If you remember, just last week I wrote a post about balance. You can find it here. The one thing that has really helped me find balance is my super cool publicist. So today, I thought it would be apropos to have the Brothers Washburn, Andy and Berk, chat about our shared publicist and how he's helped build their platform as their first book Pitch Green is released into the world.
A GUIDE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS
(Or why are publicists super cool?)
I do not remember ever being lost. In my youth, I roamed the trackless wastes of the Mojave Desert surrounding Trona, California, but those waste lands weren't trackless to me. No matter what new byway my friends and I explored, I always knew how to get back to where we started. I have an accurate sense of general directions, north, south, east and west, and more importantly, I think visually, so as our old truck or dune buggy bumped and jarred over the uneven terrain, pictures of the landscape were continuously stored in my brain—a looming joshua tree, a scraggly rock formation, a twist in the road, a set of animal tracks. All were duly recorded as pictures that my mind could easily recall later for reference purposes.
When we had explored as much as we wanted, shot through our ammo, eaten all our Hostess cherry pies, gotten as dirty as possible, and generally had a great time, my mind pictures guided us unerringly home. I always knew which bend in the road to take, which direction to go.
Unfortunately, when I signed a three-book contract for the Pitch Green series with Jolly Fish Press, those homing skills did not cross over into the untamed wilderness of social networking and book promotion. I had entered into an alien world with landmarks and signposts that I didn’t even see, or when I did, I didn’t understand. Up to that point in my life, I might have glanced once or twice at my wife's Facebook page, and while I had heard the words “Twitter” and “Blog,” I did not think those things would ever be part of my world.
Suddenly, I was in a new land with unfamiliar terrain, and I was lost. I could not visualize the road, or how all the roads fed into each other, or even which way was up or down, let alone north or south. While there were many crisscrossing, bumpy roads in this new wilderness, there was no need for a rifle with lots of ammo or a box of dynamite, and though a Hostess cherry pie still helped smooth the adventure when the way got especially rough, I was woefully ignorant of the real weaponry that I would need in this strange, alien wilderness.
Enter Kirk Cunningham, publicist for Jolly Fish Press, and I discovered how cool a publicist could be for newbie authors like Andy and me. In what I know now were tentative first steps, he helped us set up our Facebook and Twitter accounts, gave us a logo from the JFP design department, and directed us toward Blogspot. As we took our first tentative steps down these strange roads, he stayed near to coach us in our new adventure and to warn us of the dangers along the way. Whenever we began to fear that we were lost, he was always there to gently calm us with the wise counsel, "If you don't understand, just Google it." Kirk has been a faithful and trustworthy guide through an dangerous and wild country.
So, what are publicists good for? In our experience, the publicist is a fountain of clear water in the desert, a source of invaluable information, expertise, innovation, encouragement and a nudge (sometimes a shove from behind) when necessary. By forming a Facebook group binding the Jolly Fish Press authors and management together, Kirk created another avenue for encouragement, blowing off steam, sharing information and ideas, and supporting each other. Of course, behind the scenes, Kirk is also doing important groundwork which we only occasionally glimpse in the news we get of publishing sub-contacts, media contracts, contest information, as well as overseas, film and TV contacts, and much more.
When it comes to promoting our books, Andy and I don't pretend to be savvy or to understand where all the social media paths might lead. But from what Kirk tells us, we’re on a path that will allow us to keep writing books. That's all we care about. Thanks, Kirk! You’re super cool!
We are two of 9 sons (16 children total) who grew up in the Mojave Desert near Death Valley. Our father was a dentist, who built up a practice in Trona, California, a small mining town. While we were growing up, he was the only dentist in town. As the good citizens of Trona mined the minerals of Searles Valley, Dad mined their teeth.
When, in turn, Andy and I went off to college, we left the desert and never looked backed. We thought we were done with Trona forever, but couldn’t have been more wrong. For about 35 years, I was a business lawyer working for international commercial finance companies in the mid-west. For about 25 years, Andy was a trial practice lawyer working in Southern California. We both have many years of formal writing experience. While we have kept our law licenses current, we are now having fun writing fiction full time.
After we each moved to Colorado for different reasons, we talked for some time about starting a business together. We have always been story tellers, first to our siblings, then to our own children, and now to our grandkids. Scary stories are a family specialty. A few years ago, I started writing a young adult science fiction series, so when Andy also tried his hand at writing fiction, it didn’t take long for us to come together as The Brothers Washburn on a young adult horror series. The tale is of course set in Trona, California, the perfect setting for a horror series.
The general outline for Pitch Green, the first book in our Dimensions in Death series, came together in November of 2010. We were attending a writer’s seminar in Manhattan, listening to panel discussions by top literary agents during the day. One night, as we rode the subway from one end-of-the-line stop across town to the opposite end-of-the-line stop, and then back again, we mapped out the basic elements we would need to expand a favorite childhood scary story into a full-length novel. Andy wrote the first rough draft, and then, in our typical tag-team effort, I took that draft over to edit and expand the tale. In the writing of the first book, the ground work was laid for both the sequels and prequels in that series. You can find The Brothers Washburn on Facebook, Twitter, their blog and watch their book trailer here.
And just in case I didn't already mention it, their first book, PITCH GREEN released on March 16th!