August 4, 2011

Made It Moment: Tammy Kaehler

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 1:14 am

Dead Man's Switch

Tammy Kaehler traveled far enough to impress me (and you guys know how much I love driving) for her Made It Moment. She raises the prospect of a whole new sort of marketing and approach to finding readers. Now that Tammy has found her Moment at a racetrack, I wonder where we all could look for ours? What specific appeal does your book have? Read on as Tammy reveals her own.

Tammy Kaehler

I’m guessing my Made It Moment is the first to have occurred in an airport parking lot shuttle. Which wasn’t what I expected at all.

My debut mystery, Dead Man’s Switch, is about a fictional race car driver, Kate Reilly. It takes place at a real race weekend at Lime Rock Park, a road course racetrack in Northwest Connecticut. My release date was August 2nd, 2011, but the actual race I’d written about took place on July 9th. Turns out, the timing wasn’t a problem at all.

My publisher agreed to get books to the race for me. Lime Rock Park’s management stepped forward saying, “We want to help,” and they did, by setting me up in their information tent on race day and publicizing that I was there. They also helped sponsor and advertise a launch party that a local bookstore—Darren Winston, Bookseller, in Sharon, CT—offered to host for me.

I traveled clear across the country (Los Angeles to Connecticut) because people I’d never met were throwing me a party and helping me promote my book. And it was as we headed to the airport for that trip that it struck me: I must have “made it,” at least a little, if a racetrack was advertising my book to dozens of thousands of race attendees and local residents, and if a bookseller was throwing me a party.

I’m back home now, where I feel less like I’ve made it and more like it’s time to clock in at my day job. But I have the photos, video, and the memories—not to mention the magical feeling inside because strangers 3,000 miles away believe in me and my racing mystery.

Before trying her hand at fiction, Tammy Kaehler established a career writing marketing materials, feature articles, executive speeches, and technical documentation. A fateful stint in corporate marketing introduced her to the world of automobile racing, which inspired the first Kate Reilly racing mystery, Dead Man’s Switch. Tammy works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars. Find out more at


  1. What a wonderful “Made it Moment” story! Such an exciting experience!

    Comment by P.I. Barrington — August 4, 2011 @ 1:41 am

  2. What a lovely and encouraging story for those of us searching for ways to sell books. Thank You Jenny and Thank you Tammy!

    Comment by Niamh Clune — August 4, 2011 @ 2:34 am

  3. How cool is that!! Yes, I’d definitely think I’d made it with that type of reception. Thanks Tammy for sharing, and thanks to Jenny for finding another great author to feature!!

    Comment by mountainmama — August 4, 2011 @ 4:56 am

  4. Great idea and sounds like fun!

    Comment by Gary Hoover — August 4, 2011 @ 6:23 am

  5. Wow, that’s amazing! Thanks for sharing this and best of luck to Tammy!

    Comment by Kelly Hashway — August 4, 2011 @ 6:38 am

  6. Inspiring story, Tammy. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Jenny.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — August 4, 2011 @ 7:50 am

  7. I just returned from a satisfying experience and perhaps some of my pre-promotion/work might work for other authors.

    This “event” was only for me and my novel, “Mountain Shadows.” In a 2.5 hour period on 7/20, we had 61 attendees and sold 52 books (could have sold a few more, but actually sold out!)

    This is how it came about. Early 2011 spring, I asked the historic society that deals with my novel’s setting, if they’d like me to do a walking tour of the actual sites in the town where the book plays out. They agreed and we chose a summer date. The “event” evolved as a walking tour, a bag lunch and talk and book signing.

    For their part, they added the “event” to their web calendar of events and put posters in their museum and around the town.

    For my part, I…

    1. Made sure all pertinent info was on my website.

    2. Contacted in person the local cafe to advertise bag lunches for the “event.” For two weeks in advance, they put the info on their sidewalk blackboard and gave the various lunch choices names of the characters in the book. (my idea — they liked it) I made sure to order my lunch while there.

    3. Walked into the office the local daily paper ten days ahead with a book and pertinent info. First talked to receptionist who sent me to editor. My pitch was perhaps this might make an interesting “filler.” The paper was buzzing and busy as all get out, but the editor took me to the news room and looked around, eyeing the one staff writer that didn’t look busy. He handed me over to Nathan who took my book, said he’d read it that night and call me in the morning. To my surprise Nathan did call me and it was evident he had read my book. He interviewed me with no promise of when or if it might appear. To my delight it made the front page — with a picture of the book cover — on the Saturday before the Wednesday “event.” If you Google “Book, tour help local history come alive” and choose Adirondack Enterprise, you can read the article.

