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!
17 Replies to “Graduate Deb Meredith Cole is back with a new book!”
How exciting! My son got Meredith’s first book for me when she was signing near him. Hopefully, they acted enthusiastic, so she’ll go back.
Congratulations on your second novel coming out! Thank you for the practical advice.
Oh, so true. I enthusiastically concur with all of this (as a fellow Deb from Meredith’s “class”)…. especially Lesson One. I’ll be more discerning this time, not in the sense of being a snob, but as you said, if they’re not very interested, there’s probably a reason and it’s best to leave it be.
And I’m laughing about the books as children part. I have more books than children, now (Real Life & Liars out for a year, The Life You’ve Imagined coming in a few months and I’m writing Book Three as we speak) and it does feel schizophrenic. One of them always needs SOMETHING. This week alone I was at a book club for LIARS, doing promotion work for TLYI and furiously revising my third novel… but I’m blessed to have them all! (And my children, too.)
Thanks for stopping by Kathy and Janet! I hope you enjoy the 2nd book–your son was such a dear to get the 1st one for you.
Oh, Kris–great to see you here! Feels like old times. Can’t wait to read your next book. Oh, and your third.
I’m very much looking forward to reading DEAD IN THE WATER and am looking at a copy of it right now. Well, it’s across the room, but still….
Love the cover. I think your Lessons are great and could be applied to many things in life. 🙂
Hey Meredith, a huge congratulations to you on your newest book, and that cover is GORGEOUS. Hope all goes well and that you once again enjoy the ride!
Thanks Meredith. Congratulations. I too try to keep my Zen on.
ps. you’re picture is cute!
break a leg,
Congrats Meredith, and thanks for the good advice!
I loved book one so I’m excited to see book 2 is hitting the shelves. Congrats!
Congratulations, Meredith. And thank you so much for this! I am about to go off on my first book tour next week and I will keep all this in mind. In fact, you just solved a little question for me. I contacted a bunch of bookstores along my route asking if I could come in and sign stock. Some responded right away with YES! Yay! and others didn’t respond at all. I was wondering if I should bother to stop at those anyway, event though time will be tight and now I think I won’t. They probably won’t have my book anyway. I might as well spend more time with the sellers who said YES! Thanks for the tip.
“even though now you’re working on a third one and having a bit of a difficult time keeping it all straight”
Ha ha! Totally!
I am so proud of my sister Debs and their continued success! Congratulations on your second book-baby, and WOW I love the cover!
Oh, that *cover*! Wow.
Meredith, you do have two of the most striking book covers and then there’s Lydia waiting behind the covers. What a combination!
Wow! Thanks for all the compliments on the cover. I love it and hope it tempts people to try the book.
I’m so proud of all the debs, too–just love seeing everyone’s books in bookstores and libraries. Yay!
Sorry I’ve been off the comments today. I was at the Gaithersburg Book Festival and now I’m driving home (and I know better then to text and drive!)
Thanks for stopping back at the Ball, Meredith. Fantastic advice here. I’ll take it to heart. Best of luck with Dead In The Water … congrats!!
Hey there Meredith. Congratulations on the second book. Way to go, Sister! Enjoy it all the second (and third) time around.
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