• Musings,  Promotion,  Rhodesian Ridgebacks,  Writing Ideas

    Face Masks to Make a Statement

    The coronavirus has made many changes in our lives. Writers are facing new challenges in ways to promote their books. Bookstores have been closed (some are reopening, but author talks and signings have been cancelled); physical author tours have been cancelled; conferences have been cancelled; libraries are still closed, which means talks at libraries have been cancelled; and the list goes on. Writers have had to resort to on-line promotions: contests, e-book sales, ads, blogs, podcasts, and so on. Recently, since many people stuck at home have taken up doing jigsaw puzzles, a group of writers I know have been talking about having their book covers turned into jigsaw puzzles.…

  • Guest Blogger,  Promotion

    Ways to Promote Your Books

    With so many books being published nowadays, how do you promote your books (or yourself)? That is the question Hometown Authors asked me.   For my answer, check out today’s blog on their site: https://hometownauthors.com/book-marketing-tips/get-noticed/   No laughing at what my husband did, OK?  

  • Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    WANTED: A Marketing Department

    I think most writers would love it if signing a publishing contract meant the publisher’s marketing department would get the reviews, promote the book through advertising, set up interviews (TV, radio, and print), and arrange a book tour (at least a blog tour). And some writers do get all or some of that, especially those writers whose books are being published by the Big Five and whose books are appearing on the top ten spots of bestseller lists, or those writers who have received humongous advances due to their notoriety. But, alas, most of us don’t get that support, even those published by the Big Five. Most writers nowadays must…

  • Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    Independent Bookstores

    While at Sleuthfest last February, I sat in on a session given by Joanna Sinchuk, manager of the Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore in Pineapple Grove Delray Beach, Florida. I thought about her talk recently when CBS ran a feature on April 23rd about Independent Bookstores. When the big box book stores came on the scene, and then Amazon, everyone predicted the independents would disappear. And yes, many independents didn’t make it, but between 2009 and 2015 more than 570 independent bookstores opened, bringing the total to more than 2,200 independent book stores in the U.S. However, theses bookstores are not the same as the small bookstores that existed…

  • Musings,  Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    Are Blogs Passé?

    Are blogs passé? I’ve heard blogging is no longer considered an effective use of social media. I don’t know what has replaced blogging, but I have noticed a drop in hits on my blogs. But maybe that’s because I’m running out of new things to say. I’ve focused on writing topics, but I’ve been doing this for several years now, week after week. There’s only so much one can say without being repetitive. I’ve also noticed that I don’t read as many blogs as I used to, even blogs that I always find informative. I’m not sure why, other than time constraints. I just don’t seem to be able to…

  • Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    Designing (or redesigning) a Website

    Recently a writer friend said her website was blah and asked if my daughter could help her, so this coming Saturday my daughter and I will make a “house” call to see what exactly is needed to give the writer’s website some sparkle. Meanwhile, I thought I’d check what others say a website needs in order to be effective. This article has excellent advice: https://www.spritzweb.com/resources/good-website-characteristics.html Basically a good website must look good (appearance), have useful information (content), should work (be functional/not broken), be easy to navigate (useable), and be easy for others to find (search engine optimization). Another good site to check is: http://www.commonplaces.com/blog/10-website-trends-for-2016 Some of the points here are:…

  • Book Fairs,  Promotion

    Author Events – Are They Worth It?

    Recently I attended an “Authors’ Day” event that was held on a Saturday at the Tamarack District Library,  105 miles from my home. I left my house at 7:00 a.m. and returned home around 4:00 p.m. There were 19 authors spread throughout the library. My table was located in an ideal spot, almost directly in front of the library’s entrance. I didn’t sell one book. So was going to this even worthwhile? That’s what I’m trying to decide, so I’ve been listing positives and negatives. Postitives The library has a Facebook page and advertised the event with pictures and short bios of each attending author. The library advertised event locally…

  • Blog Hops,  Contests,  E-books,  Events,  Promotion

    Doing Something Different

    I’m always trying something different, sometimes because of outside changes (lose a publisher or hear about a new publishing opportunity), and sometimes for variety (write sexy romances, sweet romances,  romantic suspense, straight suspense and thriller). Back in the mid ‘90s, my Silhouette editor told me about a new line that was being created. The idea was you often have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find Prince Charming. I liked the idea and that led to HEIRESS SEEKING PERFECT HUSBAND. Last year I put that book out as an e-book with Amazon and tried their Select program. That was new for me. Being in the program limited me…

  • Promotion

    ECHOES OF TERROR

    MARCH 22, 2017 Today is a special day for me. It’s release day for ECHOES OF TERROR my thriller set in Skagway, Alaska. I’m sure Sergeant Kenneth Cox (who spent over an hour with me in 2007 explaining what the Skagway police department would do if a teenage girl was reported missing) long ago gave up hope that this book would ever be published. And even though I’ve kept in touch with National Park Service Ranger Jacqueline Lott Ashwell, who helped me with the parts of the story that take place in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, she has undoubtedly wondered if this story would actually ever become…

  • Covers,  E-books,  Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    From Paperback to E-book

    Back in 1997 Silhouette published Heiress Seeking Perfect Husband under their Yours Truly line. I loved the story. It’s a “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find Prince Charming” type of story and is probably the most humorous one I’ve ever written. When the publisher dropped that line, my agent was able to get the rights back for that book. (Harlequin still holds the rights to the second book I wrote for the line.) I was lucky, not only to get back the rights, but also to discover I still had the disc with the finished manuscript I’d sent to Silhouette. Last summer I was able to…

  • Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    And the Pitch Goes On

    When I hear someone talking about giving a pitch, I think they mean they’re going to pitch a story to an agent or editor. However, last Saturday I attended a meeting for a start-up Sisters-in-Crime chapter where the program was to be “Pitches,” and discovered what we’d be doing is “Pitching” our books to the other members. Thank goodness, since this was my first time in attendance, I brought my four mysteries with me. (Just in case someone wanted to see them.) I also lucked out by being one of the last ones to give a “pitch.” That allowed me to hear how others did it. In truth, pitching to…

  • Promotion,  Uncategorized,  Writing Ideas

    Are You a Writer or a Promoter?

