GIVING BIRTH ONCE AGAIN!

I feel like I’ve just had another child! COYOTE SERIES (BOXED SET) http://ow.ly/APiSg just went up on Amazon. This combines the three Coyote books, Blue Coyote Motel, Coyote in Provence, and Cornered Coyote. A number of people said they’d like to read all three in order, thus the boxed set.  They all are “stand-alone” books, but I thought it was a good idea. Here it is!3D (1)

If you haven’t read one or all of them, here’s a brief summation:

“Discover why this trilogy of fast –paced, suspense novels has received over ’175′ five star reviews on Amazon, has been a Chanticleer CLUE award finalist, a Quarter finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest, been featured in the Top Ten Books at Authorsdb, been the Book of the Month at several Book Clubs and is at the top of a few good lists on Goodreads.

The story revolves around the rags to riches rise of Maria Brooks who marries a deranged genius working in the pharmaceutical industry. Drug addiction, anti-aging, art theft, murder and the reader’s favorite – Slade Kelly, a flawed, noirish undercover detective makes this an engaging and entertaining read. The action spans the globe – from the barren deserts of California to the snow-capped Himalayas, with stopovers in breathtaking Provence, ritzy New York and windy Chicago.

Sweet, orphaned Afghan girls, dreaded gangsters in the mafia, dirty politicians and unscrupulous businesses make their presence felt as the series weaves along at a sprightly pace. “Will Maria go to prison ‘forever’? Will Slade die in a gun battle with the FBI? Will the motel guests be able to break the inadvertent drug habit they picked up at the Blue Coyote? Who are those little Afghan girls in the barn in Provence? Will Jordan and Maria ever find happiness?”

Enjoy! 

DOES HUMOR BELONG IN YOUR BOOK?

Yankee Club with the rose

Michael Murphy is one of my favorite authors. I discovered him when his novel, Goodbye Emily, was recommended to me. If word of mouth helps to sell a book, I should get a prize for the number of people I’ve told about it. If you’ve heard of Woodstock or can remember it, you’ve got to read the book. When I learned that he had a new book out, I asked if he’d write a column for my blog and here it is. Trust me, this is someone who knows humor well and we can all learn from him!

Four Reasons Authors Should Incorporate Humor in their Writing

Many authors are hesitant to utilize humor in the stories, even though readers love humor in most any genre. Nelson DeMille interjects humor in fast-paced frightening thrillers. Stephen King’s stories are chilling and often absurdly humorous which he uses to enhance scenes and characters.

Writing humor is not as difficult as some writer imagine. Humor results from conflict, the same as drama. The perspective is different.

Think of two great slapstick comedians, Charlie Chaplin and Dick Van Dyke. They could fall down stairs or struggle to lift a heavy object and it’s funny. In other situations, other stories, a fall down stairs would be a tragic.

There are many reasons for authors to utilize humor in their writing:

  • Humor can complement suspense by temporarily lessening tension
  • Enable an author to address serious issues
  • Allow an author’s work to stand out from others in their genre
  • Enhance characterization

Humor has always been an important part of my writing, even in my recently released historical mystery set in 1933, The Yankee Club. The story unfolds during the Prohibition-era in New York City.  This is my 9th published novel, but I’ve never attempted to write a true historical fiction and wondered whether I’d be able to capture the life and times of 1933, particularly whether my humor would translate to life in the thirties.

The use of humor in my previous novel, Goodbye Emily, allowed me to address serious issues faced by aging baby boomers. Of the three principle characters in that novel, one struggled with broken heart syndrome over the loss of his wife, his career and the possible separation with his only daughter. Another, a Vietnam vet, struggled with drugs and PTSD. The third had been placed in a nursing home with Alzheimers.

Without humor, the novel would present these conditions in a more serious manner and would no doubt depress readers rather than offer an optimistic look at the future of our aging baby boomers, the novel’s theme. Equally as important, the main character, Sparky, would be presented with a more sullen makeup.

In 1933, our country’s economy was on the brink of collapse, and Prohibition had led to the rise of organized crime. 12 million people were out of work. Many were homeless, and some turned to extremist politicians, Nazis on the right and communists on the left. Nothing funny about that at all.

The humor in The Yankee Club addresses these issues within the framework of a mystery based on historical events. The two main characters grew up in modest homes in Queens, but at the start of the novel, Jake Donovan is a successful mystery writer and Laura Wilson is a popular Broadway actress. Both deal with guilt over their successes which have isolated them from the poverty suffered by most.

Jake and Laura find themselves in danger often in The Yankee Club. Humor diffuses the suspense, enhancing the tension at the same time. Like I did in Goodbye Emily, I created humorous scenes and characters so the story would unfold while addressing the difficult issues of the times. My goal was to weave mystery and romance much like the movie series that inspired the story, The Thin Man movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy.

I encourage authors to look for ways to utilize humor within their genre the same way they create drama; utilize conflict in a scene. Humor will enhance the drama and the work will stand out from the crowd.

******************************************************************************The Yankee Club   http://www.amazon.com/Yankee-Club-Jake-Laura-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00IHMFANK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409068819&sr=1-1&keywords=the+yankee+club

A mystery writer returns to the bright lights and dark alleys of New York City—uncovering a criminal conspiracy of terrifying proportions.

In 1933, America is at a crossroads: Prohibition will soon be history, organized crime is rampant, and President Roosevelt promises to combat the Great Depression with a New Deal. In these uncertain times, former-Pinkerton-detective-turned-bestselling-author Jake Donovan is beckoned home to Manhattan. He has made good money as the creator of dashing gumshoe Blackie Doyle, but the price of success was Laura Wilson, the woman he left behind. Now a Broadway star, Laura is engaged to a millionaire banker—and waltzing into a dangerous trap.

Before Jake can win Laura back, he’s nearly killed—and his former partner is shot dead—after a visit to the Yankee Club, a speakeasy dive in their old Queens neighborhood. Suddenly Jake and Laura are plunged into a conspiracy that runs afoul of gangsters, sweeping from New York’s private clubs to the halls of corporate power and to the White House itself. Brushing shoulders with the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Cole Porter, and Babe Ruth, Jake struggles to expose an inconspicuous organization hidden in plain sight, one determined to undermine the president and change the country forever.

A FAMILY REUNION? YOU’VE GOT TO BE CRAZY!

I’ve mentioned before that I contribute to the Huffington Post. Here’s my latest article on “the dreaded family reunion.”file000773519295

I remember when it started. A year and a half ago my husband walked into my office and said, “Guess what? My brother just e-mailed me and he thought it would be a great idea if we had another family reunion. What do you think? They’re looking at some place in California.”

A million thoughts flooded through my mind. What if they want to come to our house? What will I feed everyone? Where will they stay? Where will they go? One of the secrets of a long marriage is knowing when not to say what you’re thinking. I replied, “Sure, that would be great. Why don’t you write them all and suggest several places, like Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and Southern California.”

This was my husband’s side of the family, a small family, but still…that would still add up to a lot of work. Copious emails later we discovered everyone wanted to come to Southern California — home of Mickey Mouse and the beach — and where we lived. Our daughter and her family live close by and our son and his wife, Seattleites, would stay with us. Nineteen people (not counting the animals who would accompany the people) would be attending the reunion.

The first thing to do was pick a date. No problem. Found one that worked for everyone. We never thought to consult the local Huntington Beach calendar. Next on the “to-do” list was to secure housing for the rest of the group. We live in Huntington Beach, close to the Pacific Ocean, so that was a no-brainer — had to be a hotel on the beach. Right? Wrong! Found out the U.S. Pro Surfing Championship was being held that week and the room rates were understandably elevated. When you live near the beach and you’re in the tourist industry, there’s a small window for making a major profit and this was definitely the profitable season.

Many motels and hotels later we found one that worked. Next on the list was to figure out, based on arrival and departure schedules, how many people would be eating meals at our home and when. That was the difficult part. Everyone was arriving at a different time and taking off at a different time. I finally resorted to a spreadsheet. I decided to have bagels, sweet rolls and make-ahead casseroles for breakfasts. Lunches would be a “make it yourself sandwich bar.” Between the beach, Disneyland, shopping (that was a priority for the teens and early twenty set — fortunately our daughter is “queen of the outlets” and was happy to take on that role), I had no idea how many people would make it to the house for those meals.

My husband pulled up information on all of the different places they could go, kinds of things they could do, and made more lists. He also emailed everyone a map with directions on how to get to our house. This turned out to be critical because people landed at airports in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Ana — and some even drove. Naturally, the City of Los Angeles, in its infinite wisdom, decided to close down the major arterial street to the Los Angeles International airport during their stay. I still find it hard to believe that a city the size of Los Angeles cannot find another time for street repairs — July in Southern California??? Peak tourist time??? What were they thinking???

My husband emailed everyone to get the T-shirt sizes for all the attendees and we had them made with “Harman Family Reunion” superimposed over crossed surfboards on a dark blue background (after all, Huntington Beach is “Surf City!” Everyone was required to wear theirs for the “photo shoot” on the last night. We gathered up “boogie boards” the beach crowd could use for modified surfing. We packed duffel bags full of towels, knowing they wouldn’t have space in their luggage to bring any.

Lists for meals, lists for ingredients, what to get when so it wouldn’t spoil. How much could I make beforehand and freeze? My desk was littered with lists! We had people arriving from North Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, and Washington. That includes a lot of different food likes and dislikes, never mind that the ages ranged from 76 to 4 ½. We had a popcorn machine complete with sacks. For dessert there was cheesecake, carrot cake, chocolate mousse, cookies, and frozen popsicles, etc. for the little ones. Casseroles, hamburgers, barbecued salmon (on the slow night when most of the attendees were at Disneyland), and a Mexican fiesta the last night complete with margaritas. Don’t think bottled bubbles are a part of a fiesta, but the children loved them. The afternoon before the fiesta my son and I went through boxes of family photos and put the relevant ones on a large oak table in the house.

