Friday, November 28, 2008

Marketing a Novel Doesn't Have to Be Stressful.

Yesterday morning I read chapter one of Dead Witness at CFIS 93.1 FM in Prince George, BC.

I didn't realize just how stressed I'd been. In fact, up to that point, I was pretty impressed with my calm attitude. Ben Meisner is a popular radio personality in BC, and I conversed with him as if he were my neighbour. Then I sat down with Reg Feyer and recorded my first chapter without a hiccup. It airs Monday night at 6 pm as part of The Storytellers on 93.1 FM.

The night before I'd slept badly. I dreamed several different versions of my book signings for December 6th and 7th in Prince George. Either both bookstores were so packed that I ran out of books and everyone stormed out; or nobody showed up and there I sat surrounded by stacks of Dead Witness.

Yesterday morning, instead of breakfast, we left for town early so Ralphie could have some blood tests done at the clinic. Nothing urgent, just his annual checkup. We left the house at 8:20 and reached the clinic at 9:19. I had an appointment with the radio station after 10 am. I left one poster at Books and Company, and one at Save-On Bookstore, announcing the signings. The taping at 93.1 FM took 10 minutes. I have an okay-voice, not too deep, nor too scratchy. My mother was an entertainer during WW2, and she'd instructed us as kids on how to speak into a mike. After 40 some years, all that came back to me.

After the taping was over, I stopped in to see Teresa at the Prince George Free Press. We chatted about writing and all the marketing that entails. As I stood there, an invisible weight literally lifted off my shoulders. I became lighter, (hallelujah) and it occurred to me that the small-town girl from Maple Ridge had come a long way. It's one thing to be interviewed on television; but to sit down and read a chapter from a work that I'd sweated over for 4 years, was in deed a huge accomplishment.

Book signings are difficult. You don't know if you're going to be received well or completely ignored. I know Dead Witness is a good book, but times are tough. Our economy is suffering. Can readers afford to buy books?

That I don't know. But I do know I like people. I'm not afraid of smiling, chit-chatting or even talking about everything else but my work. I know my readers will be transported and able to escape life for a short period of time. If asked why anyone should buy my book, I'd be quick to answer, "Because Valerie McCormick is a fascinating, noble woman who reminds us how important family is."

I owe the Bulkley-Nechako District my deepest gratitude. They've been very supportive. They've gone out of their way to make me feel welcomed. Since publishing Dead Witness July 2, 2008, I've received numerous emails from readers who remarked on how much they enjoyed my book. Some have even stopped me on the street to thank me for the entertainment. One lady said, "Thank you for writing a good book and not wasting my time." That was music to my ears.

If you're near Books and Company, Saturday December 6th between 11 o'clock and 2:30, please stop by. I'll be at Save-On Bookstore at Spruceland the next day: Sunday; same hours.

I look forward to seeing you.


  1. Sorry I can't come to your signing -- I live a bit too far -- but I wanted to wish you good luck. I read the article in the Prince George Free Press about your book. Good article! And your book sounds fascinating.

  2. I have coconut, raisin & oatmeal cookies ... Are you sure???

    Thanks, Pat. Vise versa; I'd be at yours if I could. What a sad world it would be without friends.

  3. I wish we were not so far a way. Then we could attend your book signing. Hopefully the snow will not impair your travel. Good Luck

  4. Thanks, Steve. I'm taking cookies, so how bad could it be?


  5. Geeze, and now I get to actually say, "I knew you when..." Proud to know you when..., proud to know you now. Wish I could come to a signing, but you know I'll send some positive energy your way and hope for buzzing, energized, book-buying crowds at all your signings.

  6. I know you'd be there if you could, Keith. Right back atcha. One of these days.

  7. Sometimes we surprise ourselves in what we can do. It sounds like you're off to a great start in promoting "Dead Witness" and I'm sure your signings will go equally well, regardless of how many people are there. After all, how can they resist those cookies? (lol)

    All the best!

  8. Thanks, Careann.

    I might even bake some chocolate chip. Is that tempting you yet? lol


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