Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 4, 2010

Day 51 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:


  • Writing topic – Joining a critique group
  • Marketing topic – Radio interview questions


Writing topic – Joining a critique group


Peer review. It’s necessary and valuable. The local group by me is called the DFW writer’s workshop (DFWWW). We recently moved close to where the meetings are held, and I can’t wait to attend my first one. I found them on the Internet under “Dallas writers groups.”


What about you? Have you attended or are a member of a writing group?  Do you find them beneficial? There’s a disclaimer on the DFWWW website that the critiques are frank and can be harsh at times, but that’s what we need to get better as writers. Since the group’s creation in 1977, there have been 300 traditioanly published books from their member authors, so they must be doing something right.


Here’s your chance to sound off about writer’s groups. Helpful or a waste of time?  


Marketing topic – Radio interview questions


In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I’ll be doing a radio show this Saturday to promote my latest novel, The Brink. The “Books n’ Authors” show will be broadcast at 10:00am on 89.5 KYQX and 88.5 KMQX radio in Weatherford, Texas, and on the Internet at www.qxfm.com. I also mentioned that creating your own questions not only saves the interviewer time, but it also allows you to create answers beforehand. Many people become nervous when they’re on the radio, and having ready answers (that are printed in front of you!) will be a huge help just in case you get a massive brain fart and forget everything, including your own name.

The show lasts 30 minutes, so around 10 questions should do the trick. Here are the questions I’ve come up with for my interview:

  1. When did you begin the process of writing The Brink? Since The Brink is a follow-up to my first novel, Five Days in Dallas, I will incorporate that tidbit into my answer so that listeners know about it as well.
  2. The Brink is a follow up to your first novel Five Days in Dallas. Can readers follow The Brink even if they didn’t read Five Days? Again, this question allows me to talk a little bit more about both books and about the main character Danny Cavanaugh and what he’s all about.  
  3. How long did it take you to write it? Another open-ended question that allows me to go into the part about the research that I completed for the book.
  4. Did you do anything different in the writing process for this book than you did for your others? This answer will center around the fact that I hired a book editor and worked with him for several months. I will also mention that it paid off because the book won two awards so far.
  5. The Brink uses the recent economic crisis as a jumping off point for its main plot. Can you explain how much of the real world is intertwined with the novel? Again, this question allows me to talk about how current the book is and how it’s “ripped from the headlines.” It also shows who’s behind our recession, who stands to gain from it and a possible dire outcome of it.
  6. So is The Brink a political thriller or a financial thriller? Another open-ended question that allows for some good back and forth about what thrillers are and what kind of audience will like my books.  
  7. Settings are a huge part of novels. You have several settings that are described in rich detail. Did you travel to all the places in the book? While the Internet is a wonderful way to learn many things about a place, I grew up in Houston, Texas and lived in Washington, D.C., two of the settings in the book. So this question allows me to talk a little about my life, allowing listeners to get to know me a little better.
  8.  You’re engaged in a social media campaign to promote The Brink. What kind of things are you doing? Here I can talk about my blog, facebook ads, and news releases.
  9. What else are you doing to promote the book? Here I can talk about the library presentations I’m doing and the book tour around Dallas and Fort Worth.
  10. Are you working on any new novels? I can talk about the two novels that I have ready, but I am going to edit before my agent submits them to the big houses next summer.


So there you go. 10 questions that should eat up a 30 minute show. If you’ve got some free time, listen and see how close we come to the script!


The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  



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