STATUS: TGIF! It’s supposed to be a lousy weekend in Denver. Rain both days. Guess who will probably get a lot of reading done?
What’s playing on the iPod right now? TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART by Bonnie Tyler
Happy Release Day Lucienne!
I imagine that most writers believe that because Lucienne is also an agent, she probably got special treatment when she went out on submission. But actually, that’s not true. If the editors knew who she was, then I’m sure they kept that in mind while reading but most of the editors were in the children’s realm—a market Lucienne doesn’t do a whole lot of repping in. So her being an agent didn’t necessarily carry extra weight.
And even with that, the work had to live up to its promise, and the editors had to love it as a novel to take it on.
In looking back on my submission notes, we had quite a few editors who wanted the angsty vampire romance—not something fun, campy, and totally different than anything out there already.
All the editors loved Lucienne’s voice. One editor felt it was similar to something she already had on her list but she went back and forth on it as she really loved that voice. Another editor thought they had too many vampire books on their list (can’t argue with that!).
Now it’s the lead title for Flux’s spring list. It’s debuting today. It’s gotten a good Kirkus review. Excellent sell in. It’s being featured as part of Barnes & Noble’s book club.
And Lucienne has a great promo tip for you. I’d like to welcome guest blogger and fellow agent, Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.
I can haz minions?
I don’t know, something about starting my own street team has me talking in LOLcat and wanting to laugh maniacally, like a cartoon villain. I’ve been feverishly working on my evil villain laugh, actually. Taking a page from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.
But I’m not here today to talk to you about my minions. Or, not exactly. I’m here to talk about promotion. You know how they always say that two heads are better than one? Well, twenty is ten times better than two. And one hundred…well, you get the point. It’s a truism in the publishing field that word of mouth is the biggest seller of books. Ads and reviews are all well and good, but nothing works as well as recommendations from friends. Hence the idea of the street team… providing advance copies of your book (and maybe other freebies like t-shirts, bookmarks, mugs, whathaveyou) to a group representing your target audience with the understanding that if they like your work they’ll spread the word, go forth and kvell—blog, put up reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders.com, Twitter, go tell it on the mountain. I don’t know if Mari Mancusi was the first author to come up with the idea, but I do know that I first heard of it through an article she’d written. Brilliant! I thought. I let my young adult authors know about it, because it seemed especially suited to the young adult field. I filed it away in my own mind.
You see, at the time, Gina, my heroine from Vamped, was not even a twinkle in my eye. In fact, when she first started talking in my head (yes, that’s how it happens), she was a snarky fashionista who, after clawing her own way out of the grave, discovers that true horror is a lack of reflection. No way to do her hair and make-up; eternity without tanning options. She decides that her first order of business is to turn her own stylist. The story didn’t have an actual plot. It was more of a vignette, really, a slice of unlife. I thought I’d have done with her and be able to walk away. But as it turned out, Gina was more resourceful and stronger than I knew. A short story wasn’t enough for her (or my readers, who wanted more). Oh, no, she had to have a novel. Then a series. Next thing you know, she’ll be taking over the silver screen (oh please, please, please).
Anyway, that part of me that is Gina – because, let’s face it, there’s a little of us in all of our characters – is crowing “I can haz minions!” My street team is fabulous. I put out a call on my blog for teens and twenty-somethings, directed them toward the section on my website where there’s an excerpt posted to see if they thought they’d like it, and recruited. The first ten to respond would got T-shirts and a signed copy of Vamped, the next twenty-five were offered signed bookplates. I got a great response. I’m actually pretty humbled by the amazing energy, enthusiasm and creativity of my team. They’re heads and shoulders above Victor Frankenstein’s iconic Igor. They’re people that make me go “wow” and “I’m not worthy” on a regular basis. I actually want to succeed as much for them—so they can brag about how they were part of it all, that they were there before I was someone—as for myself.
In short, having a street team can be incredibly rewarding, hopefully for all parties. It’s certainly the most fun I’ve had promoting my book. It makes me feel like I’m not in this alone and gives me the comfort that there are folks other than me enthusiastic about my new release. Writing is too often a lonely endeavor.