Maybe You SHOULD Give Up

April 15th, 2016

I meet and hear from many authors who are on the verge of quitting—giving up on their book.

“It’s too hard.”

“I’ve done everything I possibly can and my book’s still not selling.”

“I don’t want to go out and talk about my book, commit to a blog and all that.”

Generally, I try to help these authors by teaching basic book marketing concepts—helping them adopt a more realistic perspective about book promotion, identifying their audience, and finding ways to approach them. I encourage authors to keep on keeping on. But I wonder if this is always wise.

I’ve spent decades trying to reach authors before they make the huge publishing commitment. I’ve spoken to them at numerous writers conferences and I’ve produced several books and written hundreds and hundreds of articles for the magazines and newsletters they should be reading prior to entering into the highly competitive business of publishing. Some hopeful authors refuse to believe what I and others tell them and they forge ahead anyway, thinking their experience will be different.

Most authors today fail. They come out of the starting gate gung-ho—focused on winning the race, but soon learn that they haven’t brought their best game. They may know the rules, but choose not to follow them. They are focused on one things—the prize—the end result of their dreams. But they neglect to do the work and gain the knowledge they need in order to make it happen. They end up with a contender that isn’t up to the competition and unrealistic expectations. Of course, their plan fizzles.

This doesn’t have to be the end of the story for the author. He can definitely redeem himself. If he has the courage and the stamina, he can stop his forward motion, put the book on the shelf for a while and go back to square one. Study the publishing industry. Learn the important first steps to a successful product:

  • Write the right book for the right audience—a book that is wanted or needed by a segment of people. This means identify your audience.
  • Think about your readers while writing the book—write promotion into it.
  • Early on, study the concept of book promotion and start making a plan—the best methods of reaching and engaging your particular audience.
  • Hire a qualified editor before turning loose of your book.

Or you can quit. Maybe authorship is not for you. Certainly it’s to your benefit to determine this before putting out a chunk of money and devoting weeks, months, or years to your project.

If you’ve entered the publishing arena and you’re discouraged about your book’s progress, take time now to study the publishing industry. If you are just thinking about writing a book—the wisest step you could take is to read my book before moving forward.

Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author. And don’t forget to follow up with Promote Your Book, Over 250 Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. By Patricia Fry or at

Become a Successful Author—It’s All in the Attitude

April 7th, 2016

There’s so much authors need to know and most of it has to do with perspective—understanding the industry, your readers, how to get their attention, what moves or motivates someone to make a book purchase and so forth. Without the insight—a grasp of the concept—what good is marketing strategy?

That’s why I take time and space in each of my books for authors to help them understand the concepts before I begin the nuts and bolts education. Those who skip this opportunity and fast-forward to marketing activities, miss a huge piece of the book promotion puzzle.

I preach and teach my clients on the fine points of book marketing, yet many of them never sell more than a token handful of books. They manage to write a book and they pass the course on producing it—I mean, there are so many services that make this a no-brainer, right? But they fail when it came to writing the right book for the right audience, identifying their audience, and comprehending the concepts around book promotion. They don’t consider, for example:

  • What does it actually take to sell copies of a book?
  • How does an author identify and reach her audience?
  • How do you entice your particular audience to buy your book?

Authors often don’t connect the dots in this area. They see books for sale in bookstores and on the Internet. They know people read books. What they don’t consider is the huge number of books for purchase now and the shifts in the way we buy and read books. They neglect to crawl into the mind of readers. They don’t think about making it easy for someone to purchase their book. They simply put their books out there with all the others and hope for the best.

They take for granted that if a book is offered—available—it will be purchased. Simple as that. So not true. A book needs exposure. If no one knows about it, certainly, they won’t buy it. To take a step back, authors should also realize that building sales for a book begins at the drawing board. Think about it, you wouldn’t create an item for sale that has no purpose or point, thus has no potential customers—cigars for babies, saddles for cats, do-it-yourself dentistry tools… So why do so many authors write books that will appeal to so few? Basically, it’s because they don’t understand who their audience is and what these potential readers actually want.

