Here’s a surprise for you…

Private Spies

By PJ Nunn

 

ISBN-13: 978-0615832562

Tidal Wave Publishing

Trade paper $13.95

Kindle ASIN: B00D96VHDQ

$2.99

June 2013

Also available for Kindle and Nook

 

When Jesse Morgan’s boss and best friend died, she inherited Private Spies, a private investigation firm that specializes in missing persons. Unfortunately, she knew little about the business aside from her intensive work on the computer. But if Joey thought she could handle it, she felt obligated to at least give it a try. How hard could it be, right?

 

So Jesse took on her first case. Very straightforward. This guy is missing, find him. Oh but wait, he also kidnapped his own daughter. Find her too. Still not that hard. Except when she ran his report, the picture she found on his driver’s license is of another guy. And when she found a guy who matched the first picture, he had another name. And when she found a girl that looked like the daughter, she didn’t match anything. Not good.

 

Enter a retired police officer named Byron (really?) who says before Joey died, he hired him to work for them. Ok. This might be helpful. But then came a stalker, and a dead guy, a dead duck and an increasing list of incidents that all seem confusing to Jesse. Up to her eyeballs in threats and questions, Jesse’s outraged when the woman who hired her decides to fire her. Unbelievable! Unable to stop at that point, Jesse is determined to find the guy and solve the case. If only it was as easy as it sounded.

 

Back cover bio:

PJ Nunn is the owner of BreakThrough Promotions and has spent much of the last 15 years running promotional campaigns for authors. She says her Master’s Degree in Psychology and Criminology comes in handy from time to time. PJ has been a freelance writer since 1984 and is also the author of Angel Killer: A Shari Markham Mystery.

Buy link, Amazon:

Buy link, Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/private-spies-p-j-nunn/1115866314?ean=9780615832562

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One Size Does Not Fit All by S.K. Rizzolo

I tend to hibernate while working on a book. I do not participate in much social media and do very little, if any, active promotion. The truth is that it’s hard for me to switch my brain from creative into marketing mode. During the gestation of a project, I need time apart, a quiet space to contemplate. Maybe that’s because real-world considerations shatter the fictive dream, disrupt my thought processes, and sometimes make me anxious. Worrying about promotion stops the writing cold every time. I guess I have a one-track mind.

 

There are writers who are able to organize their days, allocating an hour or two to posting on Twitter, running their own blog, or doing whatever they deem useful to help them sell books. But I find writing a novel to be a messy, eternally demanding pursuit that absorbs all my energies. Thus, I tend to launch into marketing only when the book is done and the publication date approaches. At that point I set up blog tours, update my website, write historical essays, send out a notification in my newsletter, arrange Goodreads giveaways, attend conferences—anything I can think of. On publication day I make an announcement on social media, but I don’t often post about individual reviews after that. Blazing a trail in terms of marketing and promotion? Not so much.

 

Still, occasionally I’ll try something new. For example, a few months ago I teamed up with a travel company and wrote a post that highlighted some iconic sites of Regency London, the setting for my historical mystery series. The company generously combined this post with a giveaway that included a set of my books and a tea set. The result: the promotion attracted over 2700 entries, so at the very least I made contact with 2700 people who had probably never heard of me or my books. For my next release, I plan to purchase some extra copies from my publisher and give them away to readers. It’s a simple idea. Since I am traditionally published and can’t offer deep discounts or perma-free series openers, I’ll supplement the free copies provided by my publisher with a few autographed ones to send out into the world (not unlike messages in a bottle tossed into the ocean). With these gifts I hope to tempt a reader here, a reader there—anyone who likes the genre in which I write and would like to try my work. It’s fine with me that building a readership is a slow, organic process that can take years. Finding even one loyal fan is a big deal.

 

No doubt this isn’t the most effective or efficient approach, but it’s the one that works for me. Which, I suppose, is my point. As 21st-century authors, we hear a lot about what we are supposed to be doing to sell our books—as if we can singlehandedly determine their fate if we follow all the right steps and push all the right buttons. But I don’t think “success” is that easy, and I’m quite sure it means different things to different people. The bottom line: Each author needs to discover his or her own version of authorship through trial and error. Marketing is a highly personalized skill that develops over time and evolves as the writer evolves. I don’t mean to suggest that we should sit back and do nothing. Our books deserve that we make an effort to introduce them to others in order to give our work a chance to contribute something positive to another person’s life. Maybe we can entertain that reader or provide a much-needed distraction from troubles or even shed some light on the human condition. Overall, I find that focusing on this essential goal of communication keeps me on track in both art and business.

 

Author’s Biography

An incurable Anglophile, S.K. Rizzolo writes mysteries exploring the darker side of Regency England. Her books feature a trio of crime-solving friends: a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister. Currently she is at work on the first novel in a new series introducing a female detective in Victorian London. Rizzolo lives in Los Angeles with Oliver Twist and Lucy, her cats, and Michael, her husband. She also has an actress daughter named after Miranda in The Tempest.

