I was scheduled to participate in a conference call yesterday with my publicist, the PR rep from Amazon, and my editor, to discuss the marketing and promotional plan for They Never Die Quietly, which will be re-released on February 16. I scheduled the conference call for 2:00 pm, PST. At exactly 1:55 pm, I hear over the loudspeaker above my head this announcement: “Your attention please. This is a fire drill. Please evacuate the building and report to your designated area for role call. All employees must evacuate immediately. This is a fire drill.”
To emphasize the scope of this exercise, envision a six-building complex with approximately 5,000 employees, spanning three acres. These fire drills happen only twice a year. And for obvious reasons they only evacuate one building at a time. Otherwise it would be bedlam.
What were the chances that this particular fire drill would be launched five-stinking-minutes before my all-important conference call? I mean, what were the odds? I bolted out of my building and jogged to an adjacent building, hoping that I’d find a vacant conference room with a telephone. Conference rooms are hard to come by and are generally booked up weeks in advance. But lucky me, I found a vacant conference room in the building I’d just jogged to.
So, I dialed into the conference and punched in the ID number. After a five-minute conversation, which consisted mostly of perfunctory greetings and introductions, a needy-looking buy, laptop under arm, eyes drilling a hole in my head, knocked on the door, and gestured with an unmistakable message: “What the hell are you doing in MY conference room?” Of course, I thought.
I explained the situation to my fellow conference call participants, promised to call back in a few minutes, and dashed back to my office. I assumed that the drill was over, but no such luck. When I approached my building a posse of fire-drill-police loitered in front of it as if they were guarding Fort Knox. I tried to walk past them, acting as if I was blessed with some higher authority, but they wanted no part of that.
I explained that I had to make an urgent call and needed to get back to my office. They hemmed and hawed while I kept checking my watch, then finally yielded and let me past the blockade. When I dialed in to the call, my fellow conference participants brought me up to speed.
The good news is that I’m working with some highly qualified people who really understand author marketing and promotion. We came up with some great ideas and pretty much agreed on the course of action and strategies. One thing they said that stuck with me is that they think my web site/blog should be creepier. I guess when you write a novel entitled, They Never Die Quietly, readers expect that the author’s web site should have a sinister look. Guess I’ll chew on that for a while. But don’t be surprised if you return to a web site splattered with blood.