We’re finally in the home stretch! This time next month Hollywood Homicide will be in bookstores, which means I’m in full promo-mode. I heard another author describe it as “taking off your Writer Hat and putting on your Author Hat.” Unfortunately, my Author Hat doesn’t quite fit yet. I’m still learning. A lot. It’s so easy to feel like you’re flailing around in the middle of an ocean full of books screaming “Notice me! I’m over here! Isn’t my cover pretty?”
I’ve spoken with a lot of authors about what I should be doing to get my book “out there.” The only thing they all agree on is that you should do your laundry before your release day.
I figured, for this last diary, I’d discuss some of the things I’ve done or will do while wearing my Author Hat.
Graphics aren’t a requirement but they help. They’re great because 1.) They’re pretty 2.) You can give them to friends to share on their own pages. You can include a cool line from your book or a blurb/review.
Getting reviews is key. That’s why publishers create galleys or ARCs (Advance Reader Copies). They’ll also probably put your book on Netgalley, which lets reviewers and readers request digital copies of your novel. A lot of authors have told me that if I want to stay sane, don’t read reviews. Of course, I do anyway. I’m low-key obsessed with my Goodreads reviews. Amazon won’t let you post reviews until the book is out, but I’m sure I’ll be all up in those too. So, if you leave one for Hollywood Homicide, feel free to put “Hi Kellye, I know you read this.” at the end.
You also have your publication reviews. Mine have trickled in since my last diary. And they’ve been good! Eek. I got starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, which named Hollywood Homicide their August Mystery Debut of the Month.
Someone recently asked me how my book was selected for review. My answer? I have no idea. I don’t know what criteria those publications use.
Interestingly, the reviews make me feel less guilty about my constant social media posts namedropping that my book is coming out. Like, “You know that book that I keep begging you to buy, it’s actually good. See?”
(Ed. Note: To read one of our recent columns about another author’s reactions to reviews, click HERE.)
Again, I hear mixed things about this. I know a lot of authors do blog hops, where they write or are interviewed on several different blogs. Other more-established traditional mystery writers told me it wasn’t really worth the time and effort. I decided not to do it. Instead, I’m doing a few posts and interviews on some of the more established mystery blogs like the award-winning Dru’s Book Musings, which runs an amazing Day in the Life feature.
A lot of authors will include a giveaway on a guest blog post to encourage people to comment. It’s a good use of your Author Copies, which are the complementary copies of your book your publisher sends you. I have a friend with a mass market paperback who gets 50. I’m getting 26. I’m not sure why. My friend jokingly suggested that’s the number that fits in a box. She might be right.
I also see a lot of cozy writer participating in Facebook Author Page hops, where a group of authors get together for a mega-giveaway. They all post on the same day with giveaways and include links to others in the giveaway. So readers can “hop” from page to page and enter everyone’s giveaway. It’s definitely a power-in-numbers thing. The more stuff you’re giving away, the more people will come (you hope). The payoff is that folks will like your page. I gained about 200 more “fans” from the two Author Page hops I’ve done.
As a debut author, it’s a great way for people to hear about your book—especially if more-established authors participate. They already have a fan base that will hopefully find their way to your page.
A book launch is a must! Mine will be on August 8 at Book Culture in Manhattan. (Please stop by if you’re local.) There’s no set way to do a book launch, but they do tend to have two common denominators: signed books and alcohol!
A lot of authors read an excerpt, but the idea of everyone in a room staring at me is terrifying. Instead, I’ll be doing a Q&A with Dru Ann Love, who recently won the 2017 Raven Award from MWA. She’s super supportive of mystery authors in general and cozies in particular, so I’m thrilled she agreed to help me out.
On August 9, I’m doing a Facebook Launch Party where I’ll spend an hour chatting about the book and doing giveaways. I’m both less and more nervous about this party. Less nervous because I’m comfortable hiding behind a computer screen. More because I don’t know if anyone will show up. Again, it comes down to having an established fan base. As a debut author, I don’t. I hope people are enticed enough by my book description and (honestly) getting free stuff to stop by, but you never know. Luckily, Marie McNary from the popular Cozy Experience blog is helping me out and she’s awesome at these.
As you can see, it’s going to be a busy week. Fingers crossed it all goes well. If nothing else, I’ll have lots of clean laundry!
And that’s it for me. Thank you so much for coming on this journey. I’m so excited Kathleen Barber is taking over in September. Her debut, Are You Sleeping?, is amazing. It’s being described as “Serial” meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood and comes out August 1. You should definitely read it.
I’d love to keep in touch. You can find me below:
Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink in August 2017. You can pre-order it by clicking HERE.
About Hollywood Homicide:
The Surprise Hit of the Season!
Actress Dayna Anderson’s Deadly New Role: Homicide Detective
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semifamous, mega-broke actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money—she wants justice for the victim. She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it—until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life.