Thank you!

November 30, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Well, we've reached the end of the residency. Thank you all for your participation - by visiting the blog, attending the receptions and chat, and/or submitting your work, you've helped to make the residency a success. It's been a busy two months for me, but I had a wonderful time.

Thank you! And every good wish to all of you, in life and your publishing careers.

On Romance - Guest Eloisa James

November 27, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

I met Mary Bly - who writes as Eloisa James - at the launch party for her first book, POTENT PLEASURES. RWA National was held in Chicago that year, it was hotter than Hades, and the talk of the conference was the three historical romances scheduled for release in hard cover. Mary's was one of them. Since then, Mary has established herself not only as a bestselling romance author, but a tireless advocate for the romance genre. She generously shares this piece with us today, which originally ran in the New York Times in February 2005.

ELO_photo NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED PAGE  Feb. 2005
By Mary Bly/Eloisa James

“DAMN you precious virgins!” snarled the bodice-ripping rake over the sound of tearing silk. It was fifth-grade choir practice in the spring of 1972, and I was learning about sex from a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s “Flame and the Flower” that a classmate had purloined from his mom. Now that was a bodice-ripper: passionate, crazed and outrageously overwrought.

I fell in love with romances on the spot. But my father was a poet, and he would have preferred that I had fallen in love with Whitman. So he laid down the law: for every romance, I read a classic. Kathleen Woodiwiss wrote quite a few novels; I finished all of Mark Twain’s works by the time I was 13.

That divide, between literary novels and their illicit fellows, has structured my life. These days, I’m a professor of English literature ¬ and an author of historical romances. I teach Shakespeare and Renaissance culture; I place my novels 200 years later, during the period when Jane Austen was writing her comedies of manners.

My two worlds come together rarely, because they are sharply demarcated by prejudice on both sides. Academics tend to deride romance; romance readers often ignore literary fiction altogether. 

Intellectuals never seem to believe that a strong story and an interest in relationships could explain the popularity of romance. I’ve been repeatedly asked by academics whether romances are anything more than female porn, a question that to me seems linked to a fear of female sexuality, as is the dismissal of romances as “bodice-rippers.’’ In fact, I’m not sure that the term, with its implication of enjoyment taken in forced intercourse, ever was an accurate description of romances; even the silk-ripping rake of “The Flame and Flower” passed out before he damaged anything more than clothing.

There’s desire and sex in every genre. Elinor Lipman’s “Pursuit of Alice Thrift’’ is indubitably a work of literary fiction. It’s brilliantly written, wickedly funny and imbued with cruel send-ups of pretentious surgeons. It also includes a description of terrific sex between a first-year surgical intern and a fudge salesman.  Apparently that scene wasn't enough to trigger disdain; Publishers Weekly called the novel a "triumph."

So why is romance the only genre ghettoized for including sex?  Feminists in the early 1980’s such as Janice Radway maintained that romances channel women’s desire into patriarchal marriage, but these days these scholars are  issuing apologias, having discovered that many romances depict working, independent heroines. As Ms. Radway has since declared, romances actually validate female desire. Clearly, the genre’s struggle for respect is part of a larger cultural battle to define and control female sexuality.

The contempt for romance reflects a deeply unproductive divide in American culture that keeps some people from reading novels that they would enjoy and that frightens others from fiction that has the imprimatur of “literature.’’ Romance appeals to all demographics, not just to heterosexuals. The Oscar Wilde Bookshop in New York City tells me that gay romance, a genre quite apart from erotica, sells well to both male and female readers. We are all interested in talking and reading about that difficult process of living with another person.

Yet it takes guts for an intellectual to pick up a romance novel at Borders. At the same time, it takes courage for a woman or man (yes, I have male readers), who primarily reads romance to pick up books labeled “literature.” “I never read classics,” readers tell me. “I find them boring.” Yet when I put a 1594 Richard Barnfield sonnet in a book, they write me and ask where they can find more of his poems. They send me e-mail messages saying that they quite like Catullus, and too bad they didn’t read anything like him at school.

Romances feel to me like a conversation between the woman who wrote the book and myself as a reader. Women talk about desire, but they also talk about the difficulties of building a new partnership with an old friend, or negotiating the shoals of a fragile marriage. Ms. Lipman’s novel about an intern and a fudge salesman is part of that conversation; but so is, for example, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Ain't She Sweet?, the tale of a prodigal returning home to face her well-deserved bad reputation. Romances are sometimes stories of courtship, but also stories of marriage and consequences. Many of my own books, in fact, have been about failing marriages: they are my footnotes to that particular conversation.