I had a conversation (actually it was more of a plea) every morning with the wind gods regarding the ocean breeze that comes up at 3:30 in the afternoon and makes eating on the patio impossible. Fortunately, they listened and cooperated with a rare inversion that left the evenings wind free and warm.

Were there foul-ups? Of course. Somehow my grandson’s (age 8) T-shirt was an adult medium. He was not thrilled with wearing it to the family “photo shoot,” but was a good sport. It came off immediately after the shoot. Somehow I lost eight hamburgers. We made them ahead of time and put them in the freezer. I took the patties out of the freezer the morning we were going to have them for dinner and didn’t see the two packets on the bottom of the freezer. Fortunately, we had just enough even without the “ones hiding.”

As we get older, we realize how precious family is. A shared history, genes, and relatives bring one together in a way nothing else can. Was a good time had by all? I think so. But I wonder if they all slept as well as I did the night they left!

Will it find a place in one of my books? Probably!

***WHAT DOES YOUR MUSE LOOK LIKE?***

BCM_KDP 1.0

I have no idea why, but I picture my Muse as a woman who escaped from a fairy tale. She’s got long black hair, a purple robe trimmed in ermine, and vivid blue eyes.

She generally comes to me around three a.m. and whispers in my ear. My muse tells me stories that I need to tell, characters I need to write about, social issues that need to be aired, and solves the problems I’m having with a story lines and situations. I never know when she’s going to pay me a visit, but I’ve learned to keep notes after each visit!

The first time she appeared it was in Palm Springs, California. My husband and I were at a wedding and it was 107 degrees in October. The wedding was to be held outside. The old boutique hotel the wedding party had taken over had recently been renovated and the air conditioner was completely silent. Words tumbled out of my mouth that only could have come from the Muse. “Tom,” I said to my husband, “wouldn’t it be interesting if someone put a ‘feel-good drug’ in the air-conditioning and everyone felt good all the time?” I remember thinking, where in the devil did that come from?

He pointed his finger at me and said, “There’s your book.” And so it was. The Muse opened the door for the Coyote Series. First came Blue Coyote Motel, the tale of guests who stay at a motel and become inadvertently addicted to a “feel-good” drug and the havoc it wreaks on their lives. I thought that would be the end of my writing career, but everyone who read it wanted to know what happened to Maria, the protagonist. The Muse whispered that a book should be written about Maria in Provence, oh, it said, and be sure to weave in something about your experiences as an art and antique appraiser and don’t leave out the fabulous food in you ate when you were in Provence! Coyote in Provence  was born. Then the Muse whispered that people wanted to know what happened to Maria and Jordan, who met in Provence. And what about Noor, the little Afghan orphan? I answered the Muse and wrote Cornered Coyote.

While I was finishing up that book, one night the Muse urged me to get up and write down what she was going to tell me. She told me of a woman who could see numbers above people’s foreheads and that Slade Kelly, everyone’s favorite private investigator, who’s prominent in Coyote in Provence and Cornered Coyote, should have his own series and this should be the first book in the series. The working title is Red Zeroes. I’m about half-way finished with it.

Two nights ago the Muse was at it again, telling me about the second novel in the series. Now I can’t wait to get to it.

My question for all of you, how does a Muse become born and how do you get one? Or is my Muse unfaithful, visiting other authors in the middle of the night? And why did she wait until this time in my life to appear? Did I have to go through a lot of experiences to merit a Muse? Inquiring minds…

What does your Must look like?

Blue Coyote Motel  http://smarturl.it/bcmo

Coyote in Provence  http://smarturl.it/cipr

Cornered Coyote  http://smarturl.it/CorCoy

I LOVE MY READERS!

We authors write because we have no other choice. My personal Muse usually appears about three a.m. and keeps me occupied with plots, characters, etc. until it’s time for that first cup of coffee.  The Muse is very firm in what my next endeavor will be! At times, I think I’m held captive by my Muse and I would venture that most other authors feel the same way.

BCM_KDP 1.0

 

However, without people to read what we write, the process loses its joy. I want to hear from people. I want to know what they liked, what they didn’t, what touched them, and what didn’t. The input from my readers help me to become a better writer. That I definitely know!

And this I have to share. It makes the hours spent in solitude well worthwhile and I can’t think of a better way to start the week than to find this in my Monday morning email!

“Just finished Blue coyote motel and book 2 great books ready to read #3 really great loved them!!! Thank you”

No, dear reader, it is I who thank you!

Blue Coyote Motel  http://smarturl.it/bcmo

EVER BEEN HIT BY A TROLL? BETTER READ THIS!

51efEx2tTyLjesus51RK9Inef4L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_
My friend, Duncan Whitehead, is one of the funniest people I know. I absolutely love his books, The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, winner of  2013 Reader’s Favorite International Book Award Winner and Gold Medalist), The Reluctant Jesus, and An Actor’s Life, a short story. I highly recommend all of these books.
If you’re an author, you’re probably aware of what are called “trolls” that hang out on Amazon and Goodreads. You may have even been the victim of one or more. I have. I think it was Truman Capote who said everyone should have (and I paraphrase) “fifteen minutes of fame.” Well, these trolls get their fifteen minutes by posting scathing one star reviews of books that one doubts if they’ve even taken the time to read – but they get to see their name or pseudonym in print!
Duncan wrote an article on this phenomenon which was recently published. When I read it, I immediately asked if I could reprint it. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve had the pleasure of reading. If you’re an author and you’ve ever been attacked by one of these “trolls,” you’ll never look at another “troll” review without laughing, and that’s a very good thing. If you’re not an author, read it for the humor and when you see a “one star troll review,” picture this woman writing it. Enjoy!

Monday, 4 August 2014

image for Goodreads Troll Spends Three Months Writing Review
Just Waiting For The Sequel So She Can Review It – Not That Anyone Gives A Shit
A prolific book reviewer on popular website (and troll cave) ‘Goodreads’ has finally completed writing her 40,000 word, 1 star review for New York Times bestselling novel “The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club” – calling her review a “masterpiece” but the book “utter crap.”

Beth Varicose, 57 – morbidly obese, ugly, sex-starved and who drives around Wal-Mart in one of those little electrical shopping carts; described the book as “One of the worse books ever written. I hated it, I hate the author, I hated the whole concept. Why did I waste 4 days and $1.99 on this garbage.”

Varicose, who lives alone in North Florida, apart from a herd of cats – one of which she breast feeds – dedicated not only 3 months to writing her review but let it consume her whole life, or, what there is of it. Posting under the “troll” pseudonym “Miss Demeanor” she complains “What I hated most was the author, he is an atheist, he swears a lot, he is so god dam good looking and he ignores my tweets, my e-mails and for that I want everyone to join me in hating him and his book.”

She then goes on to use multiple exclamation marks.

At time of press her review has been read twice; and failed to influence anyone from purchasing the book.

Varicose, according to her profile photo on “Goodreads”, enjoys cakes and sports a very unsightly mustache, is expected to start on another 1 star review soon – as soon as the sequel to the “worse book ever’ is published.

Here are some links to his wonderful books:

DUNCAN WHITEHEAD
NY TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR (2013 Reader’s Favorite International Book Award Winner and Gold Medalist)
(2014 Reader’s Favorite International Book Award Nominee) 
 

AUTHORS, YOU NEED TO READ THIS! #ASMSG

 

file000852154185

In one of the Goodreads groups I’m a member of, I recently read a post by Edward M. Wolfe, the author of Kendra’s Spirit, http://www.amazon.com/Kendras-Spirit-Edward-M-Wolfe-ebook/dp/B00KYIEVGM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1406995295&sr=1-1&keywords=Kendra%27s+spirit,

Quite simply, it was one of the best researched and informative things I’ve read for new authors. I was so taken with the article I asked Mr. Wolfe I could put it in my blog and here it is. Enjoy and learn!

Q. How do I get honest reviews?

A. Reaching out to bloggers is a good idea, if you can find some that are not overwhelmed with prior commitments. Be sure to only query bloggers who review your genre. Many bloggers will also have specific guidelines on how to query them. Read these, and follow them with precision.

You can also give your book away to people who will review it. There are groups on Goodreads where you can list your book, and anyone who is interested in reading and reviewing it will reply. Then you email them the book in the format they choose from those you said you have available.
Authors Requesting Reviews

Another Goodreads group has a form of review exchanges, but you do non-reciprocal reviews, so it’s not a tit-for-tat, lacking credibility.
Review Group

You can also do a giveaway on Goodreads. This isn’t guaranteed to get you reviews, but it might. The more you give away, the better your chances, but be aware that this is an expensive route with no guarantees. It’s especially expensive if you make your giveaway eligible to foreign countries. The slowest shipping isn’t cheap, and you have to fill out a customs form.

Some people believe there is additional value in the exposure your book will receive when hundreds, if not thousands sign up for the giveaway. I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who sign up barely glance at the book’s description, but rather, just hit the Enter Giveaway button and go on to what they were doing before they encountered the giveaway. Sure, it might really entice some people, but you have to put yourself on the other side of any marketing you’re thinking of doing. Have you ever entered a giveaway, failed to win, and then gone back to buy that book, or another book by that author?

It’s one thing to want something and learn that you have a chance to win it. It’s another thing to simply learn that something is being given away, so you enter just because you can, because – hey, free stuff.

