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Most Read Interviews

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Sandra Brown is the author of sixty-nine New York Times bestsellers, including Seeing Red, Sting, Friction, Mean Streak, Deadline, Low Pressure, Lethal, and the critically acclaimed Rainwater.

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into thirty-three languages.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer's Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award. Now, on with our discussion:


What would you like our readers to know about yourself? This could be a previously prepared bio; however, something customized exclusively for TopShelf Magazine would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to be known for, is that I have worked hard for a long time. I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to be able to do what I love and make a living at it for as long as I have. Someone asked me recently, what do you consider your most outstanding achievement and it can’t be kids or marriage or anything like that, it had had to career related, and I said longevity because our industry has changed so radically since I began. I am very fortunate to have managed to stay in the industry and to remain viable. I consider that not so much an achievement as it is a tremendous blessing because it been a struggle at times. I have moved from category genre books into more mainstreams. I went from strictly romance into mysteries and suspense and thrillers. So with all these slight transitions, I’ve been fortunate enough to pursue and continue. That’s something that I would like readers to know. It has been a lot of hard work. But I’m very grateful to still be here after all this time. 

As if the craft of writing weren't hard enough, you also have to pay attention to the business aspects of it. I don’t find that nearly as enjoyable. It's essential, and the challenging part is that it's ever changing. It's ever evolving; it changes every day. We’re still on the learning curve of what’s going on between the shake out between the print books and e-books. How do we adjust? How do we market? And all of these things so at a time when you think, veteran writers, such as myself, could be able just to sit back and enjoy the craft. We still have to pursue all of these business decisions. I think that presents itself to be a challenge not only to new writers but to those of us who have been in the business forever. The industry that we know now is not anything like what it used to be thirty years ago. Its quantum leaps and so we have to adjust and deal and reprogram. Sometimes just getting away, which I do two or three times a year, and doing nothing, just unplugging and writing. Everyone says, oh gosh you’re going to be working the whole time your there, and I’ll go, but I’m going to work on the part that I love. Working strictly, I’m just writing, and that’s like the best vacation. If it's all, I had to do.


You formerly worked as a weather-caster and TV reporter before coming a best selling author, what inspired your career move?


I got fired. That’s the absolute truth. I was working at the ABC affiliate in Dallas and did the weather casting every once in a while, but I also worked on a show called PM Magazine. It was a nationally syndicated program, and I was one of the local contributors. I can assure you I was not a threat to Diane Sawyer. It was a part-time job; I went in a couple of days a week and recorded my segments. It was a great creative outlet and a break from being the wife and mom, but as sometimes happens in broadcasting, everybody on our crew got dismissed when they brought in all fresh faces. It left me without anything to do, and I looked around. All of my peers in the neighborhood were playing bridge and having cookie bake exchanges. They did this, and they did that, and I was like, this is not going to be the sum total of my life. So my husband, God bless him, said you’ve always told me you wanted to write and you have the time and opportunity now to do it, something you can do at home. So we set up a card table with an electronic typewriter on it, and that’s when I began. But I think, you know, I was rather crushed when I was dismissed at the television job, but it turned out to be the very best thing that could ever happen to me. Sometimes blessings come in disguise; you think it's going to turn out terrible, or its the worst thing that can happen, but it turns out to be the best thing that can happen. I don’t know that if I just hobbled along doing part-time work like that, that I would have ever plunged into writing.


Would you please tell us about your new novel, Seeing Red?


My hero’s name is John Trapper, and it’s his story, his struggle.  It’s he who is seeing red.  When he was eleven years old, his father, called the Major, became a national hero by leading seriously injured survivors out of a bombed hotel in Dallas, and the act was captured in a photograph that became iconic.  It launched the Major into celebrity status, and he went on to make a career of being a hero.  As an ATF agent, Trapper began conducting an unauthorized investigation into the bombing and discovered that the official ruling was insufficient and just wrong.  But his theory was denounced and he was fired. Now, on the twentieth-fifth anniversary of the bombing, TV journalist Kerra Bailey approaches Trapper trying to get an interview with his heroic father.  Trapper says no.  Kerra is insistent and persistent.  Ultimately they team up to find out what really happened that day in Dallas. And it isn’t pretty. 


Your book Deadline was inspired by a U.S.O. tour you did several years ago. What can you tell us about that?