So let’s quit this out-of-date mockery of the genre. Focusing solely on the sensual content of romances and deriding them as bodice-rippers leads to the assumption that America is full of women gobbling up romance novels because they’re sexually frustrated and want to be overpowered by a strong man. These days, however, a romance heroine is likely to toss her own bra, and if buttons are skittering on the floor, they’re quite possibly shirt studs.

We all long for stories with narrative drive, stories that talk about relationships, and stories that aren’t riddled with violence or death. Romances reflect no more than what most of us hope for in daily life ¬ and that includes being lucky enough to experience shared desire. I’ve a good notion that many Americans, no matter their reading preference, are hoping for a Valentine’s Day that involves a bit of flying lingerie.

Panel Discussion & Closing Reception

November 26, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Don't forget - our panel discussion is tonight at the TPL North York Central Branch. Agent Amy Moore-Benson and editor Brenda Chin will be sharing their expertise as we discuss the romance genre. That's 7 to 9 pm tonight at the North York Central Library, in the auditorium.

Bakka-Phoenix Books will also be catering a book signing on site.

See you there!

Simon Fraser U - the Writer's Studio 1st Book Competition

November 25, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This notice turned up in my inbox this week, and might be of interest to you.

"This year, The Writer’s Studio is celebrating its tenth anniversary with the 1st Book Competition.  Because we believe it’s becoming increasingly difficult to publish a first book, we want to help three emerging Canadian writers who have not previously published a book.  For the 1st Book Competition, we’re looking for original, book-length manuscripts written in English.  One winner each in the categories of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry will published by Anvil Press in 2011.

The submissions deadline for the 1st Book Competition is May 31, 2010.  Complete information on entry requirements, submission guidelines, and our judges will be posted on our website www.thewritersstudio.ca by December 1st, 2009."

About the Submitted Manuscripts

November 25, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

I've finally finished all of the critiques and all of the appointments. If you did not have an appointment scheduled, your work and my comments may still be in the mail, en route to you. Thank you all for your patience!

The submitted work was interesting and more diverse than I'd expected, and I wanted to ensure that I gave each partial my full attention. I quite enjoyed reading such a variety of work and hope that my comments are helpful to each of you.

One of the things I found most frustrating as an aspiring writer was the lack of solid feedback. Friends and family would tell me that my book was wonderful as it stood, while agents and editors would reject it without necessarily explaining why. So, my intent with these critiques was to provide you with something more definite, a precise area in which your manuscript could be made stronger and possibly some ideas for how to manage that. I like action plans, and this kind of observation is intended to help you make such a plan of your own. In the end, though, you have to decide for yourself what will be the best choice for your work. And you need to send it out to editors and agents.

Please keep me updated, particularly if you sell your work to a publisher. Leaving a message on my blog is the best place to let me know as that blog will be my focus after the end of the month - that's Alive & Knitting right HERE.

Good luck to all of you, and thanks again for the chance to read your work.

Q&A Day

November 25, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Well, after seven weeks of my nattering away at you, it's time for your questions.

Week Eight - Closing Comments

November 23, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Wow. I can't believe the residency is nearly over. It's been quite the whirlwind these past eight weeks for me and I hope that this blog has been helpful to all of you. I was honoured to read so many submissions, and pleasantly surprised by the calibre of your work.

Thanks to all of you who have been stopping by the blog regularly and especially to those of you who have posted questions and comments. I also am indebted to all of my guest bloggers, and thank them for taking the time to not just contribute to the blog but to stop by and answer questions.

It was wonderful to see the Toronto Public Library offer a residency focussed on the romance genre, and I am honoured to have been the first writer chosen for this position. I hope that we've set a precedent for repeating this residency in future, and shown the library the level of enthusiasm for the romance genre.

