Stay True to Your Readers

January 27th, 2015

Do you ever change your mind? When you’re writing a novel, do you change names of your characters, place names and such in mid-stream? If you’re like most novelists, you love some of the names you choose—they work. Other times, you get stuck on the name each time you bring that character into the story. It just doesn’t feel right. Or you determine that you’ve given two characters similar names. Now that’s a way to confuse your readers—name friends Jan, Jen, and Jean, for example, and you’ll leave your readers guessing. Name their husbands or lovers Jim, Tim, and John and their mothers Joan, Jane, and Jo and you’ve really created a challenge for readers.

This is another lesson in always, always keeping your reader in mind as you’re writing the book.

If you decide to change a character’s name for whatever reason, make sure you make the change throughout the manuscript. I can’t tell you how many novels have come to me for editing with character name and name-change mistakes. Here are a few examples:

  • The author changes the name, but neglects to make the change throughout. You’ll be reading along about Sally’s dilemma, when all of a sudden someone named Susan enters the story without warning. Yup, the author changed Sally’s name from Susan and doesn’t make the change throughout.
  • The author misspells a character’s name. This is another problem I see occasionally in the manuscripts I edit. A baby in my series is named Lilliana. With each story I write, I question the spelling and always look it up in my character log to make sure it is Lilliana and not Lilianna or Lillianna, for example. (We refer to her as Lily, but her grandmother likes to use her given name.)
  • The author neglects to use the search tool to double check the spelling of names and to make sure he did not leave in an instance of Bill, when the character is now Joe.

If you are writing novels and you don’t believe the details matter, you could be dabbling in the wrong field. Details rule in novel-writing. Even though you’re writing fiction, your readers crave truth, reality, accuracy, and authenticity. Even a fantasy must ring true to readers. Sure, you can use your wild imagination, but if you maintain that the creature can only fly or was born with no wings, then you’d better stay true to your facts. If you want to change a fact, make sure there is a legitimate transition.

For those of you who have enjoyed my Klepto Cat Mystery series, I hope you’ve read all 8 on your Kindle. If you prefer holding a book in your hands, you might be pleased to know that The Colony Cat Caper—book 5—is now in print.

Let me evaluate your novel or nonfiction book, contact me here: Learn more about me and my work here:

Step Up and Sell More Books

January 18th, 2015

Some of you are familiar with my book, “Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author.” Throughout this book, I stress that it is for all authors of any type of book. I even provide examples for promoting many different genres. But more importantly, I clearly outline the principles of book promotion.

Yet, I still hear from my readers who ask, “Does your book apply to fiction?” “What about a book of poetry?” And so forth.

So let me lay it out for you again. Here are the principles of book promotion:

1: Before writing the book, identify your potential audience and write the book for that audience, whether it is students wanting to learn how to live on a budget, people who adore reading good poetry, folks who devour true crime stories, or children who enjoy adventure stories, for example. Again, identify your audience and write for that audience. Those thousands of authors who fail every year don’t have a clue as to who their audience is or how to reach them. They’re either not promoting their books or they’re using a scattershot method of trying to make book sales.

2: Hire a good book editor to help you tie up any loose ends. We all need an editor. Authors are too close to their own words. I also recommend, in some cases, to have others read your book. Astute readers will let you know if you’ve lost your reader, if the book drags in places, where you might offer more suspense, and so forth.

3: Outline your marketing plan even before your book is finished. Where are your readers? Where do they buy books? What entices them to buy books in this genre/topic? What’s the best way to approach them? There are several things you can do before your book is a book. For example, start a blog, establish a facebook page, build a website and start promoting these to your audience. Also create a massive email list of potential readers.

4: Once the book is a book, implement your plan. Announce your book at your social media accounts, your website, etc. Start contacting appropriate book reviewers. Visit websites and blogsites related to the theme or genre of your book and suggest a cooperative activity. You might be guest blogger, do a blog tour, ask to have your book featured at the site, etc. Locate groups relevant to your book’s theme/genre and arrange to speak to them, provide articles for their newsletter and so forth.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of ways you can promote your book to your particular audience. All it takes is an understanding of the marketing culture when it comes to selling books and the willingness to step up on behalf of your book.

Read my book, “Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author.” (Most of the entries are actually NO-cost.) You’ll find this 200-page book at in print, audio, and on Kindle. It is also sold in bookstores everywhere. Or purchase your copy from the author here:


Take Time to Regroup—What is Your Career Satisfaction Level?

January 13th, 2015

Are you still living or pursuing your dream to write/publish a novel, establish a freelance-writing business, or teach an aspect of writing, for example? Do you feel you’re still on the right path or have you become bogged down in a lifestyle that’s not supporting your goal? Maybe you’ve changed your mind about your career path or you’re ready to set new goals.