Well, it was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. I was afforded an opportunity that so many thousands of Americans would love to have just because I’ve written books. I was asked through International Thriller Writers, to go to Afghanistan and meet and greet troops. My colleagues and I weren't the typical kind of entertainers who go on U.S.O tours. We entertain with our books, and we didn’t even make speeches or anything like that. We went to have one on one conversations. We had get-togethers, breakfast meetings, things like that with the service members on particular bases that don’t get much contact with people from home, which made them all the more meaningful to those troops. Service members read a lot, because when they come in from patrol, they may have been on patrol for 12 hours or more. They have twelve or eighteen hours before they go out again and so they spend a lot of that time reading.

I went with a great group of writers, and we did become a band of brothers, because unless you go through an experience like that, it's really, really difficult to explain how meaningful it can be. It was a no frills trip, and they told us you'll be carrying your gear, you’ll be flying in military aircraft and that was part of the experience. It was like, gosh, this is really roughing it, but in a week we knew we were going to get to leave. The people we met were signed on anywhere from six months to a year and not only service members but also civilians. Which is the one thing that surprised me, that there were so many civilians serving in one capacity or another. From builders to medical personnel to vendors providing food or water or other supplies. And I thought gosh they’re giving up months, years away from their families too. They were, kind of, unsung heroes. That’s why when I wrote Deadline I thought I won’t write about a military person, but a civilian. My character covered the war for a news magazine. He comes back with P.T.S.D.  No one thinks of that, they think about soldiers, people who bear arms and everything but the people, who are there beside them, are also risking their lives and so I thought that would be an interesting perspective. An interesting light to shed on someone who suffers the same anxieties and nightmares that the military personnel do.


 I had no idea what a wonderful education that you’re providing with that book.


It was a fun trip that I got to do things that never thought I would do, challenging in many regards. I got blown over by a helicopter. I was, we were, on the tarmac at one of the bases and the black hawk we traveled in, two black hawks landed, and we all have to clamber out. I mean, quickly because they’re taking off again and so we had gotten out, and we were standing on the tarmac talking to our escorts about where we were going to go next and what we were going to do. We were all huddled, the black hawks lifted off, and the downdraft blew me like twenty feet off my feet. I went rolling and tumbling and landed against a fence. Everybody came scrambling. You know running over to me asking, are you ok? I was OK, but one of our escorts said I thought, what is all that trash doing here on the tarmac and then there were like OH Its Sandra because I was just rolling across. I had on a helmet and black jacket, so I was okay. I wasn’t hurt in any regard, but it was funny. I had experiences that I would never, ever have dreamed of myself doing because I’m not a sports person, not an athlete, not a daredevil by any stretch. I’ve always said ... camping out to me is like no room service after midnight. This, for me, was a real challenge but I’ve welcomed the opportunity, and it was incredible. One thing that touches me is that over and over and over again the service members would say, I thank you so much for coming, thank you so much for coming. I was like ... you don’t get it we’re here to thank you but they are so grateful for any recognition and any touch, and that was what was enlightening. They were thanking us when I thought that the foot should have been on the other foot. We should have been very humbled in our thought to them.


Do you draw on personal experiences to write your books?


No. People have asked, and I find it amusing. I ask them, Have you read the books?. I wouldn’t have lived past page 25, if I did what that my characters do, they’re a whole lot braver than I am, have a whole lot more courage, and they’re a whole lot smarter than I am. That was one exception, and I felt like it was necessary for me to draw upon that experience. The only other book that I ever drew from anything, halfway related to me was the book called Rainwater, and it wasn’t a suspense novel. It came out in 2008, and it was set in the Great Depression.  It is a story based on something that happened in 1934 to my daddy’s family. He was only six years old, but he remembered it vividly. My grandfather owned a dairy farm, and he had been ordered by the U.S. government to throw away any milk that didn't sell therefore he creating a false demand to drive up the price. So the government mandated a congressional law, it came into effect in January/February of that year, and this was mid summer. He was still taking his surplus milk, which the large distributors weren’t buying, to shanty towns and giving it away to indigent families. It came down to an armed standoff between my relatives and federal agents. He said I’m not pouring out that milk and so my daddy, of course as a six-year-old this is scary stuff and, he was a writer he was an editorial writer and so he wrote about it, and I was reading it and I said Daddy I never knew this story. So it just stuck in the back of my mind. He’s long deceased. A few years ago, these two people came into my head and said you’ve got to tell our story and so I did. They insisted and wouldn’t leave me alone. So between my suspense novels, for which I was under contract, I started writing this book, and I incorporated a very similar situation that my grandfather and daddy had experienced into the story of Rainwater. That’s the only other book from which I’ve drawn anything remotely personal. I do a lot of books that have media characters in one shape or another. In fact, the heroine in Seeing Red is a news woman. I’ve drawn that in a lot because that’s what I know, but other than that all of my stories are pure make believe.