But there are some good books for which there is an audience and they’re still failing. Why? In many cases, it’s because the author hasn’t yet discovered his or her role and the serious necessity for promoting the books—getting exposure, presenting it to the right audience and doing so over and over and over again.

Those who don’t get it, might solicit a few reviews for their book, then stop. They will build a website and neglect to promote it. They send emails to their list, do a book signing locally, then move on to something else, hoping readers will find their book.

It doesn’t work that way, folks. Producing a book is similar to having a baby. You don’t abandon it as soon as it comes off the production line. You must nourish, nurture, and guide it into the realm of success you desire. It’s a responsibility—a large one. Neglect your responsibility and your book, like most books today, will fail.

For a first-class education in writing, publishing, and marketing your book, read the following:

“Publish Your Book,” “Propose Your Book,” “Promote Your Book,” and “Talk Up Your Book.” All by Patricia Fry. Learn more here: or at

How Authors Handle the Dreaded Interruption

March 30th, 2016

While some authors find it difficult to discipline themselves when it comes to butt-in-chair, fingers-on-keyboard, others have the opposite problem. They (I should say, “we”) can’t easily leave a story in progress. We think, “I don’t want to interrupt the flow of the story. What if I can’t get back into the mood—recapture the emotion, continue in that groove?” But is sitting at the keyboard hour after hour really the answer? Stay with a scene for too long and it can become stale. You may risk burn-out, not to mention sleep-deprivation.

How you handle this quandary? Do you easily adjust amidst distractions and interruptions? Or do you have to sequester yourself away for hours at a time in order to create the time and space to get it done?

My grandson worked at home for a few weeks while his office building was being remodeled and quickly learned how difficult (read impossible) it was going to be with twenty-one-month-old twins in the house. So he devised a plan that worked. He’d leave the house as usual, kissing everyone good-bye. Then he’d sneak around through another door and enter his office undetected where he could work undisturbed for the rest of the day.

I know an author who was having trouble adjusting to working at home after retiring from a corporate job. So every morning, he’d get dressed and head for a coffee house where he could chat with people. Then he’d head home and get right to work.

Many authors find a time during each twenty-four hours when they can work in peace—before dawn, for example, or (for the night-person) after everyone goes to bed.

But still, you must leave your story many times during the crafting and editing processes—often with unresolved issues. This can be a problem for some, who might say, “What if I can’t remember what direction I was going to take this scene?”

There are a couple of ways to handle this dilemma. One is to make quick notes in the manuscript before you take off with your kids to the park, to get a quick bite, or to engage in conversation with a long-distance friend or relative. When you return to your project, you should be able to pick up where you left off—if, in fact, you can actually remember what those quick notes mean. Oh my!

I’m learning to trust myself. The idea I had while deeply involved in the scene before being torn away from it, might not actually be the best one. Having relaxed some about leaving in the middle of a mystery or a crisis, I often return and tackle it seamlessly, as if I never took the respite. Other times, I look at the paragraph or chapter I’d been working on and create an entirely different scenario than the one I’d planned.

The truth is, adapting successfully to interruptions and distractions can mean the difference between completing a book in weeks or in years.


Follow Other Authors for a Win-Win Proposition

March 14th, 2016

I get more questions from authors about book promotion than any other topic. And most of the questions come after the book is published. If these authors had read my book, Publish Your Book, before writing their book, they’d be much better prepared for the book promotion process.

They’d know how important it is to write the right book for the right audience. They’d know who their audience is, where they are, and how to approach them. They’d already have some marketing activities in mind and, perhaps, in the works. And if they’d followed up by reading Promote Your Book, they’d be way ahead of the game.

It’s true that most authors write the book first. I guess it seems logical to create the product before thinking about marketing it. Until you get to the place where you have a book and no idea what to do next. That’s when authors realize that maybe they put the cart before the horse. They feel absolutely lost. Some realize they’ve written a book that doesn’t have an audience or for which the audience is much smaller than they had hoped. Or they never even thought about readers while writing the book—they just wanted to get that book out of them and onto paper. I sometimes tell hopeful authors to go ahead and write the book they have in mind and throw it away, THEN write a book that is actually wanted or needed in the marketplace. But not before studying the publishing industry so they understand the challenges they’re facing and how to overcome them.

