Tuesday, September 19, 2006

four things

1) DRAWING FOR TUNES: don't forget about the drawing. comments can be left in the drawing post (below) until wednesday evening.

2) PIMPING AND WHORING: this past year has been an experiment for me. can a writer do anything to improve her sales? i've done a ton of stuff, and my own personal verdict is in. all along i've said a writer can't have a significant impact on sales. i've at least proven that theory to myself. i'll wait until the end of the month, then post details, reflections, and figures.

3) RETREAT: several people have expressed interest in a retreat. if you were to attend a retreat in say...iowa...when would you like to go? I'm thinking early June would be good.

4) MADAME SOSOSTRIS: new reading up at madame's joint.


Jaye Wells said...

Re: Pimping, say it ain't so! There's got to be some way new writers can impact their own bottom line.

Retreat: The RWA conference is every July. June might be tough, but a fall retreat might be fun. Or Spring. Or really whenever. It's a write-off right?

Reading: Emily is my best friend, and I have to say the reading seemed pretty accurate to me.

stay_c said...

I'd be interested in a retreat. Iowa would be great, location wise, for me.

But if you were to move it closer to February, it could be the big sha-bang I'm seeking for my 30th birthday. Just a thought :)

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Interested to see what your results are on the pimping angle. One thing that I'm curious about, even if you don't feel that the pimping has been a success (by whatever criteria you measure success) do you feel that it has made you any more visible to old/new/potential readers?

As to the retreat, summer can sometimes be a tough sell. As Jaye said, RWA national is around that time, as is Thrillerfest. At the same time, that's when people have time off, can pack the kids away at school, etc.

I think less than the timing the stated purpose of the retreat is what's going to sell it. Ask someone what a retreat is and five people will give you six answers.

I went to something run by an author friend of my wife's a few years back. It was more of a weeklong critique group, rather than something designed to generate writing or spark creativity.

And though it was useful, I really wasn't at a point in my writing to really take advantage of it. If it's something that people are likely to find useful, it doesn't really matter when it is.

Unless it's in winter.

Kelly Parra said...

(head thunk) Iowa. I've never been to a retreat, either. =D

I think Stephen has a point about this year having you become more visible to new and old readers!

Tami said...

Yeah, definitely agree with Stephen and Kelly, but I am interested in seeing the results.

As far as the retreat goes, my workload for my dayjob tends to slow down in July/August months it seems. I can see why everyone doesn't want it to run into the conferences and then later in winter you have the holidays. How about spring?

anne frasier said...

jaye: fall would be great, but that's a year away!! wah!

stay-c: :D 30! i vaguely remember that age!!

stephen: are you backing out??? ;) no, you're right. people really have to feel they'll get something out of it. i'm thinking the whole thing might have a slant toward the paranormal. we'd have a ghost hunt. OF COURSE. maybe a diviner. specialists and kooks. a few specialized workshops on various aspects of writing. a movie with follow up discussion. all ideas welcome.

anne frasier said...

kelly -- i know it's FAR!!! wah!!! not sure it would be worthwhile for people coming that distance unless you could somehow tie it to something else you wanted to do. that's why i worry about having such a thing in iowa.

tami, i wondered about spring too. that's probably when iowa has the nicest weather.

Shesawriter said...


I really, really am looking forward to your whore/pimping assessment. It was a great experiment you did. I hope the news is good.

Let me know if you need more pimping.



anne frasier said...

stephen, it's definitely made me more visible. one example: for my last book i think i did one, maybe two interviews. i think i've done twenty for PI. at least. it's made it easier for people to approach me and even find me.

i think there's something else going on with readers that i often think i'll discuss but never get around to -- the one-book readers. i've become one. i read one book by an author. even if i really like it, i usually don't get another. instead i move to another author i've heard about and want to sample. just so many writers -- i can't keep up. this makes me wonder if a lot of people are doing the same thing.

anne frasier said...

tanya: thanks!!

anne frasier said...

jaye: one thing you will have going for you is that you ARE a new writer. publishers, marketing, reps, booksellers, LOVE new writers.

Jeff said...

My opinion is the pimping and the blog crawl was fun, and I think you had a larger number of people participating than you originally expected, but I'm not sure how much difference it really made or will make in the grand scheme of increasing to any degree the number of book sales nationwide.
With all of the work you have put into this online, I would say the answer to Stephen's question about your being more visible to old/new/potential readers is a definite yes. And this is a big plus!
While a few people may base their decision to buy a book based only on good/bad reviews, I'm guessing more books are sold by good in-house promotion, face out presentation in bookstores where people will see it first, and word of mouth. It's been my experience that if a book is good and people like it they will tell at least ten other people how good it is, but if they don't like one, they only comment about it if they are asked. Unless of course it is a hugely marketed piece of crap. Then word travels fast.

Oh, and an attractive, eye-catching cover also helps. :)

I like the idea of a writers retreat in Iowa. Late spring or early fall would be nice. :)

I'm scared of Madame Sosostris.

Lara Adrian said...


I just want to comment on your frustration over your efforts to positively impact sales with self-promotion. I know it's a PIA most of the time, and many arguments can be made for the idea that getting new material out on the shelves is more important--and more impactive--than any amount of promo an author can do by herself, but FWIW, I, for one, found PALE IMMORTAL chiefly because of your presence online.

