Learning about Publicity

I’m so tired tonight! So I’m going to include some links, and then I’m going to mention a few things I’ve been learning recently about publicity.  This won’t be a long post. Here are the links.

First, I was featured in an article in the Boston Herald today: “‘Potter,’ ‘Twilight’ Feed Generation’s ‘Hunger’ for Fantasy Lit.” The online version includes a picture of me, and the print version also includes a picture of The Thorn and the Blossom. Here’s part of what I say in the article:

“When I was growing up there was a fantasy section of the bookstore and a literature section. Now mainstream literature and fantasy are coming together,” said Theodora Goss, 43, a 2008 World Fantasy Award winner and Boston University writing program lecturer.

The Lexington resident’s recently released novella The Thorn and the Blossom, a romance following star-crossed university students, blends Arthurian legend, fantastical elements and the modern age.

“I think that there’s a deep and sentimental reason why we are reading more fantasy and why it is coming into the mainstream. More and more we are living in a fantastical world,” Goss said.

For the rest of what I said, go read the article!

Also, several lovely reviews have appeared recently.

Sofia Samatar: Goss is a writer’s writer; her characters are often artists, or people who are trying to become artists, or who wish they could be artists. The Thorn and the Blossom is, as its description advertises, a love story, but it’s also a work story. It’s about people finding the great passion that will make them happy, and for the lovers Brendan and Evelyn, that’s passion not just for each other, but for meaningful work. For enchanting work. They seek out enchantment like knights in the Forest Sauvage, and we want them to find it. [ . . . ] There’s no extra ornamentation on The Thorn and the Blossom, which may take some getting used to for readers who reveled in the more baroque language of Goss’s electrifying collection, In the Forest of Forgetting. But I feel that in this book, once again, Goss writes her process through her characters. Brendan and Evelyn seek the right literary form to express the magic they’ve experienced, and they both write unexpected things as a result. As for Theodora Goss, she’s left the weirder and creepier aspects of her work behind to write a curl-up-on-a-winter’s-day love story in The Thorn and the Blossom.

(Full disclosure: Sofia is a friend of mine, and a writer herself, as you can probably tell from her review. You can also probably tell why I love this review so much: it’s always amazing when someone totally gets what you were going for.)

Oodles of Books: This book was short and sweet, just like it sounds. The unique format is what intrigued me at first, and since I like anything with a love story, I was really looking forward to see what this would be like. Like mentioned, this is a two-sided love story which I thought was great because we got both sides of the story. How often does that happen? [ . . . ] I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a short fairytale to quickly dive into.

Cheap Black Pens: The novel is a quick read, but it’s quite sweet and clever. The book is written with the perspectives of two star-crossed lovers who bond over an Arthurian legend, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Shared dialogue is obviously the same, but it’s great to read how Evelyn and Brendan have similar thoughts about situations. [ . . . ] I’m choosing this as my guilty pleasure read.

And finally, and I think this is really special, the book is featured in the New York Public Library gift shop as a Valentine’s Day gift book! It’s actually the only book included among the Valentine’s Day items. Honestly, it’s an honor to have the book chosen in that way by one of the greatest public libraries in the country. (I could say the greatest, but I have to show loyalty to the Boston Public Library, where I did some of my most important dissertation research!)

I was recently asked about how to work on publicity by a new writer, and I do have some thoughts on that. I’ll be writing about it over the next week or so, as I publicize my own book. Tonight, I’ll just share a few observations.

First, publicity is crucial. It’s not about telling people how wonderful you are, or your book is. It’s about telling people that your book exists. You have to actually get the word out.

You should already have done all the easy things. If you’ve published anything at all, you should have an Amazon author page, and you know what? You should also have an Amazon UK author page. Yes, you have to create those pages separately! Here’s my Amazon author page, and here’s my Amazon UK author page. As far as I can tell, you can’t yet create an Amazon CA author page. But remember that we’re living in an international marketplace. Your book will probably be available anywhere English is spoken (and many places it won’t).

You should also have author pages on Goodreads and LibraryThing. Here is my Goodreads author page and my LibraryThing author page. The one on LibraryThing isn’t very developed yet. I’m still trying to figure out LibraryThing, to be honest. It doesn’t feel quite as intuitive as the others. At some point I should probably join Shelfari as well. Of these three, Goodreads feels the most important to me, because so many people use it. But each of them has a different function.

The point of all this is simply to be present where people buy and talk about books. It’s not even to publicize anything in particular, but to have a presence. And then, when you do want to publicize something, you have a place to do so. Notice that I have a reading coming up at the Boston University Barnes and Noble on February 7th, at 7:00 p.m. I’ve already posted it on Facebook and Goodreads, and tweeted about it. But I had all those venues set up long before I ever had a reading planned.

I’ll write more about this tomorrow. Tonight, I still have work to do. And yes, it’s publicity.

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