People Don’t Buy Your Book because it’s Good by PJ Nunn

Have you ever really thought about that? They might buy it because they’ve heard it’s good. But what does that really mean?

I’ve been a book publicist for more than twenty years and have literally represented thousands of titles over the years. Some are out of print, some won the biggest awards and most fall somewhere in between. Still, I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to read a book to be able to sell it, contrary to popular belief. Why not? Because people don’t buy books based on what they find inside the book. We think if the author has talent and the book is good, it will sell. But seriously – why do we buy books?

We might buy a book because –

  • It’s by an author we know
  • We like the cover
  • We like the title
  • Somebody told us we’d like it
  • We liked its prequel
  • It’s on sale
  • We read a review that was positive
  • We like the topic
  • We like police drama, or serial killers, or beach romance or whatever
  • Another author we like gave it a blurb

The point is – the only way we’d know the book was good would be if we’d already read the book. Few people buy books they’ve already read. So it’s really important for us as authors to understand this and make sure that we are providing our potential readers with as many reasons to buy our book as we can.

How do we do that? Make sure the book description on the cover, on Amazon, Goodreads, our promo material and wherever else is text that really communicates not just facts but atmosphere of the story. Does it tell too much? Does it make you want to read more?

Don’t tell people how good it is, show them. Sometimes an excerpt or short scene is a better salesperson than a description. Use your text wisely.

If you’re making good use of social media pages and blog space, keep your voice true. For instance, I have two books out right now and they are from two different series. One is humorous and kind of campy. It’s written in first person and the protagonist has a sharp, sarcastic wit. The other is more serious, a little more hardboiled and the protagonist is a psychologist so there’s more thought taking place. If I’m promoting Private Spies, I’ll probably write in first person and keep the voice light and hopefully funny. If readers respond to that voice, they’ll like the book. But if they like that voice and pick up Angel Killer instead, it’s so different it may not appeal to them at all.

Personally I like both, but different moods are for different times. Do you have some ideas to share about what provokes you to buy a book?


New title: Behavioral Genes – Why we do what we do…by Dr. James Baird

Have you ever caught yourself saying the same phrase or making the same movements over and over? Or have you noticed something in a relative that reminds you of someone else, but can’t quite put your finger on it? Worse, do you find yourself repeating unwanted behaviors without thinking about it until after? Dr. James Baird’s new book might shed some light for you!


We humans behave in mysterious ways. We fight for seemingly no reason, eat too much, make our selves and others unhappy, and behave in all sorts of self-defeating ways. Why do we do what we do? And how can we change our behavior for the better? James D. Baird, author of the bestselling Happiness Genes, has researched the answers to these questions. In Behavioral Genes, he brings state-of-the-art science to our fingertips, giving us the knowledge to transform our lives for the better.

The root cause of our mysterious behaviors is that 30-50% of what we do is driven by genes inherited from our prehistoric ancestors. But we needn’t be trapped by those genes or those behaviors! The new science of epigenetics proves that genes are not necessarily destiny. These exciting new discoveries are already being used by medical organizations, and Dr. Baird shows us how we can use them in everyday life.

Behavioral Genes offers specific ways to move beyond your ancient “caveman mind” and actually change your biology. It examines the sources of stress, aggression, conflict, overeating, hurt feelings, mistaken perceptions, and unhappiness. It brings understanding to core behaviors such as personality, happiness, relationships, love, and differences between the sexes. Drawing on the proven therapies of meditation, mindfulness, cognitive therapy, and epigenetic behavioral therapy, Behavioral Genes maps out a positive new way to increase well-being.


James D. Baird, Ph.D. has more than forty years of experience as a successful inventor and graduate engineer. A pioneer in the new science of ultrasonics, Baird has earned several patents and as a successful entrepreneur founded Dynasonics, Inc. a design and manufacturing company of ultrasonic sensors and computers.

His inventor background instilled in him a persistent curiosity about how things work, translating from mechanisms to life. His passion for understanding the bioengineering that makes us human combined with his religious and spiritual beliefs has led him to research the subject of happiness for more than 20 years, and in the process, earned him a Ph.D. in Natural Health.