I’ve been writing for publication for over 40 years and have taken many detours on my journey—planned and scheduled detours that generally led to greater success and satisfaction. For example, I started my long career writing articles for magazines. I loved this life until I didn’t and when it started to become less than satisfying, I decided to shift gears. But I didn’t do this in a helter skelter manner. I took a look at some of the opportunities that had entered my life. I surveyed the daily activities I was involved in and carefully considered which ones were bringing me the most joy. At this time in my career, I realized I was happier when I was working on a book. I loved writing and organizing whole books. The research thrilled me. I was pretty sure that I could not pay the bills through book sales, but I could sure earn a few bucks writing books for others. And that’s what I did for a few years—along with my article-writing business.

Then one day, I realized that I knew stuff—stuff about writing and publishing—stuff that other people wanted to know about. I was constantly being asked, “How do I get my article accepted?” “What does it take to get a book published?” “How can I find a publisher/agent?” One hopeful author was so pleased with my responses that she suggested I teach a workshop. She assured me there were many people who wanted to learn what I had to teach.

I thought hard about this request. I listened to my head and my heart. I then outlined a course and realized I had an awful lot to teach. So I became a workshop and discovered that I absolutely loved teaching and helping other authors.

When I realized how few resources there were for hopeful authors, I began creating books on freelance-writing, publishing, book promotion and so forth. And I branched out as a public speaker and presenter at numerous writers conferences and other events.

Was I having fun? Each year I’d ask myself that question. I’d survey my level of joy and satisfaction as well as my financial success. I was happy and I was putting food on the table. All was well.

A couple of years ago, I decided to add another dimension to my career repertoire and I started writing fiction. As many of you know, that’s when the Klepto Cat Mystery series was born and I became more satisfied in all areas of my criteria.

I didn’t intend this post being about me. But I hope it helps you to pay closer attention to your level of satisfaction in whatever career choice you’ve made. How does your gut feel when you think about the work you’re currently doing? Do you look forward to going to work each day? There’s a level of stress and unpleasant tasks in nearly any profession, but does the discomfort in your career overshadow the joy? If so, perhaps you just need to eliminate an aspect of your career—stop doing public-speaking, for example, especially if it doesn’t seem to be affecting sales. Close your storefront and work from home, if you absolutely hate dealing with people face-to-face. If the storefront is making the money, hire someone to do the tasks you find distasteful. I once hired someone to send out my query letters when I was writing for magazines. What a relief that was.

Maybe you crave being with people, but your business is thriving online. Consider taking it to the public—participate in shows and fairs with your product or service.

Perhaps you are getting my point. Here it is in a nutshell:

  • Rather than keep doing what you’re doing because you’ve always done it that way, evaluate your way of running your career—dissect it to discover if there’s something that could/should be changed. Then have the courage to change it.
  • When the joy in your work seems to dissolve, figure out what aspect you dislike the most and consider changing or eliminating it.
  • Be aware and be open to opportunities. Opportunities come in many forms—a thought/idea, proposition, invitation, suggestion, etc.
  • Learn to follow your heart as well as your head. When they agree, that’s priceless.

Learn more about Patricia Fry’s career journey January 6 – 11, 2015 here:


Fiction: Keep Your Reader in Mind as You Write

January 11th, 2015

I finished the “My Story” series, sharing my writing and publishing path from a beginning freelance writer of nonfiction in 1973, to a successful cozy mystery writer with 8 Klepto Cat Mysteries. I provide tips, techniques, and anecdotes along the way. Here’s an excerpt from today’s installment. (Entire piece  published here: My Story starts January 6 and continues daily through to today, January 11.

Tips for fiction-writers. Always keep your reader in mind, even throughout the writing process. For example:

  • Don’t leave the reader behind. Make sure he/she can follow along with the story. If your character approaches the front door timidly, afraid to knock…don’t suddenly jump to a scene where the character is in the kitchen eating a piece of pie. Without being overly, absurdly simplistic, walk the reader through the scene—don’t leave the reader behind and confused.
  • Don’t try to fool the reader. Facts are important in fiction, too.
  • Don’t engage in muddy writing. Learn to write with clarity. Omit unnecessary words and phrases.
  • Avoid over-explaining. Encourage the reader to think and to feel.
  • Always, always hire an editor before you go to press.

