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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy, Marketing, New Year! by Michael Gonzales

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Wow, 2018, and still no flying cars.

I missed posting last month, I was celebrating my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with my beautiful bride, Katie.
We went east to lovely Cape May, New Jersey, where we stayed in a B&B that was built in 1863!


Cape May is right on the beach, and is better known as a summer vacation spot. But in December they decorate the nineteenth century village to look like a Christmas Card. It was magical!








I want to talk briefly about marketing. I’m new to this so, I’ll not be offering a silver bullet that will bring your work to the attention of millions. Sorry, but if you know where the Lone Ranger
may have dropped some of his precious ammo, please, let me know.



What I have learned thus far is that marketing is difficult, expensive, and dangerous.  

“Dangerous?” you ask, “Mike, how is it dangerous?”

Being expensive, marketing has its charlatans. There are people out there who will offer you thousands of book buyers, and hundreds of positive reviews, for a given price.

Some will even openly sell you reviews. The more you pay, the better the review. Then they publish it to their website, which, they claim, is seen daily by tens of thousands.

Sound to good to be true? Well, just remember grandma’s advice, “If it sounds too good to be true…”

Thankfully, Cheryl, of PRP, has steered me away from a bunch of these.

I am sure there are legitimate individuals, and companies, out there who will effectively market for you.
I am also sure it will not be cheap.

The trick is to avoid the bogus, and then select from the real marketers, those that will provide the best bang for the buck.

I’m sure that, like me, you get dozens of unsolicited emails daily with marketing offers, and other writing/publishing related deals that are guaranteed to put you and your book at the top of the NYT best seller list, and keep it there for weeks.

My guess is that 99.99% of all that is garbage.

After giving this problem considerable thought, I have figured out how to actually accomplish all that; thousands buying your book, hundreds of positive reviews, and eventually, weeks at the top of the bestseller list.

That’s right, a jewel of wisdom for certain success…and for only $29.95!

No, just kidding.

But there is a method, it’s not easy, in fact it may be the hardest way of all.
The secret is…write a good book.

                               Be the best writer.

To do this you have to go back to school, you have to learn the art, the trade, the techniques. For many of us this means a return to basic English. Not all of us, mind you, I am well aware that some of you are masters of the English language, to rival Winston Churchill himself.

Anyway, that’s my advice, gleaned from my limited experience thus far.

I would dearly love to hear from others. What have been your experiences, have you had success marketing your work, if so, how, who did you go with, if you went with anyone?

Did you attend any seminars on writing that other might seek out? How about online courses?

Well, there’s my rant. I hope it starts a discussion. Post your comments here so that we might all help one another.

Speaking of marketing, I would be remiss were I to fail to mention the pending release of my third novel, Across a Sea of Stars. If you like action, adventure, space opera, and romance, I believe you’ll love number III in The Unborn Galaxy series ― Across a Sea of Stars.

Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Monday, December 18, 2017

ANOTHER MEANING OF CHRISTMAS, by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer



Christmas:

A single word that hits everyone differently. It can bring joy or instill terror. It can evoke expectations or disappointment. It can make us feel loved or lonely. But no matter what, for many of us, the word Christmas does something.

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. That was a long time ago, in the fifties. We didn’t get a lot of presents and they weren’t expensive like they are now. Until 1958, we didn’t have a television, so the evenings weren’t plagued with holiday-you-gotta-buy-this commercials, though I’m sure advertisers still found many creative ways to hawk their wares*.



I’m not saying Christmas was nobler then, but as a child, it was all about fun. I just didn't know any better. The adults took care of the shopping, planning, cooking, and entertaining while I greedily inhaled their endeavors like cinnamon-scented air.  Maybe I hung a few ornaments on the tree or set the table, but aside from that, it was all sparkles and Disney (old Disney, that is.)

My grandmother was alive when I was a kid; in fact, my family lived in her house, an ancestral Portland home built by her father at the turn of the previous century. It had a fireplace, but we never hung stockings. My grandmother thought stockings were in poor taste though I don't know why. We did have an ancient brass Scandinavian Christmas Angel Chime, the kind where the angels that looked oddly like cupids floated above candles, pure Christmas magic. The chime passed the grandmother test because it was old.



I wish I remembered more about those early Christmases, but I don’t. As I said, it was a long time ago. But I know nothing has come close to them since: not the White Christmas; not the Elizabethan Christmas; not Baby’s First Christmas; not Christmas in the Country; and certainly not the year I got drunk and missed Christmas altogether. The commercialism dampens my enthusiasm, but I try to balance it with what really matters.

Whether one is Christian or not, the sentiment is the same. Christmas is about caring, sharing, and giving. My grandmother, who could wrap a present without using tape because she had gone through two World Wars the Great Depression, put it in perspective when she told me that the greatest gift, the only one she asked for each year, was love.



For the meaning of the phrase Hawk Your Wares, check out my previous blogpost.


Check out more blogs by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer at:


Happy Holidays!



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Special Trip

I wrote this blog article before I found out the news that my father, Bill Crider, was being admitted into hospice care.  This post might seem a bit light-hearted considering what my father, my family, and I are experiencing right now, but I wanted to go ahead and share it since it describes a special trip my dad and I took together.  I'm extremely grateful that we got to spend this time together just this past October.

