With three releases this spring, I’m almost promotioned out! (You can tell how spaced out I am when I make up a new verb.)
I’m stepping over myself trying to remember which name to use for which book. Am I Camille Minichino talking about the new Kindle version of my out-of-print “The Hydrogen Murder” (February 7)? Or is today the day that I’m Ada Madison (“The Probability of Murder,” March 6)? Oops, never mind, I’m addressing a dollhouse lovers meeting, so I’m Margaret Grace, promoting “Mix-Up in Miniature” (April 2).
Fortunately, I decided a while ago to take all promotional material to all events. So I tote rulers, cover postcards, key chains, candy, and a miniature scene, looking too much like a bag lady to suit PJ, I’m sure, but it’s how I’ve evolved.
A big part of promotion is handling responses to my books, whether in print, online, or in person. The easy part is always thanking those who send good words my way. The hard part is dealing with the negatives.
Over the course of 15 books, I’ve developed a few techniques for dealing with negative reviews or complaints by individuals, justified or not.
For example: I made a huge error in “The Hydrogen Murder.” It was my first book and I was new not only to publishing, but also to California. In the book, my protagonist refers to Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day. Ay! Ay! I received a nasty email from a college professor in Mexico City – just like a gringo, she said, not to know any holidays but our own. It turns out Mexican Independence Day is in September and May 5 is . . . I have no idea!
I emailed back, greatly apologetic, and offered to send her a complimentary copy of the next book, which, I promised had no such errors, hoping she’d give me another chance, and so on. Call it groveling, but it worked, in the sense that she wrote back apologizing for being so hard on me and telling me that, other than that gross error, she liked my books and would tell her friends what a good person I was.
It’s a little trickier when these things happen in person and you have a nanosecond to work out a response. In my second miniature mystery, “Mayhem in Miniature,” the setting is an assisted living facility—very upscale, with a theater, a beautifully appointed dining room, and even excellent food.
I was about to launch into a lengthy explanation about how I’d modeled the home after one I’d visited, where a good friend resided, that I’d had lunch there often, and on and on.
Happily, I was prevented from doing so by a very well-known writer in the front row, a darling of the cozy world, who interrupted me to say “I thought Camille was writing about my mother’s residence. It’s just like that.” Soon others were nodding their heads in agreement and the complainant was silenced.
When attacked, let someone else defend you, or spring up and offer a prize!
Camille Minichino is a retired physicist turned writer. Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series.