February 22, 2009

Internet Promo Isn't All There is to Do

Back in the olden days, book signings, library talks, and postcard mailings were the major ways to promote.

Now, as Sunny pointed out, we have all this Internet stuff to do, and might I add one more: virtual blog tours. I'll be on one during the month of March. Believe me, they are a lot of work even though I didn't set up the tour myself.

But I'm not going to talk about that now, what I want to discuss is the in-person book launch. I've done one for each of my books and usually in my home town.

I've had them in various locations: used book store, recreation center, on the veranda of a coffee shop, the upstairs room at the Springville Inn, a gift shop, the back room of an antique store.

For Kindred Spirits I went all the way to Crescent City and had the launch in a wonderful bed and breakfast. I've blogged about that before, but it was wonderful.

For No Sanctuary my latest Rocky Bluff Crime Novel, I'm going to transform the Springville Baptist Church into a police station--well, at least give the illusion that's what it is. I'm decorating in yellow and black--colors of crime scene tape--and serving refreshments.

Anyone who'd like to come, it's on Saturday, February 28th, 11-4, at the Springville Baptist Church on Bogart Dr., at the top of the hill.

Wouldn't it be fun to see some one there who reads this blog?

If you have a book coming out, do think about a spot where you can have a book launch. Celebrating the birth of your book is a good idea for a party.


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February 16, 2009

Brave New World

I recently took new steps in my writing life and career. As a member in a small critique group that only meet twice a month I was frustrated with my progress. For a while I felt I was on the verge of giving up. I couldn't see the future of my written words. Some writers are loners and work well in that atmosphere but I am a social writer and need the feedback of the group.

Over the past several months I have reached out for new connections with my fellow writers. I joined a new group that has the potential for growth and has a more focused and far reaching writer base. The new group has stirred my inner fires and given me new, contemporary avenues for my writing. I have learned more in these months then in all the years past.

In some fashion I feel guilty for spending time away from my first group, almost like I’m cheating. But I feel that what I am doing now will benefit myself and other writers I will work with. So it can only be a win-win situation. For me, my world is wide open and the only stops are the ones I put on myself.

Being a writer is a constantly changing occupation. What have you done lately to change or improve your writing?

February 8, 2009


Sunny Frazier here.

When does promotion start?

The minute you take yourself seriously as a writer.

When my first book, FOOLS RUSH IN, came out in 2006, I was a novice at promotion. I did pretty well, but the Internet did not have much blogging or all the websites available for promotion. I felt much was a waste of my time. I had more important things to do than sift through the Internet.

My attitude changed earlier this year. My New Year's resolution was to carefully examine cyberspace. I followed the leads as I came across them. I used many of the skills I learned while working in the Narcotics unit at the sheriff's department, where I tracked down criminals by scouring confidential sites for clues to their whereabouts. The sleuthing techniques I developed are now useful in an entirely different way.

In the learning process, I've isolated three key elements: finding sites, participating on sites and controlling the vast amounts of information.Finding sites is not a challenge. Go on any author's website and check out the links. Links lead to links and the trail seems to go on forever. I check websites to see who reviewed an author's book. I am a scavenger, always hunting for clues to the next opportunity. This requires an eye for spotting potential and discarding what will not help my career.

After checking out a site, I make a decision whether or not to join. Joining means getting my photograph on the page and accumulating “friends.” If the process of joining seems overwrought, I just leave a message commenting on the blog. People reading my messages will see my name and face. Like dropping breadcrumbs, I lead readers back to my own site.

Monitoring traffic to and from sites is a lot of work. The trick is to control the Information Highway so it takes me where I want to go.

I created a folder called “Sunday Work.” I attend to it religiously. All week long I move emails from blog sites to the folder. My Sundays now start with a cup of coffee, the Sunday comics and then I tackle each item in the folder. Often, by opening one site, I can eliminate many of the posts telling me I have messages at the site. I also do updates.

The second document is called “Blog Sites.” As I come across sites I'd like to check out, I copy the link and add it to my list. I also put the list in alphabetical order to make sure there are no repeats. If I post on the site, I put the date and action taken.

If a writer thinks self-promotion takes away from actual writing time, they will be left on the side of the road with a book to sell and nobody buying.

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February 1, 2009

With The Right Tool in Hand

I love my tool; long and plastic and red, as soon as I had it in my hand I could feel the vibrating energy waiting to be released all over the written word before me…

It may be strange to think of the red pen of editing: our “critiquing pens” as instruments of creativity, but it came to me as I was using it across a particularly fine piece of short story work, that just like a sculpting tool, our red pens chip away from the granite to reveal the best of what the literary artist is creating.

Even though I am still running toward the goal line of being published, my beloved novel held fast in the cradle of my arm; last night as I critiqued, I felt that I was sharing in another person’s creative process. Even though it was not my own, I was like a literary midwife. Actually, there were a few midwives, and we all assisted in the birth of a story-the creation of lives and worlds belonging to characters and places that did not stay in one person’s imagination, but were given a place in the reality of every reader who is privileged to read this story.

That is, after all, what all artists are: creators of scenes, world-builders. Next time your sit with your red pen, breathe in the creative work you do. With each stroke and each suggestion, you open the birth canal so the writer can give life to a story; the most precious gem any of our kind has to offer.