 And you write romance under a pen name (SB - four) and you also write thrillers. Which one do you prefer or which one do you enjoy more?


I wrote romance the first 8 years of my career then I went more transitional from incorporating more mystery and suspense into the novels and they were standalone books, they weren’t category books. It was 1990, I wrote Mirror Image and that was my first New York Times Bestseller. It was a suspense and then they have grown more and more that way but I still incorporate romance because that’s what i like and I love to read. So all of my novels have a strong relationship element to them, they’re sexy, they’re al lot of sexual tension. I don’t feel like I really deserted anything but a bonafide romance reader who would read my book now would go - that’s a little gritty for me. I don’t left anything behind, I just kind of brought it into what I do now and I love what I do now so if I didn’t love it I wouldn't be doing it because its too hard to do if you don’t love it.


It sounds like you incorporate all the aspects that you like: thriller with romance and mystery. I agree I have to have some romance in a book because that’s part of being human, right?


Well for me, its a way to heighten the stake and the risks because I never saw the two. I’ve been asked this question - why did you merge the two - kinds of creation in this genre. I was like well not really because we had authors to have done this. I can think of a lot of English authors who did this for decades before I started writing. I used to read their books and said this… this is what I want to do. I read Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett and he had a very, very sexual forbidden relationship but it never diminished the suspense, in fact, it only created more. It put both characters at risk because they become more vulnerable because of it. So, I felt this is what i wanted to and for me the two are perfect melding because never are you more afraid then when someone you care about is in danger. That’s when you really become afraid not just for yourself but when someone that you care about is in danger. It heightens the aspect of the novel. It intensifies the danger and threat. Its not just your stuff you’re looking out after. You’re all of the sudden looking out after somebody else too. It’s also because the danger is immediate and it heightens the attraction or the sexual pull because this might be it. You know, this might be the only chance we get and so it heightens that as well. So to me its a perfect merging it raises the stakes, raises the risks, intensifies the tension in both elements of the story - the suspense element and the romantic element.


Reminiscing just a bit, how did you celebrate publishing your first book?


I had written for about a year at home. Cranking out stories and manuscripts. My husband had a talk show on the same ABC station that I was on, and he interviewed every author that came through on a book tour. One morning he had a group of local authors and one of them was a woman approximately my age, and she had published six or eight books at the time. Michael, my husband, told me to call her and ask for some advice. So, I called her. She invited me to a writer’s conference in Houston. I hesitated because in my mind I’m wasn't a real writer. She told me that there would be agents and editors from New York at the conference. These were all scary people to me. I didn't feel like I belonged there however she twisted my arm and I went.

At a cocktail party, at the conference, I met a women who owned a bookstore in a small east Texas town. She did a phenomenal business, such an extraordinary company that she knew every editor. They would send her manuscripts and books to screen and asked her for her opinion. We got to talking, and she asked what I had written. I did the back up thing you know, blah blah blah, well I’ve done this and I’ve done that. She asked what are you writing? I said that I’m working on contemporary, I guess you’d call them romances. She asked me to send her a copy of it, and she would tell me whether or not it was any good. I finished the book about three months later, and I called her. I said that I had a manuscript. I sent it to her a few days later. She called me shortly after and told me that she was giving the book to an editor who was starting a new line of romance for Dell called Ecstasy. She wants really great sexier than Harlequins, but for the American audience. She thought it was perfect and so she sent it to the editor. A few days later she called me and asked to buy the book. I couldn’t believe it. She also asked me to send her anything else I had written. I had just finished another. I sent it to her, and thirteen days later she bought that one as well. That’s how I got started. I sold the first two books to her within thirteen days of each other. Once word got around, I had other publishers coming to me asking… will you write in our line? I started using different names for different publishers and was doing five or six books a year.

