Thursday, May 02, 2013

Cart before the horse

Some writers say they write the best book they can, and once the submission process has begun, the success or failure of the book is largely out of their hands. So they forget about the book and go on to their next project. Other writers wait until the book is published and then become social-media machines, generating a cyber buzz. Still others hand-sell thousands of copies, walking isles of bookstores, greeting customers, and chatting them up.

After my first novel was published, I learned quickly that in this business you can control only so much. And I take very seriously what I can control.

Recently, my agent has been shopping what I hope will be a new series featuring a single mom and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent. Challenges surrounding the launching of a new series – especially by a mid-list author – are immense. One needs to be dogged and creative. So I started thinking of ways to help my agent. I didn't want to just sit back and wait to hear editorial yeas or nays.

So I took a different approach. I did some advance legwork for whoever buys the book, recently acquiring this advance blurb. “Packed with thrills and high-octane action, AUTUMN’S CROSSING is an impressive debut with a fearless heroine you’ll want to follow for many adventures to come.” – Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of LAST TO DIE.

Am I putting the proverbial cart before the horse?

Most definitely. But it’s a leap of faith I’m willing to take. Generating advance blurbs is not easy. It is time consuming and certainly helped that Tess Gerritsen was familiar with my work. She saved the book on her e-reader until she had a coast-to-coast flight. But the wait was worth it.

So what's next?

Now I get to sit back and wait to hear editorial yeas or nays.

On a more serious note – and one that puts the book business into perspective – my daughter Audrey, 11, is a serious runner. She ran in the Boston Marathon 5K the day before the 26-mile Patriot’s Day Boston Marathon. The following day, she attended the real marathon and, thank God, left the finish line to get lunch with her coach about 30 minutes before the explosions. My wife and I were home watching CNN when her coach called to say they on the way home and that all was fine. Like everyone in New England, my heart goes out to those impacted by the tragedy. I am a thankful dad.

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