I would not recommend paying for reviews. Not even Kirkus, or anyone else who sells reviews.  I also would not exchange reviews directly with another author. You might not like each other’s books, and yet still be obligated to give a review. Do you give a bad one because you want to maintain your personal integrity? What if they wrote you a good one, genuine or not? It’s just a messy situation that you probably don’t want to find yourself in.

A good way to promote your book is to have it included in a newsletter that is sent out to subscribers who actually want to know about new books. Websites that do this usually specialize in free books, but some also feature low cost books.  One such site that has been doing this is now going to try something new. that is like the “read for review” giveaway described above.

For a $20 fee, ChoosyBookworm.com will list your book as being available to readers who would like to read it and review it at no cost to them. This could be a win for all three parties. The intention is for you to get at least $20 reviews. Initially, the site owner said that he would keep listing your book until you got 20, but I think he’ll be revising that commitment after the first trial in September. I just signed up for the September listing so I can’t say yet how effective it is.

I said that I would not pay for reviews, but in this case, you’re paying for the chance to get reviews from people you don’t know, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get good reviews, or really, any at all. But don’t let the possibility of bad reviews scare you off. Believe it or not, a book with nothing but good reviews is viewed by some people as suspicious. This really sucks if you write something really great and everyone loves it, but you can see where they’re coming from. It’s more realistic that not everyone is going to love a particular book. Some people just have to be unhappy with it.

My latest novel has this problem. Nine 5-stars and one 4-star. I can’t wait till somebody hates it. Or at least has something critical to say about it. Then my good reviews will gain credibility. Somewhat. Maybe.

Q. What’s the best approach to promoting on social media?

A. I think social media is over-rated when it comes to promoting books, but it’s probably something you can’t just ignore either. You want a presence, but don’t use the presence for the purpose of spamming. Read my blog post about The Art of Not Marketing on Social Media for more on this.

Q. What’s better – Amazon or Smashwords (and all the other retailers)?

A. Everyone I’ve ever talked to, or read about has said that they get between 60 and 90 percent of their sales from Amazon. And that’s not just U.S. authors. (Which reminds me, if you’re from another country and will be promoting your book to the U.S., it’s probably a good idea to have your book edited for U.S. English so you don’t confuse some readers. If you’re reading this, and you’re from England, imagine if I said I was going to spank your fanny. That’s an example of how  foreign slang can say the totally wrong thing to someone in another country.) My experience matches that of other authors, except in my case, I can say that 100% of my sales is from Amazon. I only gave the other retailers a one month chance to see what would happen, but in that one month I sold a couple hundred on Amazon, and nothing on iBooks, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, and wherever else. After that, I promptly made my book exclusive to Amazon and instead of doing the free days from KDP Select, I chose Promotional Countdowns, which resulted in an increase in sales.

Q. Should I be exclusive to Amazon?

A. Considering that most people get the majority of their sales from Amazon, there’s not a huge downside to being exclusive. Granted, I only gave the other retailers a month to compare to Amazon, and that’s insufficient to declare empirical results. If you go exclusive though, that means you cannot even sell your book on your own website. It can’t be sold or given away anywhere else.

I’m leaning heavily toward Amazon exclusivity although my latest novel is currently on Smashwords and the list of retailers they distribute to. I’m trying to give it more than a month this time to see if it’s worth having it with the other retailers. The only problem is, it’s not even selling on Amazon, so it’s impossible to make a comparison this time.

If you’re still not sure which way to go, I’d say go with Amazon, and go exclusive. You can always opt out three months later. And you should also know that those who say they get 10% or more of their sales on iTunes – those people have been selling for years and have developed a fan base. I think it makes more sense to start on Amazon, and if you have a degree of success, then branch out to other retailers once you no longer need the promotional advantages of being exclusive with Amazon.

Q. Should I do paperbacks with CreateSpace or someone else?

A. I have only used CreateSpace after looking at several alternatives. Here’s the first major difference: You can have your book ready for print-on-demand via CS at zero cost. You can upload it today and sell it tomorrow. If your document is properly formatted, you shouldn’t have any problem. If you can follow the instructions for the cover, you might have some problems. But if you’re only a little bit off, CS will adjust it for you, and if you like the way it looks, then you approve it, and you’re book becomes available immediately.

CS has forums with helpful articles on how to do each step, and there are friendly people there who will usually help. If you’re good with Photoshop (or Gimp, which is free) you’ll be okay. If not, ask your graphic artist friend to help, or hire someone to make the cover-ready image for you. We’re talking about putting your front cover, back cover, and spine into a single, precisely measured template that is sized based on the number of pages in your book. It sounds more complicated than it is.

Q. What price should my book be so it’s not too low or too high?

A. I don’t know if a book can be priced too low. There is an opinion that a low-priced book is an under-valued book. As if you’re telling the world, “My book is only good enough to be worth 99 cents.”  I don’t think that holds a lot of water with readers. While it’s true that your book at 99 cents is a clear signal that you’re not a bestselling author, or even a mid-list author, the fact that you’re self-published already gives that away. Combine that with the fact that the reader who’s considering whether to buy your book or not has never heard of you. That’s a big clue that you’re not big and famous. Yet.

Also, flip it around. Have you ever been interested in buying a book that got your attention and curiosity and decided to skip it because the price was too low? That’s never happened, right? You were more likely to be happy that you got it at such a low cost. If it was true that low-priced books communicate lack of quality, then all free books would be considered total crap and no one would download them. But we all do. And we even love some of them. Then we go back and see what else that author wrote, because once we find a good thing, we want more of it. (Which is where the value of KDP Select free days is useful, but don’t assume that 1000 books downloaded means 1000 books read. And it’s also only useful when you have something for that return reader to buy. Only have one book? Publish your best (and longest) short story as an ebook that you give away so readers who come back might buy your novel.)

Pricing your book low doesn’t necessarily mean people will just pick it up and not read it. That’s far more likely to happen when your book is free.  I don’t think you can go too low. And if your book starts moving, then bump it up a little. If the sales continue, raise it again. If they stop, put it back down. Find the sweet spot for your book.

The biggest errors people make is over-pricing. I saw a book of poetry priced at $9.99 and it was about 30 pages. The book had no rank. That means no one had ever bought it. And no one will at that price for so few pages from an unknown author. When you’re starting out, don’t even think about money. I’m assuming that’s not why you’re doing this. Quitting your job to write full-time would be a dream come true for any true author, but you’re just starting out. The important thing right now is to get read. Period. You need people to read your book if you’re ever to have any level of success whatsoever. Price it low. Give it away. Hand it out in public. You need readers!

Some authors are concerned about whether they’ll get their full royalty from Amazon Unlimited. Unless you’re moving a significant number of books every month – who cares? Will it make a difference to you if you get $2.00 instead of $3.00 on the sale of 5 books? I sure hope not. That brings me back to another argument in favor of being exclusive to Amazon. Now you can get “sales” from people downloading your book for free. As long as they read at least 10% of it, you get paid. If they hate it, you don’t have that awful sight of seeing on your sales stats that you lost a sale because someone got a refund. If they hated it after 10%, you still get paid for the sale. Amazon Unlimited is another thing that is too good to be true and I expect Amazon to change the terms later.

If you have a good story in a popular genre, and a good-sized book, I’d start with $2.99 and see how it goes. Amazon has a beta program that will suggest a price to you. Notice when you get to that step in the publishing process that it’s recommending a price based on making the most money per unit. In the fainter line, you can see which price point resulted in the most sales. That’s the one you want. Forget the profit. You’d probably rather have more sales at a lower profit, (which is how Sam Walton built the WalMart empire) than high profit on few sales.

Q. Should I hire a marketing agency or PR firm?

A. I definitely do not recommend using a marketing agency – at least not the type that will promise to promote your book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and send out X number press releases. I don’t care how many followers they have. When is the last time you bought anything from a Facebook ad? How about the last time you bought a book from a Facebook ad? Tweet 100,000 people, and how many are sitting at their computers at the exact moment your tweet comes flying by? How often are you sitting at your computer reading all of the incoming tweets? I don’t know anyone who does that. We’re usually either tweeting, or reading a specific person’s tweets – not looking at the endless stream of incoming.

When did you last buy a book because you read a press release? I never have. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a press release about a new book coming out. Who does that? If you’re small, no one would read it, and no one will publish it. If you’re big – there will be plenty of buzz before the book hits the shelves, making a press release superfluous.

Q. Isn’t it amazing? I already received an offer from a publishing company!

A. If you received a letter in the mail, or an email from a publishing company telling you that they’re interested in your book – throw it away. If they call you, politely hang up. These are companies who will charge you a fee to publish your book for you. Tate Publishing for example will require a $4,000 investment from you to “co-pay your marketing expenses.” They of course will be paying the lion’s share, and you only need to pay this small percentage.

Such “publishers” are only publishers to the extent that they will help you put your book together, and then they’ll make it available on Amazon and possibly other retailers, and they’ll put it on CreateSpace, or maybe a different print-on-demand company, and then they’ll price your book way too high to sell, and they won’t do anything substantial to promote it.

Vanity e-publishers only accomplish a few things for those who can’t figure out how to do them, like making your Word document into an epub for Smashwords or Kobo. Uploading your document to Amazon for you. Formatting your document so it looks  like an actual book. These are good things to have done, but not at the cost of your rights to your own book, and a good percentage of your royalties – if you get any at the inflated price.

Once you’re in with these companies, you’re in for the duration unless you prevail in a lawsuit for breach of contract. You are far better off hiring out these tasks, or learning to do them yourself. There are books on how to publish on Kindle.

