Karen Brichoux

Current and Upcoming Books

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"Draws the reader into the story and never lets go." --RT Bookclub
"Brichoux reminds the reader how powerfully the landscape of 'home' can define a person." -- High Country News
Previously Released
"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews


Road to the Shelves: Bragging

February 28, 2004

March 2004 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: "The Road to the Shelves: Bragging"
*What I'm Reading


Due to the terrific response to my February ARC giveaway, I've decided to extend the contest for two more months. If you've already entered to win a signed ARC of SEPARATION ANXIETY, your name will stay in the hat for the next two months. However, if you haven't entered yet, drop by my website at http://www.karenbrichoux.com for information. Good luck!

ARTICLE: "The Road to the Shelves: Bragging"

Bragging is a boring habit.

We've all been to professional parties where some horrid little person corners us and proceeds to natter on about all of his or her accomplishments. "(Yawn) Excuse me while I find the restroom...."

So, not wanting to be left behind while everyone toddles off to the restroom, most of us have learned the equally dull habit of self-deprecation. "What? *This* old thing?"

After a lifetime of self-deprecation, there's nothing worse than sitting down to write what I call, "The Brag Sheet." (BS, for short.) The Brag Sheet is a single page of . . . bragging. It's not quite a press release. A press release is more formal. It's more like a page out of a garden catalogue ("Biggest red tulips you can buy!") where customers have written in to say that these Dutch bulbs produced better and bigger tulips than the bulbs of the leading competitor.

The first line of the BS is generally something catchy and informative. "From the author of the scintillating BRING ME THE JANITOR!, comes a daring new novel about sanitation fantasies...." (Notice the use of strong, stimulating adjectives! So stimulating, of course, that every author uses them, thus declining their value on the open market. Oh, well.)

The next line continues the use of adjectives, but tends to describe the author. "Hopscotch, Wisconsin author Darta B. Wilde takes off in a bold direction by uncovering the secret lives of motel maids who’ve cleaned your room once too often. Former Head Houskeeper of the Hopscotch Sleep-too-Long Inn, Darta brings stunning realism [insert more adjective abuse here]."

Next comes the title (MY BROOM, YOUR WINDSHIELD) and the glowing overadjective-ized praise from authors and reviewers who have read the books ("Phenomenal!"). After that is a small section listing the ISBN number, publisher, type of book, date of release, size, page count, suggested retail price, and contact information. Below *that* is another blurb listing the upcoming promotion efforts and "sales points" (how many foreign languages the previous book was translated into, the fact that Darta B. spent ninety days in jail for smashing a windshield with her mini-vac, etc.).

And that is the Brag Sheet. It takes a long time to write, because, well, it sounds silly and embarrassing, and gives you a tremendous desire to go find the restroom. But once it's written, it goes into a Manila envelope along with either an Advance Reading Copy or a copy of the book's jacket or both. Then the package (and dozens like it) goes out to reviewers, bookstore owners, newspapers and other local media, and anyone else who will spread the news about the upcoming novel.

Just another stop on the road to the shelves.


This has been a bad month for reading fun. But several rooms in my house are sporting a new coat of paint, so it wasn't a total loss.

SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley. I've been a fan of Robin's since I read THE BLUE SWORD years ago. SUNSHINE grabbed me and kept me in my chair until I finished it. It's a vampire/paranormal/fantasy, but written by one of the best.

THE PECULIAR MEMORIES OF THOMAS PENMAN by Bruce Robinson. Bruce Robinson wrote the script for the movie The Killing Fields. This is a fun novel about growing up in England. Hopefully, not too autobiographical....

TOUCH NOT THE CAT by Mary Stewart. Reading this was revisiting an old favorite. I first read it in Jr. High and it's been something I pick up every four or five years to read again.