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Archive for February, 2011

When my sisters and I received the news that our debut mystery novel, Liar, Liar was to be published, we popped the cork off the champagne we bought the day we wrote the first chapter. We called everyone we knew and some people we didn’t. We fantasized about writing a blockbuster sequel on a tropical beach next to Janet Evanovich where hunky waiters serve fruity drinks with paper umbrellas.

The glorious illusion lasted a day or two. After that, we learned some hard truths we should’ve known when we bought the champagne. Here are five of them.

1) It’ll take 10X more time to market your mystery book than it took to write, edit, and argue with the publisher

Forget the paper umbrellas. Chances are you’ll pound the pavement promoting your first mystery novel while you write your second.

As novice mystery authors, we thought the publisher would aggressively promote our book for us. (We pause here while they laugh.) Publishers have limited funds and lots of books to promote. However, they’re immensely supportive and possibly the best resource you have. Always remember you are your book’s most passionate publicist and advocate.

Put the tropical beach on hold and enjoy this part of the writing process. In the end, your marketing skills will prove as critical to the success of your book as your ability to write well.

2) Begin promoting your book early in the writing process.

That would be day one. Do everything you can to become market savvy. Introduce yourself to your local book-vendors and librarians. Become part of a group of writers who support each other and share publicity strategies. Create a list of media targets with contact information. There’s a huge market out there and you’ll want to develop your marketing plan early.

3) Write Write Write.

To get the best media coverage, you’ll spend a lot of time writing press releases, newspaper articles, promo blurbs and pitch letters. You’ll write answers to interviewer’s questions and something you can say at book signings. You’ll probably launch your own website, blog and maybe even tweet. You’ll want to sell your book in a paragraph and you’ll need an elevator pitch that sums it up in a few boiled down sentences. This may not be the kind of writing you think you were born for but if you’re creative, you can make it fun.

4) Create a mailing list database.

Dig deep into your past and blow the dust off some old friendships. Make a list of business acquaintances, schoolmates and people you knew when Clinton was President. Then log on to Facebook and hunt them down shamelessly. They’ll be glad you did. Let them know you’ll send a press release as soon as your book arrives in bookstores.

5) If you’re shy, get over it.

Marketing a book requires a certain amount of courage that doesn’t always come easy for three rather shy Norwegian sisters. Our family and friends support us by wearing tees and sweatshirts that advertise Liar Liar. We pass out bookmarks to unsuspecting strangers and suggest they read the first chapter on-line. More challenging marketing efforts can make our palms sweat. If cold calling reporters and producers is hard for you, do what I do. Pretend you’re one of the characters in your book. Hopefully you wrote a ballsy one.

There you have it. It’s a hard road, but one well worth travelling. Now good luck and get writing!

This article is contributed by Kari Larsen from the 3 Sisters Mysteries team. She works together with Julianne and Kristen Larsen on their Cat DeLuca Mysteries. You can find more about 3 Sisters Mysteries by visiting their website at http://www.kjlarsenauthor.com or http://www.3sistersmysteries.com

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Title: Stolen
Author: Vivian Gilbert Zabel
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9825886-4-2

Reviewed by: Karen Cioffi

To have young children snatched from their home is inconceivable, inconsolable, and heart wrenching. It can destroy a parent, and the family. Unfortunately, it’s not that uncommon.

Stolen, by Vivian Gilbert Zabel, is a story of the inconceivable. Based on a true story, Zabel conveys much of the agony and utter despair that is evoked from having a father steal his children from their mother.

The protagonist, Torri, leaves her abusive husband and finds refuge and comfort with her family. She even develops a loving relationship with an old friend. Life is good again; Torri and her two young children are happy.

Then it happens, the abusive ex-husband rears his ugly head, and for whatever reason people who commit such an atrocious act do so, he kidnaps the children.

The father and children have completely vanished. The FBI is on the job, but there are no leads to follow. The trail is getting colder by the minute. And, the aunt who took the children for an excursion to the zoo, and the only witness, had been drugged and lay near death.

In an interview with Vivian Gilbert Zabel, she was asked a poignant question in regard to her book: Being the subject matter is so personal and heart wrenching, were you able to say all you wanted to? Or, were some of the emotions just too difficult to convey?

The author candidly answered: “I couldn’t put everything into the book. Plus, there is no way to express the anguish we all felt. I did feel as if part of my heart had been ripped out. How do I describe that so that another person could really ‘feel’ the pain? Also, some details couldn’t be used, even if the story were greatly fictionalized.”

Obviously, while there is no way to fully convey the emotions involved in this type of situation, Zabel comes as close as possible. She weaves a riveting and engrossing, and well structured story of tragedy, fear, despair, longing, hope, and life. She uses wonderful descriptive details that will bring tears to your eyes – be sure to have a box of tissues next to you when you read Stolen. It is a story that will have you anxiously turning each page – it is a must read.

For more on writing, ghostwriting, freelance writing, and promotion visit:
http://KarenCioffi.com While you’re there, be sure to sign up for Karen’s FREE monthly newsletter, A Writer’s World; you’ll get TWO FREE e-books on writing and marketing in the process. For writing services visit: http://DKVWriting4U.com

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Latina author Thelma Reyna’s first poetry book (a chapbook) is on advance sale now. BREATH & BONE is one of the very few poetry books written by a Latina in the latest round of new releases by the venerable Kentucky publisher, Finishing Line Press. The number of copies they publish in late April (the release date) will depend totally on how many copies are ordered during this advance sale period. That will also determine how many author copies the author will receive as “payment” for the book.

Please support this author’s sales campaign and order a copy now! Price is $12. Order at http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm .

Feel free to spread the word. The deadline is March 2.

About Thelma Reyna:

Thelma T. Reyna is author of The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories, which was a Finalist in the 2010 National Best Books Award/Short Stories Literature competition by USA Book News. Her stories, poems, essays, book reviews, and other non-fiction have been published in literary and academic journals, textbooks, anthologies, blogs, and in regional media for over 30 years.

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Whenever I work with new coaching clients, I notice some common frustrations among them all.

First, writers who are just starting to figure out what kind of writing they truly enjoy doing are frustrated that it takes so much time and rewriting to polish up a piece and get it ready for submission.

They tend to wonder, Gee. Is it always going to be so time-consuming to do this? If so, then maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer. Surely, talented writers don’t have this much trouble polishing their work.

Another frustration is wondering if they really are on the correct career path.

They have trouble developing a focus for their writing career because they seem to want to write about anything and everything and they feel like they’re moving in circles and not really getting anywhere.

But, by far, the most common frustration is wondering whether they’re just wasting their time, money, and effort in developing a full time freelance writing career.

They doubt that they’ll ever be able to do it, even though they come to me to coach them to do exactly that – create the freelance writing life of their dreams.

If you’re a writer facing some of the above frustrations, relax. These are all common feelings.

The difference between people who succeed at creating the freelance writing career of their dreams, and the writers who fail, is that the successful writers stick with the process long enough to begin to FEEL and truly BELIEVE they CAN create a successful writing career, and then they do the things needed in order to make that happen.

There’s no specific amount of time that it takes for this to happen.

It’s a little different for every writer.

What would it take for you to really BELIEVE in yourself?

Think about that for a while today.

Also, remember what Winston Churchill said: “Never, never, never, never, never, never give up.”

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer and The Working Writer’s Coach. For more tips to help you create the freelance writing career of your dreams, sign up for The Morning Nudge at http://www.morningnudge.com

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