Here’s one that’s free. I think it’s the one I read before I published my first book.
Building Your Book for Kindle

E-pubishers will also make your cover. This is one of two things you might need to spend some money on. Look for a pre-made cover that fits your book well, or if money is no object, hire an artist to custom create your cover. Don’t be lured by the lullaby of an e-publisher promising to do all of the things you couldn’t do yourself. You can buy a cover. You can pay someone to convert your books. You can learn to upload them. But if you let an e-publisher do it all for you, the one thing you need the most is the one thing you’ll still be left having to do for yourself – and that’s promoting and marketing your book and getting it in front of readers.

Q. How do I promote my book if social media is out, and marketing firms are a waste?

A. There are readers who subscribe to newsletters about books that are on sale, or that are in the genre they like, etc. Places where readers go to find out about new books is a great place for your book to be. Not in a press release or a YouTube trailer. (Have you gone to YouTube to find out if there are any new books coming out?)

Places like bookbub.com, bookdaily, choosybookworm, and those types of sites. Some of them have free promotion options and some will sell promo spots.

I did ebooksoda.com when it first launched and was free. I got 7 sales that day. It’s hard to say if I got them because of the promo or not. I think it costs $5 now for a promo there. It might even be more effective now that they’ve had time to grow. I’ll try it again and find out. It’s cheap and worth trying.

In addition to getting on these promotional emails, whether you have to pay or not, there are other things you can do. Include a link to your book or your website in your email signature. Reply to every email you receive, even if it’s from a stranger by accident.  :)

Put your book cover on whatever social media you use. It’s not just to advertise to the same people who will see it everyday, but it’s also to have it in more places on the internet. It helps make you more discoverable. And you never know who’s going to see it.

All it takes is one person to turn you into a success. Literally – but slowly. If you’ve written something that is truly great and one person reads it and loves it so much, they’ll tell other people about it. Some of them will tell others. And so on. Think of your book going viral as being akin to a forest fire. Every person that reads your book is a match that could start that fire.  So bring up your book or the fact that you’re an author whenever and wherever you can that is appropriate. Be proud of yourself for having written *and* published a book.  Lots of people say they’re going to “some day” but you actually did it.

And when you tell someone you have a book out and they ask with that look, “Self-published?” Smile and say, “Hell, yeah! Just like Mark Twain!”

Read The Storytellers and embrace your identity as an author. You have a special place in the world.

Now you just have to do the non-writing work of getting your book out there in the public eye. I’ve given you some suggestions. Come back and give me some when you learn more than you know today. You’ll find that most indie authors are very supportive. We’re all in the same underdog boat, if you don’t mind a mixed metaphor.

Don’t spend all of your time promoting though. The most important thing is to be working on your next book. You’re a much better writer now than you were before you wrote the first one. So it’s just bound to be a better book.

If you have multiple ideas for your next book, take a look at what’s really popular right now. You might need to rearrange the order in which you had planned to write your next books. If you’re thinking of a historical whodunit first, then a post-apocalypse novel later, reverse that order. I would never say to just write what the market wants with no regard for what is inside you bursting to get out, but if you want to sell books, then you do have to look at the business of book selling and not be blind to reality.

The thing that worked best for me was writing a post-apocalypse story apparently. That book sells itself. I wrote a novella about a demon-like spirit who ruins people’s lives to try to turn them to the dark side, and that book will not sell. People who read it, say it’s great. But people who just see it, pass right on by. I don’t know how to sell it. It might be that it’s in a genre that isn’t doing well currently. I wrote a sci-fi short story, just to get the idea down on paper. I didn’t plan on publishing it. It was almost like a narrative outline for a novel I wanted to write later. That ended up being my bestseller until I wrote my post-apocalypse. And even that was just a short story I had sitting around. But then I wrote a sequel, then another. And then I put the three parts into one novel, and it sells almost every day. It’s nothing more than a combination of a unique entry into a popular genre. I’ve never promoted it. So definitely consider the genre you’ve written in, and the one you’ll write in next. It can play a huge part in your book’s success.

Q. Is Goodreads the number one place I need to promote my book?

A. The least effective thing I ever did was buy advertising on Goodreads. You know, the place with millions of readers that everyone says you just have to be a part of, as if it was the Shangri-La for authors? I spent a hundred dollars on an ad that was to be displayed on genre-appropriate pages. According to the stats, I had thousands of “views.” That doesn’t mean actual views, but it was there to be seen if anyone looked at it.  Out of thousands of views, I think I had one actual click from a user. I asked for and received a refund from Goodreads.

Goodreads is an interesting website. There are alleged to be between 7 and 15 million members. That sounds like an author’s utopia. All of those readers concentrated in one place. It’s nothing of the sort. Yes, there are readers there, but they are there to keep track of the books they read, to share their reviews and read others, and primarily to hang out with reader friends.

 

Imagine what it must’ve been like there once upon a time when an AUTHOR blessed them with his or her presence. It would have been a big deal. A celebrity they could rub virtual skin with. But then Amazon went and made it possible for any schmuck to publish anything and call it a book. And even worse, to call himself an author.  You have to admit, there’s a lot of crap that is self-published. Now imagine these newly dubbed “authors” rushing in droves to Goodreads and spamming the holy crap out of every group they could get into. Every conversation could be interrupted at any time by a stranger busting in and shouting, “I just published a book. Go check it out! And like my Facebook page too!!”

Readers have their favorite authors and they have lists of books that they intend to read. They also have recommendations that come to them from friends, which is about the best promotion a book can get. No one needs or wants an author shouting at them their big announcement they, who no one has ever heard of, has published a book. Don’t be one of those authors on Goodreads.

There are very specific places where book promotion is welcome. Outside of those places, do not promote your book. In some places you shouldn’t even mention that you’re an author. Don’t be surprised if you encounter a mysteriously antagonistic attitude after mentioning that you’re an author. Wear your reader hat when you’re in a reader’s forum.  Be a living advertisement for your book. Let people who are interested in you find out that you’re an author. They’ve been through self-promotion hell there and some people view every new author to arrive as another likely annoyance and disruption to what was once their haven.

I hope these tips from my year of experience as a self-published author are helpful to some extent. Try not to get bogged down in any one thing. Don’t let your first negative review depress you. Consider what you can learn from it – but also, don’t go changing your book to please one person who criticized one thing. Remember that being an author is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in this for the long haul. You’re also leaving something behind for your children and grandchildren, and so on – forever. How cool is that?

About

Edward M Wolfe was an field reporter for one of the first independent news websites in the late 90′s, and later worked as a city beat reporter on the Oregon coast.

His latest novel, Kendra’s Spirit, is a story about what happens when true love is interrupted by terrorism, and other religious beliefs.

He lives in Tulsa with two human children, and two canine children who all love his writing, and tolerate his guitar playing.

Email:
ewolfe @ edwardmwolfe.com (remove spaces after copying and pasting)

Twitter
http://twitter.com/ewolfe

G+
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+EdwardMWolfe/

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

Website

http://edwardmwolfe.com

DEVELOPING AND USING A LIST OF READERS!

This is a recent post from James Moushon, who is always working to help authors. It’s long, but well worth your time! Enjoy!

AIbEiAIAAABECN-Xt53zmtKh-wEiC3ZjYXJkX3Bob3RvKihjN2ZmMDc4NDVmZTIxYmQ1OWY5OTJmMjZmNGJiY2ViYmYwZTg5ZjZmMAEFjZG_JwwlBh67s4S_vhnLxfRAjw[1]

How Do You Develop and Use a List of Your Readers? – HBS Author’s Corner STUDY

One of the pieces of information authors are finding invaluable is a list of their readers. If you want to announce a new release, a promotion or a giveaway, the instant access to a list of your readers is priceless. It could mean an instant jump in rankings and an increase in reviews both critical to the success of your book.

The reader list is being used to develop friendships and relationships far beyond the sale of your novels. Building a list is a lot like farming. You cultivate the field. You plant the seed. You watch it grow. Then you harvest the crop.

It is study time again and I am fortunate to have a group of outstanding, award-winning authors whose opinions I value highly. I challenged my HBS Author’s Spotlight crew and over 25 authors responded to the study. Here what they had to offer.

Why develop a reader list?

There are many reasons to develop a list. Of course, an opportunity to increase sales or obtaining reviews is at the top of the list. Developing relationships and gaining followers is a close second.

Build Relationships and Friendships

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne @authmelodyanne (Website). She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels.

I lean heavily on popular social media platforms to build and maintain reader’s lists. More accurately put, I use social media to engage and build relationships with my readers. Using social media, I allow readers to come into my life and share in experiences that they can relate to, from the view point of one woman to another.

I think heavy engagement with my followers via social media is one key aspect to building my reader list.  Due to the viral nature of things like Facebook and Twitter, if a fan “likes”, retweets or comments on anything I post, the friends of my fans can usually see it, attracting a sort of viral attention to my social media presence.

Author Carolyn Hughey @ScribBLINGDIVA (K. T. Roberts) (Website) is a published author of humorous contemporary romance and mystery novels.

I frequent Facebook and leave comments about whatever they’ve posted on various walls even if we’ve just met. By doing so, I’m building a friendship. The one thing I won’t do is become their friend and ask them to buy my book. I’ve seen that happen a number of times and I think it’s sneaky and bad business practice. I never advertise my book on anyone’s wall but my own. I also offer contests throughout the year.

What are the methods other authors use to find their readers and build relationships?

Provide something of value

Terry Ambrose @suspense_writer (Website) is the author of the McKenna Mystery series and a member of Murder, We Wrote.

I’ve chosen the path of using my writing about real-life scams and cons as a way to improve my reach to new potential readers. While some authors are naturally outgoing and can interact with readers about the most minor details, I’ve found that’s not one of my strengths. What is a strength is my knowledge of how to help those same people avoid being taken in by a scam. As a result, that’s the focus for the majority of my outreach.

