Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Today, May 25, 2015 is the day we celebrate Memorial Day--a day set aside to honor those who have given their lives in the service of our country.

Despite our differences--political, religious, racial, lifestyle, geographic, whatever-- I hope that for one day we can pause together to remember and thank those who've served to protect our freedom and that of others. That's what Memorial Day is all about. That's what it should be.

I'm proud to have served my country in the United States Air Force. I salute my fellow comrades, and honor those who gave the "last full measure of devotion" in that service. God bless America.

(This post will substitute for my usual Tuesday blog post. Come back Friday for more about the writing life).

Friday, May 22, 2015

Writing: Author Interviews

Although Amazon apparently began shipping Fatal Trauma several days ago, this past Tuesday was the official "release date." For those who think all an author has to do is write a novel, then respond to all the various edits the manuscript goes through, let me emphasize what I was told very early in my days of learning the craft: No one cares as much about readers buying your book as you do. That was true then, it's true now. Writing the book is just the beginning.

Publishers have marketing people, but it's still up to the author to do a significant amount of getting the word out about their book. What things work for me? Well, book signings haven't been terribly successful in my hands. True, some authors think they're great, but they don't work for me. On the other hand, meeting with book clubs is high on my list. True, the members have already bought (or borrowed) the book, but it's a great chance for them to connect with a "real author." I always feel honored when I'm asked to meet with one.

I believe that word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. What seems to work best are guest blogs and interviews on other sites. These are a good way to introduce me and my writing to an extended audience. I've also found that a book giveaway draws more "hits" than a post without one. Guess it's just human nature to take a chance on something free. So below you'll find several sites, and at most of which you can leave a comment and be entered for a chance to win a copy of Fatal Trauma.

In my last post, there were links to some of the interviews I had done to that point. Since then I've visited Robin Hatcher, Ane Mulligan,  The Borrowed Book, and Novel Crossing. I hope you'll check them out, leave a comment, and get your name in the hat for a copy of Fatal Trauma.

What is your idea for the best method of introducing people to a writer's book? I'd like to hear.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It Was The Best Of Times...

...it was the worst of times. Most of us are familiar with those opening lines from A Tale Of Two Cities. As an author, I can identify with the sentiment, if not with the setting. Today is release day for my eighth novel of medical suspense, Fatal Trauma. I was probably a lot more enthusiastic about the release of my first novel. As with so many other things, eventually the experience loses a bit of luster. Oh, I'm pleased--don't get me wrong. But now my energy is spent less on celebrating and more on trying to get the word out about the book.

That means doing guest interviews and blog posts. These are things I generally enjoy, and I don't want to knock them. But I also like to check those sites and respond to comments, which is all well and good. However, when you have seven such appearances in just a few days, it can take a fair amount of your time. (By the way, there's a chance to win a copy of Fatal Trauma at most of these).

I started with an interview by colleague and author Nancy Mehl on the Suspense Sisters blog. Here's the link. Then I had interviews with Leslie McKee of Romantic Times and was privileged to talk with Susan Sleeman at The Suspense Zone. Then there's this interview with Sarah Ruut at her blog.

As I said before: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." But I'll be the first to admit it's a happy problem. It goes with being a published author--and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Did you have this concept of what an author does? Would you like to know more about our lives? Let me know.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Writing: To Market, To Market...

Writers often yearn for the days when all they had to do was write. They'd leave the marketing to the publisher. Unfortunately, those days, like some of the stories I hear from my golf partner, are urban myths. Writers have always been responsible, at least in part, for marketing their work. True, perhaps the burden has shifted a bit more toward writers in recent years, but I'm unaware of any time when this bit of wisdom I was given early on in my writing career was untrue: No one is more interested in the sales of your work than you are.

Fatal Trauma will be the eighth medical thriller I've had published, and it seems to me that over the five years in which that has taken place I've spent more and more time marketing my work. We used to call it "platform." Now, I just think of it as name identification. What I want is something like the emails and social media comments that say, "I can't wait for your next novel." So I spend about half my time at the computer staying in touch with fans, writing blog posts like this one, lining up and preparing guest blog interviews and posts, speaking to book clubs, etc. Do I resent it? Actually, I've come to accept it. And if you're a writer, you will, as well.

Oh, one last word. If you plan to self-publish your work (whether fiction or non-fiction), remember you're solely responsible for marketing your book. So be prepared to work even harder for the rewards that come with not being tied to a traditional publishing contract. Is it worth it? That's a post for another time.

What do you think? Is marketing something with which a writer should be involved? How important do you think it is? I'd love to hear.

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Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Where You Least Expect Them

I have to admit it--we watch TV. Actually, we rarely watch programs as they're aired. Instead, we record them and generally zip through the commercials. (Shh. Don't tell the sponsors.) Mostly we either watch baseball or football (games involving our local teams) or sitcoms (often reruns of older ones). But one we watch on a regular basis is Blue Bloods.

In an episode entitled "The Job," the family patriarch, Henry Reagan, says this: "I see God's light in this family every day. And though I may not understand it, I trust in His plan for us all." Wow! You might expect to see that in a novel of Christian fiction (now sometimes called inspirational fiction). But would you anticipate hearing it on a network TV show? I love the job the writers of this show do in keeping up the interest of the viewers, but it's also a bonus when I see values like this portrayed.

Have you ever encountered deep truths where you least expect them? Do scenes like the one I described touch you? I'd like to hear.

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mage courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Note: As we approach the launch of Fatal Trauma, I'm featured on a number of blogs with guest posts and interviews. Here's one of which I'm particularly proud. Hope you'll drop by, read it, and leave a comment.