Book Marketing Tip

Here’s a book marketing tip that some of you are going to ignore. Unfortunately, we miss a great deal that could be of value to us because we don’t want to be bothered. This weekend, I bothered to open a promotional piece from another author. Woo-la, it was an invitation to follow her on her blog tour.

First, let me say that authors should take the time to support other authors at book signings, buy purchasing their books and leaving an Amazon review, by following their blog tours, by reading their blogs and commenting. It’s good business.

In this case, the author has a book similar to mine. The instinct of some authors would be to trash that promotional email. If I had, I would have missed out on some amazing promotional opportunities for myself. This author listed the blog sites she would visit during her tour. And guess what? These blog sites were mostly new to me AND they were blog sites related to my own series of books. So that one click I made to read this author’s promo material gave me a list of nearly a dozen potential resources I can use in promoting my own book.

Book Promotion is NOT an Afterthought of Publishing

March 6th, 2016

I’ve met hundreds of authors over the years—some of them come to me for advice. And often the author has grandiose ideas about world-wide exposure for their children’s book, novel, memoir, or informational book through national TV, the NYT bestseller list, and so forth.

There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, authors should set lofty goals for the projects they’ve worked so hard on. But it is an extremely rare author who experiences this sort of success. Those who do have seven things in common. Does this describe you?

  • You’re a celebrity in your own right.
  • Your book features a major celebrity or an event that has garnered world-wide attention.
  • You’ve taken the time to understand the publishing industry and what it takes to promote a book in this highly competitive field.
  • You’ve devised an extensive and workable marketing plan.
  • You have the time and some funding with which to implement your plan.
  • You have important connections in the marketing field (you’re friends with Ellen Degeneres, Oprah, or the president) or in the topic of their book.
  • You have the personality and make-up to create and execute the promotions that will reach and attract your particular audience.

Most new authors can relate to only a few of these points. To you, I advise taking one step at a time in order to reach your goal. Here’s a checklist to get you started:

  • Study the publishing industry—in particular what it takes to promote a book.
  • Once you have a better understanding of the marketing aspects of publishing, devise a realistic plan.
  • For most new authors, I suggest starting locally to learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • Use the Internet to locate organizations and individuals who can help you reach your primary audience.
  • Open your imagination to the max in order to discover and create marketing opportunities both online and in person.
  • Never stop studying about book promotion–subscribe to newsletters, follow blogs, read books…

Perhaps you can see now that book promotion is not an afterthought of publishing. It’s easy to get published. Opportunities are everywhere. But it takes a specific awareness, comprehension, knowledge, and a great deal of energy to successfully promote a book. And it starts with knowing who your audience is—not who you think should read your book, but who will benefit from reading it—who wants to read it—who will be excited and pleased to find your book. Keep this in mind while writing your book and while marketing it.

For a greater understanding of book promotion and for tons of ideas, case histories, etc., read, Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author.

How to Land on the Front Page of the Wall Street Journal

March 1st, 2016

Well, it’s a crap shoot, for sure. You never know when these opportunities will arise and from where. But you can be sure that if you hole up in your home, never reaching out, it probably won’t happen for you.

How did my Klepto Cat Mysteries get a mention on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? Happenstance, for sure. But I worked hard to get a chance at happenstance. How? By blogging, entering, joining, attending, participating, contacting, sharing, chatting, and having a web presence. When the reporter contacted me, I replied immediately, then I made sure to comply with everything asked of me and MORE. Always give more, if you can. And this might mean recommending other authors or experts to interview, which I did.

This opportunity came about because I belong to the Cat Writers Association and participate and because I entered one of my Klepto Cat books in the annual contest. Check out the article here:

Good News for Authors–And Out-of-the-Box Book Promotion Tips

February 20th, 2016

Publisher’s Weekly announced this week that sixty new independent bookstores were opened in 2015 and they’re scattered all across the US. There are several new bookstores along the west coast and the Eastern Seaboard and all throughout the middle states. I glanced at the list and saw that several have sprouted up across Ohio and Missouri. There are interesting new bookstores now in Utah, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Georgia, Florida and New York. See the complete list here:

If you’re an author, you might want to find the indie bookstores closest to where you live and introduce the proprietors to your amazing book. Sweeten the pot by offering to bring in three or six other authors for a signing. But go in with a promotional plan—coverage in local newspapers, local facebook pages, and an email blast, for example. Put up posters in the library, community bulletin boards, and the bookstore. Provide a program of interest to bookstore customers and, of course, give something away. Make it lively and fun. Make it interactive. Do whatever it takes to get people into the store and in a book-buying mood.

