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@chelseabwrites is on a rocket ride

another random way writers and readers discover each other

Debut author Chelsea Banning just published her novel, Of Crowns and Legends, a re-telling of Arthurian legend, and stumbled into a viral marketing moment that is the stuff dreams are made of.

On her website, Banning describes the book this way: Camelot's power hangs by a thread, but no one yet knows it. Its fate is tied to the children King Arthur was never supposed to have...

Despite the work that is done by the marketing departments of the Big Five publishers and Major Booksellers on behalf of the top authors, most writers are responsible for marketing their own work. We post on social media, email our friends, ask our readers to share our work if they love, solicit reviews, pay for ads, employ book-promotion services.

To connect with you, dear reader, we write the best books we can and then welcome any positive attention our stories can get. But breaking through the noise comes down, as often as not, to luck.

One tried-and-true marketing technique every writer tries is the book signing -- sitting at a table in a bookstore with a stack of books in front of you hoping for the chance to connect with readers one on one.

Banning announced a book signing in her local community. Despite RSVP's in the dozens, only two people showed up. Deflated, she turned to the writing community on Twitter. Response was swift, and overwhelming -- authors sharing their own stories of disappointing turnouts at book signing. Then Neil Gaimon replied and the tweet caught fire.

Then Margaret Atwood shared a story. Stephen King shared a story. Then NPR called for an interview. And since that day, interviews have been coming from all over the world and her novel sits at the top of the fantasy charts on Amazon. It is the kind of viral marketing moment you can't game, couldn't plan for, but can have huge implications for Banning's future.

It is such a happy accident that does two things for me. 1) Motivates me to keep working so that I have work coming out ready for whatever my breakout moment happens to be. 2) Reminds me that the Universe can hand you your dreams in ways you could never imagine, so you have to let go of thinking you can force it to happen in any particular way and be ready to go for the opportunity that may suddenly and randomly open up in front of you.

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