My twelfth book will be published in a few days. Okay. February 15th, to be exact, with what the publishers call an “on sale” date of March 7th. By now, I should have the next two months booked solidly with author events. I should have pounded that last shiny nail into my publishing platform. I should have solidified my brand, built a vast array of followers on twitter, and amassed a large number of friends on facebook who await my every shimmering pronouncement.

Sad truth? I have some events scheduled. I have many lovely facebook friends. And I am invited to guest blog on a number of sites over the next two months. But I am not seriously overbooked. I am not frantic. Nor am I riding the crest of the wave, over the moon with excitement at the advent of this new book. In truth, I am more like paralyzed.

Years ago, I remember a friend talking to me about the secret fear that we all carry–you know the one where you wake up one day and they’ve discovered that you’re a fake? Well, that’s me. No. I don’t fear that I’m going to be revealed as not truly a writer. In that arena, I’m pretty confident. I write good books, I create good characters, I devise nice complicated characters and intricately interwoven plots. I tell a good story. No. What is going to be revealed is that I am not a marketer.

You can ask my friends, and they’ll agree. I am a good public speaker. A good moderator. I can organize a good library program and I can keep an audience engaged. I love my readers and happily engage in dialogue with them. I will share recipes, give writing tips, carry your compliments close to my heart, and cherish the e-mails you send. I will encourage other writer’s careers. Delight in publishing other writers and encouraging readers to buy THEIR books. I will share whatever I know that might be helpful. I am a good citizen of the writing community. It’s just that when faced with the job of twisting people’s arms, waving my banner, and saying, BUY MY BOOK. HOST MY EVENT. INVITE ME TO BE YOUR SPEAKER. BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK. BUY MY BOOK. I…uh…well, I often become paralyzed.

Maybe you can help. Send a savvy 17-year-old to be me on Twitter, who is willing to sit with me at bookgroup and send out a message that reads: At bookgroup, talking about Charles Mann’s 1491 and 1493. Another that reads: Reading Snakes in Suits. R U a psychopath? Send me a 20-something marketing major who wants to actually build that platform and solidify my brand–it would be very good experience, a challenging one, for someone to figure out what the brand is of someone who writes a series about strong women, another about middle-aged male cops, and also writes true crime looking over the shoulders of the investigators. HINT: At bottom, it’s about morality. It’s about the question of good and evil. It’s about the way crime resonates among those left behind.

You could invite me to your bookstore, your library, your book group or writer’s group. Your mother-in-law’s 83rd birthday party (as long as I can sell books) or perhaps a pancake breakfast. I might even bring some of my fun and more outgoing writer friends. Or a bag of books as give-away. Or I might tell you deliciously dark stories about chemicals that damage the liver or what it’s like to be shut in a morgue freezer with the lights off. Maybe we could have some fun if you could induce me to leave my room.

Meanwhile, in a few days, the postman will come and bring me a copy of Redemption, my third Joe Burgess mystery, set in Portland. I will get out all of its brothers and sisters, all eleven of them, and I will take their photographs. Row of Twelve, I will call it. And I will beam, and get very excited. Because as a wonky reader growing up in Union, Maine, being the published author of twelve hardcover books is something I never imagined. It’s still breathtaking.

Then, perhaps, I will begin to move my arms and legs in the requisite “buy my book” dance. Wish me luck.

Redemption.  Flora, Kate (Author)   Mar 2012. 366 p.  Five Star, hardcover, $25.95. (9781594153792).
When Detective Sergeant Joe Burgess of the Portland (Maine) Police Department finds his friend Reggie Libby drowned in the harbor, he is determined to bring the killer to justice. Reggie, a Vietnam vet who was mentally ill and had fallen on hard times, had apparently started a new job recently. Joe and his colleagues work to determine his place of employment and his movements before his death by interviewing Reggie’s fellow streetpeople and his relatives, including his vindictive former wife and indifferent son. On the home front, Joe’s live-in girlfriend wants to adopt two foster children, and Joe doesn’t feel ready to be a parent. As always, Joe immerses himself in his case, causing problems in his personal life. Framed by the challenges streetpeople face in large cities, this compelling, fast-paced police procedural offers a complex plot, rich with details of conducting a murder investigation and insight into the rigors of the cop’s life. (Booklist)

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11 Responses to Paralysis

  1. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Hi Kate,

    Sweet image of you taking a photo of the Row of Twelve. Congratulations!
    I, for one, cannot wait to buy your new book.


    • MCWriTers says:

      Thanks, Brenda…the book arrived early, so that’s what I did this morning. A seriously emotional moment. It seems that the excitement is not diminished because the book joins eleven siblings. I left them posed against the wall so I could stop by from time to time today and admire them. See pic on the updated post.

      And thanks for the support! How about a Maine Crime Writer’s Night at your local library?


  2. Lea Wait says:

    I love your books, too! And I second all those “things you are good at”. You’re great at speaking, and teaching writing, and being a friend to all writers. But, most of all, you can write. I think you’ve discovered your brand, too, Kate: “the way crime resonates among those left behind.” Nailed it! And I like it. So — we “friends of Kate’s books” will do what we can (what we do for all books we love). We’ll buy your book. We’ll tell our friends, in person, in libraries, and on FB. We’ll post reviews on Amazon and BN. And we’ll hope others love you and your books as we do! (Is Paralysis available as an E-book yet, Kate?)

  3. MCWriTers says:

    Lea, you are the best and most generous friend, as always.

    The book isn’t called paralysis…it’s called Redemption…but now I’m thinking I should write Paralysis, too.

    My lovely niece Sara is busy on my behalf, which is one of the many reasons, like your friendship and support, that I’m feel very grateful and lucky today.


  4. Lea Wait says:

    Ooops! Of course, it’s called Redemption! And in case I miss one of your signings in March — I just ordered a copy from Amazon. Hurrah! Looking forward!

  5. MCWriTers says:

    Oho…and I just got my first “Stop Whining” e-mail. Appropriately enough, from a retired police chief.

    Gotta go a little controversial sometimes to get the dialogue going.


  6. Great cover, Kate. I can’t wait to read Redemption. And Paralysis is such a good title, it could take you anywhere. I bet you have ideas already spinning.

  7. Barb Ross says:

    Yay! A new Joe Burgess to get us through the grey end-of-winter days! Count me as another fan.

    Kate, it’s impossible to say how much of learned from you–about writing, about editing, about publishing, about speaking and moderating. Whenever I am with you on a panel–as I was twice this week–I always feel like, relax, it’s going to be fine. Kate is here.

    Best of luck with the new baby. As we all know, bringing up children is always full of surprises, but most of them are good ones.


  8. Probably all the things you *do* enjoy doing go a lot farther than arm-twisting and pleas to buy anyway. So keep it up 🙂 And best of luck with the release. Hey, I have a blog for you to guest on if you want me to twist some arms for you…

  9. John Clark says:

    I’m 60% through my ARC. Ordered 2 copies for the Hartland P.L. We certainly need to have a Kate Flora event at HPL and invite all of Somerset County (at least those not currently incarcerated)

  10. Congratulations on REDEMPTION! Cannot wait to read it. I know how you feel about the marketing… it’s tough even for we extroverts… so much of it rubs me completely the wrong way.

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