The Good, the Partly Bad, and the Really Nice…

November 14, 2010

Some lessons I’m taking away in 2010

The Good: Though I’ve been lucky enough to have three published mystery novels, only with my third, Reticence of Ravens, have I attempted an “official” book launch. This time, the stars lined up happily and I was able to introduce my first Route 66 novel to the world at the Newberry Springs Pistachio Festival. It was a great event on several levels — met lots of interesting people from as far away as Denmark, did well commercially, sold books and pottery—and best of all, I loved the experience. Loyal local friends and wonderful new acquaintances made my day! Over the last year I’ve been to many events (for me) and enjoyed them all! Still, my lesson learned from my book launch is—

Sometimes, your own backyard is where the sun shines brightest.

The partly bad: The 2010 Mystery Cruise on Carnival’s Splendour was canceled. Engine trouble. A big disappointment in that I was looking forward to meeting authors I’ve heard about or only connected with electronically, buy some autographed books,  get some new ideas, shake some hands—even share a few hugs. But this conference was not to be. However, one of the panels I would have been on was marketing, and mentally preparing for it made me assess(a good thing!) my promotions voyage—which now covers several years. Fortunately, I also had a multi-author CWC book signing event scheduled, and quickly signed up for a Barstow Harvey House Christmas event. Lessons reinforced—

On the universe level, don’t count on anything in the future, but enjoy the moment you’re in —And—on the micro book promotions level, have plenty of events planned to keep you moving forward!

The really nice: Can’t psychologically break myself of being overly concerned readers won’t like my books. For sure, I write what I like, in the way I like—which I guess is one way of saying, I write for myself. But that certainly is not the whole truth. Obviously (why try getting published), I want others to read what I write—and most importantly to enjoy the adventure I’m trying to pull their imaginations into.

At the Pistachio Festival, all the people who bought Reticence of Ravens and had read either of my two earlier novels, said they liked them–and without my asking! Of course, politeness is a big factor here, but I’m wanting to believe, if they didn’t like them, they wouldn’t have bought the new one? (It’s my thought, and I’m sticking to it!) Lessons learned—

It feels absolutely marvelous to hear a reader (lying or not) say they enjoyed reading my books. —And— my ego clearly needs more strokes than I’ve previously been willing to admit.

Soon it will be 2011, and I can start over—with a clean slate, some promotions lessons learned, and an ego not worn so clearly on my sleeve.



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7 Responses to “The Good, the Partly Bad, and the Really Nice…”

  1. Very nicely said, Madeline. We share common neuroses apparently.

  2. Joe Haggerty said

    You are absolutely inspirational. One of my great fears is that people will not like to read my stories. I write what I know and hope to interest others into being interested, but there’s always that great fear that I’m in a world of my own.

    I love your positive attitude and will try to emulate your enthusiasm and forward thinking.

  3. Nobody ever seems to worry on the OTHER side–what if people like your writing too much? I’m constantly being asked where the next book is and telling them I’m doing so much more in the field of writing doesn’t seem to compute. People like J.K. Rowling have to deal with readers wanting more. I hear Sue Grafton is fed up and still has to get to “Z.” Michael Connelly and Robert Crais are churning novels out and losing quality to quantity.

    So, you and Holli should stop worrying. Fans buy books because they like what you write, your characters, or maybe they just like that you are local and they can relate to you! Know your demographic and play to that audience. Above all, keep it fun.

  4. mmgornell said

    Thanks, Holli, for leaving a comment. I love hearing from you–you are my connection to Louisiana! You are so right–and expressed in another way is the “what if” factor. I think about that a lot when I write. You never know–which for me is both scary and comforting! Hope to see you soon.

  5. Madeline, I am completely in line with you with being worried people won’t like the next book. With my second coming out in the near future, I keep worrying that people won’t like it as much as they liked the first one, and the (2) people who were less than enamored with my first book will read the second one just to criticize it and dismiss me as a writer.

    And as far as the cruise being canceled, I know how disappointed you must be, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and maybe we don’t recognize all the blessings in disguise while we are here on earth, and maybe not even after that.

    Case in point, my Jeep was stolen two years before my car wreck, the young punks that stole it crashed it and bailed. During the wreck, the airbags deployed and Chrysler had to fix them along with the rest of the damage, which was extensive. Fast forward to my wreck. The doctors said the only reason I’m still alive is that the steering wheel and air bag flew off and landed in the seat next to me instead of deploying, because Chrysler hadn’t fixed the steering/air bag system properly. So while the theft of the Jeep seemed like a stroke of bad luck at the time, the entire thing ended up saving my life during my car crash. I have to think there is a master plan, whether God or Fate or Kismet or Mother Nature or aliens are responsible. So maybe your cruise being canceled was for a bigger reason you just can’t see yet, if ever. And it gives you something to look forward to way next year!

    Holli Castillo
    Gumbo Justice

  6. mmgornell said

    Oh Kathleen, so sorry you’ve experienced a “sick” ship first hand! In that respect, we were very lucky–by a week. Been following all of your activities and successes–can’t wait to catch up this summer at PSWA (unless I see you sooner). Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Thanks for a wonderful post, Madeline, and sharing what you’ve learned this year. I am so sorry about the cancellation of the cruise, but relieved that it happened before you boarded. I’ve been stuck on one of those cruises ~ it was my first, in 2006. It was supposed to go to Florida & the Bahamas during Thanksgiving week. Instead, with a broken azipod, we only made it to the Norfolk Naval base & back to NY, where we docked for three days. They added lots of activities, like napkin folding, and more movies, since there was no gambling allowed while tied to the docks…
    Best wishes for 2011 ~ with three novels published, you have gained a lot of experience and knowledge!

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