Author Connie Flynn @ConnieFlynn (Website) is the bestselling award-winning author of many Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance novels and short stories.

My mailing list was initially grown through my online writing school, Bootcamp for Novelists. When my partner and I closed the Bootcamp we had about 750 subscribers. Since then it dipped to a low of about 620 but is now up to just under 700.

My problem is that I’m not quite sure what to put into each issue. I don’t want it to be a ‘buy my book,” “buy my book” kind of thing and my last major use of it was to solicit readers for my most recent new release. That was very successful and most of my posts on Bootcamp activities (I still do some) are successful. But pushes on my backlist are not so well received.

Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger (Website) is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club was released in 2013.

I offer a free ebook download of an earlier book if people subscript to my newsletter, and people sign up pretty regularly. I know that some people subsequently cancel the subscription, but that’s okay. It’s also a promotional tool — if someone is browsing my site, they have a chance to “sample” my work. In the end, I’ve ended up with a pretty substantial email list, and the “free” book hasn’t cannibalized sales at all because the ebooks that I offer for free have continued to sell just as well as always.

Suspense Author Suzanne Jenkins @suzannejenkins3 (Website) is the author of the Pam of Babylon series and The Greeks of Beaubien Street.

HI James, the way I am building my email list is to give those who sign on a free download of a short story that is a prequel to a new series I’m planning. I advertise the download on my Facebook page and have used the paid boost on Facebook, too. I also use Booktweetingservice.com to tweet about it. Here’s the link. http://suzannejenkins.net/.

Author Lorhainne Eckhart @Leckhart (Website) is the Author of Kindle Bestseller THE FORGOTTEN CHILD.

The methods that have worked well for me are by offering free books, for example the first book in a series free.  What happens is it drives sales to my other titles in the series. It’s a great way to find new readers.  At the end of all my ebooks I always provide an afterword with a link to sign up to my newsletter and I notify my readers of upcoming promotions and new releases.

I advertise every month and always join other authors in giveaways of larger prizes and promote our books together.  I occasionally participate in blog tours for new titles, but when comes down to it, providing the link to sign up for newsletter in the afterword of my ebooks, on my website, Facebook page has had the biggest impact.

How should you use social media programs to develop a reader list?

To me, Twitter and Facebook are a shotgun approach to building your list. I do have a good group of followers and I try to interact but links to them are fragile. Here’s what my crew had to say.

General

Mark Barnes @markbarnes19 (Website) writes Mystery novels and Educational, non-fiction books.

As an education author, my publishers have tight marketing budgets, so I need to publicize my work as much as possible. Twitter is my best network. Over the years, I’ve acquired more than 10,000 followers, and they have helped get the word out.

Facebook is another powerful network, and I’ve created pages for my books and for my blog. Brilliant or Insane is another excellent tool, as I publish education blog posts there daily, and my books are advertised there, too. I have an email list, but I’m not sure it’s worth the time and money that goes into it. In the long run, I believe that writing and sharing content, which leads back to your promotional material, is the best marketing a writer can do.

Best-Selling Author Chuck Barrett @Chuck_Barrett (Website) is the author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series.

In the beginning, Twitter was the best, then Facebook. Now neither have much impact in my opinion. I still use them as well as Goodreads and LinkedIn. They are still excellent ways of promoting new books, new ideas, etc., but they don’t really add to the number of readers.

Amazon Best-Selling Author Cheryl Bradshaw @cherylbradshaw (Website) is the creator of the Sloane Monroe series and the founder of the hugely successful Indie Writers Unite group on Facebook.

I’m mainly on Twitter and Facebook. I use Twitter for most of my interaction with fans, and usually only promote on there once a month when I run a BookBub ad. If you’re constantly promoting, you’ll lose your existing fans, and you’ll be unfollowed. Twitter is a great place to connect with fans, meet new people, and meet fellow authors. I resisted signing up at first, but now I have almost 50,000 followers, and I tweet almost every day. You can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cherylbradshaw

Twitter

Susan Aylworth @SusanAylworth (Website) is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Rainbow Rock Series.

When people follow you on various social media sites it automatically gives you a link to their profile that they have created. The site automatically compiles a list for you of fans who are interested in your work and you can use that to reach your readers by posting updates.

Author Connie Flynn @ConnieFlynn (Website) is the bestselling award-winning author of many Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance novels and short stories.

I haven’t used these mediums to get subscribers to my newsletter. I do belong to a Twitter tweet team and am convinced it keeps me in front of readers because every time I stop, my downloads dry up. To increase my mailing list, I mostly do occasional blog hops or giveaways that increase new subscribers. Many of these actually stay, but some don’t, being they were motivated more by the prizes than because they think I’m a fascinating writer. Most of my stable new subscribers come from programs where I appear personally and do a presentation. The rest of them come from my blog and my website, both of which have subscriber icons. I’ll be working harder on making these effective over the next couple months.

Crime and Horror Author Jade Varden @JadeVarden (Website) is the creator of the Deck of Lies book series.

For me personally, I focus most of my efforts on Twitter because this is where I can find the bulk of my audience online. It’s not just about using social media to promote, as an indie author it’s also important to use the right social media sites. I follow certain people on Twitter in order to find more potential readers. Book bloggers, book readers and other authors are often open to buying indie books.

Facebook

Amazon Best-Selling Author Cheryl Bradshaw @cherylbradshaw (Website) is the creator of the Sloane Monroe series and the founder of the hugely successful Indie Writers Unite group on Facebook.

On Facebook I promote through targeted ads which point back to my Facebook author page and sometimes also link to a new book or one of my novels. It’s inexpensive and effective, and I’ve found it’s a good way to reach my demographic. Through targeting you can isolate your ad so it only shows to potential readers in your genre, thereby giving you the best bang for your buck.

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw (Website) is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

I have a Facebook author page, where I post notices about upcoming events, reviews, and links to articles I find interesting. This page is entirely about writing and the writing world. I never post anything about my personal life or views.

Award-Winning Author Jinx Schwartz @jinxschwartz (Website) is the author of the Hetta Coffey series.

Other than the signup link for my newsletter on my website, I build my readership by meeting great new readers on Facebook. I’m getting more on Twitter, as well, but Facebook is where you build a rapport with new readers, and also meet other authors who will share your work with their readers.  I am also on the others, like Goodreads and Google+ but have not quite mastered them. Another great way to meet people are Yahoo Groups.

What other ways can you use to develop a list?

There are other ways to build that list that are more direct. Some of the Spotlight crew weighted in on them.

Newsletters

M. Louisa Locke @mlouisalocke (Website) is the Author of Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits, bestselling Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series

For the last two short stories I wrote, I also announced on my Facebook page that if someone subscribed to the newsletter they would be able to get a coupon for a free copy of the short story for a limited time before it was published on Kindle.  This was probably my most successful tactic in getting fans to sign up for the newsletter. I now have 420 subscribers to the newsletter.

I have only sent out 5 newsletters–again, only when I have a new publication–but my average open rate is very good (65.5%) and my click through when I offered the coupon for my latest 2 short stories was 70-80% (very high.)

When I published my last book, I was fortunate in having Amazon put it up as a pre-order, and I had 700 people pre-order it. I assume that many of these were people who knew about the pre-order through my social media (website, Facebook, newsletter, twitter, etc.) My goal is to make sure that I have an even larger number ready to order the next book. :)

Using blog tours and Meeting bloggers

Ellen Mansoor Collier (Website) is a Houston-based freelance writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in several national magazines. Ellen just released the third novel in her Jazz Age mystery series: Gold-Diggers, Gamblers And Guns

I don’t use much social media myself, but I hire blog tour hosts who do—and it works for me. http://abluemillionbooksblogtours.blogspot.com/p/future-tours.html

Also a couple of readers started adding my books to Listopia on Goodreads and I found a few more lists to help categorize my mysteries, e.g. books set during the 1920s, historical mysteries, etc.

I admit, I haven’t joined the Twitter or Facebook craze myself but I have a Facebook page that I don’t update and do enjoy reading tweets from various friends and famous folks.  What’s worked best for me are meeting bloggers via blog tours. When I first wrote FLAPPERS, I approached a few bloggers directly and gotten some positive responses from people who have turned into friends. Since then, I’ve discovered that bloggers are most likely to reply if you have a tour host to help promote your book. For only $25-30. and up, these experienced book tour hosts will do most of the work of setting up reviews/interviews and guest posts.

Sure, there’s a lot of preparation involved on some tours, but you can choose from a wide variety of hosts and services. They’ll tweet about your book, posts and reviews during the tour and often spotlight you on their own blogs. I’d opt for a tour that focuses on your genre (in my case, historical mysteries). Ask around, compare notes and see which tours come highly recommended by fellow authors, and try to find the best one for your book. Amy Metz has a new tour service specializing in mysteries that’s affordable and effective—try it out!

Award-Winning Author Jinx Schwartz @jinxschwartz (Website) is the author of the Hetta Coffey series.

What groups do you use to find your readers?  All of these. (Support groups, Forums, Blogs, Author Networks, etc.) However, I mostly stick with the ones like (links) DorothyLMurder Must AdvertiseAll Mystery Newsletter, and the like. I love guest blogging because, quite frankly, I just don’t seem to have time to keep my own blog up.

Blogging

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw (Website) is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

Another useful approach is blogging. I blog weekly on my own blog and have been visiting other blogs once a week for my new book; after the first four to six months I cut back on visiting other sites to once or twice a month through the rest of the year. I have a regular monthly entry on Author Expressions, for writers published with Five Star/Gale, Cengage.

The important point about blogs is to write on a variety of topics that are mostly related to my books–travel, India, Indian food, New England features, the New England paper industry, writing and editing, and the like.