By the time I got into suspense, I had written over forty romances under four different names. 


How do you celebrate such a big thing?


I sat down to write more books.

In May of 1999, I made the New York Times Best Seller list. My wonderful husband asked me on a date. He told me that t I couldn't overdress for this occassion, and to meet him on the porch at 6:30 on Saturday night. He had invited several of our friends and chartered a jet. We flew down to Houston and had dinner at this great place and then flew back. That was our big blow out celebration.


So please tell us a little about co-authoring with C.J. Box in Match-Up.


Oh, that was fun. I’d never met a him before. Summer before last at ThrillerFest I was approached by Steve Berry and he said we want you to contribute to the anthology of short stories and I said no. I don’t do that. I’m not a team player. I’ve never collaborating with anyone and I don’t want to collaborate with anybody. Steve said, well Lee’s going to talk to you about because he’s going to edit it. He got me in the corner and said we really want you to participate in it. I said, I don’t write short stories. I’m not good at it. If I could do it well… but I would embarrass everybody. He said we are going to team you with C.J. Box. I said I haven’t read his books, I’m familiar with him however I’ve never read him. He said, well I think you’ll be a good match. So I told them that I would think about it. They kept after me so finally I said OK. C.J. Box and I did all of the writing over the phone and still not meeting. We talked about conceptional - what we wanted to do and it was kind suppose to be where they were kind of competitive. We were teaming one and see he has a recurring character and I don’t have a recurring characters. I said just pick one from one of your books. I read a couple of his books and got a feel for what his character Joe Pickett character is about. I’ve got to choose someone who’s antithitical, totally opposite from his character, so I take the hero from Lethal. His name is Coburn and he’s everything that Joe Pickett is not. When Chuck and I start talking on the phone I said you know in a way I don’t want them to be adversarial. I think they have something to learn from one another and he said you know that was my thought exactly. So right off the bat we were in harmony for what we wanted to do. We then started thowing out ideas and because Coburn winds up a the end of Lethal, he winds up in Jackson Hole Wyoming and that’s where Pickett novels are set. I think this is perfect because I can kind of pick up with him where Lethal left off. We wanted to set it there and then we started talking about other things and before I knew it we had a concept. We agreed on the main points of what we were going to do. About a month later I got an email from Chuck and he said I’d start playing with this weekend and before I knew it I had thirty pages. I say Gosh its great so we read it and then it was back and forth process. It was like he said you’ll probably want to add some dialogue and stuff because you know Coburn better than I do and so how would he respond to this and take it where you want to. I did some of that and then we added edited each other and it worked out great. Not until after we finished the book completetly, it had been edited, and it had been done. He came to Dallas to do a convention and then did we meet.


It was really fun and he’s great. That was my first collaboration and since I’ve collaborated with my son on a short story. Its going to be an anthology, a zombie anthology,  that Jonathan Mayberry put together. Its not quite as bad as I thought it was going to be but its a different experience.


It worked out well and I think our stories great. The reviews have been really good for the anthology so I’m excited for everyone who participated.


Honestly it was much more Chucks story than mine because he did the initial draft. We talked about the high life. He did the transfiguring. I was very sensitive to that. I added mostly cooper on how he would respond to various things that happened in the story. It was a little different than Chuck protrayed it. He said go ahead and change it because you know Cooper better than I do. So he was very generous to that. It worked out well. 

I think we have a very good story.


How much work is required, even as a tremendously successful author having written - let me call it a billion books but that’s an overstatement but still, how hard it is to maintain you currently level of success?


Its very hard. I think its harder really because there’s was a certain night when I first began. I thought gosh if I published one book I’ll be so happy. Well, of course. Then it was number two then can I do three and then can I do four and now its like can I do seventy eight. So for me, I’m never quite there. 

People say gosh it must be so easy now. Are you kidding its so much harder. Not only am I in competition with every other fiction writer on the face of the earth but I’m also in competition with the last seventy eight Sandra Browns. So your last book has to be as good but better than the last one as so and every book that I’m working on, every book thats still in my computer is the worst thing I’ve ever written. Its like the self-doubt just eats at me all the time and I think in a way that the fear factions is healthy and motivating. I think its the complacency is anathema because if you ever complacent, if you’re ever satisfied with where you are then you’re never getting better. You’re never improving. I’m constantly striving to try something new. The one thing in this book that that you’ve never done before and see if you can pull it off. If I don’t challenge myself like that then the writing will get stale, readers will stop reading. So I’m trying to constantly come p with something different and fresh while maintaining whatever it is that keeps them reading Sandra Brown. The remaining three to five voices but doing it in a different way with a different character. Thats another thing, I’ve never written a series for the very reason that I think I would become very bored with that. 


