they read anything by Stephen Buehler they will be entertained, mystified and have a good time. That’s my goal.
Here’s my plan: Since I don’t have any new work to show off, I’m going to be the show off. I have devised a magic trick with 2 of my business cards (each card had a cover of a different anthology). I will perform the trick for the table, talk briefly about my published 2 short stories, then talk about my 2 upcoming books, Detective Rules and The Mindreading Murders. I’m hoping my presentation will stand out from the other authors who will probably be pitching the plots to their new books.
Now mind you, there is no publisher attached to my two novels yet. One publisher has given me a Revised and Resubmit for Detective Rules, but that’s no guarantee. My goal is not to necessarily to have my tablemates remember the books, but if they do, that’s great. I want them to remember Stephen Buehler, the author who is fun to hang around and shows them a good time. When my books are eventually published, (keep your fingers crossed), hopefully they remember my name and my brand.
To help remind them of the Stephen Buehler brand, I will be giving away a goodie bag to everyone who listens to my pitch. In the bag are the business cards used in the magic trick plus instructions for each person to learn how to do the trick themselves. If they do show other people the trick, they’ll be advertising my anthologies, Last Exit to Murder and Believe Me Not: An Unreliable Anthology. I’ll be getting free publicity. Also in the bag will be a bookmark for The Mindreading Murders and a postcard of Detective Rules, which hopefully are amusing and enjoyable -like the Stephen Buehler brand. Plus, in the bag I’ll be adding my secret weapon – candy. You can’t go wrong with candy.
That’s the Stephen Buehler plan. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
What ways have you devised to market yourself and your books?
Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and A Job’s a Job in Believe Me or Not –An Unreliable Anthology. He is expanding his novella, The Mindreading Murders about a magician into a novel and shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. On top of all that he is a script consultant, magician and dog owner. www.stephenbuehler.com