Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More About River Spirits

When I began writing River Spirits I wasn't sure exactly where I was going with it. The only thing I really knew was that I had to have a character named Kate Eileen Shannon. If the name sounds familiar to you it's because it belongs to an author. She won my last contest to have a character in a book named after her.

I only know Kate Eileen Shannon from the Internet and her books. However, isn't that a great name? It conjured up a great person. I immediately imagined a young and in some ways, naive person, with red bouncy curls. 

My Kate Eileen has a job that might've been fun under different circumstances as she's the personal assistant to a fading movie star. Unfortunately, her boss is a shrew. She treats Kate Eileen as a servant.

The only reason Kate Eileen doesn't quit is because her beau is the star's driver. If she quits she won't be able to see him.

Once I knew this character, the plot began unfolding.

Of course there is a murder--and because it  happens on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, Deputy Tempe Crabtree is assigned to investigate the case.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Countdown for River Spirits

It won't be long now until you can purchase River Spirits in just about any format you want.

This is always an exciting time for an author, knowing that the time is getting close when the book you've written, read to your critique group, edited, edited again, checked the galley proofs, is actually going to be a book.

The book will be available from Mundania Press in all formats, and of course from all the usual places.

One of the things I did which I hope will also encourage sales of this book and others in Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series is that one of the earlier books, Bears With Us, the Kindle version will be offered for .99 cents from October 13-17. You'll be hearing more about when the time comes.

In preparation for the advent of River Spirits I organized a blog tour which is a lot of work. It won't happen until November, but watch for it, as I'll be having a contest again. This time, the winner can choose to be a character in the next book or choose an earlier book in the series.

Of course I'll be telling everyone about the book on Facebook and everywhere else I can think of.

And here is what River Spirits is about:

While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

You can read the first chapter by going to my website: http://fictionforyou.com/


Friday, September 26, 2014

Part III of Promotion--In Person

When you are dreaming about being an author, thoughts seem to go to doing book store signings. Many authors still do them and quite successfully.

In my case, bookstores have disappeared from our local areas. I still have a few favorites that I like to visit for a signing. However, I've found if I am going to draw people to the store for the event--it needs to be just that--an event. Give a talk and have refreshments. Even pick a theme to build the event around.

Libraries are among my favorites to visit. I like to do any kind of event in a library. Giving a talk of some sort is a must. Being part of a panel on a subject of interest is always fun. I just participated in one on cozies--and I'm going to be part of one soon on the E-Publishing Age.

But there are many other venues where authors have had successful events: restaurants, coffee shops, wineries, grocery stores, to name just a few. Think outside the box,  as they say.

If you have the right kind of book, schools can be another place to give a successful presentation. Whether or not it'll be a place to sell books will depend--but you can always hand out cards, bookmarks, and/or flyers for the children to take home. 

I have an author friend, Shirley Hickman, who has written a book that has caught the eye of her school district and teachers have purchased books for their classrooms. It's a YA book about a Latino family and the perils of being undocumented and working in the orange groves. The heroine is a senior in high school. It's well-written, exciting, and enjoyable for adults too.

Going to book fairs and festivals are also great places to meet readers and sell books. You must engage with the passerbys though--don't sit in the chair and read or do handwork like I've seen some authors do.

And there are writers conferences. If you can be an instructor that's a great way for people to get acquainted with your books and sell a few.

Different cons also are great places to meet readers and introduce your books to them. If you can be on a panel, great. If not, take the time to speak to everyone and hand out your bookmarks or cards.

Be sure and add other ideas in the comments.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mark S. Bacon, author of Death in Nostalgia City, Interview


 Mark S. Bacon began his career as a newspaper reporter covering, among other beats, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Glendale (Calif.) Police Department.   After writing news and features at two newspapers, he moved to ad copywriting when he joined the advertising department of Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif.  Bacon wrote commercials and ads for the Orange County theme park and he directed special events.