One of the challenges for the romance genre within many libraries is visibility. Because romance is often published as mass market originals, and because mass market titles are often not catalogued by title - they circulate as "Mass Market Fiction" or "General Fiction", mingled with all other books in mass market format - there are no circulation statistics in those libraries for the genre. Without those stats, it's hard to assess the popularity of the genre. In other genres, like mystery, the book might have been published in two formats - so the hard cover edition will be catalogued, but the mass market edition won't be. There are still statistics for the title, though, because of the hard cover edition. Romance is very seldom published in hard cover, which is why you will find very few copies of my books, for example, listed in the TPL catalogue, even though there are many many copies of my books in the library's collections. What this means is that it's particularly wonderful that the library realized how important the romance genre is to its patrons, then went one step farther to make this residency possible. Thanks to TPL!

Finally, a comment for those of you who are aspiring writers. Think about joining Romance Writers of America, and the local chapter or RWA, Toronto Romance Writers. This group is tremendous source of information about markets and trends, and the local group is very supportive. You can find critique partners through TRW and attend workshops taught by industry professionals, as well as receiving a newsletter and having the option to join a number of TRW listserves. This is a great resource for writers, not just of romance, but of genre fiction.

Still up this week - we have a Q&A day on Wednesday, as well as some final comments from me about the work I critiqued for the residency. The closing reception is on Thursday evening, and there's a final guest blog from Eloisa James on Friday.

Author Self Promotion - Guest Kayla Perrin

November 20, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Authors often are shy about promoting themselves and their work, although publishers increasingly prefer that authors do so. The romance genre is quite well populated with authors who are enthusiastic self-promoters, but even in our niche, Kayla Perrin stands out as a very energetic self-promoter. I invited her to guest blog today on the topic of self-promo - we're all going to learn something!

Kayla Perrin headshot Kayla Perrin is a multi-published and USA Today and Essence ® bestselling author with over thirty books in print after ten short years, for major publishing houses including St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins Publishers, Kensington Books, Harlequin, Ballantine and Simon & Schuster.  Kayla is published in a variety of genres, including romance, mystery/suspense and mainstream fiction.  Her works have been translated into Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese. 




You’re Published: Now What?
Tips on How to Promote Yourself…and Your Work!


By Kayla Perrin


You’ve beaten the odds. You’ve signed a contract with a publisher who is going to publish your first book!  Or maybe you already have a few books in print.  Or perhaps you’re an aspiring writer, hoping to one day have a published novel in the stores. No matter where you are in your writing career, you can benefit from learning the ins and outs of promoting your books.

Some people erroneously believe that once your book is published, that’s it. You’ve done all you have to do. Wrong. Right from the moment I was first published, I knew that writing the book was only a part of my job. As a writer who wanted longevity in this business, I knew I was going to have to market myself.

But shouldn’t the publisher do that? some of you are probably wondering right about now. Well, sure. In a perfect world, they’d have gazillions of dollars to promote every book they publish, and authors could spend their time lounging by the pool in Hawaii with a daiquiri rather than worry that they should be out promoting their new book. I’m not saying to forgo the daiquiri, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that once your book is out there you can rest on your laurels.  Books—especially in this day and age—do not sell themselves.  Yes, publishers do do some promotion, but they tend to market a specific line, not a specific author. I’m not saying they never market an author in a big way, but you can’t count on that.  If you want your name out there, you’re going to have to do the hard work yourself. If you opened a Boston Pizza franchise, for example, you wouldn’t think that all you needed to do was open your doors in order to sell at the level you want to.  You’d know that you had to get the word out about your new establishment as a way to enhance your sales. As an author, you have to get the word out there about your new book.

I always hear from people, “I see you everywhere.  You're all over the Internet.”  Sometimes I'm surprised.  I guess I figure all other authors are “out there” just as much as I am, but not all are.  So what do I do?  How do I market myself so that I stand out?

The first thing I did, shortly after my first sale but before my book was on the shelves, was send out a letter introducing myself to booksellers.  I’d completely forgotten that I’d done that, but a couple of days ago I found the letter in my files.  Right from the beginning, I was thinking about how to get my name out there.  I also made bookmarks—designed them on my own computer and printed them on card stock—which I sent to the booksellers as well.  I also made sure to have plenty of my homemade bookmarks on hand to give them to practically every person I met.  This was an inexpensive way to have something that announced me and my book to the world.

