Friday, March 22, 2019

Walking the Line

Frankie here. I've been chuckling through my colleagues posts this week. In empathy, not superiority. I just left a comment apologizing for what was both a typo and a grammatical mistake in a guest post. I typed (on my computer keyboard). I meant to say that my "books are," but instead wrote my "series are." Are commas and periods in the right place in this paragraph? I have admitted to myself that even though I was both a Psychology and an English major, I have trouble remembering the rules. I go back to double-check before reading term papers. 

I did learn to type in high school even though I was on the academic track. There was a simple reason for that. My cousin taught at the high school I attended during my senior year. I rode to school with her some days when I missed the bus. I took typing because I knew it was going to be useful. But I'm pretty sure I didn't get an "A" in the class. I was not a whiz on the keyboard. I jumped for joy when I realized that computers allowed one to erase and edit without ripping a hole in the paper. Without a computer, I might still be trying to type a book that could be submitted. My first two efforts are tucked away in my desk awaiting that mythical one day when I have the time to try revising them. The manuscripts can't be scanned because there are so many typos and whiteouts. 

But getting to the intended topic of my post today. As I've mentioned, Speaking Volumes is re-issuing the five books in my Lizzie Stuart series. The first two books, Death's Favorite Child and A Dead Man's Honor, are available now in both print and Kindle.Old Murders, is with the publisher. The last two books will be out this year, too. And my publicist, PJ Nunn, is doing a marvelous job of helping me relaunch the series. All good, but this does present a challenge.

If you're writing a series, you know about the delicate balance that a writer faces when it comes to marketing. On one hand, we want to interest prospective readers enough to get them to go to our websites and learn more about us and our books. On the other hand, when talking about our books, there is the danger of saying too much. We can spoil a new book for a loyal reader by giving away an ending. We can spoil an entire series for a reader who have just discovered us and our books by revealing how the series evolves. Who lives, who dies, who gets away with murder. I've been finding this particularly challenging as I am relaunching a series five books in.

For example, I have revealed (although it was mentioned by readers and reviewers when the book was published) that Lizzie's mother, Becca, is a femme fatale. I commented on that in a guest blog that came out today. Again, on one hand, I was talking about a character that I love who has popped up in a series that is not cozy, but certainly not noir. On the other hand, I'm hoping that knowing Becca survives her first appearance won't spoil the book for readers who pick it up -- especially for  readers who prefer to begin with the first in the series and wouldn't have learned Becca's fate until Book 4.

Walking the line during a marketing campaign is a challenge. But it's lovely to work on the plot of a new book as new readers are discovering the series. I need to think before I blurt out any important plot twists and remember to say "the killer" rather than identifying by pronoun. But I'm having fun trying to find creative ways of saying enough and no more.

1 comment:

Carol Pouliot said...

I'm glad to have read this today, Frankie. It gives me a lot to think about as I move forward. Thanks!