Friday, June 25, 2010

Neat Publicity Trick

A Venetian Bather,
Paul Peel, 1889,
oil on canvas,
National Gallery of Canada.

"Twilight Star Related to Real-Life Vampire" shouts a Yahoo headline this morning. One can hear fans screaming "oooohhh!"

The suggestion of authenticity is really clever promotional item.

Writers (or their publishers/publicists) do it all the time. The bio of a thriller writer may suggest work experience as a CIA operative--even if the author was merely an accountant with that organization. Some writers of erotica, both well-known and lesser-known, go to extraordinary lengths to encourage readers to identify the author as the heroine of their novels--as real-life Mary Sues whose lives are filled with continual sexual escapades. I can't help but include L.K. Hamilton in this category.

Because writers do fashion their stories out of bits and pieces of their own lives, it's not that difficult to find hooks on which to hang legitimate revelations of credibility/authority/authenticity for the reader's enjoyment.
The fact that Elizabeth Moon served in the US Marine Corps, for example, adds value to her combat scenes and the military structure in her novels for me as a reader.

Certainly, it would be decidely dim for someone trained in martial arts not to make reference to their abilities when discussing their action/spy novel/ assassin hero.

And we've all read, no doubt, of an author who claims an ancestor hanged in Salem as the impetus for her witchy heroines. (I just hauled several boxes of genealogical research out of my office and stuffed them in a bedroom closet and I think I have one of those arrested. She wasn't young and sexy though. As I remember she was an elderly and bewildered lady who disappeared from goal before trial. Not everyone in Salem joined the hysteria.)

Though I rather retreat from the idea of any reader identification of myself with Lillie in Dark and Disorderly, I can't help but mention that Dumbarton, the Doom Dog who becomes Lillie's watchdog in D&D is based on the fact that my husband's family has a personal Black Dog apparition.

What items from your experience have you used (or intend to use) as promotional hooks?

And Two to Go:

NightOwl Reviews: ( ) gives D&D a score of 4.25 out of 5 and calls it "a fascinating paranormal mystery...with a pulse racing scenario...filled with entertaining characters and delightful plot twists."
Amberkatze's Book Blog:
( ) says D&D is a"a breath of fresh air" "delightful" and "stimulating"--"Think Sookie Stackhouse..."


laughingwolf said...

i tend to use bits of my own life in some scenes, usually dealing with hobbies and languages i know bits of

grats on the continuing great reviews... will check out your links asap :)

Bernita said...

Thank you, LW.
Be nice to know what hobbies you might use as promo interest?

raine said...

Sadly, can't think of a single thing in my dull experience that would be interesting or useful as promo.
But still squeeing over the great reviews. Yay!

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

We should be able to turn our dragon-slayer ancestry into ... something! umm i dunnot what ... but something ...

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine. I've found it really hard to look at oneself objectively with an eye towaed that sort of thing.

My "Falchion" novel will likely stay under my bed, Sha'el, but a Conyer's Family geneological association might be am interested audience.

Charles Gramlich said...

well, I've used motorcycles, which I've had some familiarity with. and I've had characters get really drunk, which I've done myself. Do those count?

laughingwolf said...

f'rinstance, one of my hobbies is the elder futhark, and i used it quite a bit in my screenplay... registered with the writers guild of canada... now hoping to turn it into a novel

fairyhedgehog said...

I'm getting so much vicarious pleasure from your good reviews.

Oh, and I love the picture.

SzélsőFa said...

wow, i'm sure you have mentioned this particular family dog before here on your blog, because now i recall having read about it.

as for personal references: quite often, i do, yes. that's why i don't write that much :)))

Bernita said...

Charles, I've been reading your Talera Cycle once again, and am impressed with your sword scenes, once again...

Eh, LW! I think a rune master is an excellent promo item.

Thank you, Fairy! It's a charming painting, is it not! The kitten after the tassle a delightful touch.

Indeed, I did, SzelsoFa! I'm glad you remembered!

archer said...

A Venetian Bather

She's so adorable, it's enough to make a Venetian blind.

Yay your reviews!!!!

Bernita said...

Neat one, Archer! Thank you!

Whirlochre said...

The great thing about drawing on your own resources is that you can mangle and combine them infinitely.

Steve Malley said...

I'm not going to use a bit of my biography to promote my work-- at least, not until the statute of limitations is up!

BernardL said...

I'm an inveterate eavesdropper and I admit to it coloring much of the dialogue I use in my writing. More good reviews for opening day!

Ric said...

Oddly, I have no contribution for this topic either.

Getting all excited for your big day.

Natasha Fondren said...

Really?! That is fascinating! And a bit frightening. (The Black Dog.)

I'm not sure what I could use. It's true that Pseudie is open and honest about her sex life, LOL, which is why I can't link it with my real name. But with Glenn gone all the time, there are no escapades. :D

I don't know what I could use. I'm dreadfully boring. I used to see dead people, like when they passed, if I knew them, but one time it scared the living bejeezus out of me, because it was so strong, and I haven't felt much of it lately. Just a little flutter, nowadays. I started but didn't finish a novel based on that. :-)

Bernita said...

"Mangle" is a fitting word choice, Whirl!

Lived dangerously, did you, Steve?
Would certainly create buzz!

And one hears the most interesting things, Bernard--especially when taken out of context. Your dialogue has always an authentic quality.

Ric, panicked is more like it...but these good early reviews do reduce the natural "omyomg" anxiety.

There's a lunch party Monday at Bitten by Books and prizes!

Bernita said...

Natasha, "seeing dead people" would be a wonderful promo hook. I hope you finish that novel sometime!

Barbara Martin said...

Excellent reviews, Bernita. You're doing famously.

Bits about me in my work would include nature and activities in mountain areas.

Bernita said...

Barbara, thank you.
Your readers are assured of wonderful settings!