Ellen’s hilarious novel, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA (hereafter SCAPTA) which features George Clooney, has gone into paperback and she’s currently cybertouring – I caught up with her online and posed a few questions about the success of her first novel and what comes next:
Hardback to paperback is a big step, rarely properly understood by new authors – how did SCAPTA make the leap?
Frankly, it was in the original contract that the book would be published in both hardcover and paperback. How that actually happened is one of the mysteries of agent/publisher negotiations, and speaks volumes for the value of professional representation.
How did you find out you were going paperback and what did you do to celebrate?
It was one big celebration when I got the initial contract from HarperCollins. I’m not ashamed to say I threw myself a cocktail party and invited 60 or so friends and relatives. It was a dream come true and I was damn well going to celebrate!
You’re currently cybertouring – what does that mean and how did you put your cybertour together?
The bulk of my cybertour was done through a group I belong to called the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit. It’s a great concept that was organized by a writer named Karin Gillespie. Basically, it’s a group of commercially published women authors who enter into an agreement to blog about each other’s books according to a set schedule. I’m in awe of the group’s talent and diversity and thrilled to be a part of it.
In addition to the coverage I got through the GCC, I anticipated the release of my paperback by putting out feelers in several cyberspace communities, asking if anyone was interested in reviewing the book to coincide with publication. I got a few bites, and was happy to send out review copies. Also, I’m lucky enough to have friends like you offer to publish interviews with me! (And believe me, all of it helps.) Also, as part of my online efforts, I sent out e-postcards and other promos to email addresses I’ve been gathering all year.
What are you currently working on, apart from publicity and signings of course!
I’m working very hard on the 128th draft of my next novel. It feels like that many drafts, anyway. The book is called The Smart One, and it’s the story of a divorced former artist named Bev Bloomrosen, who’s about to turn her failed career around and become a school teacher. But when she and her two sisters discover a dead body under the house next door, they come head on with the old childhood roles holding them back. It will be published by Morrow/Avon in 2008.
Are you going to visit Europe to promote your book?
I only wish!
Writing is one thing, but marketing yourself as an author is something else. I know you have the right background for this, but even so, it must be a real discipline. Just how hard does a writer have to work to get the kind of promotional success you’ve achieved?
Let’s see. One a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being sitting in the couch with the remote control while George Clooney rubs your feet and asks if there’s anything else you need, and 10 being digging graves in Siberia, barefoot, with a rusty shovel and two broken wrtsts, I’d say it’s about an 8. Honestly, I work tirelessly at it because it’s damned hard to sell books – novels especially. But I’ll keep at it.
And you can catch up with Ellen on her tour, here …
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