Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cybertravel

Donis' turn today. Thanks to everyone who commiserated with me about not winning the OK Book Award. I appreciate your good wishes, especially those of you who said you would have awarded it to me. The truth is, though, that I wasn't particularly disappointed. Those who pointed out that it's pretty good news to be a finalist for the award twice for two different books are right, and I was most happy about it both times. If I had won, I would have been pleased, but not beside myself with joy, because I would have been disappointed that I wasn't there to read the spiffy acceptance speech I had written. Now I can save it for when I do win something.

Now that I think about it, I have to admit that I don't readily feel disappointment when something doesn't pan out, nor am I particularly elated by success. I've had a lot of both, and when the dust settled, nothing much was changed and I was still me. Another author told me once that she shopped a novel around for eight years, and she grew so calloused by rejection that when her agent did sell it, she felt nothing. I can easily be seduced by praise, though, and I wouldn't say no to an award of any ilk. Something has to keep you going in this business, because the likelihood is that it won't be riches.

I was going to write a bit about the exceptionally fun workshop I did last weekend, but I think instead I'll put that on my own website and stick with the conference theme my fellow bloggers have been persuing. I've really enjoyed the conferences I've managed to attend, but talk about ROI (see previous entry by Charles) - I don't know. In fact, there may be an incredible payoff that is difficult to measure, but that's almost a moot point, because I simply can't afford to do a lot of traveling. We're a couple of retired academics, and an acadmic pension doesn't cover too many trips to Bouchercon. In fact, at this point in my career, the major part of my royalties go for travel and publicity. Am I getting a good return on my investment? I'll be able to judge better the next time I get a royalty check.

Considering the price of travel, no matter how it's done, I'm finding myself more interested in cyberspace publicity, which as I may have mentioned five or fifty times, is problematic for me, since I really am only semi-computer-literate. I've been looking at other authors' websites lately, and I can see that my site could use some tweaking. I've been hearing that book clubs like to see study guides on author sites. I see that Charles mentions that he has study guides that he will e-mail to any interested group, but I haven't yet seen a study guide actually posted on anyone's site. Has anyone done that, and have you found it useful?

Another thing I'd like to do is post excerpts from the books. A Very Famous Author once told me that she'd never post excerpts because she discovered early on that people will read them, then when the browse the book at a bookstore, they think they've already read the book! Of course, she's Very Famous and everyone browses her books anyway. I've discovered in my website travels that posting excerpts is quite common. Debby does it, and so does Rick. A reader friend of mine said she's bought many a book after she became intrigued by the excerpt.
What kind of excerpt experiences have others had? Readers, do you read them? Authors, do you think they've helped your sales?

1 comment:

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Hey Donis,
I'm in the I-must-tweak-my-website frame of mind, too (though Madeira James actually does it). As for blurbs, another website "expert" told me it's NOT a good idea to post blurbs because search engines just pick up a mass of words instead of key ones that lead people to your site. I hope I explained that right. So I'm thinking of taking my blurbs off...stay tuned. I have had people write and say they loved the site. Perhaps what I need to do is put a new short story up there. Just thoughts...