As a natural health advocate with an inventor’s curiosity, he was intrigued by the paradox that “diets don’t work.” In an effort to uncover the reasons and provide an answer, he wrote his third book, The Mindful Meals Diet (iUniverse 2007), which explained how genetic factors are the basis of unhealthy eating habits that lead people to become overweight. His program incorporated self-hypnosis and mind/body strategies to develop healthy eating habits (

From his research of genetics in diet evolved the understanding that humans have a spiritual nature and that faith is genetic. This confirmed his belief that the expression of spirituality is genetically motivated and results in natural happiness. Results from researching genetic behavior and the new science of epigenetics inspired Baird to write the HAPPINESS GENES.

Intrigued by people’s behaviors, Baird used his 20 years of researching in behavioral genetics to write BEHAVIORAL GENES- why we do what we do and how to change. This book describes the genetic roots of our most common behaviors providing understanding of why we do what we do. While other books note that the genetic heritability component of behaviors is unchangeable, Baird shows that genes aren’t destiny. Using evidence that epigenetic modalities, such as: meditation, mindfulness, and cognitive therapy can modify behaviors, practical therapies are described in the last chapter of the book.

New title: Shadow Pact by Tally Adams

ISBN-10: 1612542859

ISBN-13: 978-1612542850

Brown Books Publishing Group

Mass Market Paperback: 328 pages

February 12, 2019, $7.99

Language: English

Series: Immortal Romance (Book 1)


Emily was on a desperate quest to locate her missing sister. She was determined to follow the trail, no matter where it led. But nothing could have prepared her to stumble into a werewolf den under the full moon. Certain she was doomed to die by the pack, she finds her salvation in the most unlikely place; the Executioner himself. But he’s far more than he seems, and quickly becomes the only thing standing between her and being someone’s next meal. His hungry gray eyes and determination to keep her safe at all costs are the only protection she has. Together, they must navigate the courts in the immortal world and stand against a bloodthirsty queen, a power-hungry king, and a coming war to save not only themselves but the entire world of mortal and immortal alike.



Tally Adams lives in Texas with her husband and four children (and one big, fat English bulldog). She’s been writing all her life, realizing at a young age the characters just swirl around maddeningly in her head if she doesn’t put them on paper. She began participating in adult writing competitions before she even hit her teens. Years later, she worked as a nurse and continued to write. Finally, she decided to move forward into the world of publication and share her imaginary friends with the world.


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New title: Hannah’s Bliss by Dania Voss

Hannah’s Bliss is the newest release in my Windy City Nights steamy romance series. The series centers around the heir apparent to a Chicago family fortune and baseball dynasty, Luke Stryker, his friends, hunky combat veterans integrating back into civilian life and steamy nights with the women they can’t live without. Let the games begin!
The hero, Rocco Moretti and the heroine, Hannah Hailey are recurring characters in the series who finally get their own happily ever after in Hannah’s Bliss.
Rocco is an Italian, former Marine who was physically and emotionally abused as a little boy and is also a combat veteran suffering from PTSD. He’s incredibly close to his younger brother and his family and has a heart for service. Although he works hard and has a close circle of friends, he’s unhappy and lonely. He doesn’t believe he’s worthy of love.
Hannah is a busy event planner for her mother’s successful event planning firm but has dreams of her own she’s been putting off for years. She’s desperate to please her mother but feels like she’s failing at every turn. Hannah’s been made to feel “less than” for as long as she can remember. She struggles with her self-esteem and doesn’t always feel comfortable in her own skin. 
Bliss is a recurring theme throughout the novel. Personal and professional bliss. Neither Hannah or Rocco are living their bliss when they first meet. They both help each other and by the end of the story, they are happier than they’ve ever been – together.
Rocco is a combat veteran who fought in the Battle for Sangin in Afghanistan. It’s a real battle where many soldiers, both American and British, were lost, in the fall of 2010. He fought beside another series character, Heath Jackson from another novel in the series, The Warrior’s Whisper
It’s not smooth sailing for these two though. They have plenty of obstacles they have to overcome first. From emotional baggage they both carry to sassy grandmothers who like to embarrass them, to a drug dealer who nearly kills Hannah, to her overbearing mother who persistently tries to tear them apart, and more.
The handsome man on the book cover is Italian international model Luca Pantini. I “met” him as a result of an author Instagram book cover inspiration challenge. I was searching for what I imagined Rocco looked like through Hannah’s eyes and found pictures of him online. I knew the moment I saw Luca, he was my Rocco.
Luca is now helping me promote the book and the series.  We’re in the early stages but we’re now working with producers to help bring the series to the screen.
Talk about living your bliss! So let me ask all of you – are you living YOUR bliss? If not, what’s holding you back?


