December 20th, 2012 → 8:44 pm @ rldonovan
The origin of Bozell Books and Managing New Author Expectations:
The Bozell Books division was started as a direct result of my own personal need. I had just published my first book: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch?, and I hadn’t a clue as to how to promote it. www.rldonovan.com.
I learned through glimpses of more experienced authors that promoting a book in this day and age takes an Herculean effort. I hasten to add that it has been something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember – and it has absolutely been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
Promoting a book seemed so easy based on all the movies and TV shows depicting authors and their exciting careers. From my vantage point things looked dramatically different. In the movies and in TV, once your book is published you just sit back and let the world gather at your feet. Your publisher sets up reading/signing/speaking engagements and provides a stretch limo (complete with chilled champagne) to convey you from one glamorous event to the next.
Reality bore little resemblance to the glamour of fiction as the promotion of my book began. I felt extremely fortunate to have worked closely with an established author of Harlequin Romance novels before undertaking my own career as a novelist. At last count she has written and published 17 books and her painstaking experience in trying to promote them has helped to manage my own expectations.
I find that the most difficult part of helping a budding author is in trying to manage their expectations. There is at least a little part of all of us (myself included) that thinks “that’s you, but my work will be received differently.” It can happen, but it’s pretty rare.
The most difficult part of managing new author expectations is in getting the point across without going so far that it kills motivation. It’s a finely balanced art.
As challenging as it is to promote a book, the thrill of getting out into the public and sharing your work with new audiences is a rush like no other. A relative recently asked me in a somewhat sardonic tone “so, do you get the star treatment?” The first thought that flitted through my head was the backbreaking amount of work I was doing to promote the book; but my second thought took me right to that place where I’m in front of an audience comprised of folks that want to know any number of things about me and my book. “Yes,” I answered in all honesty, “there are times when I really do.”
Donovan heads Bozell Books, a division of Bozell designed to help authors and budding authors from inception through promotion of their published work. Her next installment of FAQs on Authoring a Book will address the age old challenge of “Getting Started.”
December 17th, 2012 → 7:34 pm @ rldonovan
There are the books everyone had heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.
This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags five other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag five new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some books you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.
I was tagged by Sally Deskins. You can learn more about her fascinating series Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2012 on her website: Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2011. The blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s current work in progress, so here’s a little info about my current project:
1: What is the working title of your book?
I Didn’t Kill Her, But That May Have Been Short-Sighted.
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
has really encouraged me to write a second and I’m even working on a third (I Don’t Know Why They Killed Him, He Wasn’t Really That Annoying) in the series.
The initial idea for the Donna Leigh Mystery series came from the fact that I’ve been an avid murder mystery buff since I was a kid; enjoying both dramatic and comedic treatments. With years of experience as a reader in the genre, I developed some pet peeves about certain types of plot treatments, e.g. it never failed to amaze me that brilliant and acclaimed women would invariably walk right into a killer’s trap with no means of defense and no back up. I felt many of the mechanisms used by authors were “easy” but didn’t always make sense or lend to the credibility of the plot.
In the Donna Leigh Mystery series I had the creative license to craft my plot in such a way as to be light and humorous, yet not completely out of the realm of possibility. My characters are not superhuman and recklessly heroic, they are normal people who behave in a normal and often excessively narcissistic (that may be redundant) way.
3: What genre does your book fall under?
Cozy mystery – although there is a slightly higher propensity for realism in the Donna Leigh series than in some of the cozy mysteries.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
My protagontist, Donna Leigh is a tough one as many, including myself, identify her as me. To flatter myself I’ll say Meryl Streep or Glen Close could easily handle the role – I think Emma Thompson with a blond wig and an American accent would be brilliant!
My murder victim, BJ Thornton could be played by Shelley Duval – with a mass of long tight curls and a bad make-up job.
Detective Warren could be played by Eliza Coupe of Happy Endings fame. She has the beauty as well as the hard edged, obsessively focused characteristics of the lead detective.
Clovis Cordoba Seville, the totally narcissistic pain in the rear is custom-made for Angela Kinsey of The Office, who can be brilliantly self-involved as well as somewhat acerbic. A slightly younger Shelly Long would have been the perfect fit for Clovis, however she lacks the diminutive stature required.
And finally, Peg and Babs. Peg’s role could easily be handled by Better Midler, or Sherri Shepherd. That no nonsense “don’t get in my way and I’ll fix this” attitude they both exude would enable either to play Peg to perfection! Cathy Najimy as the consummate support person would serve well in the role of Babs as she quietly labors to support and sometimes correct Peg’s continual well-meaning meddling. Debra Monk, Sherri Shepherd’s co-star in the Evanovich film One For The Money might also make an excellent, laid back, Babs.
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A comedic romp through murder, mayhem and menopause that may change your viewpoint of menopausal women forever!
