Pub Rants

Knowledge Dissemination As A Tool of Promotion–Guest Blogger Sherry Thomas

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STATUS: Meetings and more meetings. Chut really enjoyed Riverside Park this evening.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? YOU’RE ON THE ONLY WOMAN by David Pack

Bad Agent. I was supposed to post this entry on Wednesday which was Sherry’s actual release day for NOT QUITE A HUSBAND. Bad Agent.

“Sherry Thomas is the most powerfully original historical romance author writing today.”
—Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

But today’s entry is so worth waiting for. Not to mention, I get to share Sherry’s hilarious book trailer. I completely share Sherry’s sense of humor so I’m going to apologize beforehand if this doesn’t tickle your funny bone. I spit coffee when I watched it for the first time. Understated to say the least…

Now, without further ado, named one of PW’s top five authors of 2008, Sherry Thomas. Happy Release Day!

When it comes to promotion, Agent Kristin is my model. Make no mistake, this blog is a promotion tool, for her agency and for her clients. But the lovely thing about this blog is that it is not just a promotion tool, it is also a knowledge dissemination tool. When you read this blog, you get the insider’s look, you get to see publishing as it happens.

I wanted to do that. But compared to Kristin, I had a significant drawback. I didn’t have any specific useful knowledge. What to do? Well, knowledge can be acquired. But what knowledge to acquire? I made a decision: I would learn about those things that interest me as an author and hope that what interest me would also interest a good number of other people.

For example, I was curious as to how genre books, particularly romance, get into public libraries–because I’m a devoted patron of my local public library and because if my books didn’t make it to the library branch right next to my house, I wanted to know why! I pitched it as an article idea to the editor of Romance Writers Report (RWR), Romance Writers of America’s monthly newsletter. She said go ahead, and I did.

I contacted blogger Super Librarian (, an online reviewer who is, in non-virtual life, the adult fiction buyer for the Orange County Public Library. I contacted the fiction selector for my local public library system. I contacted John Charles, reference librarian and fiction selector at Scottsdale Public Library who also conducts romance reader advisory workshops at state and national library association conferences. I read the material Mr. Charles kindly sent me. I did my homework.

The result? The lead article in the August 2008 issue of the RWR—and a pretty good one if I do say so myself. Plus, now I know pretty well the whole process on how books get into libraries.

My next area of significant interest is foreign rights sales. Kristin and Whitney, her foreign rights sub-agents, do a bang-on job of it. But how exactly does a sale happen? Well, I know how it happened for me in one instance. Kris Alice Hohls, the publisher of LoveLetter, a German monthly devoted to romance novels, had read an ARC of my debut novel and loved it. She spread that love to the editor at CORA Verlag, where my book was on submission, and voila, the rest was much happy dancing on the way to the bank.

So, who is Kris Alice Hohls? How did LoveLetter come about? How does a young woman decide one day to create a magazine for an underserved market? There is nothing to do but interview her.

The interview would appear in the June 2009 issue of the RWR. A couple of weeks ago, Kris Alice Hohls emailed me and asked if I would be interested in doing a panel at next year’s RWA National with her, my German editor, and Agent Kristin, to discuss how foreign rights sales really go down.

Oh, would I? You bet. Because I have been hoping to get hold of a foreign editor for a long time–along with Whitney–so I could write a proper nuts-and-bolts article on the art and science of foreign rights sales. That article would appear in the RWR when my next book comes out.

Why the RWR always, you ask? Well, because the RWR goes out to 10,000 subscribers and I get a half-page ad space in exchange for giving them an article they can use. Not to mention the rights to the articles remain with me. For example, on May 19 the article on how romances get into libraries is getting a reprinting at, one of the premier romance blogs on the net.

And when I have a book out next time, that nuts-and-bolts article on foreign rights sales just might make an appearance on this blog. Further promotion through knowledge dissemination. Maybe I’ll learn to live with promotion after all.

11 Responses

  1. MeganRebekah said:

    That video was hilarious! Sherry, I read Private Arrangements when it first came out (way before discovering this blog BTW) and love it – I can’t wait to read this next one.

  2. Torsten Adair said:

    Can’t wait to read the article!

    Most libraries have a written acquisitions plan, used to protect the library against any challenges from patrons. The cornerstone (kevlar armor?) of this plan are published reviews. Libraries also use circulation data and patron requests when acquiring new titles.

    Romance suffers like many other genres. If a book is “good” (appeals to the general public) it is mainstreamed into general fiction. (“The Road” and “The Plot Against America” are both science fiction. “Outlander” is an historical romance.) Otherwise it gets shelved in the Romance section of bookstores.

    Mass market books are just that… popcorn stories, well written perhaps, but ultimately disposable. (Did you know that bookstores strip off the cover of mass market paperbacks, returning only the cover and tossing the book in the trash?) MM paperbacks do not display easily (they topple when faced out, and the covers warp under humidity), and they look out of place next to trade paperbacks and hardcovers.

    Adding further to the disposable nature of romance titles are the general lack of hardcover editions, and the plethora of series titles. Like superhero comics, romance series seem to fulfill reader expectations on a set schedule and formula.

    I’ve been a reader of comics and graphic novels since 1984, and I understand what it is like to suffer under stereotypes and preconceived notions of the general public. (Miss Lonely Heart reading in bed, eating bonbons with a box of tissues nearby.) Public perception can change (look at the GN explosion in the past five years!) but it takes perseverance, tolerance, and Oprah Winfrey.

    I hope you always enjoy what you do, and I wish you much success!

  3. hanelissar said:

    That was hilarious, I got toothpaste all over my clothes and my keyboard from laughing so hard! (Turns out toothpaste only cleans your teeth – it just makes everything else dirty!)

    And how did I miss any previous mention of this book? It sounds amazing and *should* be on my TBR list but it’s nowhere to be seen! (Yes, I do have an actual list. I get confused otherwise.)

    That problem is now rectified. Thank you Kristin. 🙂

  4. Heather Massey said:

    Happy belated release day, Sherry!

    And I must say, Kris Alice Hohls is a goddess. I’m so honored to be able to know that from personal experience.

  5. Lilith des Cavernes said:

    Wonderful blog… I always learn something whenever I read your thoughts, Sherry. thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the article in RWR. Payday is Friday… will be getting your book then… love the video.