Tag Archives: books

It’s All Good!

I said I would work my way through, what I consider to be, the most popular of social networking sites. Today I am going to focus on Good Reads.

Because I know there are so many authors out there who abuse social networking sites for book promotion, I am going to remind you all that these are first, and foremost SOCIAL NETWORKING sites. They were designed to get like-minded people together and socializing–see the connection? In this instance, the topic of conversation is books. Woohoo!

So, with that in mind, Good Reads is the perfect place for us to talk about our books. Notice I did not say promote our books. So what the hell is the point? I know that’s most of you are thinking. The point is to promote our books. Whoa baby, confused? Your head spinning? Promote your books; don’t promote your books. ACK!

This is where you get to show how creative you are. Like any social networking site you should be developing those ever-popular relationships with readers on Good Reads. Don’t just sign up and blast all your new friends with snippets and excerpts on your books.

Here are a few suggestions on how to let readers know about your books.

  • Talk to them.
  • See what they are reading and discuss those books
  • Find readers who read in your genre.
  • Find readers who share your interest in topics.
  • Set up a discussion group for yourself and your books.
  • Set up an author page.

All of these things are quite simple, but totally useless if you don’t follow through on them. Do NOT ask a public question and then never respond to those who answer it. You need to converse with them. Interact. I promise it won’t kill you, despite what the media says to the contrary.

Before I go into the direct options for authors, please note how IMPORTANT the interaction with readers is. Don’t just blast people with your books. Let the programs do the work for you while you talk about books with the other readers.

  • Post the books you are reading.
  • Post your reviews when you finish a book.
  • Add books you’d like to read.
  • Randomly look at other peoples pages and comment on their reviews.

The key to interacting is to communicate with others. I know, we are often solitary creatures, but we alone will not make our books best sellers. We need readers to buy our books.

Good Reads Author Program http://www.goodreads.com/author/program

The first thing you should do if you plan to promote your book is to set up your Good Reads Author page. After you have done that, then you can look into all these other things.

Good Reads eBooks http://www.goodreads.com/ebooks

For those of you who only have eBooks, there is a section where you can upload books for giveaway (use your freebies). You can also use this section to put up excerpts for people to read and get a taste of your style.

Good Reads Giveaways http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

You can also do giveaways on Good Reads. You decide for how many copies and for how long people can sign up. I don’t suggest giving away large quantities, but it is a GREAT way to get attention.

Good Reads Events http://www.goodreads.com/event

This is a good one. I am a HUGE fan of events and I think more authors should find ways and places to do them. We don’t need no steenking bookstores to do events. The more unique, the better. But my point here is that Good Reads has a section specifically for posting your events. How cool is that?

Good Reads Self-Serve Advertising http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers/ad_home

Advertising a book has never been so easy, or inexpensive. I am on my second ad and while it was a not a huge success, I know of four books I sold because of the ad and I spent less than $10.00.

MOST IMPORTANT TIP!

Don’t be an asshat on the social networking sites. Don’t go blasting in with your book promotion and expect everyone to give a hoot. They won’t. Subtly goes a long way and since Good Reads gives us so many opportunities to promote our work, the only thing we really need to do is to get to know the readers so they know to go look for our stuff.

You can set up your account to post an update when you post a article on your Blog. You can also make sure that when you post a review it goes up on Facebook and/or Twitter. This gives you a little extra exposure without having to actually go to Facebook and get sucked into the cute kitty pictures.

Promoting through social networking doesn’t have to be hard and certainly doesn’t need to be a time suck. But like anything in life, you will only get back what you put in. Of this you can be sure.

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Rain Rain Go Away

Today started off on such a down note, that I was not sure I had the strength to make a go of it. Our trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom yesterday was lovely and relaxing, but the cool wind seems to have left me with a bit of a head cold. But I was determined to make the best of the day.

