Shameless: Or, How to Promote Your Debut Novel on Goodreads

Susan DeFHot SeasonLeave a Comment

My debut novel, Hot Season, comes out on November 1st this year. Which means that June officially kicks of my Season of Hustling, which is closely related to (and overlaps with) my Season of Asking.

Over the last three months, I’ve asked for ongoing support from my friends, family members, and fans through Patreon, and I’ve asked for blurbs and endorsements from authors I admire, including Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins (as well as a host of other great books).

Jess Walter is a nice guy. I discovered this when he came on as an instructor in my MFA program; he spoke of his abject love for Kurt Vonnegut during one of his craft talks, so of course I had to accost him afterward.

I’ve been a fan of Vonnegut since I was a teenager, which is one of the reasons that when I sat down to write serious literary fiction in college, I found myself writing something like comedy instead–something that eventually turned into a book called Hot Season.

I later ran into Jess during the Tin House Writers Workshop at Reed College here in Portland. I’d walked out of a lecture feeling out of sorts–not because of the lecture, but by because I was back at Reed, the college I dropped out of in my freshman year.

I’d say later I was feeling haunted. Jess would later say, in an email, that I had “the look of someone who has found herself at a party standing in her ex’s kitchen.”

Jess, being a nice guy, was nice enough to listen as I attempted to explain the way this place made me feel. Nice enough, even, to encourage me to write about it, which I did.

That story wound up being a kind of ghost story, and it wound up in Forest Avenue Press’s City of Weird anthology, which is coming out in October.

Jess was not only nice enough to blurb the anthology, he had nice things to say about my story. Which led me to a question: Should I ask if I could quote those nice things he’d said about me in promoting my book? Even if they were not technically about my book?

As the title of this post suggests, I did. Of course I did. This is not the Season of Modesty, is it?

“Sure,” said Jess, “I hope it helps.”

So when I launched my first Goodreads giveaway on Friday, I had to lead with that. After all, if a New York Times bestselling author says even a grocery list you have written is “terrific,” that’s just what you do, right? 😉

(Want a free Advance Reader Copy of Hot Season? On Goodreads? Enter the giveaway!)

Leave a Reply