Recently another mystery author and I tossed around the names of ideal actors and actresses to play characters in our books. While I feared it might be a depressing experience—given there’s slim chance of my books coming to either the big or small screens out there—instead it turned out to be not only a fun exercise but also an instructive one. Some characters will have encores in my next mystery in the Austin Starr series so my thoughts on their ongoing personalities, motivations, and secrets were deepened.

As an introduction to my latest book, AFTER YOU’VE GONE—An Austin Starr Prequel, here’s who its ideal cast includes:

Emma Stone stars as Austin Starr’s grandmother. Named Walter after her father the judge but called Wallie by her family and friends, at age twenty-three she lives in a small Texas town with her dad in a big Victorian mansion during Prohibition. She’s spunky and wants to write murder mysteries like her hero Sherlock Holmes.

Jeff Bridges (a born Texan) is the epitome of the judge Walter MacGregor, Wallie’s dad. His wife died and left him a widower when their daughter was an infant.

Meryl Streep must play Aunt Ida. She’s a proper and strict retired school marm who helps raise Wallie, pushing her to be a sweet young lady. But Wallie wants to live up to her male name by becoming an assertive personality.

Bradley Cooper plays the long-lost brother of the judge who turns up out of the blue after two decades’ absence. He’s on the lam from his bosses in the bootlegging business during Prohibition.

Zac Efron is perfect for one of Wallie’s suitors, and his rival would be Chris Hemsworth. Which one will win her hand?  That is, if she lives long enough to make the choice, after she begins to court danger by tracking down a vicious killer.

Octavia Spencer takes the role of Athalia, the MacGregors’ housekeeper and outstanding cook. She has provided sense and stability to the family ever since Wallie’s mother passed away years ago. Her fried chicken is as incomparable as her day-to-day advice.

Ian McShane plays Sam Maceo, a real-life gangster who possesses both suave charm and deadly intentions. Wallie and Aunt Ida tangle with him and his thugs during a road trip to the sinful port city of Galveston, Texas. To note: Maceo’s progeny still reside in Galveston, these days pursuing only legal businesses. Supposedly.

Reese Witherspoon captures the part of Glenda, the tough but tender spitfire who works in Maceo’s speakeasy located on the Gulf of Mexico. At first Wallie doesn’t know what to make of Glenda, the likes of whom she’s never seen before. Aunt Ida thinks Glenda is a floozy and wants to leave without questioning her, but Wallie befriends her and prevails to uncover awful secrets.

The bit parts of Wallie’s cousins Doug and Hank are reserved for my pals Doug and Hank, who harbor thespian ambitions. They’ve supported my writing career a long time, and it pleases me to think I could help them out.

Finally, last but definitely not least, the role of Wallie’s ever-present beagle puppy Holler will be taken by a dog found at a shelter in south Texas, where the movie will be shot. This is a key decision. Holler provides comic relief when too much blood has been shed, and he also helps point to the clue that solves Wallie’s first murder case.

All in all, I say—An author can dream, can’t she?


Kay Kendall is an award-winning author of three historical mysteries. Her second book, RAINY DAY WOMEN (2015), won for best mystery and best book at Killer Nashville in August 2016. It is the second in her Austin Starr mystery series. The first was DESOLATION ROW (2013), published by Stairway Press. AFTER YOU’VE GONE, an Austin Starr prequel, was released February 12, 2019.


