Happy New Year! Liz here, with guest Jess Lourey today – a great way to start the year, don’t you think? She’s celebrating the release of her new book, Bloodline. Take it away, Jess!
Bloodline, my 20th book, officially releases today. It’s coming on the heels of Unspeakable Things, which was my breakout novel. After eighteen years of writing and fourteen years of being published, I finally figured out how to tell the stories I was born to write. They’re true crime-inspired because I love the realism and the research. And just as importantly, they draw on my own emotional experiences because I think honest writing resonates, and I think there’s healing to be had (for writer and reader) if we dig into our truths.
I also developed both books (and many of my previous books) using something I call the Book in a Bag method. This method is based on the idea that every story is about the main character facing their greatest fear. So, when I begin a new novel, I first decide on my protagonist’s greatest fear. Next, I decide their A story (usually solving a crime) and their B story (their emotional arc). After that, I envision the inciting incident (the scene that sets them on the path of their A and B story) and the climactic scene (where their A story and B story come together and they face that greatest fear).
After that, it’s straightforward to map out the intervening scenes, which I describe in a sentence or two per scene. This method removes so much stress from the writing process because I know I’m on a sure path and can sink into the indulgent creativity I crave when writing. I’m so pleased with this method that I designed Book in a Bag kits for other people to use, and I’m giving away one to a commenter on this post.
But we know that good writing, unfortunately, only gets us so far. We also need viral marketing. I hit on something with Unspeakable Things that I replicated to great success with Bloodline: I send out era-specific review kits to a list of 50 or so reviewers that I worked with Dana Kaye at Dana Kaye publicity to develop. Unspeakable Things was set in 1983, so in addition to an ARC of the novel, I included an authentic Trapper Keeper (bought on Ebay) plus modern recreations of 1980s scented pencils, puffy stickers, candy, and lip gloss.
Bloodline is set in 1968. That kit includes fantastically authentic 1960s jewelry (found by scouring Etsy and Ebay), a small tub of Noxema, candy cigarettes, 1960s Betty Crocker recipe cards and matches (you’ll know why matches after you read the book), and 1960s-style nail polish. It is an amazing package, and I’m calling it the Perfect Housewife kit in honor of the book. I focused on getting that kit to Bookstagrammers, who truck in photogenic marketing, and I’m grateful for the loud and early buzz they’ve generated.
Want to see the kit up close and personal? One commenter below will get a Perfect Housewife kit mailed to them! I’d also love to hear your story plotting methods and your best marketing tips in the comments. Thanks for stopping by.
Readers, I have one of these – trust me, it’s awesome. Want one? Leave a comment below for a chance! Thanks for stopping by, Jess, and good luck with your new release!