Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Any angle you can get

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Any angle you can get

With a book being released in three weeks, I've been reviving up the promotional machinery. Like most lower echelon writers, this means doing a lot of the work myself. Since I've been doing large numbers of signings for each of my past two releases, I've come to know a lot of booksellers, so it's probably easier for me to arrange signings than for someone else to do it.

Still, you have to think out of the box. Book signings alone won't do it, so every opportunity for promotion has to be sought out -- even ones that on the surface seem rather bizarre.

I'm also a firm believer in helping people -- especially friends.

So when Pat and Gill Maloney, two very good friends asked if I'd like to come down to their farm on Saturday, February 9th, and be their "resident writer", I eagerly jumped at the opportunity.

The Maloneys own Vineyard Alpacas in Beamsville and they've recently begun operating a store (and website) promoting their alpacas and what they produce: very fine fleece that makes superior knitted goods. Not ones to miss angles, either, they also offer for sale carefully chosen craft items from the Niagara region in which they live. Tomorrow, they're having their second open house. My job is to sign books and chat with people.

I jumped at the chance. Why? What the heck does a crime fiction author have in common with a herd of alpacas?

From a purely self-serving viewpoint, because I believe that every book I sell is one less I have to sell next time. Most of my readers at this point are folks who've read my previous novels and come back for more. If I can increase their numbers, I'm going to be better off.

But even if I don't sell many books, I'm going to be helping out my good friends by (hopefully) attracting a few people who might not otherwise have attended their open house. If I don't sell many books, but they sell a large number of items in their store, I'll be just as happy.

What goes around, comes around, right? The Maloneys have been big supporters of mine. Now I can help them out.

If you want to spend a nice day out in the country tomorrow, drop on by. All the details are here: http://www.vineyardalpacas.com...

Buy a signed book (or two!) and some of the most incredibly warm and soft socks you've ever had on your feet, meet the alpacas (they really are adorable), and then head out around Lincoln County where some of Ontario's best wineries are located -- and they'll all be open for tastings! It's a beautiful area to explore.

One last thing, if you've read any of my blog entries, let's talk about them. I am beginning to feel as if I'm howling into the wind since there's no option to comment directly on them. Feedback, both pro and con, is gratefully received!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Rick Blechta

Rick Blechta is the author of the novels Knock On Wood, The Lark Ascending, Shooting Straight in the Dark, Cemetery of the Nameless, and When Hell Freezes Over. A Case of You, his latest novel, will be published in the spring of 2008 with Rendezvous Press.

Go to Rick Blechta’s Author Page