Klepto Cat Mysteries–available at

Publishing Success—One Step at a Time

January 9th, 2015

I hope you have missed seeing fresh postings here. As a matter of fact, I’m spending my time with my other blog this week. At, I’m telling my story of publishing success. Of course, you know that success is relative, right? In fact, I sat with my attorney for about $400 worth this morning. (Time is money in an attorney’s office, right?) He told me the story of a client who is more privileged financially than most. He evaluated her portfolio and said, “It appears that you have $2.8 million in assets.”

She slumped in her chair and asked, in all sincerity. “So I’m poor?”

Yes, it’s all in how you look at it. Success is relative.

I think you’ll enjoy reading “My Story” from my indoctrination into the world of freelance writing, the various forks in the road that led me to become a published author many times over and the inspiration for my latest venture, which has turned out to be the most successful of all; writing cozy mysteries.

Join me at and read posts starting on January 6, 2015 through today, January 9. I plan to add two more installments—January 10 and 11. Don’t miss any of them. You might just gain some insight, learn a few truths and tricks in publishing, and receive the inspiration you need in order to succeed with your writing/publishing projects.

The Art of Making Better Publishing Choices, continued

January 5th, 2015

Once you have created a viable product (a clean, well-written manuscript that is wanted/needed by a segment of the population), it is time to consider your publishing options. And today they are in-your-face plentiful. Ads for “self-publishing” companies follow you around everywhere you go on the Internet. And if you connect with one of them, they woo you relentlessly.

But the pay-to-publish company is not the only game in town and they can be as different as apples and strawberries when it comes to dealing with them.

Whether you choose to pursue a traditional royalty publisher on your own or through an author’s agent, produce the book yourself (become an independent publisher), or go with a pay-to-publish company, take it easy. Patiently research your options. Carefully dissect and compare your ultimate choices. Make educated/informed decisions, not emotional ones.

For the education you need before entering into the publishing field, read my book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising author. Available in print, for your Kindle, and audio at Order a print copy here:

The Art of Making Better Publishing Choices

January 4th, 2015

Never before have there been so many options for the author. Not only must you select from a startling array of genres and subgenres for your proposed book, and dozens and dozens of editorial services, there are countless more publishing options available. How do you—the eager hopeful author—make the right decisions on behalf of your publishing project?

It all starts with something few of us have when it comes to producing a book—patience. Here’s a checklist that could make the difference between a successful venture and failure:

  • Take the time to think about the future of your project even before you write it. Is your nonfiction book idea viable? Is there truly an audience for it? Are you writing it to benefit the reader or to massage your own ego? If you’re writing fiction, does the genre you’ve chosen have an audience? Make it your business to find out what this audience wants and plan to write for them.
  • Along with this, consider what sort of marketing efforts you can and are willing to provide. If you aren’t sure what book promotion and marketing entails, please stop the writing process now and study this vital aspect of publishing. Gather the tools and examine your skills related to promoting this book. This is a good time to hone your skills and develop new ones (public speaking, for example). Read my book, “Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author.” Remember that your book will sell only for as long as you are willing to promote it.
  • After clearly identifying how your book will fit into the marketplace, go ahead and write it—keeping your audience in mind throughout. For nonfiction, make sure your instructions and information are presented in an organized and clear manner. For fiction, have you included all of the elements necessary, does your story flow logically, does it fit within the boundaries of the genre you’ve chosen?
  • Once you’ve finished the book—generally after going over it with a fine-tooth comb numerous times—turn it over to beta-readers. Ask people you can trust to respond truthfully and thoroughly to read your book.
  • When you are completely satisfied with your manuscript, go in search of a book editor. You may pay anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars for an independent editor, depending on the magnitude of your project and the nature of your editorial needs. I’ve edited book manuscripts that were so clean, they required little from me other than a stamp of approval. I’ve also been faced with editorial nightmares that took months to untangle. Typically, the fee for editing a fairly well-written 150-page book (60,000 to 70,000-words), is around $1,500 to $2,500.

To be continued in the next post. In the meantime, order your copy of “Promote Your Book,” here: or at Learn more about me, Patricia Fry, here:


Publish Smart

December 27th, 2014

I’ve been lax about posting this month. I apologize. But if there’s something you need from me, you can always email me: Or post a comment/question here. I’ve actually been busy working with a couple of clients, responding to questions from other authors, and doing what I constantly harp on you to do—promoting my own books.

I’ve also taken time out to work on my Klepto Cat Mystery book 9 and celebrate the holidays with my growing family. Along with the launch of 6 new Klepto Cat Mystery books this year, we welcomed five new babies, including a set of twins. Don’t you know, we had a Merry and Jolly Christmas?

