Turn a Languishing Book into a Flourishing One.

July 22nd, 2014

What fun we’re having this week on our second blog tour. Today, I get to talk about my long writing career. You’ll learn how I came to shift gears after years of writing nonfiction and finally dip my toe into the sea of fiction. Laura Thomas, at FU Only Knew (http://fuonlyknew.com) took the time to review three books in the Klepto Cat Mystery series. Be sure to check out her comments and my side-story.

We’ve been talking about how to set up a blog tour. You can do an Internet search to locate blogs related to the theme of your book and contact the hosts. You can use directories of blogs to find appropriate stopovers for your tour. Or hire a blog tour service to set up your tours. (See my July 18th post for resources.) But what’s the secret to locating reviewers for your particular book?

Many bloggers will review books. In fact, when you’re seeking appropriate blogs sites for your blog tour, be sure to include reviewers for the genre/theme of your book in your search. Here are some directories of book reviewers:

http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net. They also have a print book that comes out every other year—The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages. It contains over 775 pages of reviewers in every category, and the majority of them review self-published books.

Here’s a list of book review sites: http://writersresourcedirectory.com/Book_Reviewers.html

Here’s a list of 352 book reviewers http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers

Do reviews generate sales? Let me ask you, is your book getting the attention and making the sales you would like? Are you getting large royalty checks and/or selling dozens or hundreds of books through your website? Why not try getting more exposure for your book by getting it reviewed over and over again. It doesn’t cost you anything but your time. And it could just help you pay next month’s rent.

You see, the thing that many authors can’t wrap their heads around is the fact that a book that no one knows about isn’t going to sell. Someone has to spread the word—let readers know the book exists. Without this effort, a book will languish and die.

 

How to Promote a Blog Tour

July 21st, 2014

This is the first day of my blog tour for the Klepto Cat Mystery series. Be sure to stop in at the WV Stitcher site today: http://www.kittycrochettwo.blogspot.com Host Brenda has presented a lovely review and she’s given quite a bit of insight into the 5th in the series—the latest Klepto Cat book—The Colony Cat Caper.

I’ve had a lot of interest from authors with regard to the blog tour concept. Today, I’d like to respond to the questions about promoting a blog tour.

I’d say just promote a blog tour the same way you would promote any other promotional activity. For example:

  • Post your stops in your blog and at your social media pages.
  • Send out an email blast to your enormous email addressbook.
  • If you publish an enewsletter, include your blot tour in the next issue.
  • Send announcements to all of editors of newsletters associated with the organizations you belong to.
  • Write articles for or send short stories to newsletters and magazines related to the theme or genre of the book you’re promoting on the tour and mention the tour in the bio section.
  • Get a podcast gig and make the announcement to listeners. Do an Internet search to find podcast opportunities within your book’s theme/genre.
  • If you plan a signing, presentation, or you’ll be attending a conference related to your book, have bookmarks made promoting the blog tour and hand them out.
  • Leave comments at other blog sites promoting your tour.
  • Talk it up—talk about it everywhere you go.
  • The day of each stop on your tour, promote it through your blog and social media.

If you’ve done a blog tour and have something to add to this list, please leave your comment here.

 

 

Perspectives on and Resources for Book Blog Tours

July 18th, 2014

Yesterday, I shared my upcoming blog tour schedule. I hope you’ll stop in and enjoy the fun and frivolity. If you’re a published author, who is trying to drum up readers, you might want to plan your own blog tour. I’ve written about how I set up a blog tour. Refer to the blog posted February 15, 2014. Today, I’ll share some successful blog tour strategies from other authors.

Are you aware that there are blog tour services? That’s right. You can get professional help scheduling, promoting, and managing your blog tour. One author I know uses CLP Blog Tours because they specialize in her genre.

She tells me that, while the service made all of the arrangements, the author was required to write some guest blogs, send the cover image to those who requested it, etc. But the blog tour service did the promotion. This company offers several packages from $20 to over $200. Check them out here: http://www.clpblogtours.com.

This author said that she thinks people often overestimate the affect of blog tours on sales. She says, “If you go in thinking it’s going to drive a gazillion sales of your book, you’ll be disappointed. It’s just one way of raising awareness about you and your novels online.”

However, I shared with you after my first blog tour in February, that the week of my tour, sales for my Klepto Cat Mystery series doubled!

I spoke with another colleague who does blog tours to bring attention to her two novels. She said she does ongoing, informal blog tours. She doesn’t use a service and she doesn’t necessarily book a regimented tour.

She says, “I line up blogs and get permission to post.” She told me, “I don’t pay attention to the order of things. I don’t do tours over a certain day or week. I just do them as often as my schedule allows, sometimes I binge with them, aka, a tour.”

