Phew! My newest book, Murder of a Bookstore Babe, came out March 1, and I’ve been on the road promoting it for the past two and a half weeks. Writers have to be a bit schizophrenic. We spend the majority of our time alone, in front of a computer with only a cat for company (okay, not every writer has a cat), then for six-eight weeks, when our new books hit the shelves, we suddenly need to become Oprah, or at least Dr. Phil. I’ve heard publicist tell authors they need to be warm and friendly, but still maintain an aura of celebrity. I’m not sure what that means exactly, and the concept of a midlist author as a celebrity makes me laugh so hard, I nearly have an asthma attack.
Writers go from wearing our sweats and jammies day in and day out, to getting gussied up in our best outfits for two months straight. The good part is we get to go shopping because, of course, we have nothing to wear
In my eleven years of doing book signings, I’ve had turnouts of well over a hundred people to as few as eight (I’m hoping that was because it was the day before Mother’s Day and everyone was busy buying fabulous gifts for their moms). Still, that kind of experience makes every book signing terrifying. A little like, will I get the lady or the tiger?
So why do I do book signings? No one is convinced signings increase sales. My publisher only pays my expenses for a fraction of the appearances that I make. So, again why? Because there is nothing like meeting the people who read your books. Getting a chance to interact and hear their questions is what revs me up for the next ten months of staring at my computer.
When a day of writing feels like I’ve had to open a vein, I remember the teenage girl who had her father drive her all the way from North Dakota to Minneapolis to meet me. When I can’t figure out what’s wrong with a story and want to give up, I remember the grandmother, mother, and daughter who showed up at one of my signings and recalled more of the details from my past books than I did. And when I think the whole thing isn’t worth it, I think about all the people who are trying so hard to get their books published—because even though it’s been eleven years since my first book came out, I’ll never forget just how lucky I am.
Denise Swanson, the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author, decided she would rather write about villains than encounter them in her daily life. She was also shocked to discover that getting a book published was nearly as difficult as vanquishing scoundrels. Her books are set in Scumble River, a fictional small town in Illinois, and feature Skye Denison, a full-figured school psychologist-sleuth who is torn between a handsome police chief and an urbane coroner. Murder of a Bookstore Babe is the lucky 13th book in her Scumble River Mystery series.