Marketing Your Book

Today’s guest is Dana Wayne, a sixth generation Texan. She resides i the Piney Woods of east Texas with her husband of 39 years. She has two books published and each has won several top awards.  She will give one person who comments (chosen at random) the choice of either a signed copy or a digital copy  of her latest book, Mail Order Groom.   So, here’s some good advice, and leave a comment for a chance at an award winning book.

 

As an indie author hard at work on my third book, I have learned a lot about my craft. Some by trial and error, some from networking with fellow authors at various venues, and some from my own research or experience. Of everything I have absorbed about marketing over the last couple of years, three things stand out in my mind.

  1. It is the single most time consuming – and important – piece of the publishing puzzle.
  2. It begins months before your book is released.
  3. It never ends.

When I started this journey, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I simply wanted to write. I wanted someone to read what I wrote and enjoy it. I had no idea how much additional work would be required for this happen.

It’s not enough to write a good story; you must get the word out and keep it out in order to be successful. If you are fortunate enough to have someone handling the marketing component, you are my hero. But, for most of us indie authors, we do everything; write, edit, publish and promote. And, we must do it all on a shoe-string budget. Book signings are a given so I’d like to talk about some other ways to increase the visibility of you and your book.

I recently had the privilege of attending a marketing event sponsored by Texas Association of Authors, and gained a new perspective on this subject. A common thread was fan interaction, and social media is a huge part of that.

  • Email list – we all know this to be an invaluable resource
    • Allow fans a sneak preview of your book, the cover reveal, and to buy advance copies
    • Pick a Fan of The Month – gets special recognition on your website/social media
    • Host a contest where fans submit videos of them acting out a favorite scene in your book – feature the winner on your website.
    • Have fans post pictures of them reading your books.
    • Get to know your fans – poll their likes, dislikes and opinions on ideas for books, promotions, contests, etc.
    • Write a book where the fans decide what happens next.
    • Consider a fan page for major characters, especially if you write a series

More tips:

  • Media packet is a must
    • Short bio, photo, accomplishments/awards, positive endorsements
    • Excerpt from your book – maybe a hard copy depending on the circumstances
    • One page flyer with all this info in a concise, professional layout
  • Design useable merchandise for your book (t-shirts, pens, mugs, etc. Take-away from the marketing event: Paper swag, other than bookmarks/business cards is not a good investment)
  • Participate in an online book tour
  • Schedule a book reading
    • Retirement homes
    • Area schools/colleges depending on target age group
    • Local bookstores/coffee shops/libraries/hospitals
  • Contact local media about interviewing you (if your book is set in a real city, contact that paper about an interview)
  • If your book addresses a particular cause, partner with groups, clubs or other organizations that support it or similar ones.
  • Participate in local events/festivals
  • Create a book trailer (There are a number of free sites to do your own or have one professionally made)
  • Contests – Be creative. People love free stuff.
  • Offer to write genre-related articles to magazines
  • Host a seminar or webinar for aspiring authors
  • Be a presenter at a workshop, conference or writers meeting

A great resource, FREE, is at:

https://allfreelancewriting.com/book-marketing-timeline-from-pre-launch-to-post-launch/

The bottom line of all this is there are any number of ways you can spread the word about your book. A quick Google search will get you started. The only limitations are the time, and in some cases, the money you are willing to invest. It will be an on-going project requiring constant attention and participation to be successful.

Short Blurb for Mail Order Groom:

Emma Marshall is tough, capable and about to have her world turned upside down. Her father wants her married. She wants none of it. A jean-wearing, cattle herding, headstrong woman, she fights for her independence.

Tyler Roundtree is about to change all that. Sparks fly on their first meeting and she soon discovers she knows all about running a ranch and nothing about being a woman.

A world weary southern gentleman, a fiery, independent woman; a marriage of convenience was only the beginning.