Contests

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne @authmelodyanne (Website). She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels.

In addition to this I run numerous contests throughout the year, which in most cases requires a person on social media to like or follow me on social media, and/or identify a specific detail about one of my latest releases, and the prizes are usually pretty terrific which would encourage just about any fan of my genre to purchase one of my books.

Kindle fire giveaways (Kindle book review)

M. Louisa Locke @mlouisalocke (Website) is the Author of Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits, bestselling Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series.

One of the ways I built up this page was to participate in period Kindle Fire Giveaways sponsored by the Kindle Book Review. To keep up interest in this page–I post my daily word count when I am writing, link to pictures I have put up on my Pinterest page, and post notifications when I do any promotions of my books.  I will also pay to boost posts when I have published something new or when there is a promotion. I also have a number of Facebook groups that I will post to when I have something like a promotion, new book, or something else like an interview that I think might be of interest.  One of the newest that I am quite happy to have joined is Clean Indie Reads, which seems a perfect place for me to connect with potential readers.

Donations

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw (Website) is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

One activity that is not often mentioned but one I consider important is charitable donations. Whenever I receive or hear of a request for a donation of books, I always send something, with an inscription if I know what it should be. These are always appreciated, and I reach readers I might otherwise never know about. In addition, if my book is remaindered I’ll buy a number of copies to sell but also to donate on my own. I choose libraries in small cities that usually have small book-buying budgets and mail them a complimentary copy. The library can add it to their circulating library or pass it along. Some libraries will then buy copies of the other titles in the series.

What online tools and software can you use to record names and email addresses?

The winner by far on this topic was MailChimp. However, some of the authors had some very good alternatives.

Mailchimp

Award-Winning Author Jinx Schwartz @jinxschwartz (Website) is the author of the Hetta Coffey series.

I get fan mail because I put my email address in my books, and people email me all the time. So far, all positive:-) Also, on my website and email signature, I have a link to emailmeform.com. And then I use MailChimp to send out notices about free books, and any new releases.

Author Carolyn Hughey @ScribBLINGDIVA (K. T. Roberts) (Website) is a published author of humorous contemporary romance and mystery novels.

I use my own email GoDaddy contact list and add the name to a distribution list. I also belong to other small groups where I add names to MailChimp for a monthly newsletter. My website has a link for subscribers, ScribBLING Divas wordpress blog signup, The Write Authors on Facebook and blog signups.  At local book signings, I have a guest book sign in where I offer a gift card for signing up.

Author Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar (Website) is an indie author.  She blogs about the craft of writing and indie books.

I like to use MailChimp to create and manage my mailing list. I have reveals to join my mailing list on my website and at the end of every book. When I do blog tours, I always add joining my mailing list as a giveaway option and that has helped it grow the most. Of course, I do get the occasional subscriber from time to time.

Author Connie Flynn @ConnieFlynn (Website) is the bestselling award-winning author of many Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance novels and short stories.

I use MailChimp, mostly because the price is right, since it free up to 2000 subscribers. Most services start charging at 500 and I’m already over that.Joseph Lallo @jrlallo (Website) is a bestselling author of the Science Fiction & Fantasy series: The Book of Deacon Trilogy.

I try to cast a wide net when it comes to connecting with readers. Just as I’ve found that the best way to sell a book is to have it for sale where people want to buy it (wherever that might be), I’ve found that the best way to connect with fans is to be present on the network they most use, whichever that might be. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Instagram mostly. I’ve found Facebook and Twitter to be the most valuable, though Goodreads and Tumblr are great too.

As for tools, I do have a newsletter which I’m beginning to work on developing. I use MailChimp for it and it works great. My website is a semi-custom theme built upon WordPress. I don’t do a lot of searching for readers. I’m not as active on blogs and forums as I might be, and I’ve got this weird notion that showing up on a blog in search of readers is a little like poaching.

M. Louisa Locke @mlouisalocke (Website) is the Author of Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits, bestselling Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series.

However, in the last year as Facebook has started limited who actually sees any normal (un-boosted) post, I also started encouraging fans to sign up for my newsletter.

For this newsletter I use MailChimp.com, and I recently upgraded from the free version so that I could send a reply letter when someone signed up that offered free coupons for various books.

I only started developing a newsletter signup a year ago (should have done it earlier!), as I prepared for the launch of my third book. I started out by emailing any fan who had emailed me personally and asked if they would like to sign up–stressing that i would only send out a newsletter when I had an announcement for a new publication. I also added a signup link to the ends of all my books and stories and put the link on my website. I notice after a promotion–when sales (and therefore readers) goes up–the sign-ups for this newsletter does increase a bit.

Chantel Rhondeau @ChantelRhondeau (Website) is a Romantic suspense author. Chantel writes the Agents in Love series.

I’m fairly new to the mailing list thing, not realizing how important it was in the beginning. Now, I have an account through MailChimp and I put the link for the mailing list and the end of my books, encouraging readers to sign up to get information about my new releases if they enjoyed what they read. I also placed a sign up form on my website that is near the top of it. I did all of this before doing a free giveaway on one of my books, and ended up with several sign ups, so it seems to be working. I look forward to seeing what others have done!

Contact form plugin

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne @authmelodyanne (Website). She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels.

For my fans who want even more detailed news and updates on releases, they have the option to sign up for my newsletter via my website.  If you’re looking for a more technical response, I use one of many readily available contact form plugins available on the web.

Best-Selling Author Chuck Barrett @Chuck_Barrett (Website) is the author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series.

I use every tool available. I have a sign up page on my website. I send out tweets encouraging readers to sign up. Also I try to capture readers at events and book signings then add them to the list.

Software and Services

Author Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar (Website) is an indie author.  She blogs about the craft of writing and indie books.

I just released a newsletter informing my subscribers that extended samples of my books are now available on NoiseTrade for free download.  Since I write in more than one genre, I think it’s a great site to introduce readers to titles they might not of read.

In the future, I would like to put novellas, extra chapters, or scenes from different points of view together and give those away free to anyone who subscribes as a thank you to my readers for subscribing.

Constant Contact

Amazon Best-Selling Author Cheryl Bradshaw @cherylbradshaw (Website) is the creator of the Sloane Monroe series and the founder of the hugely successful Indie Writers Unite group on Facebook.

I use Constant Contact for my emails/newsletter list.

Excel

Author Dianne Harman @DianneDHarman (Website) is Award Winning Bestseller Romance author.

I have a website, dianneharman.com as well as a blog. I’ve just signed up for a newsletter feature and I have no idea how that will go. I have lists of people on Excel spreadsheets that are notified with a new release. That has proven to be very successful. I generally send it out to friends, acquaintances, and the book list.

Rafflecopter

Tricia Drammeh @triciadrammeh (Website) is the author of Young Adult, paranormal romance and Fantasy novels.

I recently began to compile a list of readers for my mailing list. At some point very soon, I’m going to put out a plea on Facebook and on my blog, but even though I haven’t done that yet, I already have quite a list going. I’m one of the authors participating in a Kindle giveaway in which the host of the promotion asked sponsors to provide a Twitter handle or Facebook page for contest entrants to follow as a way of gaining extra points on Rafflecopter. Instead of providing my Facebook Author Page URL like I normally would, I decided to use this opportunity to begin building my mailing list. Readers can earn extra points in the giveaway by signing up for my mailing list, and just a few days into the giveaway, I already have dozens of new potential readers waiting to receive my newsletter.

WIX

Susan Aylworth @SusanAylworth (Website) is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Rainbow Rock Series.

I use an app that I installed through my web provider (Wix) that compiles a list of people who are interested in my website and who sign up for updates.

Weebly signup sheet

Tricia Drammeh @triciadrammeh (Website) is the author of Young Adult, paranormal romance and Fantasy novels.

Right now, I’m using a simple contact form on my (Weebly) website. It’s very easy for readers to fill out, and Weebly sends me an email each time someone signs up. In addition to finding readers via giveaways and contests, I also rely heavily on blogging. It certainly hasn’t happened overnight, but my readership has gradually expanded. The great thing about blogging is it gives you a chance to have an ongoing conversation with readers. I try to respond to every comment, even if it’s just a thank you. Through blogging, I’ve met both readers and authors, and I’ve made many new friends.

What groups do other authors use to develop their list?

Groups can be invaluable in developing your reader list. Here’s what some of the Spotlight crew had to say about using groups to develop their lists.

General

Author Dianne Harman @DianneDHarman (Website) is Award Winning Bestseller Romance author.

I use twitter, Google+, Facebook & Goodreads. I do a lot with Goodreads because this is where the readers are. The others are kind of like shooting fish in a pool. You never know what percent of those are readers and what percent of those will be interested in your genre. I am active in several groups on Google+ that are specific to writers. I’m not a huge fan of Facebook. Other than the Authors Social Media Support Group, I’ve had very little luck with involvement. ASMSG has been a huge factor in whatever success I have had as an author, not only for all the subgroups, but for the help I’ve received with all kinds of questions. Can’t recommend it highly enough. Twitter I use, but again it’s kind of a shotgun thing. I have almost 30,000 followers, but what number of those are readers and what number of those interested in my genre? Don’t know. On occasion I take part in the tweet teams on World Literary Café and ASMSG, particularly if I’m offering a reduction in price or introducing a new book.

Award winning Indie Author John W. Huffman @johnwhuffman (Website) writes Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers.

I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Goodreads as my primary focus social media outlets, as well as the Independent Author’s Network (IAN) blog site, Author’s Corner, and The Indy Writer’s Group as forums for my books. I never attempt to “sell” my books on any of these outlets, but instead focus on inter reacting with old friends and making new ones while allowing them to make their own decisions as to purchase my books or not. I find other authors on these sites who constantly harp on their books and beg for people to purchase them tedious and boring.