If your book relates to animals, involve the local humane society or other animal shelter. Throw a pet parade in a local park sponsored by the bookstore and encourage kids to bring their pet puppies, frogs, llamas, and lizards. If it’s a scientific book for kids, create a hands-on project for children. Devise a contest for young writers and honor them the day of the signing.

Give a demonstration. This would be perfect for a book on animal training, a cookbook, one featuring organization techniques, relaxation techniques, and so many others.

This event might spur you on to set up workshops of your own based on your how-to or informational book on fishing, shopping, packing for a trip, travel safety, publishing/book promotion, healthy eating, elderly care, quilting, etiquette, dating and so many other topics.

All you have to do is create a lesson plan for your workshop. Then secure a suitable place and start spreading the word. You can charge for the workshop (which you’ll want to do if there’s a fee for the space) or you can make the purchase of your book a requirement instead.

These are just a few book promotion activities you can pursue outside of the Internet either through a local bookstore or at another venue. There are hundreds more. Find over 250 ideas for your fiction or nonfiction book in my book, Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven. Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. It’s available at my website, here: and at Amazon here:

Book Promotion Means Taking Advantage

February 17th, 2016

I’m not suggesting you take advantage of people and situations in a bad way—but that you take advantage of opportunities that might result in book sales. First, you must be willing to watch for opportunities and recognize them. Then figure out how you can use them to gain a little exposure for your book. Remember, every opportunity, activity, event, occasion, prospect you come across and even pursue may not result in immediate gratification (humungous sales). But every time you put your book in front of a likely reader or the friend of a likely reader or a bookseller or a reviewer, for example, there is a potential for immediate, eventual, or residual sales.

I womanned a booth at the huge Los Angeles Times Festival of Books for many years with a variety of authors. Some were newbies and others were seasoned marketers. Sometimes authors would complain at the end of the weekend, “I sold only ten, seven, or even 0 books.” Yeah, that doesn’t make for a very happy author. But what most of them didn’t realize is the enormous exposure they got.

Not only was their book displayed before thousands of people—hundreds of them going home with a piece of their promotional material, but there were often other opportunities available to several of our authors. An invitation to speak at a local library, a handout asking for authors with interesting books and interesting stories to appear on either a regular or Internet radio show, teachers eager to bring their book into their school library, not to mention the opportunity to learn ever so much about book promotion from the more seasoned authors. Some of our authors met publishers, reviewers, newspaper and magazine reporters looking for a new book project or a scoop. One of our authors met a documentary filmmaker who brought his story to life on the big screen.

Authors, there are opportunities for exposure for your book in your daily life—practically every day. All you have to do is learn to recognize them and have the courage to reach out and embrace them.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to sell books at an event in our small town. When I showed up, I learned that the other authors all cancelled. I could have been discouraged and left. The foot traffic was almost nonexistent, so the band that was performing moved closer to the street. I could have moved with them or left and gone home. Instead, I enjoyed the shade (it was 90 degrees out) and I enjoyed the music from a distance. I also enjoyed talking to the few people who walked by. I handed out bookmarks, shared stories about my books, because I was there, the store owner put my books front and center for the week. And I sold 10 books that would not have sold had I gone home. Can you see the perks in this scenario or do you see only the negatives—no fellow booksellers to attract customers, very little foot traffic…?

This week I want you to watch for opportunities and take advantage of those that make sense for you and your particular book.



