The 2010 Debs are thrilled to welcome back one of our own, Meredith Cole, who is guest blogging today to tell us about her second novel, Dead in the Water. Graduate Deb Meredith started her career as a screenwriter and filmmaker. She was the winner of the St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic competition, and her book, Posed for Murder, was published by St. Martin’s Minotaur in 2009. She was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel in 2010. Her second book, Dead in the Water, came out May 11, 2010, and continues the adventures of Lydia McKenzie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Please visit her website at www.culturecurrent.com/cole
Please welcome Meredith, everyone!
Launching a second book.. but still feeling like a deb
There’s nothing like your first book. You hold it in your hands. You admire it from all angles. You send everyone a photo of the cover. You take pictures of it in various poses around your house. Okay, I’m only half-kidding about that last one. But all the rest is true, and was true for me with POSED FOR MURDER. And then, if you’re very lucky, along comes your second book.
I can only liken the second book to a second child. Paying too much attention to the second one feels a little bit disloyal. You want to make sure the first one knows it is still very much loved before you shower your attention on the second one. And the first one is still so demanding. You’re still asked to talk about it, and forced to dredge up every aspect of its plot, even though now you’re working on a third one and having a bit of a difficult time keeping it all straight. But throughout it all you feel extremely blessed, and try not to sound whiny even when you’re tired from all those children you have.
I managed to learn a few things the first time that I hope will come in handy this time with DEAD IN THE WATER. I certainly have a list of places I want to go back to, and places I’m definitely going to avoid. But here are a few general lessons that I can share with anyone embarking on their first book tour.
Lesson 1: if a bookseller, book festival or library does not seem particularly excited to have you come, back away slowly and go do something else. In my eagerness to be everywhere, I said yes to things that were hard and far away, and followed every lead even when my gut told me to walk away. I had no idea what I was doing. But I found that their lack of early enthusiasm translates into a lack of publicity, etc., for your event, and you end up sitting by yourself in an empty store or room or bringing the entire audience. Not good, and not worthwhile for you.
Lesson 2: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the word out. You just need to have loud friends and a good Internet connection. It helps if your friends are editors and journalists, but we all do what we can. The small time I spend tweeting has managed to net me a few documented book sales, and I didn’t even burn any gas!
Lesson 3: Always, and I repeat always, be a lady (or gentleman). I knew this going in, and have always prided myself on good manners. But I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed hissy fits or heard from booksellers about a certain author who blew his or her top. They don’t forget or forgive juvenile behavior very easily. So when going gets rough and your books aren’t at your event, or there’s no sign or they forgot to put the event on their website, take a deep breath and imagine you’re an arctic explorer or an understudy forced to go on at the last minute with costumes that don’t fit. You can make do and still shine. They won’t forget that, and they’ll be eager to have you back, if you want to go there again.
Lesson 4: Get your Zen on. You do what you can, but have to admit at a certain point that the fate of your book is up to the readers, reviewers, bookstores and your publisher. Knocking your head against a wall will just make your head hurt, and will probably interfere with the writing of your next book.
All in all, I still feel like a newbie. I’m still not particularly wise or cynical. I get excited when someone emails me that they love my book. It makes my day. And I still feel the urge to get up and yell “hey, everyone! My new book comes out this week!” So I just did.
Hope you enjoy Dead in the Water, and Lydia McKenzie’s next adventures!