You can find out more about Dana at her website:  www.danawayne.com

or follow her on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/danawayne423/

or Instgram at:   danawayneauthor

And add your thoughts on marketing in a comment for a chance to win an award-winning book.  Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Conflict Makes the World Go Around

Today’s guest is J. R. Lindermuth, a retired newspaper editor and the author of 14 novels, including six in his Sticks Hetrick crime series. He currently serves as librarian of his county historical society, where he assists patrons with genealogy and research.  He lives and writes in a house built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill Cody. Lindermuth’s  latest novel is The Tithing Herd, a classic Western.  He will give a digital copy to one of those who leaves a comment.  I’ve read the book.  I suggest you leave a comment.

All of us are defined by our desires. What we want, as well as what we need to sustain our lives. What a person is willing to do to achieve these desires creates conflict, both within ourselves and with others.

These conflicts–big and small–make the world go around. That is, our personal world–how we navigate in our personal lives as well as in our interactions with other people.

Conflict, therefore, is a necessity in any work of fiction if we want readers to accept the “reality” of our characters. Kurt Vonnegut suggested writers make their characters want something on every page. These desires, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant, reveal the nature of the character.

Such little revelations may not be important to the overall plot, but they give even minor characters a hint of humanity, something the reader can relate to and help stimulate interest in your people. Still, they shouldn’t be mediocre. Some psychological crisis or a secret which could relate to the plot would be better than Charley J. worrying will he have enough cash left this week to paint his porch.

Lester Dent, the prolific pulp writer and creator of Doc Savage, suggested introducing the hero and swatting him with a fistful of trouble right at the start and keeping it up throughout the story. That’s certainly conflict and guaranteed to keep the pot a-boiling, essential in a pulp story. But sometimes it’s better to spread the conflict between all the major characters and sort out the problems between them as happens in real life. We’re all individuals, but relationships with others are important to our overall welfare. Action is important to move a story, but it doesn’t always have to involve gunfights or car chases to be interesting.

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In my latest novel The Tithing Herd, Lute Donnelly is a former lawman obsessed with the idea of vengeance against the outlaws who murdered his brother. Lute is diverted first from his goal by compassion for Tom Baskin, a youth duped by the outlaws and falsely accused of rustling. Helping Tom enables Lute to regain a semblance of his true nature. He’s diverted once more when Serene McCullough, the woman he loves, begs his help in moving the herd cash-strapped Mormons have gathered to pay their church tithe. When the outlaws kidnap Serene and hold her ransom for the cattle Lute’s desire for vengeance is supplanted by desperation to rescue her.

Each of the other major characters in this story also have desires driving them to act as they do. Granted, most of those desires are of less significance than that of my protagonist, but they are essential to the action of the story and to their relationship with Donnelly.

The Tithing Herd is available from Sundown Press http://www.sundownpress.com/, the publisher; on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major booksellers.

For more about the author and his books visit http://www.jrlindermuth.net

And remember to leave a comment – even a short one – for a chance to receive a free copy of this classical western.

 

 

Write Out of Your Box

Today’s post is from award winning and Amazon Best-Selling author, Ann Everett. In addition, Ann is a top reviewer on thenextbigwriter.com.  She lives on a small lake in Northeast Texas where she writes, bakes, and fights her addiction to Diet Dr Pepper.  Today, she suggests that writers should step out of their writing comfort zone occasionally. And she shares a short piece she wrote – out of her writing box.

For the most part, I write steamy romance.  However, for my own enjoyment, I like to step outside the “love” box and pen stories that mean something to me personally. Today, I’m sharing one of those short pieces. It’s based on an account that came from my daddy. He served in WWII and enjoyed telling tales from that time period. Many were funny. Some were serious. And some were downright disturbing.

Daddy’s gone now, and one of the things I miss most is his storytelling. Regardless of what genre you write, I encourage you to step out of your box and record childhood memories and family history.

It’s what I love most about writing…long after I’m gone, the stories will live on.

HELL IN PARADISE

Hell in Paradise. It’s a contradiction, but true. Biak Island, less than a degree off the equator has a constant daytime temperature of one hundred ten degrees, but at night cools down to eighty. It’s a beautiful sandy coral reef off the Northwest coast of New Guinea surrounded by dense jungle, crystal water, and a mountain range reaching six thousand feet. The terrain is rugged and the humidity, during the dry season, is so heavy it wears you down.