I spent some time this morning out in the garden it was fertilizing day. So I fed my maters, peppers, onions, carnations, peppers, and even the ginormous cilantro. I also dug out and turned the spot in the front yard where I’m going to put the birdbath and wildflower patch. That was quite hard work as our front yard has those damn weeds that go deep and spread far. So I dug and I turned and I sifted and I turned and I made the most lovely dirt circle.

Yesterday I planted hollyhocks in the front landscaped area in front of the dining room window.

So now…it is pouring down rain. The yard is a big puddle of standing water and I’m certain all my hollyhock seeds have been washed away. Lord help me if they grow in some freaky place in the yard. LOL

I spent several hours editing, I hope you all like Arabian Dreams by J.A. Campbell as much as I do when it comes out.

I also set up a new boutique company designed to help authors. I love publishing and I see myself doing it forever, but there are those authors who want to self-publish. That is where they can make more money. No problem with that. My problem is when authors try to do it themselves when they have no idea what they are doing. My new brainchild will offer writers and other small business people a helping hand. So if you need help self-publishing or increasing your visibility with readers and other consumers. I hope you will tell them about Sassy Gal Enterprises.

Things are changing faster than I care for in my life and it is more than a little bit scary. Trying to build a business and maintain a family is hard work, but the payoff is splendid.

So today’s question is for the gardeners out there. How do you know when to transplant the onions you started from seed? I’ve got a bunch and I don’t want to wait too long or go too soon.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

Force of Habit by Marian AllenWell, it was bound to happen. After a week of begging for reviews (WTF? Begging for Reviews), I finally got the email I had been expecting–took a little longer than I would have thought. Yes, you guessed it. I pissed someone off by asking for reviews, no “begging like a spoiled child” is what I supposedly, actually did.

What kind of publisher would post a Blog telling the world that no one would review your books?” Have I lost my mind? What the hell as I thinking? Um, the fact that many of our books had no reviews might have been a sign to the world. Furthermore.

Is it your goal in life to ruin the careers of all your authors?” How dare I? No kidding, why would I want readers to tell other readers what they thought of our books. That might actually encourage someone to go out and buy one of the books. I suck!

Perhaps no one reviews your books because you publish mediocre writers who can’t get published anywhere else.” Um..yeah, that’s it. I only publish people who suck.

Come on, Asshat. Really? I have not, nor will I respond directly to this person–who by the way submitted to us and was rejected. Obviously they read my blog and can see my response here. So you all know, I am not taking my professional hat off, but I am tipping it a little to the side.

Who do you think you are? Seriously. You have the audacity to question my intentions and level of professionalism? Did you think I would not recognize your name when you signed your email? I do keep records. Did you think that sending a publisher a note calling them names and insulting them would gain you favor anywhere? Did you really think I would NOT post my response publicly? You obviously have not read enough of my posts. You should consider yourself lucky I did not take off the professional hat, or your name, email address, and web address would be in HUGE bold letters with this response. I’m sure I will get more than one request from Echelon authors to know the name of the person who called them all mediocre.

There is something you obviously have not learned about me throughout the years that I have been blogging and speaking freely about my role in the industry. I am not a lemming. I do not follow along blindly and let everyone else dictate how I run my business or my life. I have every intention of continuing to succeed in this business. I have not “failed to intrigue or energize readers or reviewers with lackluster plots and mediocre writers.” I have published damn good stories that entertain readers. And if some of our books have errors in them, then I sincerely apologize, but we are human.

People, authors, readers, etc, don’t let stupidity rule your life. If you don’t like something, then find a considerate way to say it. This isn’t about publishing, it’s about human decency. I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I say or do, but if you don’t, then either give me constructive advice, or shut the hell up. Don’t keep telling me that I am doing something wrong until you have solid advice on how I can do it better.

I would wager there are tons of people out there who don’t agree with my tactics for gathering reviews, I thank you all for not sending me pissy emails calling me a “hack publisher wannabe.”

With all that said, please don’t think this has swayed me in any way from my path to riches and success. There are still four more days for you to request your book and get those reviews posted on the original blog post to be entered to win the Kindle. So send me those requests. The family won’t mind sandwiches another day so you can finish that book.