    Last week I received my Authors Guild Fall 2015 Bulletin. In it one article echoed the feelings I’ve had this year. Roxana Robinson, AG President, wrote “Should Writers Be Performers?” Her point, which I feel is true, is that over the years publishing houses, large and small, in order to help their bottom line, have been cutting back on their publicity staff and advertising budgets. Nowadays only those writers who receive big advances (because their books are perceived as blockbusters) will get promotional support in the form of dollars and staff. Other writers must provide their own publicity, either through their efforts or by hiring a professional pr person. Anyone…

  • Conferences,  Promotion

    Marketing: Killer Nashville Sessions

    I attended two sessions during the Killer Nashville Conference that dealt with marketing. On Friday afternoon Kay Kendall, Debi King McMartin, Anne Marie Stoddard, Julie Schoerke, and Jerri Ledford discussed “The Do-It-Yourself Publicist.” Later that day Claire Applewhite, Darryl Bolinger, Ray Peden, Nancy Sartor, Maryglenn McCombs, and Stacy Allen discussed “How to Launch a Book.” I’m going to blend what was said at the two sessions into this blog. Hire a Publicist? Julie Schoerke (JKS Communications) was the publicist on the first panel, Maryglenn McCombs was the publicist on the second panel. Both indicated that hiring a publicist can cost several thousand dollars. (I checked. That’s true. The initial contact…

  • Events,  Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    Social Media or In Person?

    Nowadays most writers post on Facebook, tweet or retweet on Twitter, write blogs, blog hop, hold contests, put on Facebook events, create video chats, and… Well, the list goes on and on because writers are constantly trying to find ways to reach readers. And the advantage of the Internet is we can be everywhere—in the United States, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, Africa—anywhere a reader can connect to the Internet. It’s great, but personally, I still like the one-to-one interaction of book signings and group talks. For me there’s something special about being in the same place with the person I’m talking to. Last week I had that opportunity. I and…

  • Musings,  Promotion,  Stress,  Writing Ideas

    Social Media Burnout

    On one of the on-line groups I belong to the discussion has been about blogs (Are they worth the time and effort? Do they help sales?), and commenting on blogs. (Are you being rude if you don’t comment or does it matter?) The topic has also included other social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Goodreads). With Goodreads, the question has been if giveaways actually result in reviews or sales? I’ve just come off two Blog Tours arranged by my virtual assistant, Florence Price. Because I have two mystery/suspense novels out this summer, Florence set up a series of blogs, interviews, and features along with a gift card giveaway for each…

  • Promotion

    Getting Reviews

    Last week I talked about how much I hate having to give reviews because even if I dislike a book someone else might love it. As a writer, I’m really facing a dichotomy. One of the top ways books are sold is through word-of-mouth, and if we take word-of-mouth one step further, it’s through reviews. So I hate to give them but I need them. This year was the first time I’ve actively tried to get reviews for my books. I actually went on a site, https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/109784-good-reviews and asked for reviews for A Killer Past. I had two people request ARCs (advance reading copy), which I sent. Of the two,…

  • Promotion,  Stress,  Writing Ideas

    BURNOUT

    I’ve just about reached my limit on the emotional and physical energy needed to publicize my books. I’ve blogged, guest blogged (I have a few of those still to come), talked to groups (and scheduled talks) created rack cards (twice since I had to change the release dates from what I’d originally been told), made a contact list and a newsletter to send to those I thought might be interested in these books, created posters, and am now planning a book party to be held in July. Of course I’ve also tweeted, posted on Facebook and LinkedIn and begged for reviews. Phew. According to a psychology article I read, burnout…

  • Guest Blogger,  Promotion

    Circles of Fate

    Last year Pam Thibodeaux offered me four spots in 2015 on her blogspot. (www.pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com) On May 9th she ran the 3rd of those blogs, that one was about A Killer Past, and in July she’ll run the 4th  blog, which will be about Eat Crow and Die. This is just one of many examples of the kindness writers show each other. (Tomorrow, May 21st, another writer, HiDee Ekstrom, will be featuring me on her blogspot at www.thewritewaycafe.blogspot.com) In Pam Thibodeaux’s Vietnam War era novel, Circles of Fate, readers see how lives are entwined. The same is true in my life. One decision affects another. Since I also believe one kindness deserves…

  • Promotion

    To Market, To Market

    I love writing. Sometimes the words and ideas flow. Other times, I feel as though I’m dragging them out of my head. But after a while I have a rough draft, then I edit and edit and edit until I feel the story is ready to go public. I query, wait, hope, and if the stars align, I sell the story. The publisher takes the manuscript, hones it to as near perfection as we can make it, and a book is produced and offered for sale. End of story. Right? Wrong. At least it’s not the end for most of us. Not nowadays. Once the book is published—even before it’s…

  • Blog Hops,  Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    T is for Twitter

    I have a Twitter account. @marisSouthHaven. I Tweet. I retweet. I favor tweets. I have no idea what I’m doing. Several years ago I watched Jane Friedman demonstrate how to manage a tweet account. She made it look so easy. I went home and downloaded a program that was supposed to do that. I never could get the people I wanted to follow where I wanted them and now I don’t even remember what the program was. I’m a Twitter failure. I have somehow (with the help of my virtual assistant) managed to get over a thousand followers. I know, that’s not many. And supposedly I’m following over a thousand…