Random Acts of Publicity– Jacqueline McMahon

Literature Blogs
Continuing in the three days of Darcy’s Random Acts of Publicity, I interviewed adult thrill writer Jacqueline McMahon.

Sandy: You are such a nice person. Where do you get your ideas for such creepy villains?

Jacqueline: Well thank you for the compliment and I’m glad you don’t think I’m the role model for my villains. It’s weird but I have molded Mel Hanson, my first villain, partially after someone I once knew who had a real dark side hidden under what most people thought was an outgoing, wonderful person. I also try to think of what would scare me in a villain and use that to add more characteristics. But the other side of my villain is to find a reason for the behavior. I don’t think villains are as scary when they are just mean to be mean. I wanted just a touch of vulnerability in Mel. The reader may never feel sorry for him but they will perhaps understand how he could get the way he is now.

Sandy: For today’s writers, creativity is only part of the game. Can you address some things you have done on the business side (marketing, publicity, booksignings, etc.)?

Jacqueline: This is definitely the harder part of the writing business, at least for me. I’d much rather spend long hours inside my book world with my characters than trying to figure out how to market myself. That being said though, I have done a lot of reading and researching on this topic and have utilized several ways to get myself known and also to publicize my book.


Facebook page for my writing

Blog posts about my book, the genre (suspense), publishing tips etc.

Asking colleagues to write reviews or allow me to post their comments after reading the book

Sent out a mass email to friends/family/colleagues/business contact etc. advertising my book.

Added my book to a bunch of sites including Goodreads, The Book Marketing Network, Linkedin, Red Room (where the writers are). My book is also available at the publisher’s website (Red Rose Publishing), on Bookstrand, Allromancebooks.com, Amazon (kindle store) and some other ebook sites.

Wrote a press release and published it online.

Sent a press release to local papers.


I did an e-book signing event at the local public library (burned copies of my ebook and some extras like bios of my heroine and villain, the first chapter of the sequel, my bio and all the places where my ebook can be bought). I offered some prizes (made mugs/bags/journals with my book cover on them at Cafe Press) and also had a huge cake with the cover of my book printed on the top. That event was very successful and I could autograph the CD copies for everyone.

Set up a table at different local events, again with CD copies of my ebook, and sold them that way.

I am booked to speak at a retired teacher’s sorority meeting, a book club and for a church group.

Took several copies of my ebook on CD to a local writers’ club meeting and sold a few copies there as well.

Did an interview with a local arts & culture magazine

Sandy: Your book is very successful as an ebook. How did you decide to publish in this venue and would you recommend it to others?

Jacqueline: I hadn’t given ebook versus print book any thought until I was propelled into the whole digital publishing world. I pitched my book to a publisher, who asked to read the full manuscript. They offered me a contract. Initially, they publish new authors in ebook format first. Books that sell well eventually get into trade paperback print form as well. I’m currently waiting to get the book into print, which I believe will open it up to yet another audience. Although many people are moving toward ebooks and ebook readers, just as many, maybe more, still like the feel of a real book in their hands.

The whole ebook technology means that more new authors can have a shot at being published (and I don’t mean self-published). Smaller publishers can invest in ebooks without the same cost as the print run, therefore likely being able to publish more works and perhaps take a chance on a new writer where the bigger, traditional publishers may not.

I think everybody should decide for themselves whether they want to go the ebook route or the print route

Sandy: Where is your favorite place to be creative?

Jacqueline: Although I’m faster at my desktop (downstairs in the dining room where it’s bright from my bay window), when I need to think and create, I head for my second floor bedroom. It’s painted a burgundy color with beautiful white wooden trims and a white ceiling. I have twinkle lights all around the ceiling. My wooden bookcases and cupboards are in there as well. The whole room is so warm and rich feeling and also so comforting and welcoming. I find myself capable of my best creativity in there. And believe it or not, my best creativity comes in the form of using pen and paper. I have tons of different hard and soft cover notebooks that I use, often keeping one of each project. I plotted an entire suspense novel (my 3rd) in an entire afternoon in that room.

Sandy: What three recommendations do you have for other writers?

Jacqueline: Don’t jump the gun. Make sure your work is the best it can be before querying or subbing it anywhere. (I can’t stress this enough)

Be prepared for rejection. It’s inevitable and it can happen over and over. It’s what you learn from the rejections that can help you succeed as a writer

Find a group of writing colleagues that you trust and who are on the same path to publication. Make sure they are as serious as you are. Without my critique group, I’d never have gotten this far. I respect their opinions and their comments and continue to learn so much from them.

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