And to those of you who have requested books and are sending/posting your reviews. I cannot thank you enough. Your support of Echelon is very much appreciated.

Who Wants to be a Brain Surgeon? (Guest Blog: Ella Grey)

When I was little I wanted to be a brain surgeon, or a gardener. Only when I turned fifteen did I start thinking about being a writer.

The author, Christopher Pike, inspired me. I remember reading his Last Vampire series and falling in love with the character he created. It was the first time I’d read a vampire story and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Sati is content about being a vampire, she kills to survive and she doesn’t really let it bother her, and she’s funny. Not funny ha-ha, but witty.

I want my characters to be like that. Even if I write a supernatural character like Molly O’Brien, giving her a sense of humour makes her more human. Easier to identify with.

Click Cover to Buy

My character Rachel is human (mostly) who’s caught up in a supernatural situation.

A Difficult Decision (Rachel’s story) is available in multiple eBook formats from Quake’s Electric Shorts line. The first five of six installments are currently online for sale.

She came to London to find her brother. She ended up finding trouble.

Rachel Valentine isn’t the world’s most conventional girl. She ran away from a boarding school run by nuns to find her missing brother. The daughter to a government spy, she’s learnt a few of the tricks of the trade, but even she isn’t prepared for the story she’s about to hear.

It seems Rachel has a secret she didn’t even know she had and her brother has been dragged into a turf war. The only person she can trust is someone she doesn’t even know

Thanks to Karen for hosting me.

You can read my first post on this tour at http://authorthomasamo.blogspot.com/

Same Feeling of Being Right at Home (Bookstore Spotlight by Carolyn J. Rose)

Readers and writers in and around Cover to Cover Books in Vancouver, Washington, are so fond of the store that many of them pitched in to help owner Mel Sanders unpack, reshelve, and alphabetize 450 boxes of books rescued from a fire in the fall of 2010.

They turned out to pay back favors given. Over the years Mel has gone the extra mile to support area authors, providing a venue for the Vancouver Writers Mixers and the Ghost Town Poetry Open Microphone evenings.

 They turned out because so many small businesses—and so many bookstores—are closing and they wanted to insure that Cover to Cover would have a good start in its post-fire location. (6300 NE Saint James Road, Suite 104B, Vancouver, WA, 98663)

They turned out in solidarity because Mel is also a writer. She’s been published in Under the Rose, a Norilana Books anthology of the fantastic, and in various e-books.

They turned out because Mel brews up some terrific espresso, because Smedley the bookstore cat loves company, and because Cover to Cover has comfortable chairs, and a cheerful ambiance, even on cold and rainy days.

Finally, they turned out because it was another opportunity to get together and talk about books, to browse through books, to breathe in the scent of books.

Cover to Cover has about 20,000 books—new and used—on the shelves. Every time I visit I find books I haven’t seen before—books Mel bought at estate sales, books brought in by book scouts, books taken in trade from customers. Every time I visit, no matter how high my to-be-read pile, I buy books.

Mel displays books by area authors, including all nine of mine. She also provides opportunities for writers to discuss writing craft and launch their latest projects. I plan to be there soon with copies of my tenth work, a suspense novel called An Uncertain Refuge, and the eleventh, a love story set in 1966 called A Place of Forgetting, and due out this fall.

Website: www.covertocoverbooks.net

Twitter: www.twitter.com/C2Cbooks

Phone: 360-993-7777

E-mail: mail@covertocoverbooks.net

Carolyn J. Rose is the author of ten novels. She grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, and her hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking. Surf to www.deadlyduomysteries.com to learn more.

 

Success by Default?

Okay, I am going to take a moment and speak out against the masses. This is more for writers, but has bearing on readers as well.

I recently (and very quietly) read the success book by John Locke (How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!) Let me start by saying, I am not bashing this book. It was okay. It offered some good advice that may or may not work for the masses. I am guessing he has sold a buttload of copies of it, and good for him! I mean that.

