Friday, June 17, 2011

Romancing the Reader

Y'know, as long as you all keep giving me positive feedback, I'm going to keep posting this stuff.

I used to enjoy doing publicity for my books. I love to travel--or I did before air travel became such a colossal pain in the butt--and I enjoyed meeting the distributors and bookstore staffs. Doing interviews was also fun. It was kinda cool when I was in the waiting room at my doctor's office one day and a woman recognized me from a TV appearance.

Before Dance of the Gods was published, I was in New York, meeting with my agent and editor. One day, Sabra Elliott, then Vice President in charge of advertising, publicity and promotion, introduced me to members of her staff. I was directed to a chair in the middle of a room, with them seated around me.  They proceeded to ask me questions I would be asked by reporters. Interesting experience. Over the years I was with Berkley, I did numerous print, radio and TV interviews.

I worked with three publicists at Berkley: Amy Barron, Kristen Kreimeier, and Sara Leopold, and they were all wonderful, even if they did joke about hiding under their desks whenever I called. Here's a press release Amy wrote for me:

I got a lot of good interviews. I wish I could include all of them here, but I doubt Blogspot allows for endless blogs, so I'll start with this one, from the St. Louis Suburban Journals....

I had more of a problem with the local press giving me the "romance writer" label than I did elsewhere. The irony is that I am a romance writer--and not just in my Silhouette series romances. I like writing about relationships, and I love happy endings, hallmarks of the romance novel. But at that time, I saw myself as a thriller writer--and I am. The two, I eventually discovered, do not have to be exclusive of each other. And any author is better off--at least at the start of their career--if their books can fit neatly into a category. The General Fiction section is a big place, and if you don't have a recognizable name, you can get lost there!

Tom Blackburn, book editor of the Palm Beach Post when I was interviewed by him back in the late eighties, made my day when he told me A Time for Legends was closer to Tom Clancy than to Danielle Steel (I'm not a Steel fan, though I have great respect for what she's accomplished). 

My editor, Damaris Rowland, was not as thrilled. In fact, she was a bit perplexed. She always saw me as a romance--women's fiction--writer....


  1. Thanks for sharing! You're an expert in writing and in publicity, and we can all do well to learn from you! You're the best!

  2. My first book just released April 30th so I'm just getting into all the promotional aspects of having a book in print. I did my first radio interview yesterday and my first book signing is tomorrow. I welcome any advice on how to promote yourself as a writer. Keep it coming!

  3. That's for sure...What William said!

    Thank you for sharing your great publicity with us. This is great...and something we can all learn from!

  4. Awesome stuff, Norma. I'm actually looking forward to the promotional end of self-publishing. Weird, huh?

  5. This is quite the career. You've certainly been there. Impressive. Thank you for showing us these.

  6. Amazing career that is obviously still foraging ahead at full speed....Looking for more stuff from the headlines? Today's paper has a woman who died from her pet black mamba. I love true stories that surpass the fiction ones and your life sounds like a romantic fantasy mixed with a variety of edge-of your-seat genres. Thank you for being our inspiration!

  7. What kind of idiot keeps a mamba as a pet? That's the only snake that will come after you unprovoked. I wouldn't keep any kind of snake as a pet, but least of all a mamba!

  8. You know, I kind of wish I could write romance since that seems to be the big seller now. Especially internationally, those international rights buyers love that stuff.

  9. I can testify to that. A couple of my Silhouette romances were among the first to be introduced to readers in China.


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