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05/25/2010

Tuesdays with Friends Introduces J. Michael Orenduff

Author 1.53MB  Okay you guys, this is my favorite Tuesdays with Friends guest ever. He says such nice things about me, and I'm telling you right now, flattery might not get you everywhere, but it will get you on KdBlog any time. Well, that and he has such a cool writer name. J. Michael Orenduff. I mean, seriously, it's like Julia Spenser-Fleming. Why didn't I think up a cool writer name like, K Danton Fields, or K Dillon Blacktooth. Man, I can never come up with cool stuff until it's too late. Anyway, KdBloggers, please welcome J. Michael Orenduff. (Can't you just hear James Earl Jones saying that name?) I'm so jealous.

 

I knew I was going to like Kadi’s blog when she wrote that the year 2010 has “such a cool name and deserves something special.”  So she started Write On Mondays for her tips on writing or other thoughts and Tuesdays with Friends for others to chime in.  So if it’s Tuesday, it must be a friend writing today, which I hope I am because I read the blog and like cats. 

           

I write humorous “cozy” mysteries.  The first one in the series was The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, published in 2009.  The paper version won the Dark Oak Mystery Contest, and the Kindle version won the “Eppie” this year for Best eBook Mystery. Then came The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolemy, 2010, which hasn’t yet won a prize, but I remain hopeful.  The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein is forthcoming this fall.

My publisher is a small independent press which means I have to do most of my own publicity.  After the first book in the series came out, I organized a book-signing tour.  Other small-press authors were skeptical.  Bookstores are interested only in big names that can draw crowds, they told me.  That’s true up to a point.  Any store will choose Dan Brown or Janet Evanovitch over Mike Orenduff or KD Easley.  But most stores don’t get those authors.  Remember they are in business to make money.  It costs them nothing to host you.  All you have to do is convince them you can sell a few books.  So I spent six months contacting bookstores in the Southwest because that’s where my stories are set.  It’s also where I grew up and spent much of my life.  I have friends and family.  Some of them know their local bookstore.  I sent free examination copies to any bookstore who would agree to accept one. Almost all did, and almost all ended up hosting a signing.  I sent review copies to small community newspapers.  Since I was coming to their town, many of them reviewed the book.  They rarely get asked, and I think they appreciated it.  I sent posters ahead of my visit so the store could drum up interest.  Needless to say, the tour was a great success.  I wouldn’t be telling you about it if it had failed, would I?  Because of that signing tour, I have been asked to present workshops on signings, including one last month at the Houston Writers Guild.

 

I’ll tell you my favorite event from my tour.  I showed up at Gallup, New Mexico just days after the infamous raid on artifact collectors in Blanding, Utah, not too far up the highway from Gallup.  My protagonist illegally collects ancient pottery, so the topic created quite a buzz in town.  One person asked, “Is this book about what happened last week in Blanding?”  ‘Yes,” I said with a straight face, “print on demand publishing is really fast.”

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