In her previous career, Kay was an award-winning international PR executive, working in the US, Canada, Russia, and Europe. She has graduate degrees in Russian history and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


Kay and her Canadian husband live in Houston, Texas. They’ve rescued abandoned pet bunnies for twenty years and currently have three rabbits and a bemused spaniel, Wills.


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And this one really IS by Jackie Zortman

Having lost interest when writing the third book in my Detective Max Richards series, I found it difficult to concentrate.  Then an author friend of mine with seventy-seven books on the market suggested I simply change my focus. He suggested doing a series of three novellas as Kindles, eventually putting all three into one paperback. I loved the idea.

Jake instantly popped into my mind as the name of my protagonist. I knew he was going to be a physical specimen that made women drool, a firefighter who rode a Harley, and there would be a wildfire. That was it. My author friend told me to jump on that Harley and ride because this book was already in my subconscious. And that’s what I did. I enjoyed writing JAKE-Whiskey, Water & Wildfire more than any of my other fictional books.


Jake is a woman’s wildest dream and a Hotshot Firefighter with a Harley. He is single and intends to remain so. He rides for miles in all conditions until some town mentally flags him down. He rides into Kimble, Colorado wanting only cold ice water, and food for his rumbling gut. But inside a café, he finds something he isn’t looking for, and Tomi makes him break all the hard and fast rules he so faithfully lives by.

When a wildfire ignites, Jake is the only one on scene prepared to fight it. It’s what he loves to do and is trained for.

What makes Jake feel Kimble, CO is where he’s meant to be? Why does Miss Berta adopt him as her pseudo-son and why is he so drawn to her as his mother figure? Are the answers simmering inside the fire or is it something else? The ending will surprise you.


Author’s Bio:

Jackie has been writing short stories and articles for twenty-six years. She is the author of non-fiction We Are Different Now-A Grandmother’s Journey With Grief, award winning fiction novels Footprints in the Frost (Det. Max Richards Book 1), Snow Angel (Det. Max Richards Book 2) & JAKE-Whiskey, Water & Wildfire (a novella). She has contributed to the anthologies American Blue, Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides, Recipes by the Book-Oak Tree Authors Cook and The Centennial Book of the National Society of Daughters of the Union. She also writes poetry, history and genealogy.

She is a Charter Member of The Public Safety Writers Association and a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She has won ten writing awards.

She lives in a beautiful tourist town in the southwestern mountains of Colorado with her husband and Siamese cat. When snow covers the terrain outside her home, it’s the perfect spot in which to write.

Learn more about Jackie on her blog at:

The Aging Writer: Adjusting to the Changes by Lesley A. Diehl

I have a cat who is eighteen years old and experiencing difficulties walking because of weakness in her back legs and spinal issues. The vet thought she was a candidate for euthanasia earlier in the fall, but she has fooled all of us by hanging in there through the winter. With the arrival of spring, she enjoys the smells that come through the open windows. She is what my mother would call “a good eater”, she loves sitting on my husband’s lap, and she braves the steps to the upstairs several times each day. She is a trooper. Watching her aging process and experiencing my own, I find her an inspiration. I, too, have been having my share of age-aggravated issues, and many impact my writing.

Because of a balance issue which went misdiagnosed for over five years and degenerative problems in my spine and neck, sitting at the computer to write has become more and more difficult. Those same problems have cut into attending conferences and in doing in-person author events. What my younger body was able to compensate for now presents challenges that need interventions of many sorts.

But healthy aging itself presents its own set of issues.  Unless we write about protagonists our own age—and most of us write about characters considerably younger—we are creating characters and their worlds from what we learn from sources other than our own experiences. There are comic strips I find puzzling because I do not catch the references or recognize the names in them. Writer friends younger than I post on social media about television shows they enjoy, but I cannot connect with most of these programs. Recommendations for movies seem to be written by someone much younger than me. Yep. I’m getting old.