This was back before everyone had a website, and I suppose I ought to tell you that first things first, you need to secure your domain name.  Having a website is the single best thing you can do to give yourself a presence on the web.  Some unpublished people use a website as a platform to promote their manuscripts, so don’t think that having one before you’re published is a wasted effort.  These savvy aspiring authors post short synopses about their work and have contact information where they can be reached by potential agents and publishers.  I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a story of at least one aspiring writer’s work getting in front of the right person this way, and that led to a sale.  But even if it doesn’t, you want to think positively. You will be a published author one day.  And as an author, having a website is an essential tool.  It’s a place where you can post covers of your current and upcoming books, excerpts of your work, a bio, contact information, etc.  Someone may discover your site by chance and be intrigued to buy your book(s).  Or, readers may be interested in seeking you out to learn more about you and your other books after discovering one of your novels.  Having a website is promo stop #1 for you and your work.  Feel free to let your personality shine in your bio and other areas you include on your website. And make sure the tone of your website represents the tone of your work. If you are writing romantic comedies, your website should reflect “fun” and “romantic.” If you’re writing dark, edgy suspense, I’d expect your website to reflect that tone.  There are inexpensive ways to get a website up and running. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. And if you’re so inclined, you can create one yourself using various programs which are readily available.

All right.  You’ve established a website. What else can you do to promote yourself?  One of the things I did was let people know, on various RWA writing loops, that I’d just sold a book and that I was willing to answer questions.  I sold myself.  And I learned that people were keen on having me tell about the experience of my first sale—not just because it was a way to fill space in their chapter newsletters, but because we all love hearing stories about how people have made it to the other side. Soon, I found I had people asking if they could interview me. And here comes my next tip: always say yes.

Even if you think you’re too busy to fit these kinds of interviews into your schedule, always say yes. Saying yes is another way to get your name out there. The more interviews you do—even for the smallest of chapters or writing groups—the more your name is out there. You’ll never know who might read about you in a small chapter newsletter, or on an obscure blog. Trust me, it can lead to bigger things. It has for me.

I just mentioned blog, so let me dwell on that for a minute. It isn’t a must that you blog, but again, it’s another way to get your name out there. If you’re like me, your time is limited. You can’t be out there blogging and promoting yourself all over the place and still have time to write. And yes, the writing has to come first.  But here’s a clever way to blog that can be practically painless—join a group of bloggers so that you don’t have to come up with a unique blog of your own every day.  If you’re part of a blog, this will require far less of your time—and still help to get your name out there. In fact, joining a blog that’s already publicized is probably a smarter way to go. I joined the missmakeamovie blog, which has a number of contributors, and I blog once a month. That’s manageable in terms of a time commitment, and the blog gets a lot more traffic because it already exists and has contributors from all over the world…far more traffic than I could get for a blog that I tried to maintain.  Trust me, I’ve already started and abandoned a couple of blogs because of the fact that I simply can’t come up with something new every day that is worth anyone’s while to keep returning. So, if you can, join a blog that already exists—or get together with a group of friends/fellow writers and create a blog. For example, a couple of years ago, a group of women who were all going to have their debut releases in 2008 got together and created a blog to promote the fact that they were all debut authors. They even did t-shirts and other promo to help spread the word at conferences and on various online loops about who they were—the common denominator, they were all about to be first-time authors. They had an interesting hook, got together, and started a blog and other promo to get their names out there before their books even hit the shelves.

What else can you do to get your name out there?  I tried to do as many booksignings as possible. It’s good to get to know your local booksellers.  But sticking to ways to promote yourself online, I’d advise you to definitely get a Facebook page. And a Twitter page. Yes, Twitter.  If you’re like me, you’re probably resisting Twitter, but now that you want to promote yourself, it’s time to “tweet” away.  I swore I would never twitter, but I finally got on the bandwagon earlier this year.  And get this—an author recently announced on one of my writers’ loops that she got a movie option because she was on Twitter!  I asked what she tweeted about, and she said sometimes she tweeted about her work, but oftentimes she announced random stuff. And this led to a movie deal!  That’s the best story I’ve heard so far, and it shows the power of possibilities available to you via social networks.

As for me, I tweet when I have a new release, and definitely if I have a booksigning/event to promote, but like the writer who got the movie deal, much of the things I tweet about have nothing to do with writing whatsoever.  I share interesting articles, what I did for the day. Whatever. The one thing I know for sure is that I’m getting my name out there. Someone from a book club found me on Twitter and asked me to phone in for their book club meeting where they were discussing my book. Of course I said yes.  And recently a reader told me that she really enjoyed the way I interacted with my readers on my Facebook page. So being out there is also about giving your readers a way to connect with you, which can also be an important component in whether or not they buy your next work, or even any of your books. I’ve also had people discover me on Facebook and tell me that they now plan to buy my books because they’ve gotten to learn about me via Facebook.

