Tag Archives: Beth Solheim

Smart Marketing to Eliminate Missed Sales

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Okay, so I go to the grocery store today and I am in the checkout lane. Impulse buy Hell, you’ve all been there. So, I’m looking at magazines and something catches my eye, hmm, Ronald Reagan at 100. Hey wait one damn minute! Ronald Reagan isn’t 100, he’s DEAD!!!!! Okay, so you must be thinking, oh that pesky National Enquirer, no my friend, this is LIFE magazine. They have done an entire special edition on a man who has been dead for…well, a long time!!

LIFE, really??? You can’t find anything else to put on the newsstand than an entire magazine devoted to a dead man? This really pissed me off. In fact, so much so that two hours later, I am sitting at my desk still seething and blogging about it. What the heck does it matter to me? It really doesn’t, not like you would think. It did, however, get me to thinking about how authors and publishers market books.

As a publisher, I try to be careful in my keywords and search options when marketing our books. I want people to be able to find them when they are looking for them. For example. We just released OUTWITTED, book two in the Sadie Witt Mystery series, by Beth Solheim. So how do you think we should make this book searchable? It’s about a senior citizen, female, who can see and talk to the dead. So I use keywords like seniors, afterlife, senior citizens, female sleuths, women slueths. It is set at a resort in Minnesota that is owned by two sisters who have a dog (Belly Lugosi) that plays pretty prominently into the stories. So I also use words like Minnesota, MN, dogs, dog lovers, mystery, mysteries, sisters, family business. All of these words would (or should) increase the chance of readers finding this book if they are searching any of these terms. This can only increase our chance of being discovered.

What is happening thought is that authors and publishers seem to want to get the most exposure they can, so they put in these random words that have nothing to do with the book because those words might lead to very active searches. I went into Kindle when I got home to see what mysteries with women sleuths were out there. I found some. But I also found J.A. Konrath? Women sleuth? Really? How about hard-boiled thriller. In my opinion Jack Daniels is a detective/cop, not a sleuth. I also found several Harlen Coben (Myron Bolitar, not a woman sleuth), Stuart Woods (Stone Barrington, so not a woman sleuth), James Patterson (Alex Cross, not a woman sleuth), J.R. Rain (Jim Knighthorse, not a woman sleuth), and numerous others who are not even close to being books about women sleuths. The ONLY thing I can figure these books have in common with that phrase is that the books actually have women in them. Many of them are dead, but they are women nonetheless.

Why does this matter? Well, to me, as a reader, it matters because it wastes my time when I go searcing for something specific and I have to wade through a bunch of crap (not that these books are crap, some of them are quite good, but that is beside the point right now) that is irrelevant to my search. It pisses me off in a big way that of the top 100 selling books at Amazon.com in the women sleuth category, over half of them are incorrectly catagorized. Where the hell are the actual books featuring women sleuths? It really irritates me that Beth Solheim’s book about a frisky 60+ woman who talks to the dead is not in that list because it has been bumped down by thrillers, police procedurals, horror, and all manner of other genre books that do not feature women sleuths, or in many case living women.

Authors and publishers note: If you want people to find your books when they are looking for a specific genre, you might actually want to mention those genres and keywords in your search functions. What happens if you don’t? You run the risk of pissing off the readers who are looking for something else and then I promise you, we will remember your names and in my case and that of many of my friends who I have whined to about this, we will not buy your books or suggest them to others just because you wasted our time and pissed us off.

Use your power for good when setting up the parameters for how readers find your book. You also should consider that if readers are looking for something tame and easy to read without having nightmares for months after reading, by misleading them into assuming that you told the truth when you classified your book as a woman sleuth book, you will lose that reader the first time your serial killer cuts out someone’s tongue and hangs in on a chain around his neck. I’m just saying.

As for you, LIFE magazine. What the hell are you thinking? Probably most of the info you killed however many trees to publish in this special edition about Ronald Regan at 100 can be found on the Internet or already in the library where more trees did NOT need to die. Come on!!!