For my last blog post, I wrote about fan conventions and my impending trip to Toronto for Bouchercon World Mystery Convention 2017.  So today, I thought I would tell you a little bit about that trip.  



I had brilliantly arranged my flight to arrive at the same time as that of my father, Bill Crider.  With no delays for either of us, we arrived at the same time.  We headed from the airport to the hotel together and soon met up with friends Jeff and Jackie Meyerson and George and Diane Kelley.  The Kelleys generously treated us to a steak dinner with delicious food and entertaining company, so our time in Toronto started off with a bang.  

For the next few days, I attended the panels of authors, editors, and other experts in the mystery world.  So far, although you tend to hear similar things about writing and the book world at these conventions, I have never gotten bored of these panels and enjoyed every minute of them - perhaps because the schedulers do such a great job of mixing up the different topics and the people who share their perspectives about them; or maybe because I'm still somewhat new to attending these conventions.  Dad was feeling good for this trip (in fact, I struggled to keep up with his pace), and it was especially nice to attend the panels on which he participated.  

Doctors Demento:  Authors with PhDs.  Front:  Frankie Bailey, Dana Cameron, Bill Crider.  Back:  Radha Vatsal, Catriona McPherson, Kenneth Wishnia 

We had a great time each evening mingling with friends and enjoying the panoramic skyline views of Toronto from the hotel’s lounge.



Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (EQMM) was being honored at the convention for 75 years in publication and its distinguished contribution to the genre, and Janet Hutchings was honored for her 25 years as its editor.  This was a special treat to me since I have a story being published in one of EQMM’s upcoming issues, and was thrilled to be invited to attend a dinner that included some of EQMM’s distinguished contributors, including Dad.  

Clockwise from left to right:  Toni L.P. Kelner, Dana Cameron, G.M. Malliet, Bill Crider, Janet Hutchings, Angela Crider Neary (feeling unworthy in the midst of greatness), Charlaine Harris, Paula Woldan, Brendan Dubois.  Photo courtesy of Dana Cameron.

Myth Hawker Traveling Bookstore had Li’l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau:  The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos for sale and invited me to be a featured “author of the hour” to promote the book.  



Then, there was time to explore Toronto.  The CN Tower (the third tallest tower in the world) was just a short walk away from our hotel.  




We met some nice bears and moose (mooses?).



We also took a subway trip to Casa Loma, a majestic castle-type structure built in 1911 as a residence for a wealthy financier.  It is now a museum, and is also used for special events and as a filming location for movies (for example, X-Men) and TV.



I even made my way up winding staircases to the top of the castle’s towers.  It was a bit windy up there, but the view was incredible.



It was a wonderful trip (an unsettling aspect was that the Sonoma County fires were blazing uncomfortably close to my home while I was away, but that’s a story for another day, and in the end my husband and I were lucky to have suffered no personal or property damage).  I will always cherish this special time spent at the convention and exploring Toronto with Dad.  






Angela Crider Neary is an attorney by day and writer by night. She is an avid mystery reader and especially enjoys reading novels set in interesting locales. She was inspired to write her first mystery novella, Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos, by one of her favorite areas in San Francisco, Telegraph Hill.  Stay tuned for her second book in the series, Li'l Tom and the Case of the New Year Dragon. To learn more, visit her on Facebook and Amazon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Island of Misfit Authors




‘Tis once again the season to deck the halls, brush off the old traditions, and maybe even start a few new ones. When I was a kid, it wasn’t Christmas without the annual viewing of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. To this day one of the things I remember most about Rudolph is the Island of Misfit Toys. Some part of me identified with those toys because I was a misfit too. I was painfully shy and, due to the makeup of my extended family, I was far more comfortable around adults than people my own age.

Image courtesy of www.123rf.com
 Over the years, I became more comfortable in my own skin. When I started writing, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had found my passion. Then, when I finally got brave enough (I still struggle with shyness) to meet with a local group of writers during NaNoWriMo, I knew I had found my people. They were just like me! These people knew what it was like to have a head practically bursting with stories. They understood how you can intensely dislike a character that you created. They also knew what it was like to have stories—and characters—take off in a completely different direction from what you intended. It was like magic.

As I joined professional organizations and took classes one piece of advice kept recurring—find others that write the same thing you do. Get to know them. Learn from them. Network. I tried. Really, I did. However, that’s when I discovered that once again, I’m a misfit.I joined one group only to discover that it was a bit… clique-ish. I had enough of that sort of thing in high school so I let my membership expire. I joined another group of sweet/clean writers only to learn that I couldn’t promote any of my work there because my first novel was sexy, not sweet. Strike Two. Finally I found another group of multi-genre authors that seemed to be a perfect fit… until the founder of the group got too busy to run it and it died a quiet death. *sigh*

I have written fantasy romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and one genre-defying video-game themed romantic short story. My Kudzu Korners series is sweet, humorous, paranormal romance. I can find plenty of other authors who write humorous paranormal romance but their stories definitely aren’t sweet. I can’t help but think there are others like me but I have as yet to find them. Oh, well. Maybe someday. 

In the meantime, I’ll be over here on the Island of Misfit Authors waiting to find a home. Want to join me? Everyone is welcome!

Until next month, take care and Happy Holidays to you and yours!



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