Leaves and things: At least Maine is easy to market

As I’m sure many readers of this blog are aware, writers have to do a lot of their own marketing and promoting. The good old days — well, I’m not sure what people did in the good old days before the digital onslaught and social media. Something, I’m sure.

Social media is the greatest free marketing tool ever. To a point. While social media gives, it also takes away. Too much of even a good thing is too much for a lot of people on the receiving end.

That occurred to me a week or so ago when I realized the release of the audio version of BAD NEWS TRAVELS FAST is imminent, and I really ought to do something about it. Something other than simply announce it was out and hope people bought it.

Route 16 between Dover-Foxcroft and Bingham at dusk in August. I HAD to get out of the car to take a photo.

One nice thing about an audio book is that there’s audio. I also take a lot of photos — I almost always have the “real camera” with me. I take photos mostly because I think Maine is pretty and offers great photo ops. But I also take them to help my writing. Since my books are set in Maine, I want to get the feel right. I try to take photos of the area where the books are set at the time of year they’re set in to help me remember, for instance, when I’m sitting in a cold living room at 5 p.m. on a dark December night, what a June evening is like.

So, thinking about the marketing, I got one of those ideas that made me feel like a genius for about 15 seconds What if I paired a minute or so of the BAD NEWS FAST audio with photos I’d taken of where the book opens?

The trail head in Carrabassett Valley where some very bad things happen… in fiction, of course.


After about three hours of fiddling around with iMovie (not the greatest app. #sorrynotsorry, Apple!) I had a neat little movie.

Check it out on YouTube by clicking here. YouTube was an afterthought (it has NOT gone viral, in case you were wondering). I posted it on Facebook and Twitter and have a vague intention of tackling Instagram with it.

If nothing else, at least it was fun and I got to use my photos.

And that got me thinking, too. I had the great privilege and pleasure to speak at Dick Cass’s continuing education class on Maine mystery writers a few months ago. One of the students asked me something like, “You sure do a lot of describing of leaves and things like that.”

Okay, not really a question.

But yeah, I do. Me and Thoreau. It made me a little nervous that maybe I pay too much attention to setting. Memo to self: Fewer leaves in the next book. Fortunately, it takes place in December.

On the other hand, I recently wrote on this blog about someone who had something nice to say about a description in my book, so strike that leaves memo! Bring them on.

The Carrabassett River. I’m sure I do “lots of describing” of it in my book, as one reader would say.

Back to the topic. What if, I thought, I make a little video, pairing photos with excerpts from my book? It just might work.

I haven’t done it yet, but I’ll let you know how it comes out when I do.

It makes me glad, as always, that I live in the great state of Maine, where you can’t walk out the door without seeing something pretty to take a photo of. Or describe in a book.


About Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. Follow her on Twitter at @mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Sign up for email updates at maureenmilliken.com. She hosts the podcast Crime&Stuff with her sister Rebecca Milliken.
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6 Responses to Leaves and things: At least Maine is easy to market

  1. One seldom discussed aspect of Maine is that there are certain spots where your compass is useless. I know of two, one on the upper run of the north branch of the Dead River, the other just north of Calais. In both places, the sun hangs in the sky in total opposition to any compass known to man.

  2. Nice video, Maureen – I hope it gets some attention and boosts your sales. Happy new year!

  3. LynnMariePelletier says:

    I love the idea of adding video and/or photos to books, even if they are on you tube, separate from the actual book. When I was a young reader, I really looked forward to the illustration at the beginning of each chapter – a video adds a lot to the experience. Thank you.

  4. Amber Foxx says:

    When you have a unique setting, descriptions of “leaves and things” make it come alive. Generic settings don’t require this. I’m sure your readers who appreciate the feeling of being in a particular place in Maine. (I’m sure I spend a lot of time describing rocks, lizards, Turtleback Mountain, pink and blue and purple houses, the smell of desert rain, etc. to make Truth or Consequences, NM come alive.) Thanks for the pictures. I haven’t been to Maine for a couple of years. I’m getting motivated.

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