Goodreads

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne @authmelodyanne (Website). She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels.

I’m partial to Goodreads forums. Many young book lovers, my target audience, use Goodreads to find other readers and discover books. I have looked at writer forums and Amazon forums before, but I can’t keep up with it all.

I do quite a bit to find new readers, it ranges from very basic in book advertisements to writing and sharing content amongst a close group of fellow self-publishing authors and participation in online (social media based or live chat) release parties.  In addition to this I advertise on various book sites like Goodreads.

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw (Website) is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

I have a Goodreads page, and post reviews fairly regularly. These seem to get a good response from my “followers.” I have joined in various discussion groups, but do that less now. I’m thinking of setting up a discussion group on a number of specific topics when I finish a collection of stories I’m working on. I’m also on LibraryThing and LinkedIn, but less active on those sites.

Award-winning Author Mohana Rajakumar @moha_doha (Website) is an author based in Qatar. She has a PhD and has been involved in various foundations supporting young writers.

I really love Goodreads for finding readers. Because those who read your book and like it are likely to read other books by the same author. I have has great success writing to past reviewers of my books in posting early reviews of new titles or even beta reading, which is offering comments on a manuscript in progress. They’re often excited to read something before everyone else can and because they’re avid readers, they have insightful comments.

Hope that’s helpful as that’s the only real list I use for readers.

Genre Specific

Susan Aylworth @SusanAylworth (Website) is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Rainbow Rock Series.

Sales and other special events are posted to several Facebook groups, specialized to my niche market, such as the Goodreads Clean Romances page. I’d love to find more!

Speaking at conferences

Best-Selling Author Chuck Barrett @Chuck_Barrett (Website) is the author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series.

I have one of the best ways to build my readership and followers is with face time…actual time in front of readers. Speeches at writer’s conferences and book festivals always show a marked increase. Another successful method in reaching out to book clubs, Friends of the Library groups/chapters, writers groups, local women’s and men’s groups.

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw (Website) is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

I recently participated on a crime fiction panel and was pleasantly surprised to hear a woman in the audience talk about my books. She was a poet, not a fiction writer, and was not the kind of person who would normally read my books. This has happened quite often.

I go to a few conferences, participate in panels, comment regularly on lots of blogs, post reviews, and generally try to keep my name alive. I don’t think reaching readers is a matter of working with any one site but in general maintaining a level of participation in the online world. I’ve tried to track e-book sales according to certain activities, but I can’t identify any correlation.

Wattpad

Author Connie Flynn @ConnieFlynn (Website) is the bestselling award-winning author of many Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance novels and short stories.

Good question. The truth is I’ve been using a scattershot method of enlisting new readers and I’ve taken a new direction. Currently I am advertising heavily and have seen a nice uptick in my sales. I’ve also put my first WIP up on Wattpad and am waiting to see how that turns out.

What I have discovered is that my newsletter is important because since enlisting the subscribers as beta readers I’ve also made them into fans and I want to create more of that. Not only is it good for sales, I’ve already made some new friends.

This reply is pretty scattershot itself and I hope it’s of value. If you choose not to use it I’ll understand. Your support has already been invaluable to me.

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw (Website) is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

Wattpad is an interesting site that I have used a bit. I post a sample chapter from a book, for example, and then link to the whole book on Amazon. I’ve posted a short story, related to one of my mystery series.

I use these sites to introduce readers to my books. I’m less interested in putting their email addresses into a program for a newsletter, etc., than I am in making them curious enough about me to follow a link to my books and try one.

Support groups

Award winning Indie Author John W. Huffman @johnwhuffman (Website) writes Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers.

I am constantly in contact with support groups as I come across them, such as this one, and respond to them on a daily or as requested basis.

Are there problems you should avoid?

Author Jake Needham @jakeneedham (Website) is a best-selling Mystery & Thrillers Author.

I have an opt-in mailing list and people who visit my website can add their names to the list. I don’t use any online tools to capture email addresses. My list is strictly opt-in and the only way to do that is by filling out a short form on my site. After I set up the mailing list, it very quickly ran up to about a thousand names, but over the last year or so growth has slowed to a trickle. I have no idea why since I’ve changed nothing and the number of visits I get to my website has steadily increased. Maybe newsletters have simply gone out of style and few people want to receive them anymore. That’s easy to understand since most of us already get far more email these days than we know what to do with.

I should also say that I have the sense that my mailing list is worthless as a marketing tool. Most if not all of the people on it are fans who have already read most of my books. I do get a lot of nice email back whenever I send out a newsletter that has any substance at all. Clearly many readers do enjoy hearing from me and reading my thoughts on things that touch on the subject matter of the books I write, but I don’t think the newsletters actually sell any books for me at all. Trying to sell more books through an opt-in mailing list is almost the definition of preaching to the choir.

Terry Ambrose @suspense_writer (Website) is the author of the McKenna Mystery series and a member of Murder, We Wrote.

I, like most people I know, am annoyed by the constant promotional efforts many writers use. As a result, if I am friends with someone, but the majority of their posts are promotional in nature, I’m going to distance myself from them. Everyone has to do some promotion, but that promotion should be a small portion of the social interactions, not the majority.

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne @authmelodyanne (Website). She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels.

To me the term “capture” implies some sort of unwanted data collection to somehow spam my fans with news they don’t necessarily want.  Typically all news of new releases is available through social media platforms, so any fans that follow me will receive updates as they occur.

Unwanted email

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw (Website) is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

There is so much unwanted email these days that I have decided to stay away from this. I have a list of about 1500 names and addresses, but these change so often that I felt it wasn’t worth the effort to keep up the list and then send newsletters or announcements to people who are already complaining about unwanted email.

Amazon Best-Selling Author Cheryl Bradshaw @cherylbradshaw (Website) is the creator of the Sloane Monroe series and the founder of the hugely successful Indie Writers Unite group on Facebook.

I’m mainly on Twitter and Facebook. I use Twitter for most of my interaction with fans, and usually only promote on there once a month when I run a BookBub ad. If you’re constantly promoting, you’ll lose your existing fans, and you’ll be unfollowed.

Time

Liliana Hart @Liliana_Hart (Website) is a NYT and USA Today Bestselling author of romantic mysteries and suspense.

Thanks so much for emailing me. I want you to know I read each and every email from my readers, and those emails are awesome and keep me going and motivated. Unfortunately, I’ve reached the point where I just can’t respond to them all in a timely manner. I wish I could respond faster and stay on top of it all, but I’ve realized I’m not Wonder Woman, despite what my favorite coffee mug says. Just be assured that I’m using my email response time to get the next book out faster. Thank you all so much for your support and for reading.

Spam

Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger (Website) is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club was released in 2013.

In my experience, people are so overwhelmed with spam and emails that it’s really difficult to get them to subscribe to email lists. They have to be (a) really passionate fans and/or (b) given something valuable in return, to entice them.

How should you use the reader list?

Now that you have laid all the ground work, planted the seeds, it’s time to harvest the crop. What do I do with my list?

Usage

Author Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar (Website) is an indie author.  She blogs about the craft of writing and indie books.

For now, I use my mailing list to alert my readers about the following: cover reveals, new releases and promotions. I send one out every three months or so. I like to be able to give my subscribers a reason to join, so I let them know of any promotions before anyone else.

Search engines/rankings

Terry Ambrose @suspense_writer (Website) is the author of the McKenna Mystery series and a member of Murder, We Wrote.

Because I’m reaching out directly to my audience via search engines, which are now ranking my posts on the first page for the search terms, my website traffic is up and I have more opportunity to garner a potential reader’s interest. With that said, the majority of those visitors are looking for something in particular, so converting them from a visitor who is looking for a specific type of information to someone interested in books can be difficult.

Best-Selling Author Chuck Barrett @Chuck_Barrett (Website) is the author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series.

There is no single sure-fire method that works 100% of the time. Social media has had its heyday. Readers want more substance. They are overwhelmed with the preponderance of authors and books saturating the market. It’s confusing when there are hundreds (or thousands) of new authors flooding social media every month. Readers tend to stick to their favorites and sometimes it’s difficult to get them to break that habit. What works best is to have the best product you can have and get out and reach the readers. Face time with readers is important and that helps word of mouth…and word of mouth sells books. Advertising is only so-so effective and must be well-placed & well-timed or it’s a waste of money. Today’s author must try everything they can to sell books. When something works, stick with it until it stops working then find something else that works.

Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger (Website) is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club was released in 2013.

What do I do with the email list? I send out a newsletter, but I try really hard not to annoy people, so I try to make it (a) substantive, with some actual “content,” not just all about me and please to buy my books, and (b) I don’t send it out more than five times a year. When I have something substantial to announce, I send an email, and I know from MailChimp.com (the e-newsletter service I use) that I have a very high “open” rate compared to other marketers, so I think I’m doing something right.

Best Selling Author M. R. Cornelius @marshacornelius (Website) writes post-apocalyptic thrillers. Marsha echoed several responses I received to this study.

Looking forward to this post James, because I do a terrible job of finding readers. I could use some tips.

Throughout this study the authors have echoed how they use their list. They not only use the list to announce new releases, promotions and giveaways but to build relationships.

The communications should be well-timed and not overdone. The primary theme the authors used was ‘give them something of value’. There is no silver bullet here. Write a good book. Cultivate it. And then reap the rewards.

Here are the questions you need to answer.

Do you have a reader lists?

What methods would you use to develop the list?

How would you use the list?

To check out the complete responses to the Study from each author, click the link below.

