This week's brand new challenge came in the form of an email from my publisher, Bold Strokes Books, with the message that before they contract for any more of my books, they want to see how the existing ones, A Champion for Tinker Creek and Manny Porter and the Yuletide Murder perform in the market first.
This came as unwelcome news because, frankly, I love writing books and would author six or seven a year if, one, I were crazy and, two, BSB kept buying them. Alas, BSB is not a charity for authors but a business that aspires to, at the very least, break even, so they want to be reassured that publishing another tome from that D.C. Robeline guy will not be a mistake.
So, I need to learn how not just to write books but to market them as well, a prospect that, frankly, feels a bit overwhelming. The books I like feel so....personal that I don't quite know how I would characterize my taste, much less how I would categorize others.
I recognize that part of my challenge is that I didn't write A Champion for Tinker Creek with a genre in mind, so it doesn't fit perfectly into anyone's keyword list. It's an adventure story with a little romance; it's a romance set against an adventure background; it's a progressive story about a minority, immigrant, and lower-income community coming out on top for a change. But it's not one hundred percent any of these.
So there we are. Add learning marketing to my to-do list for the coming weeks and months. Anyone with a suggestion of how I might go about getting started, please leave me a note in the comments.