Thursday, April 30, 2009

Feeling Chatty? by Christine Duncan

I have made no secret of the fact that I'm setting up a blog tour to promote my new mystery, Safe House, which is coming out in print. As I was doing this, someone recommended to me that I ask to be a guest "chatter" at a site that even has Writer's Digest's recommendation. I resisted at first, since I have done chats before and worry about them. While I dithered, I decided to see if others included chats in their blog tours.

As I looked around, I seemed to find more and more chat rooms but most seemed to be hosted and attended by romance writers and their fans. Novelsisterhood is open to all genres and the chats are regularly scheduled by publishers as well as other groups, but there wasn't much in the way of participation by mystery folk, although I tend to believe there is a certain amount of cross-over readership. (I did see a few mystery authors book their time on Novelsisterhood's blog.)

I saw no chats on any of the mystery sites except for Crimespace where the chat room was so little utilized that it seemed to be growing cobwebs. An attempt to inaugurate a discussion on crimespace about chats as promo elicited some interest--if I wanted to set one up a few people would force themselves to promote at it. I figured that didn't sound as though it would be wildly sucessful.

When I last had a book to promote chats were required. My publisher set some up, but it was understood that I would do others too--it was as much a part of the promo responsiblities as book signings. I attended them and promoted at them and learned to avoid certain ones. (It's not that I'm exactly a prude but some of those romance writers can get to be pretty....vivid.) But I wasn't noticing this great divide between the genres. So now I'm wondering: Are mystery writers just not as chatty as romance writers?

Christine Duncan is the author of the Kaye Berreano mystery series.


Morgan Mandel said...

Chatting is fun if you have time for it. Right now mine is at a premium. I'm lucky to comment on a few sites a day lately, but I do try. There are people who do have time and they appreciate a place to come and hang out and share. That's the target audience.

Morgan Mandel

Mark Troy said...

I think we're seeing a push back from chats and other interactive venues on the web. How much can anybody do?

Mark Troy

Suzanne Arruda said...

I actually booked a room on and thought I'd contact my readers to see if they wanted to visit some evening. The hermit in me says "no" but the author in me says "this would be good."
Maybe it's more fun with a friend. Anyone want to do a duo chat? Let me know - (2 authors might bring in more visitors)
Suzanne Arruda author of the Jade del Cameron mystery series

Lisa Logan said...

Traditional "live chats" are losing favor with the upswing of social nets and Yahoo groups. It's tough to find a precise time when people are available to chat. For another, once in a live chat, you can't do much else or you'll miss it. .

The popular answer these days is scheduled chats on Yahoo groups that offer author events. People can interact, go answer the phone, use the restroom, grab a snack, etc. and return without missing anything. Those who can't be there at all can easily catch it on the group later. So an author's efforts are rewarded with greater long term visibility--and bigger audience exposure.

Twitterers have blended the advantages of live and posted chat by using hashtag chats. For an example, search Twitter for #editorchat. I foresee this style of interaction growing in popularity, as it offers greater freedom--one needn't even be home to participate.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm not overly fond of chats. Being a guest blogger is great fun though. I like it best when the host comes up with what they'd like me to blog about. The secret to making these work though, is to direct others to visit the blog and to post a comment yourself. Also to read the other comments in case someone asks a question of you.

Too many guest bloggers don't do either.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Jean Henry Mead said...

I still attend a chat most Monday nights with writer friends and give a "talk" every once in a while, but I'd really rather be watching "The Medium," which is on at the same time. I've been chatting there for so long that I'd feel like a traitor if I stopped going. :)

Christine Duncan said...

Suzanne, I'd love to do a chat with you. It IS scary to do it alone.

Dana Fredsti said...

I've been doing a lot more chats since writing the romances as well as the mysteries - the romance readers really like interacting with the authors. I love the social aspect of it (and am, in fact, chatting with a review site yahoo group right now and doing promo for my publisher and getting to know some funny, witty women), but it needs to be planned, scheduled and then put aside for writing!