Thursday, October 06, 2016

Traveling and Talking Books

Carolyn Hart and Hannah Dennison

I've just returned from Huntington Beach, California, where I participated in the third annual Ladies of Intrigue event, which is sponsored by MysteryInk bookstore. It was a day-long conference featuring more than 15 women mystery writers. including Carolyn Hart and Robin Burcell. This was, according to her, Carolyn's career event finale, and since she has no plans to travel out to this part of the country again, she particularly asked me and former Type M-er Hannah Dennison if we would participate in the conference this year. Of course we said yes. Carolyn has been a mentor and a friend from the beginning of both of our mystery writing careers, and we would both do anything she asked. So off we flew for one day in California, where we mingled and served on panels along with eleven other fun and fabulous authors*. Then Carolyn, Hannah and I schlepped back to Phoenix for an appearance at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore last night.

Carolyn, Hannah, Donis at Poisoned Pen
photo by Judith Starkston
I wonder sometimes how cost-effective it is for an author to spend her time and money traveling around the country appearing at bookstores and events and conferences. I know that every appearance gains at least a couple of new readers, who will spread the word, we hope. But as Rick said in his post about book launches (below) doing events with other authors is always a celebration. The mystery community is nothing but kind and supportive, and it's always nice to know that even authors who are infinitely more well-known than I have the same problems with their writing.

The view of the Pacific from my hotel balcony was worth the trip
I was interested in Aline's post (below) about audiobooks. I've met many a "reader" who prefers the audio version of a book to the print version, and I've been lucky that my publisher has sold the audio rights to all my books--but one! The audio version of my latest, All Men Fear Me, has not come out yet. According to Blackstone, the publisher who does the audio books for Poisoned Pen Press, the audio version of my previous Alafair book, Hell With the Lid Blown Off, did not sell well enough. This surprises me, since the paper version of Hell did very well. Also, I loved the audio version of that book. Hell is the only book in the Alafair Tucker series that has some first person narration, and when I first heard the character of Trent Calder (who had been a secondary presence in all the previous books) speak for the first time, I was bowled over. It was as though Trent, who had only lived in my head, was suddenly a real person.

Perhaps it was more expensive to make because Blackstone had to pay two narrators for Hell instead of one. I have been told that Blackstone is waiting until the audio of Hell makes a profit (Hmm. Hell Makes a Profit. Sounds like a book title to me.) Therefore, Dear Readers, next time you’re at your local library, please do me a favor and check to see if they own a copy or two of Hell With the Lid Blown Off in audio. If they do not, I would be grateful if you would request that the system buy one. Most public libraries have a mechanism for users to request titles. If you'd like your own download, check it out here. Once Blackstone makes money off of Hell, they’ll do an audio of All Men. I hope they do one eventually, since the ninth Alafair book, The Return of the Raven Mocker, will be out in January, and I don’t want to get several titles behind when it comes to audio books.

*Attending authors at Ladies of Intrigue this year were Carolyn Hart, Robin Burcell, Rhys Bowen, Kathy Aarons, Lisa Brackmann, Ellen Byron, Donis Casey, Hannah Dennison, Kate Dyer-Seeley, Earlene Fowler, Daryl Wood Gerber, Naomi Hirahara, Linda O. Johnston, Carlene O’Neil, Laurie Stevens and Pamela Samuels Young.

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