Here are links to a few blog tour services. If you use them, report back to me and, not only will I share your experience with my readers, I’ll give your book a plug.

http://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/

http://worldwindvirtualbooktours.weebly.com/services.html

http://sizzlingpr.com/services/

Blog Tour Schedule for Klepto Cat Mysteries

July 17th, 2014

Here’s my blog tour schedule for July 21 through July 28. To remind you, this tour focuses on my Klepto Cat Mystery series. In fact, Brenda Castro at WV Stitcher, a blog about reviewing, and stitching, is devoting every Monday this month to the Klepto Cat Mystery series. She posted her original reviews for Catnapped, Cat-Eye Witness and Sleight of Paw July 7. This week, she is featuring Undercover Cat. Read her review here: http://www.kittycrochettwo.blogspot.com. Monday, July 21, Brenda reviews my latest Klepto Cat Mystery, The Colony Cat Caper and July 28, I will be guest blogger at her site. I’ll giving some never-before-divulged insight as to why I write what I write and how I come up with some of the Klepto Cat Mystery stories and cat personalities I feature.

July 22, Laura Thomas will post a review for The Colony Cat Caper at her site, FU Only Knew. And she’ll post my guest blog focused on my writing path—what led up to my creating this successful cozy mystery series. Be sure to visit Laura’s site next Tuesday. http://www.fuonlyknew.com After having established a forty-year career writing nonfiction, why did I decide to try my hand at writing a novel? It’s a rather interesting story. You don’t want to miss it.

Wednesday, July 23, I’ll be sharing a recipe with Anna and her blog visitors at http://www.cozymysterybookreviews.net. She’ll also post her review of The Colony Cat Caper.

July 24, one of my cat characters, Dolly, a formerly feral kitten will be guest blogger. You don’t not want to miss this. Be sure to check in at http://www.mochasmysteriesmeows.com

July 25, Michele at Miki’s Hope will post her review of Sleight of Paw, the third in the series. http://www.mikishope.com I think I’ll provide something special for you at my own blog that day, as well. My theme is a surprise, even to me. Anyone have any ideas? Maybe Rags, the kleptomaniac cat, will join us and give us some hints about the next book in the Klepto Cat Mystery series. http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog

Monday, July 28, as I mentioned above, I’ll be guest blogger for Brenda Castro at Kitty Crochet.

Whew, it will be a full week, and a fun one. I hope you will make a note on your calendar to join me and my fun cats for the journey.

So how does one go about setting up a blog tour? I thought you’d never ask. Tomorrow, I will give you some insight. As for me, I make all of the arrangements on my own. But, guess what? There are services that will do it for you. I’ll bring some of them to light for you. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, order your Kindle copy of Catnapped, Cat-Eye Witness, Sleight of Paw, Undercover Cat, and The Colony Cat Caper today. You can get the first three listed in print, as well. http://www.amazon.com. Type in a title or “Klepto Cat Mysteries.”

Why YOU Should Go Digital

July 16th, 2014

I hope you noticed I’ve been away for a while. It’s always nice to be missed. No, I haven’t been lounging on some exotic island watching gentle waves leave foam bubbles on a white sand beach. I’ve been helping a fellow author to achieve his publishing dreams. Yup, I spent the week editing a 100,000-word manuscript.

Now I’m gearing up for another book tour featuring my latest Klepto Cat Mystery, The Colony Cat  Caper. I’ll post the schedule as soon as I have it etched in stone. But I can tell you that we’re going to have some fun. Dolly, a kitten fairly new to the series, is going to share some of her thoughts and experiences. (The cats in my stories don’t typically talk, but they do occasionally participate in blogs.)

I’ll be sharing a recipe—now that’s a first. And, of course, the blog hosts will post their reviews of The Colony Cat Caper and some of the other books in the Klepto Cat Mystery series.

In the meantime, I have to tell you the mysteries continue to sell like I never expected. I am having such a good time and I hope my readers are, too. The first in the series, Catnapped, has collected 71 reviews, many of those I generated through my own promotional efforts. But the majority of them, I believe, are due to the great job Amazon does in promoting books for their Kindle Direct Publishing authors.

If you have a novel, consider bringing it out through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program at Amazon and see if it will become as successful as my little cozy mysteries have been. How successful? I’m consistently selling between 50 and 130 per day!

Yeah, you can go to your page at KDP and check the ordering activity daily. And if you decide you want to produce the book in print, as well, consider going with CreateSpace. They’re easy to work with, do a good job, are prompt, AND you don’t have to ship books ordered through Amazon. CreateSpace fills your Amazon orders for print copies on demand.

http://KDP.amazon.com

http://createspace.com

 

The Plot

July 7th, 2014

How do you go about discovering or creating the plot for your novels? Do you have a plot in mind before you start writing? Does the storyline miraculously develop as you’re writing? Does your plot change numerous times before you’re finished writing? In my world, it’s a mix of all three.