It would have been a whole lot waiter for the publisher to market me, to sell me, and to sell television rights and the rights knowledge that had I had one character. But I was never interested, it never interested me. Once I close out the story and locked it up, I’m ready to start with something entirely different. I admire my colleagues who do that and do it so well. They keep the character constantly evolving, I suppose thats how they do it, but I have never been interested in that. So with each book that starts, I start from scratch. Yeah, I think its harder and also harder to do with all the outlets now and with all of the devices you have to adapt to that too. I think that writing has evolved in that I use dialogue every possible way to convey information because readers now a days want it.


We all have the Twitter mentality, if it cant be told in a hundred and forty characters then I’m on to something else. We have the attention span of a two year old or less. Its got to be quick, its got the be fast moving and you’ve got to get information across from one side of an exposition and narrative and now try to get as much dialogue as possible because thats what the reader wants.


So would that be your advice to aspiring authors? To use a lot of dialogue. Or what advice would you have?


My advice to new authors is to write from your gut because I could wax poetic for hows its doe and actually nobody knows how its done. If you were to ask the next person you interview how they do it, everything that I said would be different totally different. Its so subjective. I am very analytical about my writing but when I turn on the keyboard it comes from a part of me separate from the thinking Sandra Brown. Does that make sense? I know it doesn’t make sense because it comes from another stream of consciousness. 


I’ll go back and read, well certainly books, but I’ll go back and read work done just a few days before and I’ll go… I don’t even remember writing that. I think the main thing that writers and aspiring writers need to pay attention to is not to pay attention to anybody else. I think its to pay attention to what come from your gut. If you want to make a business out of it, ultimately, you’re going to have to be willing to make adaptations. You’re going to have to be willing to give a little here and give a little there. because its not going to be perfect. I’ve know a lot of gifted writers who cut off their nose to spite their face simply because they would never take the advice of a really good editor or a really good reader who said you kind of lost me on this part. They get their back up and get so defensive. Keep in mind thats the first reader, so if they’re not getting it they’re going to represent a hundred thousand people. So, why wouldn’t you get with an editor that you trust and sooner or later your going to have to write it to where its marketable. I think the best writing a writer does comes from the best plot twists I didn’t plan. They characters were in the moment and they did something and I went OH MY GOD i can’t believe that just happened. I feel like its not so much a creator as an excavator. I discover the stories there. The story is there, its living in my head, I’ve just got to bring it out.


I’m going to change the questions here and ask you about the ELF scholarship that you and your husband Michael instituted and challenged you to pursue a career in fiction writing might apply for that?


RIght, well you can go online to TCU google Texas Christian University ELF scholarship they’ll be able to find it and it says how they can apply. Its given to a rising junior so anyone can apply their sophomore year. They have to submit fifty pages of fiction. It can be one story, it can be fifty pages of ten stories 5 pages long, etc but it has to be fifty pages of fiction. They submit to faculty of TCU who does all the initial reading and screening. The five finalists are blind, they’re blind submissions to university with which they have reprosidy’s. They are submitted as candidate number one, number two, there is no hint to anything… gender ethnicity, nothing. Its a blind submission so they judged strictly on writing and, I have nothing to do with the judging, and then out of those five candidates the one with the highest score from all the judges gets awarded the scholarship the second semester of their sophomore year and then its for the last two years of their education at TCU. They can submit as transfer students or TCU students can apply.


Do you read the reviews that are left for your books and how do you deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly?


No. I don’t put myself through that because I would remember only the bad ones and not the good ones. I don’t need my paranoia fed anymore than it already is on my own. Everyone once in a while we’ll check out some and someone says something really crushing and I’ll go OH GOSH you know. It’s always going to be that way. If they’re really nasty then I don’t give them much credence. If I applied everything that everybody said, I’d be a basket case. I mean it would be impossible, I say you have to write what’s in your heart and I think if anybody knew how hard it was to write anything––to write a thank you note, to write an office memo––and for someone to say something really mean, is just mean. I don’t think they appreciate how hard it was. It might not be my best novel but I gave it my all at the time. Its like if they knew how hard it was maybe the would appreciate it even if it wasn’t great. I don’t dwell on it and I don’t seek them out.


