Random Chatter

by Rob Gregory Browne

Okay.  I got so caught up in getting the taxes ready, then my wife and I went through the lost-box-of-checks disaster Monday night, and Murderati completely slipped my mind.

The good news — for me at least — is that I had to pay enough taxes to make me feel like a real writer.  The bad news is that the Random Chatter banner above means I have nothing prepared for this week’s entry, so I’ll just throw a bunch of stuff out there and hope something sticks.

And my apologies to my fellow Murderati bloggers if I duplicate anything you’ve posted about lately.


Marshal Zeringue is always doing interesting experiments with blogs and websites.  Over the last couple of years he has been doing The Page 69 Test, which I participated in last year.  The idea is for authors to post page 69 of their book and give a little back story on it.

Now Marshal has My Book, The Movie, which invites authors to come up with a dream cast for the movie version of their books.  It’s actually a pretty great idea, especially for promotion, and I whole-heartedly agreed to participate.

The problem is, I have no idea who should play the lead in my book.  I love movies and can think of a lot of great actors out there who would do the part justice, but somehow NONE of them really seem to work for me.  Or maybe ALL of them do.

So while I struggle to come up with my own cast, I invite you to cast your book in the comments section —  although I don’t want to step on Marshal’s toes, so if you have any plans of posting on his blog, don’t spoil it here.


Yesterday, I was looking into radio ads and discovered that I could hit 20 cities on a fairly popular radio talk show for about $600 for a week.  I’d get one 30 second spot per show, with a few extras thrown in.

Coming up with an audio spot would be no problem, since I have a background in production.  And since the paperback of KISS HER GOODBYE is coming out this month (shameless plug: April 29), I thought it might be a good idea to run one the first week of May.

The question however is this:  do radio spots work?  I’ve spoken to some who think they don’t unless you’re James Patterson or Michael Connelly.  What do you guys think?


Not the flesh and blood kind.  The new baby is WHISPER IN THE DARK, which is being released next month by Macmillan in the UK (the US version comes out in January 2009).
Anyway, a nice hardcover and trade version arrived in the mail yesterday and I have to say it’s a wonderful thing.  A beautiful baby. 

So I thought I’d show it off here. 

I’ve been doing this for over two years now, but when I open the package and see that wonderful thing with my name on it, I have to say the thrill is as big as it ever was.  I’ve achieved the dream.  And I’m living proof that it’s never too late to try.

But as I said, this is the UK version.  The U.S. cover will be completely different in color and style, but just as beautiful (I’ve seen it and love it, too!) — and I’ll, of course, be anxious to show it off when the time comes…

I’m rambling.  I will leave you now with promises for something much better next time.

13 thoughts on “Random Chatter

  1. Wilfred Bereswill

    While I was writing my novel, I knew from the start who my leading lady would be. While I was doing my own character development, I needed to “see” her to do a physical description.

    All I could see was Evangeline Lilly from LOST. Her character on the show, “Kate” seems to share some of the same attributes. Ms Lilly also handles a gun very well and doesn’t look idiotic doing so. (For someone miscast as a woman with a gun, watch the Sentinel and look for Eva Longoria.)

    I’m interested in the radio thing also. I’ll be watching the responses.

  2. Pari Noskin Taichert

    Great cover, Rob. Congrats.

    Re: radioThe trick with any advertising is frequency; people have to hear your ad several times before it sinks in. Because of this, I don’t think it’s a cost-effective way to get the word out.

    The deal you describe might help raise awareness, but I’m not sure it’d translate into measurable sales. The attractive part is that it’s during a show with a moderately predictable audience. The less attractive part is that it’s only one hit (or so)/day and with all the other competition for listeners’ attention on the typical talk show, a 30-sec spot isn’t likely to sink in.

    Most people have Teflon minds when it comes to advertising — which is why frequency is such a big deal.

    my $.02

  3. Scott Parker

    Dream Cast:

    When I wrote my first novel (Treason at Hanford: A Harry Truman Mystery), I had my cast in my head from the get-go. I even printed out head shots from IMDB so I could refer to the pictures if I needed to. For my second book, Justice in H-Town, I have cast my leading lady. I have a few other castings but some of my characters are still just faceless folks. Their features will solidify as their characteristics do.


    I assume you are talking non-public-radio Radio. Can’t speak to that. However, if you are able to, say, buy some time on your local NPR station, that would do wonders. I listen to my local affiliate everyday and can all but name the main sponsors during the news segments. Also (and forgive me if you already are doing this), my local station has little local segments, half of which are arts. You might try to get yourself an interview there. It can’t hurt.

    Your New Baby:

    Congrats. I’ll be joining you some day soon…

  4. Louise Ure

    Like Scott, I’m a big NPR listener and have often purchased books I’ve heard ads or interviews about on the program.

    And your $600 price tag for the 20-city option sounds low enough to me that I might redirect some other promotion dollars to fund it with the next book. A loyal radio audience for a week would give you enough frequency, and the awareness it would generate is certainly greater than $600 dollars worth of postcards might do.

    Keep me posted on the results if you do the radio, Rob. I may be following in your footsteps.

  5. Louise Ure

    Oh, a second thought, Rob. The radio makes even more sense to me with a paperback release than a hardcover. If I remember average radio demographics correctly, they’d be more likely to spend $8 on something they heard about than $25.

  6. Louise Ure

    Sorry to horn in on Rob’s post with so many comments of my own, but … if you’ve got a second … go back to yesterday’s post about the Reader-in-Residence and check out the comment that came in 30 minutes ago … from Damian Barr himself.

  7. JT Ellison

    Actually, Pari is right on the money. Frequency is the name of the game in radio.

    (20 cities on a fairly popular radio talk show for about $600 for a week. I’d get one 30 second spot per show, with a few extras thrown in.)

    Rob, if you could select 8 cities, and pay the same amount to have 4 ads per day in each of those markets, you’ll have a better ROI.

    But even better is to take that money and advertise with a reader-based magazine. The problem with buying radio and television for books is the target market. Yes, you get your name in front of 150,000 people. But doesn’t it make more sense to spend the $1,000 on an ad in a magazine that hits 150,000 readers? A target rich environment is going to give you a better return, no question.

    If it were me, I’d take that money and place an ad in Bookpage before I’d do radio with that low frequency. Just my 2 cents.

    Gorgeous baby, BTW : )

  8. JT Ellison

    Then make your buy for Chicago only, and increase the frequency to 8 times a day for a week. It’s better than nothing, which is another thing to think about. It’s a good test, actually, if you’re willing to spend the money to show us if it works ; )

  9. gregory huffstutter

    The frequency comments are very valid… I evaluate traditional media buys for a living, so if you want to e-mail the proposed radio package, I’d be happy to look it over for you.

    I did a mock radio ad for JA Konrath in the comments here:http://mjroseblog.typepad.com/buzz_balls_hype/2007/02/the_ad_man_answ.html

    You’re welcome to use the idea and adapt it for your own purposes.

    And sadly, when casting my own book, my main character should really be played by Ashton Kutcher. How’d that happen??

  10. zhadi

    Well, when I wrote my novel, it was entirely based on experiences my best friend and I had while running a theater troupe. So I’d have to cast myself! Except 15 years younger…with a waistline… Sigh.

    Now I feel old.


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