Lastly, here’s another thing to do that really isn’t all that hard. Join writers’ loops. If you’re a member of Romance Writers of America, join their loop. I’m on the RWA Published Author’s Network loop, as well as a loop called Fiction That Sells, the Novelist Inc loops, and also some publisher loops (such as St. Martin’s Press and Avon Books). Don’t just join these loops and lurk—post comments from time to time.  Engage in dialogue with other writers. Again, the writing has to come first—I’m not telling you to forget the writing and spend all day “gabbing” in cyberspace. But being on various writers’ loops is another way to get your name out there. People will see your name when you sign your posts—and definitely add a signature line that includes your website and perhaps the name of your latest book. Every time you post something, people will see your name and the url for your website. So, just by interacting in the writing community in this way, you’re helping to promote yourself.

I’m sure there are other things you can do to help promote yourself online—maybe even something obvious that I’m forgetting—but I think I’ve pretty much covered the bases.  Remember that people are interested in getting to know you better, so don’t be shy.  You have a product to sell—and the best way to do that is to sell yourself.  Writing is a business, just like anything else.  So get out there and promote yourself!  After all, no one else is going to be as passionate about your product nor as invested in your success as you are.

Good luck!

Readings for Writers - VII

November 18, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Today's pick up post is more about career strategy, maybe about charting a course for your future as a writer.

The Escalator Myth

Week Seven - Marketing Your Work

November 16, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Once upon a time, I believed that authors just wrote books. (Isn't that enough?!) I thought that authors remained in their studies or spare bedrooms or offices and wrote books, sent those books to publishers to be printed and packaged, then wrote more books while waiting for the cheques to arrive. I had no idea how much other stuff authors do, once books are sold to publishing houses. The production phases didn't surprise me - it only makes sense for everyone to check the typesetting, for example - but the author involvement in marketing the work is far more extensive than I believed, way back in those days before I sold a book.

So, let's review a few of the ways that authors are expected to be involved in the sale of their book(s) to the reading public. You can prepare for some of these ahead of time.

Self Promotion for Authors

In a crowded marketplace, it’s tougher for authors to spread the word about their own work to the reading public. And at a publishing house with a full list in recessionary times, it’s difficult to get a big promotional budget assigned to an individual book. Of course, the more the house pays in advance for the book, the higher the budget will be, but a great many romance novels head into the world with their package as their sole promotional asset.

The package is everything that wraps around the book itself. It includes the cover art, the cover copy, the review quotes (if any) and the endorsements (if any). How much involvement the author has with the development of the package will vary from house to house, and quite possibly from editor to editor. The house has already invested in the book by acquiring it, so will probably want to ensure that it travels into the world with a good package.

How can the author influence the cover?

• Ideas
If the package is the main promotional asset that the book will have in the world, it only makes sense to want as strong a package as possible. If asked by the house, it’s good to provide a few ideas - by this, I mean a paragraph or two - of images or keywords that summarize the book and its tone. There is an entire language of cover art, which the art director at the publishing house will understand. (A clinch on the cover, for example, often indicates a more sensual read. The hero alone often indicates a hero-focussed romance.) The art director will also be aware of what other houses are doing with their art, and most likely strive to make your book’s package distinctive. If you get a great cover, be sure you let everyone at the house know how much you love it.

• Cover quotes
If you have review quotes from your previously published work, it can make everyone’s life easier for you to compile those quotes in a nice little file, then send it to your editor. If you do not have a previously published work - and thus, have no review quotes - you can cultivate advance review quotes. If you know any authors published in the same subgenre, you can ask if they will read the manuscript and quote for you. You can also query authors you don’t know, or ask a favour at a conference or booksigning. Some agencies coordinate quotes between the authors in their list. Some editors will seek review quotes from other authors with the house. Obviously, the more famous the quote-giver, the better. There is an entire protocol to this procedure - I think the main thing is to have a thick skin and not be offended if anyone declines. People are busy.

How else can a new author cultivate interest in his or her work?

