What’s An Author To Do? by John Lindermuth

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham

Maugham’s famous axiom might equally be applied to the task of selling that novel. We hear plenty of suggestions. but no one can say for certain what works for one will do the same for all. In the ‘old days’, which really weren’t that long ago, writers wrote books and publishers sold them.

With many more books being produced these days, things have drastically changed. Writers are now required to do much more in the way of marketing. In the past, the publisher set up an advertising budget and solicited bookstores (where most of the selling occurred) and reviews. A writer, especially one with a following (brand), might be called on to do signings at a selection of stores or do interviews.

Publishers still do advertise, solicit in certain venues and seek reviews. But they also expect the writer to publicize the product and seek sales and reviews. With all the competition, a writer must assume the extra hat of salesperson/promoter if the book is to be noticed.

How you undertake the task depends on your personality and situation. Probably a majority of sales today are made through on line promotion. But what I want to talk about today is in person promotion on your own stamping grounds.

For instance, on a personal basis, I live in an area where the closest bookstores are 60 miles away. I will, and have, traveled that distance to do a presentation/signing. But if you aren’t well known in that vicinity, results can be a crapshoot. For that reason, I prefer to seek audiences in other venues. Area libraries have been a good market for me. If you visit in person and talk to the librarian you’ll do better than by simply sending an email or a promo packet. I’ve found most libraries (particularly smaller ones) eager to help, some even taking on the task of advertising an event.  Another tip–it doesn’t hurt to ask friends and family to recommend or request your book at their local libraries.

I’m librarian of my county historical society and my books are displayed and offered for sale there, too. I’ve made friends/fans of many patrons who come in to do genealogy or research and become customers.

Libraries aren’t the only venues. Think big. Approach all kinds of small shops to see if they’ll consider carrying your books. Some will buy outright at a discounted price, others will take them for a trial period on consignment (offer a third of the retail price). My non-fiction regional history has been a steady seller in a specialty shop that’s only open for the Christmas period. I’ve also sold through a local restaurant and a used bookstore operated by a university.

Most writers are introverts and that can be trying. Many clubs and organizations will respond to offers of a speaking gig (some will even pay you). I’m not really comfortable getting up in front of a big audience, so I haven’t done as much of this as I should. It can pay big dividends, though.

Most important–get your name known in your area as a writer. I do a weekly history column for the local newspaper. I get paid for the column and the newspaper always publicizes my new books (Writing articles for magazines can also help make your name known to a wider audience).

Always carry books with you in the trunk of your vehicle. You never know where you might run into someone who will buy a book. And never go anywhere without business cards or other promotional material to hand out to people you come in contact with. Even people who aren’t readers seem to enjoy meeting a ‘real’ writer. They might not buy a book, but they might hand your card on to someone who will.

My latest novel is Geronimo Must Die, a Western and also a mystery. Here’s the blurb:

Geronimo and rascally half-breed Indian scout Mickey Free have never been friends.

Yet, Mickey has already saved Geronimo’s life twice (without acknowledgement) and is the only one who can keep the great Apache leader out of the sniper’s sights now. The sniper has already murdered several tribal leaders and Mickey believes it’s all a plot to prompt a great runaway from the hated San Carlos reservation.

Mickey’s efforts are stymied by Al Sieber, head of scouts, and John Clum, reservation agent, as well as suspicion of other Indians. Adding to his problems, Mickey is in love with a girl whose name he keeps forgetting to ask and who may be allied to the plot.

Only perseverance, risk to his life and, eventually, Geronimo’s help will enable Mickey to resolve this dangerous situation.

Buy links:



A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth lives and writes in a house built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill–which may have helped inspire his interest in the West. His 15 published novels are a mix of mystery and historical fiction. Since retiring, he’s served as librarian for his county historical society, assisting patrons with genealogy and research. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Webpage: http://www.jrlindermuth.net

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth

Blog: http://jrlindermuth.blogspot.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/john.lindermuth

FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/John-Lindermuth-175253187537/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrlindermuth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005496.J_R_Lindermuth


Shares The Darkness (September 2016), Torrid Books

Something So Divine (August 2015), Sunbury Press




Don’t you dare write that! by J.H. Bográn

We’ve all heard the above command. It may come from friends, family, or writing peers. The other bit of urban wisdom we’ve all heard is “controversy sales.” But here’s the catch, if you write controversy with aims just to make sales, your story will most likely fall flat. However, if you love the story, then write it even if touches on such topics.

I’m no stranger to drawing inspiration from controversy. In fact, I’ve had some close-calls and bad experiences because of my choices.

I wrote my debut novel, TREASURE HUNT, in 1998 and the opening chapter was about an air-jacked flight and the perpetrator’s demand for ransom. After the events of 9/11 in 2001, I thought that book would never see the light of day. I tried, honestly, to rewrite and delete all the strands from that storyline. I even considered changing the location from a jetliner to a train or a cruise ship. However, the events that occur during the air-jack are integral to the plot in many ways. Time passed by, as it always does, and a few years later the book found a publisher.

