Saturday morning is bustling here at the Hilton. After a quick continental breakfast, the authors (published and unpublished) are off to seminars, editor appointments, agent appointments, shopping in the bookstore and checking out the goody room.
The panel I was asked to participate in was about publicity and marketing. Thankfully my partner, Heidi Danis, is a professional publicist. She even came prepared with notes. I came with a Diet Coke. That pretty much sums up our styles.
Heidi lead off with practical tips on getting a press kit together (resume on the right side and good things said about you on the left, although she used different words). She is an amazing woman who has dealt with some big names in the industry. My turn came and my advice was pretty much get your name out there any way possible. Use friends, relatives, internet and don’t be afraid to talk yourself up. Readers love hearing about their authors and actually talking to one is a real coup. Well, we didn’t get booed and not many walked out <g> and a number of people actually came up afterward to thank us and said they enjoyed it (and we didn’t even offer candy or anything). Of course, I likened our on stage presence more to the antics of Martin and Lewis (and I’ll let you figure out who was who). All in all, it was a wonderful experience and if you need help with publicity, contact Heidi who truly knows her stuff. (The group photo is of the brave souls who toughed it out until the bitter end. Real troopers!)
The luncheon featured keynote speaker Linda Howard who talked about how much she hates cows. And trust me, she really, really hates cows.
Linda told a story about an average work day for her, trying to write with a deadline looming, a cold February night, and her husband asking for help with a cow stuck in a ditch. I won’t tell you the whole story (complicated), but it involves mud, a winch (not wench), no flashlight, no boots, lots of trees, a really big hill and no way to find the 4 wheel drive gear. (Told you it was complicated) Linda had the room in stitches with the way only a southern maven can tell a story. My favorite part was when she looked at the cow stuck in the mud and only saw steaks. (Pictured: Nancy Knight, Kate Duffy (Kensington editor), Linda Howard and Shannon Short)
My lunch partners included Roland Haas and his wife, Marilyn who is publisher of Arts & Expressions Magazine that celebrates the arts, music, poetry and theatre to name a few and author Kelley St. John (who’s just so darned glamorous and looking forward to a getaway weekend with her hot Cajun (hubby). Ok, I’m jealous.
The booksigning was a huge success with several authors selling out of their books including Elizabeth Hoyt (but her sign said, "It’s ok to stop by and talk anyway.") and Madeline Hunter. Quite a few lucky readers walked away with gift baskets donated by the authors (I was not one of them…<sigh>) (Pictured: Kathleen Long, Sabrina McAfee, Lisa Manuel and Janice Maynard)
Bottom Line: Did I mention that Linda Howard really hates cows?