Yesterday, I finally fleshed out the basic plot for my latest cozy mystery (number 6). I had one in mind, but it needed struts—you know, something solid to build from. After working on this book for a couple of weeks, not knowing for sure where the plot would take the reader, I got up at 2 yesterday morning and had it figured out before lunch. (I took two naps yesterday afternoon.)

Does the story work now? Not quite. There are still many questions that need to be addressed, issues that are out of place, inconsistencies, improbabilities… But these are the things I’ll conquer in the next several go-arounds.

Is Cheryl’s character believable? Would Savannah actually react that way in this situation? Should I give Michael more to do in this story? And what about Rags (the cat)? Do I include him enough to satisfy and delight my readers who choose my books because of the cat action? Is it time for another wedding? Have I caused readers to care enough about this couple for a wedding announcement to matter to them? Is the activity around the crime tame enough for a cozy, but gnarly enough to generate excitement—to evoke emotion?

Those of you who write fiction already feel that sense of responsibility to their readers. Those who don’t might be surprised at how seriously novelists take their stories and how much we focus on the end reader. Do you know who helps us to write a better story—to stay true to our readers? It’s the reviewers. Any novelist worth her (or his) words will listen to peer and professional reviewers.

Sure, some comments are downright ridiculous (“You used too many single-syllable words,” “The dog’s name is stupid…”). It’s our job to weed through comments by mean-spirited people and those who got up on the wrong side of the bed the day they read your book. But the author who does not pay some attention to comments from reviewers is the author who might not experience the level of success they desire.

I’m Patricia Fry. I write nonfiction books for authors and a series of cozies with cats called the Klepto Cat Mysteries. All five of my mysteries are on Kindle at $2.99 and three of them are also available in print. That’s Catnapped, Cat-Eye Witness and  Sleight of Paw.

I would love hearing how you work out the plots for your stories.

The Swinging Author

July 3rd, 2014

No, this post isn’t about authors who engage in…ahem…extracurricular activities. Today, I want to talk about authors who write across the genres.

Most serious authors seem to write either fiction or nonfiction. They strive to perfect their writing in one category before ever tipping their toe in another. Some never do cross over from nonfiction to fiction or vice versa. Yet, I’m noticing that more of us are. And in my circle or acquaintances and colleagues, it’s from nonfiction to fiction.

Those of you who follow my blog know that I have been writing nonfiction (how-to, informational) books and articles for a very long time. Now I’m writing fiction as well. I know several others who have followed a similar path. And it seems as though these are the authors who are experiencing the greatest success.

My success with the Klepto Cat Mystery series is beyond my wildest expectations. These cozies are selling like crazy. From what I observe about my colleagues who have shifted from long-term nonfiction-writing to fiction, they are also doing exceedingly well.

Why? Perhaps it’s because we’ve put in the time. We’ve honed our writing skills; we’ve established a style. We understand more about the publishing field than the newbie author. We know how to navigate the industry. We know the value of and the psychology of marketing. We understand the importance of exposure. Since we are already embedded in a writing-related career, we know how to manage our time, how much time and energy it takes to promote a new product, and we’re wired to do what it takes.

I’d like to shine a light on a few authors I know who are parlaying their writing/management talents and skills into other areas and experiencing success.

Susan C. Daffron just came out with her second novel. She’s engaged in a blog tour as we speak. Be sure to stop over and learn more about her new venture. http://www.susandaffron.com/blog-tour-chez-stinky-june-9-july-7 Susan is the author of two romantic comedies—Chez Stinky and Fuzzy Logic. I’ve read the first—just downloaded the second to my Kindle. Can’t wait!

C. Hope Clark is now also writing fiction. The third in her Carolina Slade Mystery, Palmetto Poison was released this year. Also check out Low Country Bribe and Tidewater Murder. I’ve read the first two and really enjoyed them. And it’s not just me, look at her collection of reviews. Impressive! Hope announced in her newsletter this month that her stories are being looked at by someone in the film industry. You go, Hope!!!

I’d love to hear from other nonfiction authors who are doing well in the world of fiction.

 

How to Promote a Message Book

June 28th, 2014

Many people today are writing books with a message. That is, they write to share a perspective, information, an opinion, or knowledge with the reading public (or a selected portion of readers). The message might be in the form of a story, a memoir, a how-to or self-help book, or even an informational or inspirational book. Poetry and children’s books are sometimes vehicles for messages.

Perhaps you have produced a message book. You want to show people new ways of being/living or thinking/believing, for example. If you’re like most such authors, you aren’t selling very many books. And for some of you, that’s because you didn’t know it was up to you to promote it.

