Thursday, June 4, 2009

Being Conference Ready! by DL Larson

The Historical Novel Society Conference will be next weekend - June 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency, Woodfield IL. I've been working on several topics in order to be ready. I sent my promotional material to be placed in the attendees packets. I chose pens and flyers. I always struggle deciding if the cost of promo materials is worth the expense of putting my name, DL Larson, out there in front of would-be buyers. And each time I come up with the answer - yes! Promotional materials are tools of our trade.

I'll be a part of the book signings on Saturday, and if I hope to sell books, folks need to know what's available ahead of time. I love impulse buying, but I really enjoy someone coming up who actually searched me out in order to buy my book. I will never tire of that.

The other area I've been working on is ... my pitch. Oh, how I hate pitching! Did I say that outloud????? Ignore that previous sentence, I really, really love talking about my book ~ that's the mind set I need to find. I just don't enjoy trying to shrink a multiple layered book into a tiny little box full of perfect wording that describes my work. Then deliver it with enthusiasm that doesn't sound rehearsed or memorized. I am no good at that!!!! So, I've thrown that concept out the window, went out and stomped it but good, ground it right into the mud and came back in to start a new concept for sharing my ideas, my book with agents and publishers.

I'm a gardender, not an athlete. Maybe that's why I find pitching so difficult. Gardening is many layered, working the ground, digging out the weeds, planting various plants, nurturing the strong ones and pruning out the bad so the rest thrives and becomes stronger. I like the layered idea, like peeling an onion.

My character Francis Frailey is afraid of life. That's a good first layer.
He's emotionally crippled. Okay, are you wondering why?
He has everything - good looks, money, a wife and children who love him. So what's the problem for heavens sake?
His son reminds him of times he'd rather not remember, because remembering breaks the chain he has on his temper. So what happens then?
His wife Christine sneaks through his defenses, leaving him vulnerable. And no one is safe when his rage is unleashed, least of all himself. He's vowed not to turn from the abused into the abuser. He will stop this cruel family tradition, even if he has to end his own life. Good grief, how can this have a happy ending?
Christine shows him love means trust and hope, not betrayal and pain. And Francis learns it is never too late to remake oneself, never too late to start over.

Okay, I can plant a garden. I can peel an onion. I can talk rationally about my book to an editor. It's all about working with the right tools. Pitching doesn't work for me, but gardening does. Plus, I can add a little bling by saying my book, Promises My Love, won 2nd place in a contest. Guess I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

Do you have any secrets that work for you when talking to editors, agents and publishers? Share with us, please.

Til next time ~

DL Larson
PS: DL will have both her books for sale at the HNS Conference:
Memories Trail - $15
Promises To Keep - $15 (Reader's Choice Award winner)

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