6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book will be published by WriteLife, http://www.writelife.com/. They published the first Donna Leigh Mystery: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch?.
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Although the first draft of the premier Donna Leigh mystery took only three months to write, the second in the series took considerably longer – probably about a year all told. There are a few reasons why the second book took as long as it did. The first and most compelling reason is that I had to stop writing when book number one came back to me for edits. All systems were ‘go’ on book number one and nothing stood in the way of getting it finalized for publication.
The second reason had more to do with self-confidence. I wasn’t positive my first book would actually get published until the eleventh hour. On some level I feared my publisher coming back to me saying they’d changed their minds and it had been shelved. It was hard to motivate myself to finish that second book until I knew the first one was really happening!
The third reason my second book took so much longer than the first was that I genuinely enjoyed the writing process itself and I wanted to prolong the pleasure. I know I could have finished the second book and begun the third – but I really wanted to see that first book in print before embarking on a third.
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A lot of cozy mysteries are kind of sloppy and loose with the facts. They don’t try to create realistic characters that are outrageous – they go all the way to ridiculous.
Phyllis Richman has published The Washington Post Dining Guides and she also has a food-related series of cozy murder mysteries such as: The Butter Did It, Murder On The Gravy Train and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Ham? Phyllis’ books are sophisticated yet funny and compelling. They portray a protagonist who’s cool, smart and edgy even though she’s closer to menopause than her coming out party.
9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Authors like Phyllis Richman, Janet Evanovich, JK Rowling, Agatha Christie and Pat Cornwall were an absolute inspiration to me. They all share a gift of engaging the reader and giving them an experience that transcends the simple story in some way. Often it’s a lesson in humankind – sometimes it’s about how to relax and not take oneself too seriously.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The Donna Leigh Mysteries are all about not taking others at face value and realizing that things are often different from how they appear. Some of the recurring themes are: older women really can be cool, women who aren’t skinny can be chic and desirable, living in Omaha is something many people choose to do, very capable people are not perfect, and intensely self-involved people do function at some level – just not the level they credit themselves for achieving.
The books are mysteries on multiple levels. Yes, people are murdered and those murders must be solved; but the characters and how and why they function are often mysteries in and of themselves since virtually any genuine account of people interacting often proves to be pretty strange – if we’re to be totally honest with ourselves.
Donna Leigh Mysteries are designed to make you laugh and take your mind off your troubles for a bit by illustrating the value of taking ourselves less seriously and laughing at ourselves once in awhile. Thanks for reading. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Here is a list of authors who will be joining the hop for week of December 24. I hope you’ll visit their blogs next week and learn more about their books. Maybe one of them will become your new favorite author!
December 7th, 2012 → 6:10 pm @ rldonovan
December 7th, 2012 → 3:50 pm @ rldonovan
Thank you so much for all the views of my trailer. As of right now – we’ve hit a total of 379 views – the ten million mark is right around the corner!
November 8th, 2012 → 6:37 pm @ rldonovan
I had a wonderful time speaking at the Tri-State Library Conference in October! I am so grateful to Jan for proposing me as a speaker. I met some wonderful people who are actively trying to help promote my book to libraries – and some even bought copies of my book for themselves, their friends and family – that was a huge surprise!
As a result I’ve already had requests for future libraries speaking engagements and book clubs as well! Thanks again for an awesome opportunity.
It was a great opportunity to try out my new book trailer – and the librarians were extremely complimentary – check it out yourself:
October 23rd, 2012 → 5:08 pm @ rldonovan
Check out Emily’s interview here:
October 14th, 2012 → 8:38 pm @ rldonovan
Wednesday, October 17th I’ll be at the WriteLife booth #451 from 10:30 – 12:30. Come on by and chat and see my book trailer.
Visit with me and all of the other WriteLife authors – up close and personal. This is a great chance to get to know who’s writing what you’re reading.
I look forward to seeing you at the Quest Center and chatting about the first book in the Donna Leigh Mystery series, I might even be persuaded to share some details on book #2: I Didn’t Kill Her, But That May Have Been Short Sighted.
September 19th, 2012 → 7:56 pm @ rldonovan
The Percussionist’s Wife is a simple story of betrayal. The author turns an all too familiar tale into a fascinating and complex examination of an intelligent woman’s journey through a dark, life altering, episode. By sharing her thoughts and her thought process as she navigates this unbearably painful sojourn in her life, the author reveals the nuances that plague a woman during times of intolerable strife. Put simply, sometimes she’s brilliant and insightful, sometimes she’s into self-blame, sometimes she’s deep into denial and rationalization, almost sounding childlike in her naiveté.
Who among us has not wondered at our own level of intelligence when faced with a painful dilemma that would hurt far less were we to succumb to denial and rationalization? The author’s brutally honest portrayal of her daily mental climate is all too familiar. It is the most honest accounting of the disparity in our thought process as we move in and out of despair, hope, fury, relief and virtually every other emotion that plagues us as we work our way through life situations that make us feel frightened, insecure, self-doubting, angry and often worthless.