If you’re a budding author who has a book you want to publish or one you are promoting, be sure to use your Amazon gift certificate or that gift card to purchase a copy of “Publish Your Book,” or “Promote Your Book” by Patricia Fry. Both are available at most online and downtown bookstores. They’re at Amazon in print, audio, and for your Kindle. Or purchase the print copies here:

Publishing is easy these days. Publishing smartly takes some careful consideration. And producing a successful book takes a whole lot of time, thought, and energy. Most authors in today’s publishing climate fail. And that’s because most authors don’t understand enough about the publishing industry and how to successfully navigate this highly competitive field. The books mentioned above can help those of you who want a successful outcome and who are willing to conform enough to make it happen.


Can Other Authors Help or Hinder Your Publishing Experience?

December 15th, 2014

How valuable are other author’s experiences? Often, when you attend a writers conference or writers group meeting, the program consists of other authors sharing their publishing experiences. Sure, if you’re new to publishing, you should be listening to the experiences of others, but to what extent are these useful?

Here’s my take on this subject: Okay, so you attend a couple of writers group meetings and hear a handful of authors talk about their publishing path. You may also chat with other authors in the audience during the break. This is good, unless you put too much credence in the wrong place. In other words, not every author is making good decisions and most authors are not experiencing success. If you’re a new author, you may not recognize the difference between good advice and bad.

Some new authors listen to others until they find someone they can relate to. If you want to produce a book and not get involved in promoting it, you’re liable to follow the advice of authors who claim to do little promotion and get big sales. Maybe you’re seeking reasons to go with a certain self-publishing company. If you talk to many authors, you’re bound to find one or two who will tell you what you want to hear about that company.

So how valuable are the stories other authors tell? Extremely, if you will also do your own research. Sure, listen to what other authors have experienced. This could save you money and heartache. But also listen to experts in the field—attend their workshops, read their books, subscribe to the newsletters they contribute to, follow their blogs, etc.

As you will discover, authors who have walked the walk are experts in their own experience only. Professionals who have written and published numerous books, who have been embedded in the industry in some way for years, who have done and continue to do research related to the industry, and who write and teach other authors have much more to share. Compared to the professional, the one- or two-book author has limited experience and knowledge.

If you seek answers, resources, and advice, sure, listen to other authors, but always follow this up by conducting your own research—and a big part of that is tapping into what the professional can bring to the table.

The Creative Process

December 6th, 2014

I promised that I would talk about my creative process in my next blog post. As I wrote in my post dated December 3rd, when writing nonfiction, I’m guided by my readers. I still consider readers as I pursue my new adventure in fiction. Certainly, I want my stories to be interesting and suspenseful enough to keep them reading. I want them to like my likable characters and dislike those with less-than honorable motives. I want to move them to tears and laughter and I hope to make their reading experience a pleasant one.

I’m often asked where I get the ideas for my stories and how I can write an entire book telling a story of many twists and turns.

I understand that some authors turn to software, website prompts, their writers’ group members and other methods to come up with stories. I’ve had editorial clients tell me that this is the only story they’ll ever write—they have no more stories in them. I seem to be in a different category. I bubble over with story ideas. I’m writing book 9 of my Klepto Cat Mystery series.

For me, it’s fairly easy to come up with a them. In my book 8 (soon to be published), I took my characters (including the kleptomaniac cat) to the beach for a vacation. I brought in an old friend of the main characters and put him in peril. He’s an artist and operates a gallery in the beach community. Of course, there is an unknown escape route for the cat and he goes about his business digging up clues in new, interesting, and sometimes humorous ways.

How do I create a storyline and insert the details that make it a cozy mystery? I generally determine the shell of the story. I decide which characters will be involved in this one and I start putting it on paper (well, in the computer). As I write the first draft, I include incidents and innuendoes that hint at the mystery. But it’s during my second, third, twenty-seventh draft that I insert the scenarios that bring the mystery and the story together in a cohesive manner.

I might decide that there’s not enough action in the first 30 pages, and I go to work devising a distraction or I embellish a situation or I might create a new issue for the characters to deal with. For example, as I worked on the third or fourth draft of The Gallery Cat Caper, I realized that Rags, the cat, had been idle for too long while I introduced the story, the setting, and the new characters. So I had an unsuspecting guest let him outside and he brought back a bathing suit top. This didn’t play into the core mystery, but it reminded readers of Rags’s MO and created some interest. I hope it also made readers chuckle.

The bottom line, I think, in coming up with stories is life and living—paying attention to people and the stories they tell as well as the stories you live. In my case, I also watch my cats and often bring in antics and scenarios from their furry repertoires into my stories.

Do any of you readers write fiction? How do you come up with story ideas and how do you develop them? What is your creative process?