An affordable thing happened on the way to the bookstore

DSC_0329I went on vacation without my husband. Picked up the kids and took them to the beach. So I was busy getting a sunburn on Wednesday when my husband made my phone ring at a moment when I wasn’t standing hip deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Did you know your book is available on Kindle?”

“It is?”

“So you didn’t know.”

“Are you sure.”

A long silence followed. I thought he was annoyed I’d asked. But then, he came back on. “Yup. Double checked.”

“Well, that’s great. How much is it?”

“About three bucks.”

“Well … I guess I better do something about that.”

“You could write a blog post.”

“Hey! I could. I could do that.”

Announcing The Marriage at the Rue Morgue. Now available in Kindle.

Own a bookstore? Don’t be afraid of me

DSC_0368If you run a bookstore, please don’t be put off by my “Don’t Buy My Book” campaign. It may be tempting to answer “OK, I won’t. Thanks for the tip, weirdo,” and walk the other direction. But I invite you to take a closer look. I can host murderously fun mystery parties in bookstores. Purely aside from the fact that at least some people who come to an author event will buy that author’s book, if I can shift the focus away from myself, I can create an opportunity for bookstore owners to highlight their mystery collections. Those who don’t buy my book then may very well come back and buy it later, and they are liable to buy something on the spot. Plus, we’ll be having tons of fun.

Can I be honest? Aside from my friends and a few professional contacts, nobody has heard of me. When I say “don’t buy my book”, all I’m doing is taking out a guilt trip. This is not the “don’t buy books” tour. It’s the “don’t buy my book” tour.

I don’t suffer from the illusion that I’ll be rich and famous overnight with one e-book and one physical book on the market. I need to prove myself to readers before they are going to want to pay more than a couple of dollars for my stuff. Suggesting that they request it in libraries is a practical matter. I’m asking people to give me a test drive.

Bookstores don’t exist in competition with libraries. (I heard the line about how libraries have to compete with booksellers throughout library school, and it’s absurd.) The two entities share a symbiotic relationship. Libraries grow readers. Readers buy books. No book buyer can afford to purchase and house every beloved tome. Yet public libraries aren’t archives, and they rarely have more than a few copies of any one title. Readers need libraries to meet the new authors, and they need bookstores to buy the books they know they’ll want to read over and over.

Mine is a good book. People will want to read it more than once.

But they can’t know that right away. So I want them to ask their librarians to add it to the collection. I do not want them to race out and buy a book when they aren’t sure if they’ll feel gypped or not. I want them to buy my books when they know my writing and trust me.

You can find in-depth details over on the Mystery Parties section under the Appearances tab of my Rue Morgue site, but in general, here’s how it works. I schedule a two-hour long mystery party at the bookstore. The plot moves along every fifteen minutes or so, and clues are hidden throughout the store. Who knows what browsers will find when they are freed from the static model of an author signing! My publisher offers deep discounts to groups hosting author events, so the risk for the store is minimal. Store owners choose portions of their collections to highlight. They have a chance to network with new customers. And readers have a fun time building friendships.

The “don’t buy my book” tour isn’t intended to scare people away from stores, and it shouldn’t scare stores away from me. It’s a unique marketing technique based in honesty. Please, take a look over at the Rue Morgue page and see what I’m talking about and why it would be a lot of fun to tell people, “Whatever you do, don’t buy that deadly book.”

Book Release Party The Marriage at the Rue Morgue

MarriageAtRueMorgueFront (1)The Marriage at the Rue Morgue comes out today, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have magnets, tote bags, shirts, and Webkinz orangutans to mail out to lucky winners who retweet today’s post with the hashtag #don’tbuymybook (I checked, nobody else is using that one). I’ll also give away prizes if you go to your local library’s twitter feed and share with them using the hashtag  #pleasedobuythisbook (again, nobody is using it). Finally, I’ll give you prizes if you share the post on Facebook or G+.

I’m using Woobox to track Twitter hashtags, Facebook likes, and Facebook comments and pick winners from among them.

But if you share the post on Facebook or G+, then let me know in the comment section below. I’ll use to pick winners throughout the day and as my whims dictate.

Oh, and if you are buying the book (and I’m not trying to discourage those who want it!) and would like an autograph, please let me know. I have bookplates I can sign and send.

