Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On The Road Again

I just came off a full week of promotion with Maggie Sefton, author of a best selling knitting mystery series. We planned the tour several months ahead of time, contacting three area indies and one Barnes and Noble in Milwaukee. We also contacted our niche shops and dropped off flyers.

I know knitting has been hot for awhile, but I didn’t know how hot. All the bookstores have knitting and mystery groups that meet regularly, so we had built-in audiences. Fans arrived with their knitting projects, and the booksellers wined and dined us.

Would this have happened for me? Probably not. My Yooper mystery series is doing well, but it doesn’t have a “hook” (pun intended). My doll series is also selling, but doesn’t draw out readers like knitting does. Maggie’s been doing so well with her series, she recently moved into hard cover. Many attended to see her.

We put on quite a show, our goal being to entertain them, pulling out all the stops. We didn’t collaborate in advance, never prepared a thing, just went in and improvised. What fun!

I cruised along on her crafting shirt “tale”, selling lots of books to the knitters. Maggie said she never had such a successful week of touring. We both agreed that two authors traveling together was the way to go.

But what got our fans the most excited? Sex talk. That’s right. All we had to do was throw the three letter word out into space. Everyone in our audience came to attention. They were intrigued by the cozy definition of acceptable sex scenes and what we could and could not do in our mysteries. No onstage sex and absolutely NOT two guys. EVER.

They wanted to discuss Janet Evanovich and whether book twelve offended the masses. Yes, most agreed, but not enough to stop reading. Maggie and I decided to take our next books (book 3 in each of my series is already written, so this would be the fourth) closer to the forbidden edge. We’ll see if it gets past our editors.

We’ll do whatever it takes to leave our readers satisfied!

What do you think? Does sex sell?


Camille Minichino said...

No more fading to black? I can hardly wait!
Question ... did any of the audience want to know about knitting? or doll making or collecting? Did they care about the "tie-in?"
In other words, could you and Maggie have done the same "show" at a plumbing store or a nail salon?
Camille (who has yet to hit the hobby circuit)

Deb Baker said...

A hammer or nail setting wouldn't have drawn in the fans in the first place. They attended to meet us, but I can't remember even one doll or knitting question.

Monica Ferris said...

I like to push the envelope a bit, too -- but on the other hand, I've had a significant number of readers tell me how much they enjoy a good story that doesn't overdo the sex and violence. Or bad language. So be careful, you may lose the audience you've already acquired if you push too far.

Camille Minichino said...

With my other series I hear over and over from readers how they love to be able to give my books to their mothers and mothers-in-law. (We all know that mothers and mothers-in-law don't have sex, right?) So Monica has a point about losing that audience.
Also a couple of my periodic table series were used in combined chem/English classes at the high school level, and I doubt they would have been chosen if there were a lot sex. (Also, teenagers don't have sex, right?"
Would love to hear from our readers what they think of this.

Kathryn Lilley said...

What an exciting week for you! It sounds as if it was really fun, too.

Oops, I may have already stepped over the "cozy" line in my first book, DYING TO BE THIN. I have a scene where my journalist sleuth interviews the owner of an adult "toy" store. She spends a bit of time wondering what some of the gizmos are...

-- Kathryn

Deb Baker said...

I think most readers are VERY happy with sexual tension vs sexual activity. The trick is to get it just right.

Camille Minichino said...

I like the way you make that distinction, Deb. Tension vs details!