There are no white people on Biak, and all of them have malaria and hookworm. They do most of the shovel and pick work, helping set up our camp.

I’m one of two hundred fifty with the 92nd Evacuation Hospital which includes doctors, nurses, and personnel. We are rated for a particular job, but all do what is necessary and take great pride in being able to set up three medical tents in two hours. It is here, where we receive the first casualties from the 36th and 41st divisions of infantry.

I admit, at first, we resented the nurses, feeling women have no place in war. But it didn’t take long for us to change our tune. With death imminent, they became what the wounded and dying needed…Mother…wife…girlfriend. They cradled dying soldiers in their arms until they drew their last breath. And I can tell you from experience when a soldier dies, he calls out for God and woman equally.

Until this day, it bothers me when I hear someone refer to women as the weaker sex. They may lack physical strength, but there’s nothing weak about their resolve. They care. They comfort. They cry. Then they straighten their shoulders, dry their eyes, and carry on.

Ann Everett embraces her small town upbringing and thinks Texans are some of the funniest people on earth. When speaking at conferences and to writing groups, businesses, book clubs, and non-profit organizations, she incorporates her unique brand of wit, making her programs on marketing, self-publishing, and the benefits of laughter, informative and fun.

Ten things you won’t know about Ann by reading her bio:

 

She’s married to her high school sweetheart.

She loves shopping at thrift stores.

She doesn’t remember her first kiss.

She hates talking on the telephone.

A really sharp pencil makes her happy.

She secretly wants to get a tattoo.

She thinks everyone should own a pair of cowboy boots.

She’s thankful wrinkles aren’t painful.

She sucks at math.

You can connect with Ann via Social Media —

Facebook     https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnEverett/

Twitter    http://www.twitter.com/TalkinTwang

Pinterest   http://www.pinterest.com/loacl/

Add a Pinch of Stress

Many years ago, I took a flight from Houston to Oklahoma City. It was a normal flight for me. But this time, I was seated next to a psychologist. He worked in central America, but was traveling back to Oklahoma City for a visit with his mother. He was very sell-assured and did not for a minute mind telling me of his accomplishments.

I noticed that we had arrived in the Oklahoma City area, but rather than landing, we were circling. Having landed at the Will Rogers Airport many times, I was familiar with the normal flight patterns. This was not normal.

After awhile, the pilot came on the intercom and said that while all seemed okay, the light that indicated the landing gear was locked into position had not come on.   We were returning to the Dallas Airport. (Dallas was the home base for this airline.) We would pass low over the airport and let the technical people study the situation and then make a decision on what to do.

This caused a great deal of conversations around the plane. But my seat partner suddenly became very quiet. The flight attendants asked me to help them prepare and I agreed. We took blankets and asked people to put their shoes, purses, glasses, etc. into our make-shift bags. When we filled up a blanket, we stored it in a restroom.

At this point, I observed a strange phenomena.   Women would hand over their purse with little objection. But when it came to the shoes, many were not easily convinced. They did not want to give up their shoes. (I never understood why this was necessary, but the flight attendants were adamant about it.)

By the time this was accomplished, we were in the Dallas area. We made a pass , slow and low, and we could see many people with binoculars, studying the landing gear of our plane. After a few minutes, the pilot was back on the intercom, telling us that the landing gear looked okay. So, they were not going to put down foam, because If the gear was securely locked in place, it was safer without foam.

My psychologist seat partner refused to give up his shoes. Finally, two flight attendants, both barefooted, came and told him that every other person had complied and we were in a holding pattern until he complied. Grumbling loudly, he handed over his shoes.

At this point, he became very vocal. He blamed his mother for his being on this flight. He hadn’t wanted to come at this time, but no, nothing would do for his mother but that he come see her. She wasn’t dying or anything. He ranted and griped the seat back in front of him so severely the person seated there ask him to stop shaking the seat.

This self-assured, confident man, became a basket case once a little stress was placed on him. My thought was that he really needed to see a psychologist.