For my third novel I created an unusual antagonist. It could be labeled as a serial killer, but if I explain why that’s not the case, I’d be giving away the plot. Suffice to say that when fabulous author Jon Land sent me this blurb “POISONED TEARS is a splendid piece of crime noir.  J. H. Brogan’s darkly original tale breathes fresh life into the moribund serial killer genre.” I decided to shut up and let it be. So my book will navigate the literary world under a somewhat false flag, being promoted as a serial killer who uses poisonous animals to disguise the deaths as accidents, when in fact, the antagonist sees the deaths as means to an end. Enough said!

The choices I made in both instances to discuss topics that would raise complaints rather than just eyebrows were out of the necessity to tell the tale as I conceived it. They were not a gimmick, nor was my goal to go riding a trend.

When people ask me why I’m not on the best-seller list yet, I ache to rotate my responses between, “because you haven’t bought it and told ALL your friends to do the same,” or “because I’m waiting for the Vatican to ban my book, or have somebody sue me.” Of course, in the times of political correctness that we live, the only place I can say either of the above is standing alone in front of the bathroom mirror.

In conclusion, I contradict my own title in this post and beg writers to dare go beyond, take it a step forward, push the envelope, and since I’m running out of metaphors, I’ll just finish by saying to follow your gut and use the circumstances, as controversial as they may be, to enhance the plot. See you at the bookstore!



About the author:

  1. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He has also worked on scripts for motion pictures and domestic television in his home country.

He’s a member of The Crime Writers Association, the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor for their official e-zine The Big Thrill.

POISONED TEARS is his third novel in English and has already garnered positive reviews and recommendations. Jon Land calls it “a splendid piece of crime noir,” while Douglas Preston says it’s a first class roller-coaster ride.

Book description: Alan Knox’s football career ended in the Superdome twenty years ago. He hates the Big Easy but his son’s fiancée is missing and Knox is compelled to help. Throwing himself into the investigation, he becomes convinced a serial killer is using poisonous animals to disguise women’s deaths as accidents but the NOLA Police Department won’t listen. The investigation follows a twisted and dangerous path when Knox teams up with journalist Scott Trent. Especially when Trent’s wife is brutally murdered and Trent becomes the prime suspect. How many more women must die before Knox can prove his partner’s innocence?



Website: http://www.jhbogran.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/JHBogran0

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JHBogran

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jhbogran

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/j.-h.-bogran

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4307673.J_H_Bogran

Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/NwCHb

PR that works for me by Maris Soule

maris2015Writers strive for name recognition (our brand). To achieve this goal, we give away items (swag) that range from small to humongous and from relatively cheap to very expensive.


When I started writing, I was published by Harlequin, who promoted their brand name not the author’s. Harlequin would send us bookmarks to give out, but those bookmarks featured Harlequin’s logo, how to contact Harlequin, and what lines Harlequin published. They also put inserts in our books, removable pages that showed the cover(s) of upcoming releases, but neither the bookmarks nor the inserts, nor the ads they ran in magazines promoted individual authors. Harlequin’s swag promoted the publisher and how to sign up for their book club. We writers were simply a part of a “stable” of writers. They even tried to (or did) control the writer’s name.


Finally writers realized they needed to promote themselves; now we are the brand, not the publisher. Readers follow writers, not publishing houses. This is great, but it also means achieving name recognition has become extremely important. The “How to” is the hard part.


I’m the first to admit I suck at promotion. I have enough trouble finding time to write. I don’t want to waste time running contests, giving weekly perks to keep a fan club (street gang) active, sending out 4 to 10 tweets a day, adding to my Pinterest boards, or explaining “What’s on my mind?” on Facebook. I do blog (my focus is on writing) on Wednesdays (http://marissoule.com/blog/). I try to remember to send out an occasional Tweet, do try to say something on Facebook and respond to others, and have posted some things on Pinterest. About 4 times a year I try to get a newsletter out and anytime I give a talk, I try to pick up more email addresses for my mailing list.


Mostly I do face-to-face promotion. I meet someone, we start talking, and along the way the topic of “What do you do?” comes up and I tell the person that I’m a writer…and I hand that person a bookmark or business card.


On my bookmarks, I include a book cover and a short blurb. I have both sides printed, on high quality paper, and I include as much info as I can: Name (fairly large), email, and web address. Where to find/buy my books. A list of books (at least ones available). And, for new releases, an ISBN number to help a bookseller order the book.



Bookmarks, I’ve discovered, fit nicely into a side pocket of my purse and can be pulled out with ease. If I’m in a doctor’s waiting room, I can leave a few on the table with the magazines. I can slip a bookmark into a business size envelope when paying a bill. The bookmark may never be used in a book, but it’s a concise, and relatively inexpensive advertising tool.


I do not put my address on my business cards, but I do list my name, phone number, email address, and web address. Under my name, in fairly large letters, I have WRITER. That often starts a conversation. I usually have the cover of one of my recent books on the front. So far I haven’t put anything on the backs of my cards, but I know others do, and I plan on doing that. It might be a short rave review, or maybe a list of places to buy my books.