What’s the most important thing a bookstore can do for an author, in your opinion and experience, to promote self and obviously everybody cannot be front and center so what would your advice be to bookstores?


I think a lot of bookstores are doing exactly what they are there for is to read the books. There’s nothing worse than a clerk who you ask if they carry somebody and their a bestselling author and they go I’m not sure. You think to yourself this person is clueless, they should be selling tires or t-shirts or something like that. They should know their stuff. Really good independent book stores and the die hards, like Barnes and Noble and other chain stores, who really read the books they sell and are there for the love of it. They’re worth their wait in gold to an author because they will recommend. 

I met a young women not too long ago at a Barnes and Noble signing and she said I have recommended your books for so many years to so many readers.

The best thing that a bookseller can do for an author is to read the book and recommend it one on one word of mouth, you can do Twitter, you can pay a fortune in advertising and still a good book, a really good book, is going to be found by word of mouth. My sister and niece were over the house this morning and over coffee that’s all we did. We talked about books. What we had read and what we wanted to read. We were all writing down suggestions. The best way a good book is going to be found is through readers.


So do you have any advice for bookstores promoting events in anyways that they can do that effectively? Book tours and signings?


This year I’ve done more than I have in a while. I’m a little reluctant to say it because I don’t want to squelch anyone’s answer. I’ve always believed that it helps the reader to meet the author and the person behind the words. I think that sometimes they have a false impression based on the nature of the book, the photograph, the bio, or whatever it really does work well for the reader to have the experience of the author. I know from a reader when I met someone and I admired I was a blethering idiot. I couldn’t speak, I was just awe struck. 


Its almost like preaching to the choir because the people who are there are people who would by your book anyway. What book signings do is maybe get them to buy more than one copy. Its like if they’re there and they meet the author… its like you know my sister is your biggest fan and so is my nephew and so could you please sign these two copies to them and this one for me. That kind of thing. So I think it does boost sales. They’re great fun to attend because as I say to people who are there, they’re the people who are  just dying to meet you. That is always very gratifying.


How might an independent bookstore or library participate in one of your book tours or have you come to speak or host one of your seminars?


They can contact Grand Central the publicity department or they can go to Hatchet Book Group and look for the speakers bureau there.


Can you explain to our readers a little bit about your seminars?


I don’t really do them anymore. I don’t really do them anymore because that was a long long time ago. It go to be where it was taking away too much of my writing time. I’ve gotten very stingy. I have to be. I’m asked to speak a lot through… I was out of town two days last week. Each one of those trips takes like three days. Its a day to get there, a day for the event, and a day to get home. Only because I had finished my book did I do speaking engagements. There are certain times of the month that I don’t accept those just because I know that’s my writing month and I’m not scheduling anything then. I admire authors who seem to manage to do that and write at the same time. I can’t write remotely. I can plot, like take my notepad with me and in the downtimes and while I’m in the hotel I can plot, but in terms of going and setting up a laptop and doing that I just can’t. I’m not going to divide it.


I’m just very choosy about what I expect anymore and I don’t schedule my own seminars anymore.


The help budding authors how much time and money do you, a successful New Times best-selling author, spend marketing your book?


Spend your time writing your book. This advice came to me from my editor. Even back in the caveman days of my career, I would worry––this author is having bookmarks printed up and taking them to the people who drive the trucks loaded with books to the airport. I didn’t think I was doing enough of that, you know getting out there, and I was really concerned about it. So, I’d ask questions, like, how much money should I devote, and she said if you get the worlds attention you better have something good to say. She’d say write a good book and then you can worry about promoting. Don’t put the cart before the horse. To this day, when I’m sitting here doing Twitter and Facebook and everything I think … how much thought have I given a manuscript today balanced against how much thought and creativity have I put into this? Which is more important? The book has to take priority because no matter how much you promote something if it’s crap, you’ve only promoted crap. 

The best thing I can do for myself and my fans is to write the best book I can write. So if that means not doing so many signings, if that means not doing so many speeches, that’s still the best thing I can do for my readers––is to focus on the book