from manuscript to bookstore -- the publishing process

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Steven asks:

"Just wondering, besides the ARCs going out is there anything else you might do to entice people to read the book? I mean, do you contact bookstore owners personally (or anyone else for that matter)? Or is this a time when you sit back and let the publishing house do its thing?"

In terms of specifically marketing ABSENT FRIENDS, Bantam/Delacorte has a plan and lots of wheels are turning that I don't know anything about. So I'm leaving that alone, not calling booksellers (who might have been visited yesterday by the sales rep who might have said things about the book I'd be expected to know -- like how big the printing is -- that I really don't). But I'm very conscious of public appearance and publicity opportunities. For example, I did the Long Island Festival of Books yesterday, even though I have really nothing to sell right now, because Long Island press, readers, and booksellers were there. Other years if I had no new book I might have turned it down, because it took the whole day, plus some serious prep time (I moderated a panel) and time is at a premium. But stuff like that is good now, to build buzz. I'm working on some new stuff for my website, and I did an interview with Crimespree magazine and took an evening having photos taken (by the inimitable Keith Snyder) for their cover. The NY is Book Country book fair, which will be just after my on-sale date, is another thing that Bantam wouldn't have set up for me, but that I could and did set up without interfering with their plans. I'm trying to be alert for non-book-specific chances like that.

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