Sorry about no post last week. NaNo is eating my brain.
That's a lie.
Truth is, I've seen so many instances of authors behaving badly of late that the only thing I want to do is post ranty stuff, which I try really hard to relegate to other blogs that encourage ranting. I want this to be a positive place (or at least a happy-for-now, even if I can't swing a happily-ever-after, if you know what I mean).
Into this black cloud of irritation blew a breath of fresh air in the form of a literary agent. Laura Bradford hit 9000 followers on Twitter and randomly drew one for a prize. I won! After doing a little dance of glee, I panicked. I had to choose between a box of books (*drool*) and a fifteen-minute phone call with her (*gasp*). Now, this should have been a no brainer, but I tend to be really shy around people I don't know, especially on the phone. So, I went to her website and checked out what books I could get if I chose option A. And uh... yeah. I already own a lot of them. It was like fate was kicking me in the ass and saying "Hello? Career? You want one, right?"
So, we set up the call and I organized a list of questions. I'm not going to share everything, but she agreed to let me give you some details on what we talked about. AND, she was so awesome she willingly went over the fifteen minutes without blinking. We covered my whole list of questions. <3
First, there have been stories flying that if you go digital first, you may as well kiss your chances of a New York contract goodbye. No, you won't get one for the book you already published, but as a general rule, unless you are selling huge numbers, New York doesn't care about your digital sales. This attitude is shifting a bit, but toward the positive. A digital career isn't likely to hurt you, and publishing with some places might even make them sit up and take notice. (Samhain was mentioned specifically due to their high sales figures.)
Book promotion is important as anyone with a book out knows, and though it sometimes feels like you're talking into the ether, social media is a key factor in that. She mentioned specifically not posting about your book and nothing else (but we already knew that). One important thing she brought up was creating a circle of influence. Find people who like what your write, tweet, blog about enough that they will retweet it and get word spread around. The important thing to remember here is these need to be real relationships. Don't follow someone just because they have thirty thousand followers and you think they'll retweet you. Build relationships and create content people care about. That will drive them to your website/blog/books.
As for Laura specifically, I asked a couple questions about her likes/dislikes. Some of it is pretty basic stuff. She will auto-reject for pitching things she doesn't rep and crazy word counts, but there are no thematic things that make her automatically say no (like anything else, it just has to be an amazing story). She is fond of genre mash-ups (paranormal steampunk dystopian, anyone?) and she often tweets about specific things she'd love to see in her slush. So make sure you're paying attention. You might just have something she really wants.
That's about it (obviously there was more to the conversation, but some was me-specific, so I'm not going to share :P). Thank you, Laura, for being awesome and easy to talk to. I hope you don't mind if I hunt you up at RT to say hello.