Come back tomorrow and find out why the “Don’t Buy My Book” tour isn’t a bad idea for bookstores, either.

Don’t Buy My Book … Request It at the Library

The don’t buy my book tour 2014

DSC_0329Less than thirty days remain between now and The Marriage at the Rue Morgue’s hardback release. July 16th is coming. But I’ve got a problem, and I need your help. The book is expensive. So can you do me a solid? Go out there and don’t buy it. Don’t-do it as loudly as you can.

Let me explain.

The last time I shelled out for a hardback, it was written by Stephen King. The time before that … well, I don’t remember the time before that, because frankly, I balk at the expense. My husband does, too. Remember, we’re the people with twelve overstuffed bookshelves. We constantly overspend our book budget. But the less we know of an author’s work, the less we’re likely to spend on it.

The Marriage at the Rue Morgue costs twenty five dollars, more or less. I wrestled with myself for weeks over how to justify asking people to spend that much, when I know I wouldn’t do so myself.

I can’t do it. I’m too fucking honest.

Don’t get on my case about false modesty or the importance of self-promotion these days. I’m promoting this thing. I’m promoting the hell out of it. But I cannot ask individuals to pay so much.

If you know me and like my writing, then by all means, go shopping. Rue Morgue is a good read, and it’s something you’ll come back to. Hell, Publisher’s Weekly liked it. But if you’re a stranger to me and to my work, then I’m offering you access to the entire text free of charge before you decide to buy.

No, I’m not posting it here on my website. I’m foolhardy, not stupid.

Instead, I’m suggesting you request it at your local library. What I cannot justify asking of an individual I’m completely comfortable asking of an institution. While twenty five dollars is a large amount of an increasingly limited book budget, I know it will be money well spent. This is my publisher’s target group, so selling well to the library market matters.

Libraries have patron request forms for titles not currently available. Because so few people take advantage of these programs, librarians make every effort to get the things people do ask for. I’ve worked in libraries. I have an MLS. I know whereof I speak. Sometimes, interlibrary loan will do the trick, but when the line starts backing up, the system starts ordering.

My publisher will ultimately release paperback and electronic versions of the title, and those will cost less. You could wait. Or you could request the book at the circulation or reference desk of your branch library and go the route of near-instant gratification.

Once you read it, if you find you’ll be coming back to it, by all means spend the money on the hardback. It’s a worthwhile purchase. If you really like it, tell your librarians the author offers creative writing seminars and library mystery parties. Direct them to the Jester Queen and Rue Morgue websites.

Help me build my fan base. Encourage your mystery-loving friends to check out a copy so the library will know its money wasn’t wasted. That kind of support would be worth a hell of a lot more than a single twenty-five dollar purchase.

The Marriage at the Rue Morgue Coming July 16, 2014

The groom is big, the bride is hairy … and the best man is dead

The Marriage at the Rue Morgue


When the search for an abandoned orangutan leads to the death of their best man, primatologists Noel Rue and Lance Lakeland find themselves in a wedding quandary. Police suspect the ape, but Noel and Lance know better. They cannot call off or delay the big day, and they must juggle their search for the real killer with last-minute details like convincing half the family the wedding isn’t cursed simply because it’s being held in a former funeral home.

The Marriage at the Rue Morgue is a fast-paced romp through one zany weekend. Will Noel’s mother and sister plan the perfect event, down to the centerpieces? Will Noel get the cheap plastic tablecloths and mismatched bridesmaids’ gowns she years for? Will Lance jilt Noel at the altar to charge into the Ohio wilderness in search of the orangutan? And will Noel’s poor father ever be able to tend to his rose garden? As they leap from event to event, the couple must decide whether or not it would be easier to elope. They scuttle around Muscogen County, picking up their marriage license, chasing down clues, and managing the antics of their gun-wielding spider monkeys as the wedding draws nearer.

As the clock ticks down, they realize their best man was keeping secrets from them about the primate sanctuary and the pie-faced redhead now roaming its grounds. If they can’t solve his riddles, Noel’s parents may have to hold more than the wedding rehearsal without a bride and a groom.

Published by Five Star, a division of Cengage

ISBN: 978-1-4328-2867-7