The author put herself out there so we could learn from her experience. She put herself out there so that we can feel worthwhile when we’re feeling worthless, and we can feel as though we’re not alone when we’re most alone.
If I were forced to find fault with The Percussionist’s Wife, it would be that the author, and protagonist, is clearly an intelligent and well-balanced individual, yet we only see the paranoid or rationalizing sides of her, and we don’t get very much information about the parts in her life that are working and wonderful. I think the dichotomy would be even more appalling were we to see how truly successful she is in other parts of her life.
Monica Lee is a personal historian, blogger and writer. A former reporter and newspaper copy editor, she also worked for years as a marketing executive with Creative Memories and Homemade Gourmet. A native of Minnesota, she blogs about her everyday life at http://minnesotatransplant.wordpress.com and writes about writing at http://mindfulmonica.wordpress.com. She lives in northern Illinois with her second husband.
September 13th, 2012 → 6:47 pm @ rldonovan
My book trailer just went up on the WriteLife YouTube channel today. Check it out:
August 24th, 2012 → 4:27 pm @ rldonovan
Compelling Content, Consistent Posts, Fresh Ideas, Engagement, and Share-ability
Today, I’d like share with you some of the blogs I discussed and why they work.
Yarnagogo – The blog that launched Knit Lit Romance author Rachael Herron’s career. Rachael shared with me that not only did her blog come before she scored an agent and a three book deal, it pretty much sealed the deal. Her agent and editorial team loved her authentic voice and how she connected with her audience.
Girlfriends Book Club – This collaborative blog featuring Women’s Fiction heavy hitters Ellen Meister, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Marilyn Brant, Maggie Mar (who I had the great pleasure of meeting at the LARA event) and many more, is a prime example of great content, consistency, fresh ideas, robust engagement with the audience and a community of sharing between most involved on the blog.
I asked Ellen Meister about how the blog began and how they’ve found success as a popular blog. Here’s what she had this to say:The Girlfriends Book Club blog rose from the ashes of The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, which was a group of commercially published women authors who posted about each other’s books. That went on successfully for a number of years and eventually just burned itself out. Author Karin Gillespie deserves some kind of medal, because she not only ran the GCC but continues to coordinate and schedule the group blog. It’s a tremendously effective way of reaching people, because there’s strength in numbers. With 40 writers as part of the group, the blog pulls from a vast network. As it turns out, the majority the blog’s readers seem to be aspiring writers. Recognizing this, we post a lot of writing and marketing tips for aspiring authors. My most popular post was 20 Social Media Tips for Writers. Other favorite posts include 16 Tips for Writing Sexy Scenes, 18 Novelists Share Their Writing Routines and Girlfriends Share Tips on How to Be a Productive Writer. As far as promoting our own books, it’s clear that the most popular posts are the ones that offer giveaways. Importantly, the women in the group are tremendously supportive, and we help spread the word about each other’s posts with Tweets and Facebook status updates.
Menologues – Robin Donovan, author of Is it Still Murder Even if She Was a Bitch?, began blogging about menopause “because stumbling blindly through menopause is less funny than it sounds.” She wanted to reach a community of women who were going through what she was going through and it worked. Robin had a clearly defined audience, wrote specifically for them and soon, her blog was picked up by Vibrant Nation.
Twinfatuation – Twins expert and author Cheryl Lage has a world-wide audience, has written for an impressive array of national and local magazines, and ezines, has appeared on Martha Stewart Live Radio, has been called by The Today Show and so much more, mostly because of her blog. But like many bloggers who author books, she didn’t begin with a blog. Cheryl contacted me when I was a literary agent and she, a mother of adorable toddler twins and a writer with a great idea about a book for parents of twins and multiples. Cheryl’s story is very special to me and I was delighted to share it on literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog (another fabulous blog!). I encourage you to read the short post on how we started building her platform as a twin parenting expert before we sold her manuscript. You may see some of your questions and concerns answered in the robust comment thread.
A Walking Carnival – This has got to be my favorite slice of life blog ever. I like to say Deirdre Lewis, the creator of AWC, is the love child of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris. A filmmaker and screenwriter by trade, Deirdre’s unique quirkiness shines through her blog as she takes you through her neighborhood in Echo Park, CA, to a dusty old camera shop, to an airport book store and to her father’s house. There is no post I don’t absolutely love. This blog is ALWAYS fresh, pretty consistent and I feel the content is spectacularly good. One of her latest posts is an all imagined dialog between two car mechanics – notice how the conversation reveals so much about the narrator. Deirdre is not repped by an agent, but it won’t be long before she is. She uses the blog to discover her voice and hone her craft. Works for me!
What blogs do you absolutely love and why? Share them below.