What I’m worried about is all the authors out there who have made this their new bible of sorts. Nowhere in his book does he promise that if the author does everything he did and exactly like he did it, they will find the success he has. NOWHERE! I went into the book expecting a little more and was a little disappointed. Not because it didn’t offer good advice, in fact I agree with a good portion of it and have been using his principles for some time and preaching them to the authors and writers I have met along the way. No, I’m not looking for credit, I am trying to make a point.

    • I blog. Actually I think I blog pretty well. I’ve never had complaints. I get plenty of praise, and I’m confident that I have a pretty good following. But how many of you have actually bought any of my books or short stories? You like me, right? So why not invest in my career?
    • I interact with people. Probably more than I should. I am a social networking whore. I admit. My name is Karen, and I am addicted to social networking. I don’t talk at people, I talk to them, and you talk back.
    • I write well. One difference between Locke and I is that I do care what people think about my writing as well as my stories. Of course I want my words to move you, but I don’t want you to get a headache trying to sift through crappy punctuation, grammar, and spelling. I will read one of his books (probably one of the westerns) and I’m sure I’ll be entertained, but I’m already prepared for writing that may or may not be good.
    • I invest in people. When I was going through some horrible times, years back, I turned to books as my refuge. You’ve heard people say that, but it’s true. Authors like Caroline Bourne, Jill Barnett, Rebecca Paisley, and all manner of others took me through some pretty dark days. Days that I readily admit could have ended in my death, were it not for the hope and inspiration their stories and their writing offered me. When I came through all of that, I decided I wanted to give back. I knew I wanted to write as well as them, and I wanted to tell stories that touched and affected the lives of others. I’ve spent the last 15 years offering to others what I took back in those days. I offer it with my writing and I offer it with my publishing.

 

Now, here’s my point. After reading Locke’s book, I was disappointed. I have done the things he spoke of and I have done them for years. Yet, I have sold nowhere near a million of anything. Why is that? Am I not working hard enough? Smart enough? Am I more confident in myself than others are in me? Whatever the reason, I would like to offer a bit of my own wisdom with regard to this matter.

Read books by people like Locke, and learn from them, but don’t put them on pedestals because they accomplished something. They are people just like us, and no matter how much you pay for a book like his, it will never guarantee the success he found. There is no secret to successful bookselling. It is something you simply must strive to do every day. EVERY DAY you must go out and tell people who you have written something that is so important to you that you are confident that in some way it will affect them. You must give readers a reason to make the investment in you. Will it work every time? Obviously not, or people would be interviewing me and not John Locke or Amanda Hocking.

They deserve the praise, they have both worked very hard and obviously very smart. Am I jealous? Yes, but not for the reasons you may think. I don’t envy their success. I envy their ability to convey to others the value of buying their books and remaining loyal readers. I envy their ability to show others their personal value, because that is a huge part of their success. Readers believe in them. I want that.

Authors, there is no secret for selling millions of books. No book is ever going to give you that. People like Locke can offer you insight into how they did it, but facts are, you are not him. Your situation, life, and abilities are very different. It is the wonder of diversity. Read the books, pay attention, and then go out and find your own success. It’s out there for all of us, we just have to embrace it and nurture it to its full capacity.

Readers, embrace the authors you love. Continue to buy their books and help them find their success, but I urge you to keep your minds open and embrace what you don’t know with the expectation of great things. There are new authors exploding onto the scene with books and stories that will blow you away. Don’t be caught in the he said, she said trap of the industry. Things are always changing in the book world. Formats, styles, themes, everything. Don’t be afraid that if you set aside a paperback novel and try reading something on a Kindle that it will be the ruination of you and the paperback industry. It won’t. We live in a vast world that offers so much potential for growth and only if we explore and embrace all of our choices will we find what we are truly seeking.

