Change Your Attitude and Sell More Books

March 29th, 2015

Something happened yesterday that made me think about the strong role human nature plays in our level of success as authors. While some authors do well, others fail to meet their own expectations. In fact, the majority of authors fail in this publishing climate and that has been the case for many years.

Why? Because most authors do not understand the concept of book promotion and are not interested in educating themselves. They are in denial and prefer to stay that way. But the core reason for their reluctance to conform may be more deeply ingrained than most of us realize. It may be an attitude some of us learn from childhood—stay close and private, don’t trust, and certainly avoid unnecessary interactions with others.

Yesterday, while I was walking, a driver acknowledged my wave of thanks for stopping at a crosswalk to let me pass. She smiled and nodded. I was rather shocked. Even though I step up my pace when I’m crossing while a motorist waits, and even though I generally wave in thanks, most drivers simply ignore my courtesy and my gesture and drive on.

Later during my walk, in an area where there are no sidewalks, I walked around the street-side of a parked car. When I saw a car coming toward me going east and heard another one coming from behind me heading west, I trotted quickly around that car to give the motorists room. The oncoming driver acknowledged my courtesy with a nod and a smile.

“That’s it!” I said to myself. That’s what’s missing with so many authors whose books are not selling. They are not engaging their readers through their marketing efforts and sometimes even through their writing. They are not considering the reader. They don’t know what their audience wants, where they are, and how to approach them. They aren’t communicating. They may be “speaking” but they aren’t being heard.

It’s like some of the authors I’ve observed in booths at book festivals. They sit quietly behind their stack of books in hopes that someone will come along and buy one. They don’t notice or, perhaps, they can’t relate to, the authors who are actually selling books by engaging passersby.

Folks, if you are an author or plan to become one and you want to sell books, consider your obligation to your reader. Forget about what you want. Think about what they want.

It’s sort of like dating. I’ve heard women say, “I just can’t find anyone I can connect with. All I want is a nice guy who treats his women right and who will take me to nice places…” Once that woman changes her tune and starts thinking about what she can bring to a relationship, she is more apt to make a love connection.

Today’s sermon…I mean post…should give you something to ponder. And while you’re at it, think about your behavior when you’re behind the wheel. Do you acknowledge the gentleman who eases back to let you enter a busy street? Do you give someone room to make a lane change where appropriate and safe? Do you give a walker a little extra space where possible? And when you’re walking, do you hasten your pace when crossing a street and thank the driver who stops for you? Do you walk as far away from the street as possible so as not to be in the way of traffic?

It’s all a matter of putting yourself in the other person’s place. Understanding his or her situation or perspective and respecting it. You can’t sell books if you don’t know your audience and care about them enough to accommodate them.

Patricia Fry has a series of books for authors. Be sure to order your print, Kindle, or audio copies of “Publish Your Book,” “Promote Your Book,” and “Talk Up Your Book” from amazon.com. Also available in print here: http://www.matilijapress.com

 

The Personality of Fiction-Writing

March 27th, 2015

Writing fiction is personal. Oh, we may take lessons, get involved in workshops, read books and articles on character development, plotting, and such. But we write using our own cache of skills, tools, and methods. And if those methods take us successfully from blank screen to finished product, we must be doing something right.

Many writers struggle, especially at first, with some aspect of the writing process. For most, it’s a matter of getting to work—butt in chair, fingers on keys. From there, it means finding your comfort zone. What approach makes sense to you? Do you produce your finest work when you just start writing or do you need to outline first? Can you flesh out your characters as you tell the story or are you more inclined to start with a circle like an artist might on canvas, filling in the details later?

Do you have the ability to visualize your characters and the scenes? This is a valuable asset and not every writer has it. Those who don’t must rely on pure logic. I believe that those who lack the ability to visualize are more apt to use index cards, mind-mapping or some other method of keeping track of their story, the characters, and the details of each scene. There are even aps for that now.

Probably the most successful stories come from writers who can feel the story—who become a part of it as they write—who know their characters and can make them identifiable just through their vocabulary and actions, for example. A successful story touches the reader in some way. Emotion is a connecting factor in fiction, whether that emotion is fear, anger, hate or joy and delight. A writer’s job is to make the readers care.

As you know, I’m a forty-year veteran in the writing field, but new to fiction. Like many of you, I’m easing my way through the process of fiction-writing and learning along the way. Currently, I’ve published 9 Klepto Cat Mysteries for Kindle—Mansion of Meows  is the 9th and was published last month. Book 10 just came back from the proofreader/editor and I’m doing my last edit. I’ve written 30,000 words of book 11 and we’re preparing book 6 for print. Over the last few years, my nonfiction writing business has become all about fiction and I’m having a ball.

 

 

 

What Inspires Stories in a Fiction Series?

March 19th, 2015

Ever wonder how writers of a fiction series come up with new ideas? Be sure to visit BookReaders Blog: Mum’s Writings, Mysteries, and More. I’m guest blogger today, March 19, 2015 and I reveal how I come up with story ideas. What’s really fun about this post is that I become quite specific about how I came up with the storylines for several of the books in my Klepto Cat Mystery series. It’s rather interesting how a whole book can emerge from a simple idea. Where do the ideas come from. You might be surprised.