Sue Grafton seemed to find her way around some of the problems of a younger protagonist in contemporary society by freezing Kinsey in time, but her approach was unique, and one not followed by many contemporary writers. It’s interesting that many of the readers of cozy mysteries, the genre of my work, include younger readers, not necessarily young, but many years my junior. How can I continue to write a protagonist enveloped by life here-and-now? Perhaps the aging writer needs to approach the task of the younger protagonist by researching society the way those who write historical fiction research the past.

Here are a few suggestions all of us—because, let’s face it, we are all aging—can use now or in the future. There’s nothing new here, but a reminder never hurts.

Develop good habits while at the computer. My occupational therapist encouraged me to take a closer look at my desk and my desk chair to make certain they helped me maintain good posture. It’s also important to consider issues of lighting, not only the adequacy of the light but also the direction of the light source. In addition, monitoring posture while writing at a computer and taking frequent breaks are keys to avoiding neck, shoulder and back stress. See. You already knew this. Your challenge is to remember this ten years from now. Begin preparing by doing these things now. Don’t beat up your body. It finds ways of getting back at you.

Choose carefully the size, location and kind of writing conference you attend. Perhaps it’s time to limit the number of conferences where you are present each year. Conferences at which you reconnect with old writing friends may deliver more joy to you than ones where you appear on numerous panels. Don’t knock it. Joy in your work is an important consideration and is the bedrock of good writing. Some writing organizations hold monthly meetings where you can make in-person contact with other writers, a less intensive way of staying recent and getting yourself out there,

If in-person meeting and writer conferences are too difficult for you, on-line workshops, guest blogging, author social media sites, and promotion and publicity sites are excellent ways to make your presence known and get your work out to a wide audience. You may have to spend more money on promotion, but it can be the money you save by reducing the number of conferences you attend. Be certain that if you increase your on-line presence you attend to good computer skills. Part of this includes taking frequent breaks. I cannot stress this too much because it’s so easy to underestimate time at the keyboard and pay for it later with neck and back issues.

This may be the time in your writing life to re-evaluate what you are writing. Growing older means you have added to your reservoir of experience and wisdom. You may find this changes what you want to write. I’ve always written humorous cozy mysteries. A good laugh has always been part of my writing life and my personal life as well. Funny had gotten me through some bad times, and it always will, but I’m now beginning to consider writing more serious mysteries and perhaps stand-alones rather than series work. Getting older has a lot of benefits and one is being more and more honest about how to invest energies and creativity. Taking on new things may keep us younger longer. Doing the old ones in a smarter way can keep us at what we love longer also.

My elderly cat has much to teach me. She’s enjoying her life, now so different from what it once was. Perhaps it pays to sit back, sniff the spring smells and consider what I can do in this new chapter in my life. And, of course, she stretches often.


Bio: Lesley A. Diehl retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle. The author of several mystery series, mystery novels, and short stories, Lesley is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime – International and Guppies. To learn more about her work, go to


About Killer Tied, Book 6 in the Eve Appel Mysteries:


Eve Appel Egret is adjusting to married life with Sammy and their three adopted sons in Sabal Bay, Florida. While still running her consignment stores, she is going pro with her sleuthing by becoming an apprentice to a private detective.

Until her marriage, Eve’s only “family” was her grandmother Grandy, who raised her after her parents died in a boating accident. Now, in addition to her husband and sons, she has a father-in-law who clearly dislikes her. Sammy’s father, a full-blooded Miccosukee Indian long presumed dead, has emerged from the swamps where he’s been living like a hermit, and he isn’t happy about Eve’s marriage to his half-Miccosukee, half-white son.

As for Eve’s family, are her parents really dead? A woman named Eleanor claims to be Eve’s half-sister, born after her mother faked a boating accident to escape her abusive husband, Eve’s father. Then Eleanor’s father turns up dead in the swamps, stabbed by a Bowie knife belonging to Sammy’s father, Lionel. Strange as Lionel Egret is, Eve knows he had no motive to kill this stranger. In order to clear him, Eve must investigate Eleanor’s claims, and she might not like what digging around in her family’s past uncovers.


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