Once Upon a Crime (Bookstore Spotlight by Carl Brookins)

Just down the street from Nicollet Avenue on Sixth Street, is an unremarkable three-story brick building of apartments. Its back door faces a poorly lit, unevenly paved alley, with a couple of narrow parking spaces. The basement houses two retail establishments with neon advertising in the half-windows. Over one flight of stone steps is a dark canopy covering steps that lead down half-a flight to a room filled with floor to ceiling shelves. The wooden shelves are crowded with books.

Nearly all of the 60,000+ books are works of crime fiction. This is the home of Once Upon A Crime, Minneapolis’s award winning premier mystery book store. It has been so for twenty-four years. Present owners are Gary Shulz and Pat Frovarp, two of the most knowledgeable people in the field. If you need a specific book, chances are they’ll have it. If they don’t have it they can usually get it for you.

If you’re looking for something in the field to read, Pat or Gary will ask you some leading questions and promptly point you to authors/books that are almost guaranteed to fill your needs.

I asked why they would invest in a bookstore of all things and Gary said he needed a change after 30 years and Pat suggested that the former owner, Steve Stilwell was ready to retire. The store filled an important need, therefore should be rescued. So, for nine blissful (their word, not mine) years P & G have done just that, admirably filling the mission and meanwhile, picking up a few important awards along the way.

The mission of Once Upon a Crime, along with breaking even financially, is to promote local mystery writers and to maintain as comprehensive a backlist as humanly possible. Along the way they love exposing great midlist authors that readers might miss.

Awards? Yes, they’ve managed to collect a few, in 2009 CrimeSpree Magazine’s favorite bookstore award and “Best Hole in the Wall,” from Metro Magazine. Then just this year, Mystery Writers of America awarded Once Upon a Crime a Raven.

Among the many crime fiction writers who have commented:

Author PETER MAY said: “Pat and Gary are two of the nicest and most knowledgeable folk on the subject of mysteries that you are ever likely to meet!

Along the way, Pat and Gary have experienced some interesting events. They got married at the store a few years ago, and more recently acquired Shamus, a three-year old Store Dog.

Author WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER said: “I think OUAC is a really good bookstore because they usually know what I want to read even before I walk into the store. And even if they aren’t exactly on target, by the time I walk out, I’m always happy with what they’ve convinced me I should have wanted when I came in.”

Next year the store will celebrate 25 years in business and the tenth anniversary of WRITE OF SPRING, a massive annual one-day gathering of local authors, readers and assorted hangers-on. WRITE OF SPRING is a terrific event and lots of fun besides. An anthology of short crime fiction will debut at about the time of the tenth. The stories are all written by past attendees with profits from sale of the anthology to be donated to local Memorial Blood Centers.

Author ELLEN HART said: “All indie bookstores have a specific character. OUAC is no different. It’s cozy, funky in a Minnesota kind of way, comfortable, and always welcoming. It’s not only a good bookstore, it’s a great one because the people who run it (Pat & Gary) love books and share that passion with their customers.”

Although, because Pat was already working there and Gary was a frequent customer, the store lost two good customers when they bought the place, their dedication, hard work, and expertise has made the store a warm and welcoming place for authors and readers alike.

Along with WOS, of course, Pat and Gary host many book events for visiting and local authors. The schedule can be found at their website, http://www.onceuponacrimebooks.com/.

Their phone number is 612-870-3785, and their email address is onceuponacrime@earthlink.net. Next time you are up our way, drop by and join the thousands who find warm and welcoming hosts behind that door under the canopy.

Carl Brookins:

Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Brookins was a faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has reviewed mystery fiction for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and for Mystery Scene Magazine. His reviews appear on his own blog and on several other Crime Fiction blogs and Internet sites. Brookins is an avid sailor and has sailed in many locations across the world. He is a member of Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave. He writes the sailing series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney,(Devils Island)  the Sean Sean private investigator detective series,(The Case of the Great Train Robbery), and the Jack Marston academic series. (Reunion) Several short stories published by Echelon Press are available for download.