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Beth Solheim: A Star on the Rise

Beth SolheimLike the main character in her Sadie Witt mystery series, Beth Solheim was born with a healthy dose of imagination and a hankering to solve a puzzle. She learned her reverence for reading from her mother, who was never without a book in her hand.

By day, Beth works in Human Resources. By night she morphs into a writer who frequents lake resorts and mortuaries and hosts a ghost or two in her humorous paranormal mysteries. 

Raised and still living in Northern Minnesota, she resides in lake country with her husband and a menagerie of wildlife critters. She and her husband are blessed with two grown children and two grandsons.

Now, on with the show… 

KS: Can you tell us a little bit about what is was like to get the word that a publisher wanted to publish your book? 

BS: Shock. Absolute shock and joy. Several months had lapsed after Karen Syed, publisher of Echelon Press, requested my manuscript, so I thought she must not be interested. Then, as I do every morning, I opened my email and there it was. Karen said her editorial board expressed interest and would I like to look at a contract. Would I? Are you serious? Of course! Acting like an adult was out of the question as I raced from room to room. I realize the real work has just begun, but I’m still riding that cloud of debut-author bliss. 

KS: How long have you been writing and what was the first thing you remember writing? 

BS: I’ve been writing for about ten years, six seriously. My first attempt at writing was a mystery. I knew nothing about plotting, characterization, or pacing, but I plodded through and thought it was great. A best seller. It wasn’t. It was horrible. I’m mortified by that first attempt, but also thrilled with what I’ve learned over the past six years. 

KS: What is a typical day like for you with regard to a day job and now a pending career as an author? 

BS: My full-time day job is in Human Resources in a hospital. My evenings are spent doing typical household chores, writing and editing, and occasionally drawing floor plans and processing paperwork for my husband’s construction business. Signing a contract with Echelon Press added another dimension—marketing. Over the past year I read books and surfed websites to learn what I could about marketing. I’ll format a plan to stay current with trends in marketing and writing. 

KS: How do you think your life will change once your book is published and available for sale to readers? 

BS: The pace will quicken, especially when both the eBook and print book are available to readers. Blog tours, book signings, speaking engagements and book fairs will be priority along with other marketing venues. I’ll keep my day job and most of all stay focused on writing and edits. 

KS: What kinds of things do you do to keep your focus when trying to write when life gets in the way? Do you use candles or music or meditation? 

BS: I park my butt and write. I have a nasty chat with a certain lazy writer if I don’t meet my goal. And, no chocolate! I also use Goals for Guppies, a Sister’s in Crime support group. I set a goal each week and have to report in on weekends. Shame on me if I don’t achieve that writing or marketing goal. If I’m exhausted when I come home from work, I enjoy a meal with my husband and then walk a mile or two with Il Divo, Celine Dion, or Josh Groban serenading me. Music is stimulating and makes me feel whole again. It triggers ideas. 

KS: Who in your life has been the most influential in your journey toward being an author? 

BS: A friend of my sister’s, Stephanie Sorenson, who is a publicist for Penguin Putnam, took the time to read my manuscript and made suggestions out of the goodness of her heart. No one in the profession had ever validated my writing or made constructive comments. That honest critique coupled with encouragement and counsel was the best thing that happened. 

KS: Tell us a little bit about book one of your upcoming series. 

BS: At Witt’s End is a humorous, paranormal mystery. Witt’s End is a bustling resort in Northern Minnesota with clients vying for one of the few remaining rentals, except Cabin 14, where guests never leave alive. 

Most sixty-four year old senior citizens aren’t expected to solve a murder while trying to prevent an unscrupulous sheriff’s deputy from shutting down their lakeside resort, but that’s exactly what Sadie Witt must do. 

When five guests arrive at Cabin 14, they’re stunned to learn that the flamboyant Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in the latest fashion trends, fads that are typically reserved for those without sagging body parts and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can’t, Sadie realizes one of the guests had been murdered and must work against the clock to untangle the web and prevent further mayhem. 

You can visit Beth at her web site.