Be sure to visit

http://bookread-mumswritings.blogspot.com

 

Comings and Goings in Patricia Fry’s World

March 19th, 2015

A few days ago I produced a list of possible titles for an upcoming cozy mystery I’m working on and asked for your opinion. Oddly, almost all of the titles were picked. Those who made suggestions, all liked a different title. There was no favorite! So I’m back to square one with which title to use.

What’s happening here in Patricia Fry’s writing room and the offices of Matilija Press? Good news, the blog tour caused nice spikes in sales for the Klepto Cat Mystery series—both in the Kindle and print versions. And I had fun meeting so many new readers at the blog stops. Two winners of free Kindle books are now happily reading Mansion of Meows.

We had a photo shoot here yesterday to produce new publicity photos for the series. Since the books feature a cat, I like to include one in my book cover and promotional photos and we have just one cat who is cooperative enough to do a photo shoot with. Lily was wonderful. We got some great shots. For those of you who don’t know cats, this is saying a lot–cooperation is not usually a word you would use to describe a cat.

Book 10 is with the proofreader and book 11 is being fleshed out as we speak. I have the story in my head. I have a meaty outline. I’m now starting to add the details of the story so that I can start the editing and research process. Gotta do the research to make sure the details of your story are realistic.

Every once in a while I take inventory. I ask, “Are we still having fun?” And every time I say a resounding, “YES.” Writing is still my passion and I am enjoying every moment of this new game I’ve entered called fiction-writing.

Just Wondering: Which One Would You Read?

March 16th, 2015

Every once in a while I come up with what I think is a great title. But otherwise, I pretty much struggle, fret, and lose sleep when trying to choose a title for one of my Klepto Cat Mysteries. So I thought I’d let you help.

Which titles below would make you look twice at a book, consider reading it, or immediately download it to your Kindle? Remember, these are potential titles for cozy mysteries with cats.

Meowy Mayhem

By Crook or By Cat

Pawtners in Crime

Two Cats’ Creepy Caper

The Almost Purrfect Crime

The AMewsing Adventure

Paws for Old Spirits

Ghastly Cat-astrophe

PLFry620@yahoo.com…or leave a comment here.

Successful Authorship Requires a Marketing Mindset

March 12th, 2015

Today is day four of our Klepto Cat Mystery Blog Tour and I’m engaging quite a few readers new to the series. You might avoid doing a blog tour because you believe that everyone who visits blogs related to your book genre or theme already knows about your book. Probably not.

This is my second tour with some of these blog sites and many of those commenting have never heard of my series. For me, that’s the point of conducting a blog tour—to attract new readers as well as inform former readers of any new additions to the series.

A blog tour is just one way to promote your book. There are hundreds of others. Check out my book, Promote Your Book, Over 250 Prove, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. Promotional activities such as the blog tour are all about exposure. In order to sell books, promotion is absolutely necessary. Yet, I still meet authors who refuse to do more to promote a book than build a website and get a Twitter account.

That’s a good start, but this is not going to put your book in front of very many potential readers. There’s so much more that an author can do and those who understand that and who are enterprising, energeticm and creative in their promotional efforts are apt to sell more books.

So let’s take the blog tour as an example. Once you’ve chosen anywhere from four to twenty-four (or more) stopovers where your particular readers might congregate, start promoting your tour. Use your blogs, your newsletter, your email list, your social media accounts, and post notices in other newsletters, at these and other blogs and so forth.

During the week(s) of the blog tour, use these means again to encourage visitors to stop at each of your blog stops.

When you are guest blogger, write something specific for each particular audience. For example, today’s Klepto Cat Mystery blog stopover is at Mochas, Mysteries and Meows. Reviews and posts at this site are often attributed to Truffles, a cat. So I wrote today’s post from my cat, Lily’s point of view—what it’s like to be an author’s cat.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, here’s the link: www.mochasmysteriesmeows.com

Be sure to sign up for a free Kindle copy of my latest Klepto Cat Mystery, Mansion of Meows.

 

Day One of Patricia Fry’s Blog Tour

March 10th, 2015

It’s “reveal” day. In fact this will be a week of reveals as I share aspects of my writing world with readers at six different blog sites. Stop over at Miki’s Hope today and read why I say I can’t not write, what inspired me to start writing, and why I started writing nonfiction. In fact I established a career writing nonfiction for over 40 years and now I’ve elevated my career as the author of the Klepto Cat Mystery series.

Please stop over at Miki’s Hope. http://www.mikishope.com today, March 10. Here’s a forever link to my guest post. http://bit.ly/1MoaFtR

Tomorrow, our stopover will be at the Conscious Cat. http://consciouscat.net. Learn what it’s like writing with cats.

 

Klepto Cat Mystery Blog Tour Begins TODAY

March 9th, 2015

This is the big week for the Klepto Cat Mystery Blog Tour.

