Friday, February 17, 2012

How Much Should Authors Share about Their Books in Advance?

Some writers choose to post long synopses for their novels on their websites before the official cover copy is even written. Some post synopses of their unsold novels. Others are more coy and don't even set up websites or Twitter accounts until a few months before a book's publication.

Where do I stand on the subject of sharing info about a pre-published book?

I'm leaning more on the secretive side. Anything I've revealed about the plot of In the Shadow of Blackbirds primarily comes from the short synopsis in the Publishers Marketplace announcement, and that single-sentence blurb mainly discusses the 1918 setting. On Valentine's Day I revealed there's a love story in the novel, but even then, I tried my best to give elusive, tiny details about what that love story might entail. Unless you've actually read the book, you still don't know my main characters' names, and you won't likely find them out until I release an official synopsis.

Why am I staying so mum? Why have I already turned down two opportunities to interview my main characters on other blogs?

For one thing, I haven't yet received my editorial letter. I don't want to share any information that might not even be true of my characters in the final version of the book. I also haven't yet spoken to my Amulet Books team about the novel's marketing plan.

Another reason is that I personally enjoy it when other authors keep me in suspense and offer breadcrumbs of information that lead up to a book's publication date. When I visit a writer's website and find only a short, intriguing, taunting Publishers Marketplace blurb, I typically follow the author on Twitter right away or sign up for his or her newsletter. I look forward to the gradual revelation of information: the posting of their official synopsis, their cover reveal, other eventual goodies like book trailers.

That being said, it's not easy to keep quiet about a book when you're dying to share it with the world. I can't wait to offer you so much more than a one-sentence blurb and enigmatic hints.

I'm also struggling to keep quiet about my novel-in-progress, tentatively titled The M— (the M part is actually a complete word, but I'm even going to be mysterious about what that initial stands for). I will tell you the following three tidbits about the book:

The M— is another historical YA.
• The book involves paranormal elements.
• There's a Black Swan-style, things-aren't-always-what-they-seem vibe.

On February 28 I'll be blogging at The Lucky 13s, and the subject will be what you'd find on the menu if you ate dinner with my In the Shadow of Blackbirds protagonist (without mentioning her name!). After that, I'm going to refrain from giving any more hints about either book until Amulet Books says an In the Shadow of Blackbirds synopsis is ready to be revealed.

My lips are now sealing shut.

The images on this post are from WWI posters that warned about keeping silent,
although they're referring to war-related issues, not book plots.


Ara Burklund said...

I think you're right to stay quiet! There's no reason to share info about content until the book comes out (or your editor encourages you to do so). Your book is totally unique--no way I want to hear about any knockoffs, intentional or subconscious!

Cat Winters said...

Thanks for the encouragement to stay quiet. Like I said, it's not always easy to keep mum, but I think it'll be a wiser choice to wait.

Kristen Kittscher said...

I often wonder the same! After all, it's a good long while before our books come out. And they should feel shiny and new when they do...

My lips are sealed, of course, but I did read your (slightly more forthcoming) description of your next book in our Lucky 13s forum and it sounded so good I want to read it right NOW.

Cat Winters said...

Thanks for your encouraging words about my new book, Kristen! The Lucky 13s board is the only place where I've discussed the novel much at all, aside from chatting with my agent about it. I'm hurrying to write as much as I can before my editorial letter for BLACKBIRDS arrives.

I can't wait until we can all spill more info about our books!!!

That goes for your books, too, Ara!