After Greg accepted Mahu, nothing happened for a long time. As part of the contract, I had to fill out a marketing questionnaire that was pages and pages long. I had to write about myself and the book, list people who might give it a blurb and list magazines and newspapers that might review it.
But the real part of marketing a book doesn't start until four to six months before the book comes out, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I decided I wanted to do some promotion during that time, so I got my friend Maury to help me design a logo that I could use. He worked with an artist, and we came up with two different designs. You can see the one I picked on my home page, at http://www.mahubooks.com/. It's basically a guy dressed as a detective, in a trenchcoat, carrying a surfboard that reads Mahu.
We decided it was the best because it said both "detective," and "surfer," and my hero, Kimo, is both. The other logo, which I really liked, showed a bunch of surfboards in a rainbow of colors, with the word Mahu across them. It was subtly gay and it showed Kimo as a surfer, but it didn't really say mystery, so I couldn't use it.
I did use the rainbow idea when building a website to show off the book. I built the site using frames, and the left frame consists of a ladder of links in the colors of the rainbow. I had to decide what I could offer on the site that would interest readers, and I came up with a couple of ideas.
When I was first researching agents and editors for Mahu, I put together a list of other mysteries featuring gay detectives. With a little updating, I put that list on my site as a way to draw people in. I began posting on gay and mystery newsgroups: Interested in mysteries with gay detectives? Visit my site. I did this a long time ago and got a lot of traffic; hopefully it will work again this year.
I also had professional quality photos of myself taken, and put them on the site for the press to use. I put together a dictionary of Hawai'ian words used in the book, and their definitions. I put up a guest book, and I started using my website address in my email signature and in postings on websites I visit.
I also started researching gay and lesbian bookstores as well as mystery bookstores, trying to decide where I could go to have readings that might publicize the book. And I considered hiring a publicist who was familiar with gay books to help me get the word out, so I had to search for appropriate people, contact them and discuss what I wanted.
I used the time to write another book in the series, too-- at least in first draft. All this stuff kept my mind off worrying about what would happen when the book finally came out!