Sunday, July 24, 2011

Launching DEAD MAN’S SWITCH at the Lime Rock Park ALMS Race

You’ve all been waiting patiently for the full report with photos, and after processing an awful lot of data—photos, video, and mental impressions—here it is.

I didn’t know what to expect when my husband and I traveled 3,000 miles to launch my new mystery novel at the actual race weekend it was written about (the American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut). I had 100 trade paperbacks with me, and I had no idea if I’d be shipping them all back home or if I’d sell out and wish I had more. I know many authors talk about not selling many books at mystery conventions or even bookstore signing events, for instance, but this was a different situation. I had no bookselling competition for one thing. But would racegoers want to think about fiction? They’re at a real race, would a mystery novel, however related, be too different?

We knew going into it that there was no way book sales could outweigh the cost of getting and being there. That wasn’t the point. The point was publicity, photos, and being able to say I’d launched the book there. So our goals really had to do with selling some books, making good contacts for future promotion, and collecting useful photos and video. As we pulled into the track on race morning, I thought to myself, “Don’t expect to sell them all. Be glad if you don’t have to ship every single book home.”

Bottom line? The trip was a screaming success. Between me, the Series merchandise center, and the track merchandise store … out of my 100 paperbacks, I carried two home. TWO. (And really, only one made it to my house, because I gave one away to Top Gear host and SPEED Channel commentator Rutledge Wood in LAX baggage claim.)

In addition to my adventure at the track itself, the owner of a wonderful local bookstore—Darren Winston, Bookseller (with me and Corvette Racing program Manager Doug Fehan at right)—threw a launch party for me one night, and had 100 hardcover books to sell. This was another situation for which I had no expectations, especially with the old saying, “What if you throw a party and no one comes?” running through my head. His results? In two hours, he sold about three dozen books—and he’s continued to sell them at a good rate in the ensuing weeks.

Even more than sales, Darren Winston and I got—and are still working on—some great publicity about his business and my book. More, the people who did attend the launch party were a really interesting mix: mystery readers, fans, and insiders; local readers, artists, and friends; Corvette owners and fans; track management and racing insiders, including Skip Barber himself (that’s him at the top of the page); and even the Corvette Racing team (with me at right).

The verdict on my first foray into promoting a racing mystery at a live race and to race fans? It could hardly have gone better. Even more fun, since the race weekend I’ve heard from two fans (one Corvette owner and one track volunteer) who have already read the book and enjoyed it. What more could I ask for?!

7 comments:

  1. Oooh! Wonderful! I'm so happy for you. A good way to get publicity. Your book is surely the buzz of the racing world. Congrats and a lot of fin flapping :)!

    Christine
    in FINland
    :))

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  2. Congratulations, Tammy. I think launch parties at locations tied to the plot of the book are the best. I doubt if I'll make it to the race track this week so I guess I'll just have to buy your book the old fashioned way!

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  3. Congrats!!! I can't wait to buy my copy!!! I have several friends that are buying it too:) Good Luck!!!

    Kandi

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  4. Thanks, all. I'm hoping for continued buzz, that's for sure. Thanks for your support!

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  5. Great trip! I'm so glad it was a screaming success! That's a lot of books sold.

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  6. Congratulations, Tammy! What a cool way to promote your book!

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