Later his career moved into other forms of communication but his early background covering a daily police beat and working for a theme park was part of the inspiration for his theme park mystery.
Bacon later wrote TV commercials for an advertising agency, was public relations manager for a financial trade association, marketing director for a southern California financial institution, and later managed his own marketing consulting firm.
For nearly 20 years Bacon had a parallel career as an adjunct college professor teaching business writing and journalism.  He taught journalism at California State Polytechnic University - Pomona, UNLV, the University of Redlands and the University of Nevada - Reno.   He taught business at Fullerton (Calif.) College and Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nev.
Write Like the Pros, published by John Wiley & Sons, was Bacon’s first book.  It applies the techniques of journalism and copywriting to written business communication.  His next book for Wiley, Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing: Secrets for Small Business, was named a best business book of the year by the Library Journal, was printed in three editions and four languages.  His most recent book was Mysteries and Murder, a collection of crime flash fiction stories published by Ether Books.

He earned a BA in journalism from Fresno State University and an MA in mass communication/media criticism from UNLV.

His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Kansas City Star, Denver Post, USAir Magazine, Trailer Life, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express-News, The Orange County Register, Working Woman, and other publications.  He is a former columnist for BusinessWeek Online and most recently was a regular correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle where he wrote on travel, outdoors and entertainment.   
            Bacon is a former president of the Orange County Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.  He and his wife, Anne, and their golden retriever, Willow, live in Reno, Nevada. www.baconsmysteries.com


He thinks he’s on edge now…then people start getting killed…

“Stressed-out” has been ex-cop Lyle Deming’s default setting for years, but his new job, driving a cab in a theme park, promises to cure his chronic anxieties. Nostalgia City is the ultimate resort for anyone who wants to visit the past. A meticulous recreation of an entire small town from the early 1970s, it’s complete with period cars, music, clothes, shops, restaurants, hotels—the works.

The relaxed, theme-park atmosphere is just what Lyle needs—until rides are sabotaged and tourists killed. Then park founder, billionaire “Max” Maxwell, drafts Lyle into investigating—unofficially. As the violence escalates and employees get rattled, Lyle gets help. Kate Sorensen, the park’s PR director—and former college basketball player—becomes another incognito investigator. Except that she’s six-foot-two-and-a-half-inches tall and drop-dead gorgeous. So much for incognito.

Together, Lyle and Kate unravel a conspiracy of corporate greed and murder.

Death in Nostalgia City is a fascinating mystery set in a highly authentic world of 60s & 70s nostalgia - and the story works compellingly on both levels.  It’s an excellent read that’s loaded with iconic touchstones of ‘60s-‘70s pop culture - music, fashion, TV, movies.  Death in Nostalgia City is a blast!”
--Dick Bartley - host of radio’s "The Classic Countdown" and "Rock & Roll’s Greatest Hits" - member of the Radio Hall of Fame.

Write Like the Pros
How to use the techniques of ad writers and journalists in business
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1988
Selected by: Book of the Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, Fortune Book Club.
Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; First edition, 1992; Updated paperback edition, 1994; Second edition, completely revised, 1997.  Named: A Best Business Book of the Year by the Library Journal
Selected by: Book of the Month Club, BusinessWeek Book Club, Fortune (magazine) Book Club.  Printed in four languages; sold on four continents.

The California Escape Manual
How to relocate from urban California to a small town in a small state
Archer & Clark Publishing, 1998
Self-published book was marketing only in California and sold nearly 5,000 copies.  Favorably reviewed or subject of lengthy feature articles/photos/interviews in about 35 newspapers, magazines and radio stations.

Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words
Archer & Clark Publishing, 2012
Self-published flash fiction stories in e-book format.  Many of the stories were printed first in online literary magazines.

Mysteries and Murder
Ether Books, 2013
Crime flash fiction stories published by British firm for reading, via an app, on smart phones and mobile devices.

Monday, September 22, 2014

More Marketing Stuff, Part II

I know that most authors think, "When am I supposed to write if I have to do all this promotion?"

What it boils down to, is you sure better be doing something. Figure out what you like to do, or better yet, what seems to result in sales, and be consistent. Believe me, it needs to be more than one thing.

Some of the online promotion venues I didn't mention yesterday (and there are many more, but I can't possible write about all of them) are:

http://pinterest.com  This is a great place to post your book covers--and a lot more. I must confess I don't do as much on it as I could.

Your author page on Amazon. This is something that if you don't have, you should create right away. Be sure to keep it up to date.

Check out the reviews of your books on Amazon, and I think it's fun to thank those people who've written good reviews in the comment space below the review. However--don't argue with anyone who has given you a bad review--just ignore it.