• Website
You should buy the domain name for your writing name - whether it’s your legal name or a pseudonym - as soon as possible, even if you don’t intend to launch a site soon. There are various points pro and con for having a website before a work is sold, and what you choose to do is a personal decision. You should however launch a website a minimum of three to six months before your book’s publication date.

• Blog(s)
Many authors also maintain blogs. These can be used to build visibility, to fortify connections with readers and to provide timely updates about releases and sales. The tone is generally chatty and friendly. One of the ways to drive traffic to your blog is to visit other blogs and comment upon posts there, although you have to be a pretty regular visitor for people to notice your presence.

• Social Networking Sites
Many authors use Facebook and Twitter and any of the other multiple of social networking sites to build awareness of themselves and their work. There are also authors who build identities on sites like Second Life. In addition to these broader spectrum sites, there are romance-specific networking sites, like Romance Junkies, which provide forums for romance readers and writers to discuss everything, including books.

• Reviews
A book can be reviewed and that review can generate interest. Romance novels tend not to be reviewed by the mainstream press, but there are a multitude of specialist publications - many of which are virtual - which do review romance novels. Google can be your friend here in finding review sites. You can query them and send out homemade Advance Reading Copies of your book - or the ARC’s from the house, if the house is making any - to ensure that the reviews are concurrent with the publication of the book. Generally authors receive their complementary copies of their own books too close to the release date to use them for reviews. Some reviewers will also post their reviews to online bookstores.

• Bookstore Sites
Many online bookstores allow authors to build a kind of homepage, which highlights the author’s list of titles and includes some personal information. Amazon.com is the obvious example - you can link an RSS feed from your blog to your Amazon page to keep it updated with new content.

• Bricks and Mortar Bookstores
It is entirely possible that your local bookstore will be thrilled to learn that you have sold a book. If you find strong support from a local store, it can be a terrific source of local promotion for both you and the store. Some authors teach workshops at their local bookstores, or do book launches there, or a variety of other activities. Your local library may also be interested in highlighting your work and your expertise. Look locally first to find a champion for your work.

• Writing Groups
We are all aware by now, of course, of the writers’ organization Romance Writers of America (because I keep talking about it!) This is the genre specific writers’ organization for the romance genre. RWA also has local chapters - like Toronto Romance Writers - which organize monthly meetings, contests, critique groups, and sometimes even retreats. They bring in speakers and provide networking opportunities for writers, as well as professional and emotional support. There are other special interest chapters of RWA that can be joined from anywhere in the world, which keep in touch electronically. And there are other writing organizations, as well, for mystery writers, horror writers, science fiction and fantasy writers, etc. etc., plus the Writers’ Guild, the Authors’ Guild and Novelists Inc. which are not genre-specific.

• Conferences
Many writers’ organizations host conferences, either at the national or regional level. As well as providing networking opportunities, such conferences give authors the chance to teach workshops and participate in booksignings. There is often the opportunity to donate signed copies of books to raffle baskets when attending a conference, or provide promotional materials for distribution to the attendees. All of this helps to build visibility.

• Promotional Materials
Many authors create promotional materials. It is useful to have something with your website url to hand to people after a workshop or at a booksigning - or even at the grocery store. You can also do mailings to bookstores or to readers. You can provide press kits to the media. The possibilities are nearly endless.

As always, you must make the choice of how you will spend your time. Self-promotion can be very effective, or it can simply take a lot of time that you might have used for writing. Each of us has to make the personal choice of an ideal balance.

What's up this week?

Wednesday’s pick up post addresses a persistent myth of publishing, just to give you something more to chew on.

Then on Friday, bestselling author Kayla Perrin will be our guest. She’s an enthusiastic self-promoter and I'm looking forward to her post on author promotion.

Remember, as well, that I'm still Alive & Knitting on my regular blog. I've been doing a lot of guest blogging this month to promote both WINTER KISS and GUARDIAN - exactly the kind of author self-promotion that we're talking about here this week. That continues this week - I'll even be blogging on Saturday at Borders' True Romance blog. In many cases, there's a door prize - guess what the door prize is? Right! A signed copy of the book in question.

And, don't forget to register with the library if you plan to attend out closing reception. That's next Thursday, the 26th, and our panel guests will be Brenda Chin and Amy Moore-Benson. Check the sidebar for the link for more information.

Toronto Public Library's Romance Writer-In-Residence Deborah Cooke discusses writing and getting published in the romance genre.

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