Book Promotion–No Easy Task

February 15th, 2016

If you’ve been to a writers conference or club meeting, if you’ve read any books or newsletters on the topic of publishing, even if you’ve only spoken to an author or two while on your writing/publishing journey, you’ve heard the term book promotion. Unless you’ve done your writing in a cave without Internet service a million miles from civilization, you know book sales rely on exposure and that exposure relies on some sort of promotional efforts. The more studying you’ve done—the more publishing information you’ve perused or listened to—the greater depth of understanding you have about the necessity to promote your book. Yet, some of you still refuse to accept this fact.

You go merrily about your writing business—forgetting that, if you plan to publish, writing actually IS a business. When you do publish, you wonder why your book isn’t selling, why it isn’t getting reviews, why you haven’t been invited to do interviews, why no one is blogging about your book, why you feel like a failure. I can tell you why. It’s because no one knows about your book.

If yours is a viable product—a well-written book with an audience—there’s no reason why it should fail in the marketplace unless…and this is a big “unless”…unless you are not promoting the book.

Some authors do a few promotional activities when their book comes out. They build a website; email their friends; carry the book with them to show off at organized and chance meetings; show up at the next writers club meeting; and maybe even set up a book signing at a local bookstore. Whew! That was a busy few weeks and maybe even strenuous. The author feels he has satisfied his obligation to promote his book and he goes back to his life. Several weeks, months, years, down the road, he wonders why his book isn’t selling. What went wrong? Is it too late to repair the damage? In a word, “NO!”

I plan to write more about book promotion in coming weeks—so stay tuned to this blog. In the meantime, here are links to a few articles you might find interesting.

By the way, the bio at the end of the articles is old—let me catch you up: Patricia Fry has been writing for publication for over 40 years. She has 57 books to her credit, including several books for authors and 15 books in her Klepto Cat Mystery series. She is the past Director of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writer’s Network) and a member of several writing/publishing organizations. She continues to coach and guide her editing clients through the choppy waters of publishing and book promotion.

Fresh Writing—Beyond the Thesaurus

February 9th, 2016

I’ve been writing for publication for over 40 years and I’m aware of the importance of fresh writing. That is, using a variety of words and phrases in your descriptions, explanations, etc. But this has never been as challenging an issue for me until I started writing fiction.

Do you spend a lot of time making sure that your writing is fresh—that you’re not repeating the same old phrases and terms? Or does originality come naturally to you? I’m guessing that many fiction writers approach their stories much as I do. I write the story using many instances of filler words and phrases just to get the story down—place holders. Then the editing begins. If you’re like me, you edit numerous times before your manuscript goes to the proofreader or hired editor. You edit for clarity in the story events as well as for flow and readability. You make sure the storyline is pure—cohesive—consistent. Then you begin nitpicking words and phrases. Have I overused a term? How can I say the same thing in a more unique or creative way?

I’m on book 16 of my Klepto Cat Mystery series and I’ve decided to create a Key Phrase List to help with this phase of my editing. While it was rather time-consuming to create, I believe it will be a time-saver as I attempt to develop my stories in the future. What did I include in my Key Phrase List? Terms, phrases, expressions, descriptive words that I might use in my story descriptions and dialog. And I imagine I’ll continue adding to it with each story that I write.

Now how will I use this list? I don’t know about you, but my memory is only so long. I might get a sense, when reading through my manuscript for the umpteenth time, that I’ve overused a word or a term, but I don’t know to what extent until I do a word search—which I often do. With this alphabetized list, I’ll note each instance of certain phrases and terms as I read through the manuscript and I’ll be able to see which ones are overused and get ideas for replacing them.

Sure, I’ve thought about the potential dangers—that my writing will appear mechanical or stilted. I had concerns that the creativity would diminish once I began manipulating the portrayals and action. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. After all, the story is written by the time I start working with these important details. All I’m manipulating is some of the language and the way it’s presented.

Why go to the trouble to create your own list of phrases when others have done it for you? Because you have a different way of approaching a story and the dialog and description within it. There are readers who like your style—your way of approaching a story, developing your characters, etc. You may not know it, but you have a certain way of telling a story that is unique to you and you use certain words and phrases. So it makes sense that you create your own list, at least to start with. Because these are the terms you use most comfortably.

For additional help in making your stories read fresher, here are a few sites you might visit.

Happy writing!