Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What I’ve Learned in the Last Year

Self Portrait With Book 1923-5- Nella Marchesini-1901-1953 Time for all the year-end retrospectives. I sort of like them…but sort of not. So mine is more of a recap of things I learned this year and resources I gathered.

January—I discovered that you can get out of jury duty by being a mystery writer. Yes, there I was, pen and notebook in hand. I was completely ready to do my civic duty—and get an insider’s view on courtroom proceedings for a criminal trial. The defendant’s attorney? He did not want me there. I guess if you’re a lawyer, it’s best to stick with what you know. And he didn’t know how a mystery writer might react.

Feb-March—I worked through the revision process with Midnight Ink for Pretty is as Pretty Dies. I realized that promoting a book had changed since my first book was published in 2006. It had become a much more virtual process than a matter of a physical appearance. This was a huge relief since I’m 1) an introvert and 2) a stay-at-home mommy for whom appearances are difficult.

Early April—I got the green light to write a new series for Penguin’s Berkley Prime Crime—the Memphis Barbeque series.

April—I became curious about blog touring and discovered that several successful authors had attended Dani’s Blog Book Tour class on Yahoo Groups. Although she doesn’t have an upcoming class on her rota as far as I can tell, she has some great info in her archived Blog Book Tour blog.

May—Taking Dani’s class, I learned many interesting tips: RSS Feed buttons and Add-This and what RSS feeds and bookmarks do. Blogrolls Making room on your sidebar (collapsing your archives.) Qualities of a good blog. Buy buttons if you have a book to sell. How to handle Facebook.

Want a great overview? Try her Quickest Blog Book Tour Guide Ever.

Late May—I made some really wonderful friends that were classmates of mine in the Blog Tour class. Among them were Karen Walker, Galen Kindley, Jane Sutton, Patricia Stoltey, Stephen Tremp, and Nancy Sharpe. I also met graduates of Dani’s class: Marvin Wilson, Helen Ginger, L. Diane Wolfe. They’ve stuck by me through the months—which I really appreciate.

I also opened up a separate, professional Facebook account.

June—Welcome to Twitter. I start to make many new online writing friends and discovered what a fantastic writing community there is online. For a great sampling of my new friends, check out my blog’s sidebar or my award list.

Early July—Joined the fabulous mystery writing cooks at the Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime blog, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. I met some really welcoming authors who inspired me to ramp up my writing, as well as my cooking.

July—I learn that yes, you can write the bulk of a book while you’re kids are home on summer break. I wrote at the swimming pool and skating rink. (Link: How I Survived My Kids’ Summer Vacation.)

August 1—Pretty is as Pretty Dies is released. I guested on a variety of blogs and increased my book’s visibility on Google.

August, September, October—I made a lot more public appearances than I usually make…to promote the release of the new book. Here are my “Thoughts on Public Speaking.”

November, December—Revisions, revisions! Learned to juggle revisions on two separate books and write the first draft of a third. Still working on time-management. :)

Thanks so much to all of you who have made this such an incredible year for me. I’m looking forward to 2010 and connecting more with all of you! Your comments and support have meant so much to me.