Daily Tao ☯ 6.2.17

look at this banner! 😱

When is a banner more than a banner?

BEA 2017 —BookExpo— is in the books. I’m back in the plane, heading south. What an incredible, awesome couple of days. The surprise banner, brilliant marketing meetings, the view at the cocktail party, the signing, getting a few moments to commune with friends… just a perfect event. 

You probably saw a bunch of pictures and videos about the banner. I will admit to having all the feels about this. I probably should be so much more laid back and cool and blasé about the whole thing, but I can’t. I couldn’t. It was one of the coolest things that’s happened in my professional writing career. The surprise of it, too, not knowing that’s what I was walking into… wow! 

The thing is, it was so much more than a huge book cover on vinyl and a kick ass catch phrase. For me, standing beneath it, it was … I don’t know, acceptance? Acknowledgement? Faith in my work? Faith in me? I surely felt special, there’s no question about it. I’ve been around this industry for a long time now, and I know a lot of people, and they were all so proud to see it. Which felt really, really great. It was surreal as hell, actually — did you see your banner? was the catchphrase of the con.

My banner.

It was at once exhilarating and terrifying. Exhilarating because of the message it sends — this is the book you should paying attention to. Terrifying because — this is the book you should be paying attention to. I’ve never had so much scrutiny on my work; I pray and pray it holds up to the bright light of exposure. That I can hold myself together, to make you guys proud. I’m feeling pressure, yes, but I’ve spent a decade laying the groundwork for this. If I can’t handle a little exposure now, I’m in the wrong business.

Right?

So, with that, I want to take a second to thank everyone involved in making this huge surprise happen. MIRA Books has been my home for many years, and I think they were just as tickled as me by the attention this book brought. You know why?

Because this isn’t just about me. I wrote the book, yes, but I can’t begin to help you understand the unbelievable amount of work that is going into getting this book into your hands. The meetings, the planning, the dreaming that my team has done with this book is nothing short of breathtaking. Staggering, as my marketing manager said today, and he's exactly right. Their efforts for this IS staggering. They are working themselves so hard to make this happen for LIE TO ME. And the cool thing? They really do this for all their books. The heart and soul of MIRA is always beating for all the authors. Yes, I had the banner. But I was only one of many, many, many authors that are getting promoted and exposed to new readers because of their incredible work.

So to Nicole, Margaret, Loriana, Lisa, Heather, Marjean, Brent, Amy (1 and 2), Randy (1 and 2), Emer, Mariana, Craig, Susan, Dianne, Olivia, Stef, Shara, Lynette, Mary Beth, Margot, Monika, Reka, Scott, Sean and everyone else I’m too flummoxed to hit, and those who are toiling and I don’t even know about it… 

Thank you for believing in me. No lie. xox

Brilliant, peaceful weekend, everyone!

Daily Tao ☯ 5.12.17

Home again, home again, jiggity jig! And let me tell you, I have a couple of very happy cats who’ve been alternately running around in joyful leaps or purring on my lap. Always nice to be wanted, right?

So New York was a monstrous success all the way around. Catherine and I pulled together a solid story and characters for THE BLOOD CABAL. Next week I will take everything we did and put it into a cohesive narrative so we can get this puppy outlined fully. We have the first 6 chapters already set, and wow, this one is so cool! 

Thursday was full from start to finish. Several hours of plotting with CC, then lunch with my publisher and editor at MIRA, which was a blast. I admit, I rather enjoy sitting in a dark wood paneled New York steakhouse plotting world domination. I had a lobster Cobb salad that was divine, too. We are all getting excited for LIE TO ME, and BEA is right around the corner!

I spent part of the afternoon reading a blurb book, then we met up with Catherine for dinner, which was a hoot. Mexican food in New York is interesting, to say the least. I asked for queso and the waiter was confused. Enough said. But the tacos were yummy!

And then we had second dinner with a dear friend who we haven’t seen in months, and that made the trip for us. A long walk back to the hotel, a little blood orange and lemon basil sorbet for dessert, and a well-earned glass of wine topped off a very pleasant evening. I stayed up half the night reading the book I was blurbing—I will absolutely share links when this one comes out. It’s great. 

The flight home was uneventful, happily, outside of the woman who spilled her double vodka on my bag (she was having a VERY bad day). Warm cuddles with the kitties more than made up for that. Tonight, it’s a quick supper party with friends, and then, my dears, I collapse. My doctor (who was my first call upon landing) kindly called in some antibiotics, so this sick puppy should be feeling better in no time. 

Sweet dreams! 

11.10.16 - Toronto on My Mind

Toronto on my mind

Week before last, my agent and I went to Toronto for meetings with my publisher.

It was a very exciting day, with so many takeaways I barely know where to begin. The main focus was on the new standalone, which will be coming your way around Labor Day next year. It was incredibly gratifying to see all the plans for this new novel, touch base with all the folks making it work, Facebook Live, sign books, and eat (and eat, and eat). It was truly a special day all the way around. 

I was very struck by several things.

One, obviously, I am extremely lucky to have the chance to sit down with my publishing team and discuss upcoming book plans.

Two, as the proprietor of my own small indie publishing house, it was incredible to see all the moving parts of a full-strength bonafide publisher at play. From research to marketing to art and social media, seeing the full force of a house in publishing mode was fascinating and gratifying. Makes me very, very happy I don’t have to all this on my own.

And a note about teamwork—I am endlessly grateful to have this team behind me. The players have changed slightly over the years, but I’ve been with MIRA Books for a decade now, and I’ve watched them weather all the recent publishing storms with aplomb, good humor, and an innovative attitude. These people are madly, passionately,  head-over-heels in love with books, and with the authors who create them. I’ve bumped up against people in the industry who take for granted the contribution authors make to the process; Harlequin and MIRA have always made it a point to let their authors know that without us, they don’t work. I’ve always been thrilled to be a MIRA author, I am even more overjoyed to be a part of this team now.

Also, marketing a standalone is very different from marketing a series. The differences were astounding to me, and I learned so much. Honestly, I’m still trying to process it all.

Many years ago, I wrote an essay about the value of face-to-face meetings with the people you’re doing business with, especially your agent and editor.  As a ten-year veteran of the same house, I’ve had the luxury of knowing the folks I work with forever. And I’ve known them so long because I made a special effort to meet them early on. I’m telling you, it is so worth your time and energy to find a conference your people are attending, or make a trip to visit them in their natural habitat. You won’t regret it for a minute. 

So that’s the book report on my exciting trip to Canada! More to come from the standalone front in the coming weeks, especially on the title! In the meantime, #keepwriting and #keepreading!