With the best reviews, use part of those review in your ongoing promotion--let people know about them on Facebook, etc.

I had great success offering Angel Lost, one of my Rock Bluff P.D. mysteries free for Kindle for 5 days. I got thousands of downloads, made #1 in police procedurals for a short time and was in the lower hundred in mysteries for about three days.
Not only did I get many downloads, but also others purchased the book at the regular price. Other books in the series were purchased. This took a lot of promotion, some of it I paid for through the many places that promote free e-books. 

And yes, it took a lot of time, effort and money. I made the money I spent back plus a lot more--best royalty check I've ever received. Plus, at last count, I had 127 reviews for Angel Lost.

In October I'm doing a .99 ebook in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series for Bears With Us. Watch for it. Of course the reason behind it is to get people interested in the series and my new book, River Spirits.

In Part III, I'll write about in-person promotion. And as always, feel free to add what has worked for you.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Promotion for Books Today, Part I

Question? "What is the publisher going to do for my book?"

Answer: Publish it and all that entails. Formatting, Cover, ISBN number, Getting it on All the Internet Book Sites, Have it On Their Website, Perhaps some Promotion

Question? What do I need to do to promote my book?

#1 You need to let people know you have a book.

How do you do that?

Through everything that is available to you.

A personal website. Easy to do today--it can be set up on your blog. I choose to have a separate website. http://fictionforyou.com/  The first chapters of all my books are on my website.

It is not enough to just have the website, you have to keep it up-to-date. It should have information about you and your books.

A blog. This is my blog, of course. It's important that content change on your blog often. Once a week at the least. The more followers on your blog the better.

Make comments on other people's blogs. Follow blogs you like. Be a regular guest on other blogs.

I'm a regular blogger the first and 3rd Tuesday on the following blogs:

Be on Facebook. For this to really help you need to have a lot of friends. Then you should post several times a day. It doesn't have to be about your book all the time. It's like having short chats with your friends. Tell them what you're doing--but don't badmouth anyone and personally, I think you should stay away from politics. You can find me under my name Marilyn Meredith.

There are groups on Facebook for readers. Join these and let them know about your books. You don't have to bombard them, but when you have a new book or a bargain with one of your books, let them know.

Twitter. I'm not as good about tweeting as I should--but I try to tweet at least once a day.

Goodreads. Every author should have a page on Goodreads. I'm not nearly as active as I should be on there.

And of course there are listserves, I belong to several: Sisters in Crime, LA Sisters in Crime, Central Coast Sisters in Crime, DorothyL, both my publishers' lists--important to any writer who has a publisher. If your publisher has a blog, participate on it, leave comments on other people's blogs.

When your book comes out do a blog tour. I'm doing another the month of November for River Spirits.

If you rely on your publisher to promote your book you aren't going to have many sales--and you'll have no one to blame but yourself. Readers need to hear about you--and your book.

There's lots more you can do, that's just some of what has worked for me.

I'll have a Part II soon.

Add your ideas if you'd like.


More Writing Tips

Here are a few more tips I've passed on to contestants about their manuscripts.

Though it seems most authors should know the best ways for formatting a manuscript, not all do.

Time New Roman 12 point (not bold) is what most publishers want. (You should always check the guidelines.)

Double space.

Indent for paragraphs, no space between paragraphs.

Always a ragged right hand margin.

When writing dialogue, it needs to sound realistic—but not as we actually say it. Leave out all the "Hello, how are you?" "I'm fine. What's new?" 

Dialogue needs to move the plot along and reveal character. 

Leave out fancy dialogue tags like responded and adverbs to describe it. The dialogue should do that for itself. Either just use said and asked, or better, use the character’s action. 

Be careful of talking heads—when people are talking, even during interviews—they move, scratch their heads, look off into space, adjust their position in their chair, etc.

Whoever the main character is in a scene, that’s who the narrative is coming from—that is his or her point-of-view.

Rewriting and careful editing should catch a lot—get rid of unnecessary dialogue. 

No matter how much you've gone over your manuscript, it still needs editing.

Today, most publishing houses expect you to have a well-edited manuscript before you send it to them.

If something I've written is not clear, leave me a comment and I'll write more about the subject.