Monday, November 14, 2011

The Book Party

The book party is one of the rituals of publishing. Like reviews, it is tied to the pub date and is part of the push to create that initial buzz around a new book. This may be less relevant for a self-published book that will build its audience over time, but a book party is also just a celebration of getting a book published, and a great ego trip for an author.

We had a wonderful book party for The Grand Mirage yesterday. Many friends from Washington and a fair sprinkling of neighbors from Barnaby Woods were on hand to celebrate. It turns out that on any given weekend, a lot of people are out of town -- at weddings, in New York -- and this weekend in addition was a three-day weekend for those with kids out of school for Veterans Day, but it was still the biggest party we've had in this house.

Just as The Grand Mirage is a self-published book, this was a self-catered party. My wife, Andrea, and her brother Henry once operated a catering service together and revived their collaboration to provide some wonderful hors d'oeuvres for the party (see my food blog for details), so the catering was no more amateur than the book.

The book sale table was also self-service, cash or check. People made their own change for one or multiple copies and I spent much more time than anticipated signing books!

I did a short reading -- a part of the excerpt from the first chapter I had read at the gathering in Santa Fe, and everyone seemed to enjoy that.

People get excited about reading, about worlds of the imagination, about the willingness of someone to make an effort to entertain them -- and all this is very gratifying to a fiction author.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Praise from a top reviewer

Norm Goldman, editor and publisher of Bookpleasures, a highly regarded review site, and a top Amazon reviewer had high praise for The Grand Mirage:
I must commend Delamaide`s awesome achievement…in intelligently assembling facts and fiction to attain realism that makes the historical setting as chaotic, as well as dangerous, as anything that may exist today in the Middle East. …(T)hanks to expertly voiced narration and a skilled evocation of time and place, the tale will linger in your imagination long after you lay it to rest.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Of course it had to happen -- someone has come up with an app so that authors can "sign" ebooks. It's not perfect. The page is not actually inserted into the copy of the ebook but is a separate file. Generally speaking, the signature is not going to the genuine signature. It does, however, give the reader a chance to have direct contact with the author and to get a personalized message -- at least as personalized as anything the author writes into a book at a signing. So it's something. Not sure if it will catch on, but I'm happy to be part of the experiment. My kindlegraph address is

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Big Thrill

The webzine of the International Thriller Writers, "The Big Thrill," has a new feature each month listing the "New E-Releases" of members, and The Grand Mirage is on the first list in the issue out today.

ITW, which is backed and maybe funded by some of the bestselling thriller writers, has been in something of quandary with the surge in self-published thrillers. The group restricts membership to authors whose books appear with "qualified" publishers, ranging from the big mainstream houses to small presses and even to agents who are publishing their own authors' books. Even as the digital revolution is breaking down traditional barriers and busting the whole process wide open, they have tried to maintain something of a closed shop.

It is a true dilemma, because if there were no restrictions the organization would quickly be overrun by writers of books that don't meet minimal literary criteria. But who's to judge? How do you navigate the gray -- enlisting the genuinely good indies and keeping out, well, the riff-raff? As a tentative first step, ITW is now routinely publicizing self-published novels of active members who have previously had books from qualified publishers as well as associate members. And it is opening its prize competitions to these books as well.

New filters will have to evolve in the digital book world, to replace the traditional filters of publishers and bookstores that determined which books got into print and got into the public's hands. Reviews of course will be important and groups like ITW should be able to play a constructive role as well. This is certainly a step in the right direction.