Guest post: 'Dying to Promote' by Mystery Author Tj O’Connor

You spent months, perhaps years on your novel. You plotted, developed characters, researched, wrote, edited, wrote again, and re-edited. Finally, you reached page-the-last. The greatest single triumph of a new author’s life is typing, “The End.” I bet less than five percent of those who claim they’re writing a novel ever get that far. Without question, it’s satisfying, exhilarating, and rewarding to finish. But get ready, new author, because the hard work hasn’t even started yet.

What’s the real work? Oh, yeah, there’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, websites, Goodreads). There are newsletters, email blasts, and blogging. Then comes event schedules—conferences and conventions to get you on panels to chat about your work, book signings, personal appearances (if you’re lucky), travel to anywhere to anyone who will let you talk about your books. Then, after all that, you blog about it, newsletter it, Facebook it, Tweet it … trust me, typing “The End” should really be, “Just Beginning.”

Your novel is truly just the prologue to your author work.

But hey, that’s the way of the writing world. That’s what your agent and publisher and publicist expect of you. Oh, and by the way, unless you’re Nelson DeMille, it’s all on your dime, too.
No one ever told me that getting my novels published was only Part I of a multi-part series of responsibilities. No one is going to promote you and your book more than you—no one. And frankly, think about it, no one can, right? Who knows your characters and plot better than you? So find your checkbook, do your research for the best web people, the best publicists, and start learning to Tweet, post, blog, blog, blog and more blog—because you gotta, my friends. It’s part of the journey. It’s called promotion. And you, Author-Oh-Author, must become one with promotion.

Now, it may sound like I’m grumpy about all this. It’s because, well, I am. I’ve spent my life in the security and confidentiality business and having my face plastered on Facebook and websites and all that is counter to my nature. So when my agent told me all that I just imparted on you above, I had a panic attack. No really, I did.

Now, after two years in this crazy author-world, I’m just now getting the hang of some of it. I’m not necessarily good at it, but I’m learning. For those of you who are new to this world too, or perhaps dancing with the notion of jumping on the crazy train like me, let me share with you two big parts of my book promotion strategy.

Website/Author Email: First, I found a great website developer who would handle my site, posts, newsletter, and if I wanted, my author email accounts. It’s a must unless you’re a IT guru and have lots of time. Not me. I have neither time nor patience. So I hired Maddee James at They specialize in authors and writers. What I didn’t know to ask, they told me. And they’re top notch. Oh, there are lots of these folks out there, but I have to say, Xuni understands authors and our world. And looking at the list of things you have to do, three less in my hands works for me.

Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Publicity, Oh My! I took the road less traveled by, and for me, it has made all the difference (sorry Mr. Frost). I had no clue what to do about PR, so I hired Maryglenn McCombs—and thank God I did. Maryglenn specializes in authors of mysteries and thrillers. She’s been a huge asset for me. First, I knew nothing about PR and feared spending money for nothing. Not only did she guide me on what I should and should not spend money on, but she found me the right pieces I could afford and placed me in some great PR spots. She handled dozens of book reviews, magazine coverage, radio interviews, newspaper interviews and reviews, blog tours, awards, and web guest appearances and contests.

Perhaps I could have done all this stuff myself—websites and PR planning. Sure, I’m a smart guy, I could have. But why in the world would I? I need to write books and go on the road and talk books and beg for readers (read that, seek an audience). Who has time and energy left for all this? Not me.
Besides, Xuni and Maryglenn are top notch. They know their trade (and parts of mine, too). I took the easy way, albeit not the cheapest, to attack my promotional needs. I have to do the tough stuff—write, talk, travel, beg … but they do the behind the scenes like I never could.
And yes, Mr. Frost, Maddee and Maryglenn have made all the difference.

Genre:  Mystery
Author:  Tj O’Connor
Publisher:  Midnight Ink
Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

In Dying to Tell, the latest mystery by award-winning novelist Tj O’Connor, Oliver “Tuck” Tucker—dead detective extraordinaire—is back for the case of a lifetime, or, rather, the afterlifetime. 

A former police detective who now solves mysteries from beyond, Tuck doesn’t appreciate just how perilous the past can be till his wife, Angel, is nearly killed and reclusive banker William Mendelson is found dead in a hidden vault.  Tuck knows there’s more to Mendelson’s murder than decades-old skullduggery. As murderers, thieves, and spies descend on small-town Winchester, Tuck joins up with Angel, old detective partners, and a long-dead grandfather still on an army mission from 1942. With the case unfolding around him, Tuck must confront haunting family secrets and the growing distance between his death and Angel’s life.  The outcome could be a killer of its own, but Tuck is set on solving this case. Dead set.  After all, some things never die…

About the Author:

Recipient of the Gold Medal in Independent Publisher’s IPPY Awards (Mystery Category, 2015, Dying to Know) Tj O’Connor is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism. As a consultant and former government agent, O’Connor has lived and worked in such places as Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and throughout the Americas. A native of New York, O’Connor lives in Virginia

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  1. Great post! If you (readers of Tj's blog posting) have a mystery novel to promote, you can add it for free to Mystery Weekly's crime book directory. Every link to your site/amazon page helps with SEO.

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