Today, visit my own blog–Catscapades–to read a true story of using mind-talk with cats. http://bit.ly/1GiYcW3

Tomorrow (March 10) be sure to join us at Miki’s Hope. http://www.mikishope.com for my guest post. I’ll talk about why I write and what happened when I thought I would no longer be able to write—how I overcame obstacles in my career. Our story today features the thought process and it was a change of mind and way of thinking that helped me to stay on the writing path. I think you’ll find my guest blog at Miki’s Hope interesting. Plus, you’ll have a chance to win a free ebook for your Kindle.

 

The Promise of the Book Title

March 7th, 2015

I just finished the first draft of another Klepto Cat Mystery novel. It took me about two months to write the book and an additional two weeks to settle on a title…maybe. I mean, I have a title I think works—but the book isn’t published yet, so the title could change AGAIN.

Why is it so easy to write fifty-thousand words and so dang difficult to come up with a title? Maybe because the title is so important. And, someone who needs fifty-thousand words to tell a story probably isn’t very good at condensing that story into a few meaningful words.

When choosing a title, you want it to reflect the story (or the scope and purpose of a nonfiction book). For a novel, you might want a provocative title—one that attracts readers of cozy mysteries, crime stories, thrillers, etc. If the title is memorable, all the better. You want people talking about your book and referring to it by the title.

Some authors go for catchy titles or they rely on clichés. Some titles are downright descriptive—even for novels. And some are just plain confusing and seem to have nothing to do with the content of the story or nonfiction book.

How do you choose a title? I never had much trouble when I wrote only nonfiction. I always thought first of my readers. I wanted them to know exactly what the book featured or focused on so they were getting what they wanted/needed. Some of my nonfiction titles are, “The Mainland Luau, How to Capture the Flavor of Hawaii in Your Own Backyard,” “Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author,” and “Creative Grandparenting Across the Miles.” Those titles are fairly succinct, don’t you think?

Fiction is a whole different animal. For some of the books in my Klepto Cat Mystery series, I created the title even before writing the book. I kind of like doing that because I, then, make sure to write the story to fit the promise of the title. For some of the other books, I struggled with the title after writing it. One technique, if a title doesn’t come easily, is to jot down words reflecting things in the story. Robber, burglary, stalker, rage, attack, lending a helping hand, a rescue, solving a puzzle, resolving a long-standing disagreement, cupcakes, a misunderstanding, a celebration, etc. Okay, so all of these things were part of your story, but what was the main theme? Perhaps, a rift in a family and the slow healing and reconciliation. A side-story might be that one of the family members has been targeted for some reason and is in danger. The estranged family member comes to his/her rescue and that’s how they reunite. If this is the core of the story, you’d want to create a title around this theme—“Family Hate,” for example. Now take the word “hate” and run it through your thesaurus—what other intriguing word could you use in place of “hate?” or “rage?” How about “Fury?” or “Stormy.” Perhaps one of these words could be worked into a title with the term “Family” or “Familia” or “Kinship.” Maybe the healing of the relationship came through an unusual means, such as baking. Consider “The Cupcake Resolution,” or “A Peace of Peach Pie.” These titles might work for a light story. For a serious crime story or thriller, you’d go with something more terrifying and shocking.

Choosing titles is an interesting part of authorship and publishing. I’d love to hear some of your techniques.

Klepto Cat Mystery Update

The blog tour starts Monday at Catscapades—my own blog site. Be sure to stop in and get your invitation and map to the other blog stopovers for the rest of the week. It’s going to be a fun and revealing tour. Don’t miss a day of it. Oh, and there will be giveaways. Be sure to sign up at the designated stops. The entire calendar is posted at Catscapades in my March 3, 2015 post. http://www.matilijapress.com/catscapades

 

Take the Confusion Out of Planning Your Blog Tour

March 3rd, 2015

 

If you are new to the term and premise of a blog tour, refer to my February 21, 2015 post.

This post is for those who are ready to move forward with their tour. It’s all about the details.

Planning a blog tour can be a fun activity. But there are a lot of details to keep track of, so it can be time-consuming and a little confusing at times. That’s why it is vital that you keep excellent, clear, concise records!

Do not rely on your memory because, as you communicate with each blog host and work out the details of each stopover, things can become convoluted—did she want a story from the cat’s point of view? Is she doing a review or does she want me to write a post? Which one of these hosts asked for three photos? Who has the cover images and who requested them? Oh my!

I log each date of the tour, note the name of each host, name of the blog, and the exact, correct link. Leave enough space for your comments and notes. Post the date when you sent the requested material. Then, if you need to double-check on something, you can locate the email trail more easily.

I find it helpful to note the titles of my guest posts because some of them might be similar. And include the name you saved it under in case you need to reference it again. I said that some of your posts might be similar—yes, in a general way. However, it will be worth your time and energy to make your guest posts as different and diverse as possible. For some of you, this can be a huge challenge. It’s also an excellent exercise for an author who is serious about promoting his or her book.

Why? You want your promo material to be fresh. Many of your potential readers will see your marketing efforts in a variety of places. Creativity and diversity will attract them sooner than will the same mundane advertisement.

Learn more about my upcoming blog tour (March 9-15) here: http://bit.ly/1M4Ckld And be sure to journey along with us.