Whenever I’m asked to spell my name or give my name and phone number, I quickly pull out a card. If necessary, I can tell them my street address (it switches between our winter and summer locations), but nowadays most want phone and email along with your name, so it’s right there and can be attached to a file or put near the phone.


I find the bookmark and business card work as a personal introduction to the fact that I’m a writer, they usually start a conversation about books and/or writing, and create a long term impression…and that’s what branding is all about.




ECHOES OF TERROR: In Skagway, Alaska, a billionaire’s teenager daughter is missing and Officer Katherine Ward is assigned the case. When Katherine realizes the girl and another have been taken by the same man who kidnapped and raped her seventeen years before, the terror of those months in captivity resurfaces. She knows he’s a man who won’t hesitate to kill…and that she’s the real reason he’s in Alaska.

Release date: March 22, 2017








Maris Soule started her career writing romances for Harlequin, Silhouette, and Bantam Loveswept before switching to mysteries and thrillers. (The Crows, As the Crow Flies, Eat Crow and Die, were published by Five Star Mysteries/Gale/Cengage and A Killer Past, was published by Robert Hale, Ltd.) Echoes of Terror, her 30th book and one of the last released by Five Star Mystery will be available March 22, 2017.


Originally from California, Soule was attending U.C. Santa Barbara when she met and married her husband. He somehow talked her into moving to Michigan, where they raised two children that they’re very proud of. Although Soule taught art and math for 8 years, reading and writing have always been her passion. She does do some painting when she and her husband are in Florida during the winter months.


For more information, visit her at:








The Good and the Bad News About Marketing by Catherine Dilts

When it comes to selling fiction, here is what I’ve learned about current marketing wisdom:

The Bad news – no one knows what works.

The Good news – no one knows what works.

There is no right or wrong way to market your book. It’s all about what works for you. If you’re already making satisfactory income from your fiction writing, this article is not for you. My advice is geared toward the author with low to modest sales. You might be with a small press, or Indy published.

You’ve written your book, gotten it published, and now you’re ready for the next step. Getting your story into the hands of readers. Some experts might say the marketing phase begins before you’ve even finished your book. There is no lack of advice.

I can’t tell you how to make fistfuls of money. I haven’t figured that one out for myself yet. Publishing can be brutal. Good stories are overlooked. Anticipated sales don’t happen. Authors may be frustrated and disappointed. People offer every bit of advice you can imagine. Some of it is free, and some costs big bucks. I can condense most of it down to this:

  • Social media – helps get your name out there to readers, but doesn’t guarantee sales. Choose a venue you enjoy (blogging, Facebook, Twitter) and make judicial use of it. Hammering away endlessly on social media doesn’t equate with more book sales, and takes time away from writing your next story. It sometimes annoys people, too.
  • Conferences – help get your name noticed, mostly by other people there for the same reason – to sell their book. If you go to network, meet editors and agents, socialize, and learn more about your craft, it is time and money well spent. Selling books – not so much.
  • Advertisements – unless you have a book suited to a niche market, and have access to advertise in a specific newsletter or website, paid advertising probably won’t pay off. The chatter I hear on writing loops is that ads online rarely pay back their cost.
  • Blog tours – if free, and if on sites viewed by readers, you might reach potential customers with brief, witty posts. Limit yourself to what you can reasonably generate without robbing yourself of writing time.
  • Book signings – if free, and you can publicize to your readers, friends, and family, book signings are the ultimate reward for writing a book. I’ve heard some bookstores charge authors for signings. Only do this if it’s your heart’s desire to sign books at that store. You most likely won’t make your money back.

Most of all, know yourself. Are you a one book author, or are you in it for the long haul? If you’re planning a career, earning name recognition may be more important than earning money, at the beginning.

What are you comfortable with? It’s tempting to spend a lot of time, and maybe money too, on marketing, but not all of us can afford to take big risks. Experiment, as much as your time and finance budgets allow. Test the waters to discover what works.

There is no one-size-fits-all for marketing. I hope you’re able to kiss the day job goodbye, as you make your first million. It happens. When it comes to marketing, what works is what works for you.


Photo by Kari L. Vollaire, Artsy Phartsy Design – http://artsyphartsydesign.com/

Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, set in the Colorado mountains, while her short stories appear in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Catherine’s day job deals with environmental regulatory issues, and for fun she fishes, hikes, and runs. You can learn more about Catherine at http://www.catherinedilts.com/

Stone Cold Blooded – A Rock Shop Mystery, published by Encircle Publications LLC, is available in paperback, and in e-book for Kindle http://amzn.to/2d0uMDB and Nook http://bit.ly/2dHtm4G

Mission Impawsible by Krista Davis

missionimpawsibleFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Murder Most Howl comes the fourth Paws & Claws mystery…

In the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia, there’s no love lost when Holly Miller meets her match in a murderer…
Holly and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter’s heart.

Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold—dead cold—and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket. As suspicion is cast over the inn’s guests, Holly—with the help of her furry friends, Trixie the Jack Russell and Twinkletoes the cat—must fetch the real killer, or she may soon have a date in court.

Delicious recipes for owners and pets included!