Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Keith Raffel – SMASHER, Part II

Once again, I'm pleased to welcome Keith Raffel, author of DOT DEAD and the recently released SMASHER (both from Midnight Ink) to the blog for the conclusion of a two-part interview (see Part I here). If you have any questions for Keith, please ask in the comments and he'll stop by to answer them (be sure to check out his book trailer, too!).


cover_smasher DOT DEAD was terrific. Tell us a little about the next book in the series, SMASHER.

There’s a lot going on in the book, but here’s a breathless summary. A take-no-prisoners billionaire swoops in to try to seize control of Ian Michaels’ Silicon Valley start up. His wife Rowena, a deputy D.A., is trying her first murder case. While they’re out on an early-morning jog, a black car emerges from the darkness and runs them down. The police figure it a hit-and-run accident, so it is Ian who races to track down the assailant before he can strike again. As Rowena lies near death, he rushes to an atom smasher at Stanford to fulfill what may be her last wish – that he prove an unsung female physicist was cheated out of a Nobel Prize.

You've done both a "mini blog tour" and a traditional book tour for SMASHER. Which is more fun? Which is more effective? Any advice for a debut author?

I think the blog tour and traditional show-up-in-bookstores tour each play an important role. Generally, I’m trying to follow an archery target marketing plan. My efforts are most intensive in the innermost circle, the bull’s-eye, which for me is right around my hometown of Palo Alto.  If anyone in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Los Altos, or Mountain View has not heard about SMASHER, it’s not for lack of trying on my part. The local paper ran a two-page review of SMASHER, and my launch at Kepler’s Books had over a hundred people.

I’ve had events at two other neighborhood bookstores with the Stanford Bookstore and the Palo Alto Library coming up.  Then the next circle is the Bay Area generally. I’ve spoken at Ed Kaufman’s M is for Mystery, visited with Janet Rudolph of Mystery Readers International at a salon in Berkeley, and stopped in or spoke at more than a dozen other bookstores and libraries around the Bay. The next circle would be the rest of California. Along with Chicago thriller writer Libby Hellmann we hit the terrific mystery bookstores down south in Thousand Oaks and Westwood. The blog tour helps me reach the outermost ring of the target; I try to find potential readers outside of California with postings and interviews on websites, blogs, and ezines like MarketWatch, The Big Thrill, Criminal Minds, The Kill Zone, The Rap Sheet, The Well-Read Donkey.

What's your next project? Another Ian Michaels adventure, or something else?

What I’d love to do is follow Laura Lippman’s example of alternating between a series and a stand-alone. So that would mean a stand-alone should come next.  Last summer my then nine-year old son and I went to Israel. Out of that trip came my next manuscript, a stand-alone thriller set in Jerusalem. Lots of tunnel-crawling. 


Keith, thanks so much for the great interview and continued great success with SMASHER!

Raffel photo

For more information about Keith and his books, visit his website and check out his blog, DOT DEAD DIARY.



Unknown said...

Making the "rounds" in the blogosphere, you come across many interviews, blog tours, etc. I have to say - to both of you - that I have REALLY enjoyed Keith's interview here on AMBM.

Keith, you obviously cover many bases as far as promoting your books. Tours, signings, interviews and SPEAKING engagements. That caught my eye. Do you find a more responsive audience, more book sales with that venue, or do they all work together - all equally as important or productive in the "big picture?"

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

"Smasher" sounds like it starts off with a bang...and I need a book right now that will reach out and grab me. Thanks for the reminder that I need to pick yours up, Keith.

How did you get the word out about your launch party? I *really* hate parties...*really.* But if I had 100 people there, I might suck it up. :) The awesome and long review in the newspaper probably helped a lot, I'm guessing.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Keith Raffel said...

Thanks, Crystal. I think everything reinforces each other. Crystal, what you hope is to capture the interest of someone at a bookstore or in a blog and have that person tell his/her friends. I must say that, even today, I suspect the best place to be is in a big review in a general interest newspaper. The only trouble is that newspapers are cutting space for book reviews and laying off critics.
Elizabeth, I invited everyone I knew or could think of to the launch via Evite and snail mail postcards. Seemed to work.

Keith Raffel said...

One more thing. It might be far-fetched, but just in case, if you want to follow what I'm up to, send me a friend request via facebook or follow writerkeith on Twitter.
And thanks, Alan. It was fun visiting! Can't wait for Diamonds for the Dead.

Alan Orloff said...


Thanks so much for visiting the blog, and for the great interview. I know you've really cranked up the promotiion machine the past month or two, and recounting your experience is very interesting (and helpful!). GO SMASHER!

Thanks also to the commenters; I hope you'll give Keith's books a try. Like I said, I loved DOT DEAD, and as soon as my wife is done reading SMASHER, I'm going to read that.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Your marketing efforts sound smart. I see you did a local library. Have any plans to market to libraries nationally.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Keith Raffel said...

Galen, sounds like you know more than I do about marketing to libraries nationally. Give me a hint, please!

Deborah Sharp said...

This man DOES NOT rest! I'm tired just reading about it.
Run, Keith, run . . . (and kudos on the successful launch)

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, I do get my six hours a night. Off tomorrow to Men of Mystery in Irvine. Keith