Mystery fans are particular about what they read and who they read. That's good; you don't want people to pick up a book just because it has covers and finish by saying, "yes, that was a book."
But sometimes, the preferences get a little difficult for authors to understand, or fathom. Readers have, always have had, and should have, the final say--they get to vote with their credit or library cards. Is it too much, however, to ask that you see it through an author's eyes on occasion?
Let me say right at the top that this is NOT a plea for those who are planning to attend the Left Coast Crime convention in Denver to fill in their nominating forms for the Lefty Award with the name of my book, which just happens to be SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED. Nope, that's not what I'm doing here at all. Please fill out your ballot any way you like.
But it does baffle me how much people detest an author mentioning that his book (in this case, SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED) might be eligible for an award (in this case, the Lefty), just in case a voter (in this case, YOU) might have forgotten.
Awards, while they do not drive book sales according to reliable sources who know more than I do, garner attention for a title, and when an author is trying to make a name for himself, that can be vitally important. Even after an author is established, attention toward a new book is helpful, as it impresses publishers (right, Lynne?), readers (Shaz? Is it so?) and hopefully will make the next novel more of an "event."
Also, I'm willing to bet it's fun to get one. But that's beside the point.
Certainly, authors who do nothing but trumpet their book's (SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED) eligibility for an awards (Lefty) can become irritating. I'm not immune to that, and I do sympathize.
But seriously, if one is not a "regular" on the awards circuit, and wants readers to remember that they might want to consider the book (see previous references) for the award (not "Righty"), is it really that major a crime? For those readers who do not keep a reading log, and might not immediately remember every mystery they read in 2007 (which it still is, until Midnight, so if you haven't read SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED, you still have time), is a reminder really so far outside polite society's guidelines?
Sure, we want readers to vote for our books, but we also don't want them to send in their ballots and then remember ten minutes later that there was this title (SLIH-B) that they thought was really funny (the Lefty is an award for Humorous Mysteries, and how many of THOSE do you think there are?). We don't want those readers to feel they made an error that could have been corrected with a simple reminder.
Truly, it's an altruistic impulse. So even if you don't vote for SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED for the Lefty Award (which you are certainly free to do, or not), please don't feel this was an advertisement for you to do so.
Because it really wasn't. THIS is what a real shameless plea would look like:
VOTE FOR SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED BY JEFFREY COHEN FOR THE LEFTY AWARD! BALLOTS ARE DUE JANUARY 7! DON'T FORGET: SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED BY JEFFREY COHEN FOR THE LEFTY!
See the difference?
Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of HEY, THERE'S A DEAD GUY IN THE LIVING ROOM, and to celebrate... um, we'll be blogging pretty much as usual. But there will be changes on the ol' blog: our very own Denise Dietz will post her last regular weekly blog tomorrow, and then become our Designated Blogger, the post held until, well, then, by her husband Gordon Aalborg. Deni and Gordon, your blogs have been wonderful parts of DEAD GUY since there's been a DEAD GUY, and we'll miss seeing you on a more regular basis, but we're glad you're not going away completely.
Deni's Tuesday spot will be filled by Janet Reid, literary agent with Fine Print Literary Management. Janet specializes in crime fiction, and says she is "stalking Jack Reacher." As you can see, she'll bring a unique perspective to the blog, and we'll get yet another industry viewpoint. Welcome, Janet: we can't wait to see what you'll post every week!
To all those who read DEAD GUY regularly, occasionally, or just when searching for some other web site, have the happiest of new years. We hope to see you often in 2008.