I had planned to write this month about traditional ways of promoting books. My second mystery, Murder in the Cemetery, was released last February by Cozy Cat Press, and I had already lined up book signings, talks, appearances at mystery writers’ events, a book-launch party, and an appearance as a panelist at a mystery readers’ conference. But then Covid 19 hit, and one-by-one everything was cancelled. It’s a difficult time for book sales when the normal avenues of promotion are no longer available.
My publisher, Patricia Rockwell, aware of the challenges facing authors during the pandemic, produced a YouTube video, shot by my friend Tom Lightfoot, where I prepare one of the recipes from my first book, Murder in the Museum. It’s been well-received. I also hired a publicist to promote my books on social media, recognizing how important it is and how inexperienced I am.
A free-lance writer, Laurel Wemett, has been an amazing supporter, announcing the publication of book two in last summer’s edition of the lovely regional magazine, Life in the Finger Lakes; then reviewing it for the 2020 November/December issue. Later she wrote a blurb for the e-version of the magazine on how the cover of book one placed #13 out of a field of 360 in a monthly cover contest sponsored by AllAuthor. She also sent the cooking video to Mike Murphy who interviewed me in his weekly column, “Eat, Drink and Be Murphy”, about the marrying of my books with cooking for the Daily Messenger and Wayne Post print and online newspapers.
I learned about AllAuthor from Patricia, who has been instrumental in encouraging all of us authors affiliated with Cozy Cat to promote in non-traditional ways. With her encouragement, I applied and was accepted as a member of the Crime Writers Association of the UK, a lofty organization with a presence in the US.
Finally, I participated in writing one of 24 chapters for the newly released book, A Map for Murder. It was lots of fun, and I think readers will enjoy the zany, fun-filled adventure three young women have in solving the murder. We authors recently were filmed talking about the book that you can view on YouTube.
All of the above has helped call attention to and generate very respectable sales for my books, and I’m grateful for the help and encouragement I’ve received. To those of you who read my monthly blog and have sent messages of support, I thank you.
So yes, 2020 turned out to be different than I thought it would, but in times of Covid and new book releases, it turned out much better than I ever expected. Hopefully this year will be less surreal, and we’ll be able to resume a semblance of normalcy in our lives.