    4. Walked into the office of the local radio station a week ahead of the event with a book and pertinent info. As soon as the newscaster realized I wasn’t looking to be interviewed on the spot, we made an appointment to come back a couple of days before the event, pre-record an interview to be play the morning before the “event.” He said he’d read the book. When I arrived for my interview, it was again evident that he had read the book. I think it went well and you can find it at http://www.WNBZ/northcountrytoday.htm

    5. Walked into several Visitor Centers and left handouts and a poster and talked to those manning the centers.

    6. I have two “sandwich board” signs that I always use. I can change pictures and copy and it all sits weather proof under Plexiglas’s. I made up both. One was placed in front of the museum for a week before the event and the other was placed in front of a house we were going inside of during the “walk” part of the “event.”

    With 62 of us marching down the sidewalk, we caused a stir. Pictures were taken and made paper and electronic notice. I’ve seen increased traffic on my website — and increased sales (as my “signed” books can be bought and shipped on my site.)

    I believe it can work for books with identifiable settings if you get the people in that area behind you.

    Comment by Patti Brooks — August 4, 2011 @ 7:55 am

  8. What a n incredible story, Tammy. Thanks so much for sharing it with us! And, congratulations on the Moment – I think you Made It!

    Comment by Alison DeLuca — August 4, 2011 @ 8:27 am

  9. That is pretty amazing. what a wonderful experience!

    Comment by Connie — August 4, 2011 @ 8:44 am

  10. Thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm and good wishes! I admit, some of knowing I’ve made it has to do with what’s shown to me from the people around me … so thank you for your part in assuring me I’m on my way!

    Comment by Tammy Kaehler — August 4, 2011 @ 8:52 am

  11. What a great story.


    Comment by Arthur Levine — August 4, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  12. I’m really impressed and might use this for my own book when it comes out. I like traveling anyway.

    Comment by Lisa Zhang Wharton — August 4, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  13. I think there is something for every author to take away from this tale.

    Find a personal niche, if you can, for your story and work that angle. It’s a non-traditional approach in some ways and a old as the hills one at the same time.

    Go Tammy!

    Comment by Karyne — August 4, 2011 @ 9:57 am

  14. That’s wonderful! Congratulations!

    Comment by Savvy — August 4, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  15. What a great way to rocket a new release! Such a “novel” approach! Thanks for sharing it.

    Comment by Kathleen Barker — August 4, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  16. Congratulations, Tammy. I forsee many race related events ahead for you. When you’re on your grand tour, come visit the Hangtown Speedway in Placerville. Small towns are so supportive of promotions tied to books. I’ve held many events at local venues mentioned in my first book. The proprietors love it and so do the customers. And so do I!

    Comment by Cindy Sample — August 4, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  17. I do hope stories of my approach to marketing will be of use to others in their own endeavors. I certainly took ideas from every author around who is/was willing to share them. If anyone ever wants to know more, feel free to e-mail. And thanks for all the comments and wishes today!

    Comment by Tammy Kaehler — August 4, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  18. I like the suggestion, Cindy! Smaller tracks might be another good outlet….

    Comment by Tammy Kaehler — August 4, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  19. I love your story, Tammy! Thanks for bringing Tammy here, Jenny. What a grand niche for Tammy! Many good wishes for much success with the racing mystery.

    Comment by Kaye George — August 4, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

  20. Congrats Tammy! Good luck with the book. Tx Jenny for another inspiring Made it Moment.

    Comment by Pamela DuMond — August 4, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  21. Congratulations on your “made it moment,” Tammy! Your determination and dedication to your niche is inspiring. I love how the track rallied around your book. You’re on the right track, girl! Wishing you much success.

    Comment by Rochelle Staab — August 4, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  22. You guys are all great–Tammy for writing such an inspirational Moment (I am still thinking, thinking :) and all of you for sharing your own takes and just plain congratulations. I love how this forum is a place of such joy. People share struggles, of course, but finding the Moments that make us feel like we’re on our way–well, it really touches me. I appreciate each and every one of you for the different ways you contribute. Patti, thanks for sharing tips from your own venture. Here’s to Made It Moments that never stop.

    Comment by jenny — August 5, 2011 @ 1:25 am

  23. What a terrific experience, Tammy. The stuff of dreams. Congratulations.

    Comment by C.K. Crigger — August 5, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  24. We should all have a Made It Moment like that one. Congratulations, and what a great idea.

    Comment by Marja McGraw — August 6, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

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