Actually, Alison Kent's blog steered me in your direction sometime ago, and as soon as I saw the trailer for the book, I put it high on my TBB--actually ventured out on release day to get it, too! :) I'm racing toward a book deadline of my own, which is the only reason I haven't already devoured your story. I know it's going to be a good one!

The sad facts about self-promo is that none of it really matters if the publisher isn't excited and pushing your name, getting stores to shelve your books once they're available, and, of course, making sure your book has an eye-catching, pick-me-up-now kind of cover. All things out of our control, for the most part.

But if a little self-promo (like your blog, book trailers, etc) doesn't impact the velocity with which you deliver your next great book, then I think the time spent boosting your name recognition wherever you can is, indeed, worthwhile. Perhaps not as immediate as we all would like, but in the long run.

Just my two cents.

anne frasier said...

jeff, you brought up a really good point. FUN. i LOVED the blog crawl!!! LOVED it!!!! that was the icing on the cake of everything. And i LOVED jason's Lonely Moon contest!!!!! not sure either had much of an impact on sales, but i would do them both again in a heartbeat. i think there are some writers who blog because they feel they have to, but i don't think they should blog if they don't enjoy it. i did start blogging because my editor suggested it, but i quickly became addicted. i was trying to count my blogs. i thought i had 8, two of them test blogs, but them i remembered another one!! haha

madame sosostris can kick anybody's ass in blogland. just so you know....

anne frasier said...

lara, thanks so much for your viewpoint!

yes, i'm frustrated!!! :D and of course the truth is that i have no idea how the book would have done with no self-promotion. i can only guess and compare it to the last book that had none.

it is gratifying to hear how you came to buy the book.
and i don't want this to come across as a hallmark moment, but i do feel i'm met some amazing people in the past year.

Jeff said...

"madame sosostris can kick anybody's ass in blogland. just so you know...."

My point exactly! ha ha!
Start some shit with her, and that woman can turn you wrong side out and make you walk backwards!

emeraldcite said...

I think visibility helps, but I think, as you said, the one book readers are hard to hook, especially with so many options out there. It's like war.

I'm wondering, though, if longevity will be affected. Will a more significant web prescence mean more solid sales for longer?

Looking forward to seeing your analysis.

As for the retreat, summers are great for me...Iowa is far, but I've never been to that state.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Something that occurred to me, do series books grab fewer "one-book" readers than stand-alones? I'm somewhat ambivalent on hte whole series versus stand-alone argument, as I'll read stand-alones just as much as I'll read an entire series. But I wonder, does one type of book grab a particular type of reader more than another?

Sandra Ruttan said...

A retreat in June? Sounds wonderful. Just make it include my birthday. :)

I'll be interested in seeing those numbers.

Bill Cameron said...

Lotsa catching up to do.

I haven't seen Iowa in a long time, but I actually remember thinking it was rather lovely. I would go there. Next June is uncertain for me, what with thrillerfest the following month. I would like to be able to do Boucheron in Alaska too, but I have to see what the budget will allow.

Regarding the pimp tour, aside from the fun, I have to feel like it had positive impact, even if you can't see the effects clearly in book sales. As other have pointed out, there are too many variables you can't control. But one thing is sure -- people had fun, they bought books. I know I was able to directly influence at least 4 purchases that may not have happened otherwise. Sure, it's not many, but "6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon (or something like that) seems to sell a lot of books. How many of those four will mention you to people I don't know, and so on? Multiply that effect by all the pimps, and their friends, and their friends' friends. Even if it wasn't enough, given the size of the print run, to push you on to the USA Today list I bet it does a lot toward simply moving books.

And how do you know what the results would have been without the Pimp Squad?

Definitely a fun endeavor, almost certainly positive in terms of exposure and sales. I was glad I got to be a part of it!

anne frasier said...

jeff -- oh yeah! and i'm scared of her too.

emeraldcite: it IS like a war! and you brought up a good point -- i definitely think there's a long tail thing going on with my books, and i think i've seen an increase in backlist sales because of my online presence. if i were to go by ingram numbers only, hush is selling almost as well as PI. that can't be true, but i do know it continues to sell well.

i thought you'd be down for summer!! :)

anne frasier said...

stephen, i don't know the answer to the series question. seems like publishers love them and hate them. love them if they are doing well because they have a built-in audience, but if a series doesn't do well, and the next book is already in the hopper, it's bad all the way around.

and here i've just finishing the play dead sequel that pretty much requires people to read the first book. not sure that was a good idea. sometimes publishers release them close together. in that way they can double up on the advertising and the books don't lose momentum.

sandra: i won't have actual figures, but i think i'll be able to give some comparisons. in two or three weeks i should have a fairly solid picture.

anne frasier said...

bill, the pimp tour was a blast! and you're SO right about not knowing what sales would have been without it. and i still think word of mouth is an important element in a book's success.

CrissRoberts said...

Fall is beautiful on the banks of the Mississippi.

anne frasier said...

criss, you are so right.

jamie ford said...

In literary circles, the Iowa Writers Workshop is a biggie––nothing wrong with Iowa as far as I'm concerned.

Just FYI––I was in the B&N in Missoula this week and you had a nice center table display space for PI. Nice job.

anne frasier said...

jamie, i did wonder if the writers workshop would make iowa seem more appealing.

and thanks for the book report!!!! that's great news!