How does one promote a message book? Here are some ideas:

  • Locate websites of organizations related to the theme of your book. Study the sites to discover how your book might fit in. Do they have a newsletter where you could announce your book? Do they review books like yours? Do they feature books at their website?
  • Locate blogs related to the theme of your book. Do they interview authors, review books, seek guest bloggers, etc.? Contact the bloggers and set up appropriate methods of getting exposure for your book.
  • Study magazines and newsletters that your proposed audience would read. Remember, your audience is made up of people who are interested in the topic of your book, not people you think you can change.
  • If you want to reach the general public, as well as your primary audience, contact the program chairs for local clubs and organizations. Ask to be put on their speaker roster. If you are not a public speaker, join a Toastmasters Club and gain the tools you need. Also read “Talk Up Your Book, How to Sell Your Book Through Public Speaking, Interviews, Signing, Festivals, Conferences and More.” (By Patricia Fry, publisher, Allworth Press.) http://www.matilijapress.com/TalkUpYourBook.html
  • Check into conferences related to the theme of your book—health, mental illness, writing, behavior, psychology, cooking and so forth. Choose the conferences that your audience will attend. Apply to be a presenter or workshop leader. Note: The point of speaking to your readers is not to sell your book, it is to demonstrate your expertise on this topic. Once potential readers feel confident in your credibility, they will be more open to purchasing your book. Here are some directories of conferences:

http://www.allconferences.com

http://www.bventes.com

http://shawguides.com

  • Write articles for appropriate publications. Mention your book in your bio at the end of the article.
  • Build your own website and begin blogging. Advertise your sites at every opportunity—through social media, during interviews, in your bio following articles you’ve written for publications, etc.
  • Solicit reviews for your book’s Amazon page. If you know people who have read it, ask them to post a review. Contact reviewers of books on this topic. Here are a few directories of book reviewers:

http://acqweb.org/bookrev.html

http://dir.yahoo.com/arts/humanities/literature/reviews

http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net/free-book-reviews.html

The point is to go where your readers are. Become visible. Get exposure for yourself and your book.

For more about book promotion, be sure to order your copy of “Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven. Low-cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author.” http://www.matilijapress.com/PromoteYourBook.html

10 Ways to Share Your Passion

June 25th, 2014

Do you have a message you’d like to share? Are you adamant about an issue and you want to spread the word, but you don’t know how to get started?

I know a whole lot of people who are passionate about animals, for example, and who are either working in some way on behalf of the animals or they’re trying to figure out how to make a difference. We all know and admire people who give of their time and energy to help. There are certainly enough causes to go around.

If you are like many who have a heart for orphaned kittens or wild animals, the spay/neuter issue, stopping animal or child abuse, tortoise rescue, using water wisely, protecting your finances from scammers, or (fill in the blank), here are some ways that you can get involved and spread the word:

  • Write a book on the topic and then promote it through a website, social media, at sites related to the topic and in person every chance you get.
  • Write articles or stories for appropriate newsletters, blog sites, magazines, and newspapers on the topic.
  • Educate the appropriate group—children, seniors, etc.—by speaking at schools, senior centers and so forth.
  • Establish a blog that spreads the message and then advertise it widely.
  • Collect email addresses of those interested in this cause and keep those people apprised of current laws, events, activities, opportunities, etc.
  • Seek out reporters and editors who share your concern and ask to be interviewed.
  • Team up with others who share your passion and brainstorm about how to inform or educate others.
  • Seek out an established group already spreading the word and volunteer.
  • Vow to talk about this with three people each day either online or in person.
  • Add a “signature” to your outgoing emails, so everyone who receives an email from you will get your message about spay/neuter, etc.

There are many ways to do the right thing and to spread the word about something worthwhile. Remember, however, that it’s much easier to teach or convince an individual who hasn’t already formed the opposing view. That’s why there are so many children’s books designed to teach character values, kindness to others and animals, etc.

If you’re passionate about a cause or have ideas for creating a more beautiful, gentle world, consider stepping outside your comfort zone and getting involved. This is exactly what many, countless authors have done and are doing.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to promote a book with a message.

I’m Patricia Fry, the author of 45 books, some of them with a message. PLFry620@yahoo.com

 

7 Tips for Writing a More Publishable Book

June 24th, 2014

1: Study the publishing industry so you understand your options, the possible ramifications of your choices and your responsibilities as a published author.

2: Define your purpose for writing this book. Make sure it is valid, not frivolous.

3: Determine your target audience. Who is most likely to read this book and how many people does this comprise?

4: Ascertain whether this book is needed/desired. Is there a market for it?

5: Consider your platform—your following, your connections, your way of attracting readers. Why are you the person to write this book and who is going to care about reading it?

6: Create a marketing plan. How will you get word out about your book?

7: What are your promotional hooks? Find ways to build promotion into your book while you’re writing it.

A well-researched, complete book proposal will assist you in answering each of these questions accurately. A book proposal is a business plan for your book. Don’t neglect this very important step to becoming a successful author.