It’s hard to come up with an idea for a story or novel, and it’s hard to write it, and it’s hard to edit it.  But what might be the hardest thing? Getting people to pay attention to your writing.

armageddon texasThis week, we’re talking about shameless self-promotion, and Tommy Zurhellen’s diabolical plan to Own The Internet on November 4th.  It’s called DRAGON DAY.

DRAGON DAY is Tommy’s creative take on promoting the release of his latest book, Armageddon, Texas–and you can help!  

Go to and read an excerpt from the book.

Then on Nov. 4th, share it with the world however you’d like: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, tell a friend, read it out loud in a public square, whatever!  It’s DRAGON DAY!

Also on the show: we get all the behind-the-scenes dirt on the making of DRAGON DAY, and talk about what kind of promotion works for writers and how to make sure it doesn’t suck all your creative energy from your actual writing.  Plus an interlude of internet craptacularity, in which Baker breaks a piece of plywood out of frustration.


  • We all give our updates on our writing lives–Tommy’s talking about his promotion efforts for his newest book release (which is the, uh, actual subject of the episode today…).  Jody’s working on a new book dipping into her past when she lived in Japan.  She thinks murder mysteries are really hard to write.  Baker agrees.  He’s waiting to hear back from agents, holding and holding, but wants to write a new kind of book even though he has the third book in his trilogy still to write.
  • Then Tommy drops us his big idea for DRAGON DAY!
  • Shameless tattooHe contacted one hundred writer friends of his and asked them to read the first couple of chapters and then, on November 4th (which is now officially DRAGON DAY), we’d all tweet and share and Facebook and whatever about it.
  • And we want you, Fiction Schoolers, to be part of DRAGON DAY too!  Click on this link to read the first couple of chapters, and then on November 4th, help us celebrate Tommy’s big day and share it with the world (tweet, like, tell people about it, etc.).  Thanks for your help with our work!
  • So we dig in on the place of promotion in the writer’s work and life.
  • We talk about the ways this shameless self-promotion can really tax a writer’s creativity, but why that’s important anyway.
  • Tommy talks about his goal to feel comfortable reaching out to the people he wants to read it–targeting your audience specifically rather than standing on a random corner hawking your book to anybody and everybody.
  • You gotta find your own way of doing promotion that doesn’t feel like a burden.  Do promotion in a creative and fun way that feels natural and plays to your strengths.
  • (And speaking of a burden, right about here, Baker’s internet goes out.  Insert about a 30-minute insanely frustrating break in which time Jody has to leave, Baker breaks a piece of plywood in anger, and Tommy meets with a student.  No kidding.)
  • Back on task: we talk about Tommy’s scheming for other books he’s done, such as the Postcard Blitz of 2012, when he mailed postcards about his book to every school, library, church, and whatever he could think of.
  • This time, in addition to DRAGON DAY, he’s doing the Postcard Blitz again.  This time it’s up to a thousand.
  • It’s a cool mix for Tommy working both the old school and the new school angle.  It works for him.
  • Why’s it hard for writers to do this self-promotion stuff?  It’s so time-consuming.  How do you fit this in with your regular writing, your family, your regular job?
  • It saps the same creative part of your brain, too, so you have to protect it.
  • But the thing is, nobody necessarily NEEDS your book over all the other books out there.  If you’re below the stratosphere of Stephen King or Toni Morrison, you have to promote it.
  • And it’s not even really all that sleazy–it’s just making sure people who might already be interested in your book know that it exists.  That’s essentially all self-promotion is about.
  • And that’s why you should be shameless in doing it.  Because you wrote a book.  So many people want to do it, or think they can do it.  And they can’t.  And you did.
  • Word of mouth is still the best way that books are sold.  Whether it’s on Twitter or Google+ or actual words from actual mouths, it’s all about generating word of mouth for other people to get talking about your work.
  • OK, so, let’s make DRAGON DAY an awesome day for Tommy Z!  Go to and you can be one of the first people to read an excerpt from his new book, Armageddon, Texas.  Then on November 4th, let’s make Tommy OWN the internet: tweet about his book, Facebook mention it, share it, like it, link to it on Amazon, tell your neighbor…
  • Thanks to y’all, our great community!  We love y’all.  Let’s hook TZ up!

OK, so, one last time:

DRAGON DAY is November 4th!

Go to and read an excerpt, then share it with the world on DRAGON DAY!