Friday, February 06, 2015

The Built-in Topic

Everyone's mystery is about some particular setting or topic that can be exploited for talks. That little something in the background is much more likely to hold a readers' attention than trying to persuade people to buy your mystery book. Why is your book different from everyone else's book?

I've always known this, but with the advent of social media, I'm just now beginning to realize how much can be done. Recently I received a request to speak at Nicodemus, Kansas on the topic of my new history book. The book is about 19th century Kansas African American politicians. There were hints that I might receive a stipend. We'll see. Considering the state's draconian budget cuts, I'm not counting on it.

To me, it was terrific to have to an unsolicited invitation to speak to people on a topic that they are interested in. I accepted happily with the usual warning, however, that I don't do weather. Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas are famous for savage last minute storms and I often have to cancel plans.

Because the book won't be out until 2016, I'll take my mysteries along and do a little mini-pitch for the Lottie Albright series. I'll talk about the differences between fiction and non-fiction writing.

Between now and time University of Oklahoma Press's catalog comes out, I need to take the time to sit down and think.

For some reason planning marketing comes hard for me. It's not that I can't think. It's just that I don't like to. Oddly enough I love to solve problems. That helps me a lot with my wretched computer wrecks. An ability to solve problems would seem to carry over to futuristic planning, but it doesn't.

To stay afloat in this noisy overcrowded word of mystery writing, we simply have to learn to plan campaigns. Oddly enough, there has been very little written on this subject.

Care to share how you do it. Do you simply respond to whatever falls in your lap? Or plan ahead.?

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