As we approached the runway, we could see many fire trucks and emergency equipment lined up along our path. he pilot set the plane down softer than any landing I’ve ever been on, before or since. A cheer went up.

We padded into the terminal, all without shoes. Then airline employees brought out all the shoes, purses and glasses. It was a jovial group now that we were safely on the ground. They didn’t even complain about having to look for their shoes.

So, put your characters under some stress and see how they change. It happens in real life. It should happen in the lives of your characters. Even if they are not psychologists.

Share your moment of stress with us.  Thanks.

Award for A Silver Medallion

Another Award for A Silver Medallion

An Interview with Juan Grande

Interview with Juan Grande

Jim: Today, I’m interviewing Juan Grande. He lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and as I understand it, he was a big help to Crystal Moore in A Silver Medallion. How are you today, Mr. Grande?Cover - A Silver Medallion

Juan: I am fine, gracias. I not know where “Grande” come from. Please call me Juan.

Jim: Okay, Juan. Of course, Juan Grande translates to Big John. You must admit, you are a stout person.

Juan: Please forgive my English. I not know “stout.” My wife call me solid.

Jim: Okay. That works for me. How did you get to know Crystal?

Juan: My amigo Bull O’Malley call me . Ask I look after her. Help her if possible.

Jim:   Did he tell you what help she might need?

Juan: He say she want rescue two niñas, ah, girls, from bad man in San Sebastian.

Jim: Just how bad was this man in San Sebastian?

Juan: Muy bad. Kill people. Steal. Lie. I think drugs.

Jim: Kills people? Who is this man? What is his name?

Juan: He is called Josè Rodriquez de Allende.

Jim: Can’t the police arrest him, lock him up?

Juan: He is rich, powerful. Many men work for him. Maybe police also. He own police. We no get help from police.

Jim: That’s sounds like a big order. How did you go about it? And were you successful?

Juan: I no can tell you. Author tell me no give away plot.

Jim: It sounds dangerous. Did Crystal work with you? Did she help any, or did she just come down and ask you and your men to do it?

Juan: I ask her stay in Puerto Vallarta. Me and my men rescue girls. But she say no. She must help. She no can ask me do it and not help. I beg her stay in Puerto Vallarta. But she no let us go and not she go.

Jim: Did she actually do anything to help?

Juan: Si. Yes. She muy importante. She take girls away.

Jim: Took them away? How did she do that?

Juan: I no can tell you. Author tell me no give away plot.

Jim: Juan, your English is pretty good. Where did you learn it?

Juan: Mi esposa, ah, wife, take university in Texas. She speak good English. I learn some.

Jim: How do you know Mark?

Juan: Bull have home in Vallarta. I meet him long time back. He ride the bulls. He ride one time here. We have much memories.

Jim: Juan, it has been a pleasure talking with you. And I’m anxious to find out if you got the young girls free, and how you – and Crystal – accomplished it if you did. Thank you for your time, and stay safe from Josè Rodriquez de Allende.

Readers, as I understand it, Juan Grande was instrumental in the rescue of the girls. And while he wouldn’t say if they succeeded of not, I believe they were successful. Otherwise, Juan Grande might not be here today. But, I’m getting on the Internet right now to get a copy of A Silver Medallion.   Would you like to join me?

Kindle:  http://amzn.to/1WxoEaF

90 secondTrailer:   https://animoto.com/play/key7NqR0qbmN1JVWrCe8RA#

 

 

The Cairo Puzzle

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Today’s guest is Laurence O’Bryan.  He’s an Irish writer who has achieved some notoriety with his “puzzle” novels.  Today, he talks about his fifth in the series, The Cairo Puzzle.  I visited the Great Pyramid of Giza in February, 2017. … Continue reading

Make Flawed Characters Likable

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Today’s guest is Kristin Neva, an author and blogger who writes small-town fiction set on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Kristin’s first book, Heavy, co-authored with her husband, Todd, journeys through the first year after Todd’s ALS diagnosis as the Nevas … Continue reading