How Do You Develop and Use a List of Your Readers? – HBS Author’s Corner STUDY Detail

eBook Author’s Corners  Related Posts

Indie Authors: Your Copyright Page Needs Work

eBook Marketing: Include Live Contact Information in Your eBook

Author Blogs: Are You Hiding Your Contact Information From Your Readers?

Authors: Finding Your Readers On-line: A group of Award-winning Authors speak up. – A Study

Some of the sources of information offered by authors follow:

Crime and Horror Author Jade Varden @JadeVarden (Website) is the creator of the Deck of Lies book series.

Slowly building a fan base through interaction.

Who to follow to build your fan base.

What days and style are most advantageous for social media updates?

What should you tweet to sell books?

Follow me:

Follow Me on Twitter: @jimhbs

Or EMAIL at: jim@jamesmoushon.com

View my website: James Moushon – Mystery Writer

Or visit my blog: The eBook Author Corner

Take a look at my Author’s blog: HBS Author’s Spotlight

Or my Mystery blog: HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

- See more at: http://hbspublications.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-do-you-develop-and-use-list-of-your.html#sthash.8gs88ctm.dpuf

WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEING INDIE?

What’s Wrong With Being Indie

My good friend, Hunter Jones, and I recently had a discussion about the pros and cons of being an “indie” or an “independent” author. Here are some of her thoughts. I think they’re excellent and definitely worth the read.

Ms Jones Official 6-14


It seems that every time you read a review of an indie book publication, somewhere you will read it needs to be edited…or…could use correct punctuation…or…I didn’t like the ending.

Why?

First of all, when you find a mistake, PLEASE let us know so that it can be corrected, like immediately. When anyone writes, we see what is in our head, not what is on the page. I’ve paid a lot of money for editing. I also have paid a lot of money for books from the major publishing houses with spelling and punctuation mistakes. This is not the sole provenance of indie publishing. Nothing’s perfect. Please let authors know when you find a mistake. It would really help.

Secondly, let’s talk about punctuation. Have you ever considered that many authors misuse punctuation as an expression of their art? Oftentimes, writing is an art form, not an exercise in composition. You can play with fiction. Maybe the punctuation is the way the author wants it-a vital part of their creation. Didn’t Faulkner win a Pulitzer for doing funky stuff with, or without, punctuation? Indie musicians become rock gods because of an early riff or the wrong drum beat. They are considered geniuses for their ‘mistakes’. Why aren’t indie authors who misuse words or punctuation viewed much the same?

Lastly, you don’t like the ending. You don’t like the ending? What’s that all about? Yes, we live in a world where you can choose the ending of some TV shows, but c’mon, we’re talking about books. Since when do you get to choose how a book ends? The ending is chosen by the author. As a matter of fact, the entire book is the author’s concept. Currently, some authors ARE experimenting with allowing fans to choose the ending. You work with us, we’ll work with you. How’s that? Remember, writing is an art form…

Indie music is glamourized and glorified, which is completely understandable. When that indie scene started, the word from the major recording labels was that indie musician’s weren’t good enough to get a record deal. Doesn’t that sound like what is currently going on in the publishing world, only with authors? Now, don’t get me wrong, should a major publisher chose to sign me, I would graciously accept the offer. (I’m not holding my breath.) Until that day dawns, I will, and more importantly, I CAN publish as an indie author.

Wasn’t the American Revolution ignited by an independent writer named Tom Paine? Throughout history, indie writers have taken on many genres, forms and roles. Love us and all our flaws because we have the courage to publish independently. Get with today’s indie publishing revolution because we’re not going away. For those who already support us, thank you. Your dedication and insight mean a great deal.

Next time you read an indie book or story, find reasons to fall in love with it. Does it inspire you? Is it original?

We’re writers. Don’t hate us because we’re imaginative. We’re reclusive. We’re enigmatic. Will you accept our work, or laugh at us? Either way, we wish to share our dreams and visions with you. Join us. Give us a bit of your time. Instead of buying that cup of coffee which will eventually find its way to a landfill, download someone’s book. You won’t regret it, I promise.

So what’s wrong with being indie? Absolutely nothing. Free your mind and enjoy the ride.

 

BIO – HUNTER S. JONES

2014

Writer. Exile on Peachtree Street.

I make things up and write them down.

The art form I create when writing is much more interesting than anything you will ever know or learn about me. However, since you ask, I have lived in Tennessee and Georgia my entire life, except for one “lost summer” spent in Los Angeles. My first published stories were for a local underground rock publication in Nashville. Since then, I have published articles on music, fashion, art, travel and history.

October 2013 saw the launch of a novel collaboration, SEPTEMBER ENDS, contemporary fiction laced with romance, erotic and supernatural elements, bound by poetry. SEPTEMBER ENDS has been labeled an “Indie Sensation” due the critical reception and international recognition the novel has received.  It has just been nominated for indie 2013 Book of the Year AND Best Romance by the peer recommended eFestival of Words. The book has been downloaded in every Amazon domain on the planet. It has achieved #1 status on Amazon for World Literature, #1 in British Poetry, #1 in Artistic Erotica and #1 in Contemporary Poetry.

The first installment of The Fortune Series, FORTUNE CALLING, released in January 2014, is the story of Dallas Fortune, a musician from Nashville who has been dealt a bad hand by fate, but finds her way. It has been #1 on Amazon in Contemporary Fiction featuring Performing Arts and #1 in Contemporary Short Stories. Look for it’s audio release soon.

SEPTEMBER AGAIN, released on Amazon on April 15, 2014achieved Best Seller ranking, as did the poetry of SEPTEMBER VERSES, released May 2014.SEPTEMBER AGAIN is a dramatic contemporary coming of age story, no matter what your age is. SEPTEMBER VERSES is the poetry of the SEPTEMBER STORIES with never before seen Editor’s Cuts. The next in the series, SEPTEMBER FIRST, will be released later in Septemeber 2014.

Look for the first RA Jones Anthology to be released July 2014. Confessions of a Sex Addict is four sultry erotic stories set in contemporary New Orleans. The second Ra Jones Anthology is scheduled in November 2014. Eight erotic writers with eight stories, all based on one word, which is the title. More soon…

You can connect with me at the following social media sites:

www.Twitter.com/huntersjones101

https://www.facebook.com/HunterSJones111

www.Pinterest.com/HunterSJones

about.me/huntersjones101

www.HunterSJones.com

www.ExpatsPost.com

www.thehuntersjones.blogspot.com – Exile on Peachtree Street

http://kissfrommymuse.com/

INTERNATIONAL LINKS for SEPTEMBER STORIES

September Again International Link

September Ends International Link

Sept Ends NEW sml

DEALING WITH WRITER’S BLOCK!

Happens to the best of us, the dreaded words, “Writer’s Block.” Here’s how one author deals with it. Enjoy!

unnamed[1]

RHANI D’CHAE shares with us how she deals with writer’s block….

I have some real issues with writer’s block, and I have two basic ways to get past it. I tend to work on two or three projects at once, mainly because my mind bounces around way too much to keep focused on one project only. But I’ve found that when I get writer’s block on project A, it usually helps to jump over to project B, C, or D, and work there for a while. Doing this distracts me from whatever my issue was with my primary project, and allows me to reset my brain so I can slip back into project A with a clear head and pick up where I left off.

The other method I use is to jump ahead to a future point in my plot and work  there for a chapter or two, usually until I run into another block. At that point I will either go to a different section or, if enough fuzz has cleared out of my brain, I’ll go back to the original stopping point and pick up where I left off. I’ve found that doing this has a couple of benefits for me. First, it allows me to continue working on my book when writer’s block might otherwise stop my progress. Secondly, on days when I just can’t focus on the actual plot, I work on connecting the sections and still manage to get something accomplished. The third benefit is that bouncing ahead helps me define where my characters are going and how they’re going to get there. Moving ahead to chapter six may show me that the minor character of  ‘Joe’ has no place there, and so I decide that his car accident in chapter four was A) fatal, and B) not an accident. This gives me the ability to sculpt the story toward the mysterious crash in chapter four, as opposed to writing to chapter six, deciding that Joe needs to be gone, and then having to go back and rewrite both the crash, and its effect on Joe and the characters around him. This is my favorite method of getting past writer’s block, and for me it’s the most effective.

Shadow of the Drill centers around a man whose life was destroyed by violence, who then embraced violence as a means to a very brutal end. It follows Decker and Rudy as they come face to face with their oldest enemies and attempt to close that chapter of their lives. The book contains graphic violence as well as sexual situations, and is not intended for young or easily offended readers. Shadow of the Drill is the first in the Drill series and the second book, Winter of the Drill, will hopefully be completed in the next month or two.

Thank you all so much for allowing me to share a bit of my journey with you today.  To follow the rest of my tour, please visit 4WillsPublishing.  Dianne, you were a great host and thank you so much for having me!

BIO:

RHANI D’CHAE spent her teen years bouncing between WA, OR, and OK, but has lived her adult life in Tacoma, WA. She likes to read, though she doesn’t read as much as she used to due to diabetic vision loss, and is a fan of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Brian Lumley, and James Clavell. She loves The Walking Dead, and any zombie film with a high body count. Ms. D’Chae enjoys connecting with people on social networking sites, and loves getting feedback from those who have read her work, so please don’t leave without sharing your comments. 

PURCHASE LINKS:

“SHADOW OF THE DRILL” by Rhani D. Chae  www.amazon.com/dp/B00GBHQZZU

CONTACT INFO:

Twitter:  @rhanidchae

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/rhani.dchae

Google +:  http://google.com/+RhaniDChae

Website:  www.rhanidchae.com 

Review of Shadow of the Drill at NONNIE’S “RAVE” REVIEWS

Award Winning Author in the Mystery & Suspense genre