 

 

Synopsis for On a Desert Shore (most recent release)

 

London, 1813: A wealthy West India merchant’s daughter is in danger with a vast fortune at stake. Hired to protect the heiress, Bow Street Runner John Chase copes with a bitter inheritance dispute and vicious murder. Meanwhile, his sleuthing partner, abandoned wife Penelope Wolfe, must decide whether Society’s censure is too great a bar to a relationship with barrister Edward Buckler. On a Desert Shore stretches from the brutal colony of Jamaica to the prosperity and apparent peace of suburban London. Here a father’s ambition to transplant a child of mixed blood and create an English dynasty will lead to terrible deeds.

 

Social Media

 

Website: http://www.skrizzolo.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4380002.S_K_Rizzolo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007728217416

Thinking Outside the Box Unique Ideas for Promoting Your Book(s) By Ron Corbin

People who don’t know me that well seem a little surprised when they discover I have a PhD. Most likely because they don’t see me as the “typical” erudite that a Doctorate of Philosophy usually invokes … whatever that may be.
 
However, for friends who know me “up close and personal,” they aren’t surprised at all that I don’t portray the image of a college professor. Probably because, since there is already too much drama and seriousness in the world, I like to tease, joke, make puns, and use humor in daily activities. Thus, it is likely that some of the suggestions below for promoting my book may seem a little bit unusual, quirky, or out of the norm.
 
Poker Chips — Being from Las Vegas, rather than just having the personalized business cards and book marks promoting my book like most authors, I had customized poker chips made up. One side of the chip displayed the cover of my book, and the flip side had a photo of an LAPD helicopter.
                        
 
These chips can be used as part of the “buy-in” to your weekly “Guy’s Night Poker Game.” Sometimes, one of the poker players will cash-in these poker chips to buy one of your books.
 
The chips can also be used as a challenge coin to exchange with your military and public safety friends who collect these kind of mementos.
 
Doctor and Dentist Office — Having the same family doctor and dentist for years, these professionals know about some of my family business, including my endeavors in writing and publishing a book. As a Christmas gift to them, I gave them one of my books. I then asked them that, if they are willing, I’d appreciate them allowing me to place one of my books in their office waiting rooms…with a sticker or handwritten note saying, “Please Don’t Remove – Leave in Office.”
 
I think that this is a perfect way for exposure to great numbers of people; patients who might start reading a chapter or two and, if interested, will copy the book title for future self-purchase. As a bonus of doing this, I even found that one of my doctors is an author herself, and we were able to exchange books.
 
Contests — I have held contests at writer’s conferences, with the winning prize being one of my books. Use your imagination and make twists to the old version of “guessing how many jelly beans in a jar” game.
 
One contest was where I took one of my wife’s sewing projects. She had made a basket from material-hand-wrapped cotton corded clothesline. I had conference attendees guess how many feet of clothesline was involved in the basket construction.
Another contest was to guess what this object was used for. Hints included:
·       They are made of plastic and come in pairs.
·       They come in four basic colors (i.e., red, green, blue, yellow).
·       They are from the 1950s.
·       They use one AA battery to make a small light and illuminate the plastic’s color.
Do you know what they are? Take a guess. (Answer at the bottom of this article.)
 
Cruise Ship Libraries — My wife and I like to take cruises. Generally, every cruise ship has a game room and/or library. I take one of my books on each cruise trip and leave it in with the other books in the ship’s library. Even if the ship’s staff monitor this and remove my book as being unauthorized, I feel confident that it won’t simply be thrown away, and maybe taken to the crew quarters for their use. In any case, I figure that this is a way to expose it to hundreds, if not thousands, of passengers.
 
So, these have been some of the ways I have promoted my book. They may seem quirky, but then again, I told you that I had a PhD. I like to say that it’s “thinking outside the box.” Honestly, though, I don’t know how successful these unique ideas are. But you may want to try them.
 
Oh, and the answer to those green plastic light thingies is … they are lights that attach to the bottom of roller shoe skates. When the roller rink lights are turned down, and a waltz or couple’s skate is called, guys and gals would turn on their shoe skate lights. If a boy had a girlfriend, then they each would swap one light from their pair, so they had a different color on each foot, but were seen matching as a “couple.”
 
Ron Corbin
Ron Corbin is a decorated Vietnam veteran, having served two tours as a combat helicopter pilot. After a crash in 1976 with LAPD’s Air Support Division, he was forced to seek other careers, including school teacher and principal, counter-terrorism and security trainer, body guard, corporate security director, and manager of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept’s (Metro) Police Training Academy. His specialty is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), and he attended training in this domain at The National Crime Prevention Institute, at the University of Louisville. On behalf of Metro, he has served the community by providing expert advice and hundreds of security surveys or vulnerability assessments for commercial and residential customers; including such notables as the Fremont Street Experience architectural team, Ch-3 and Ch-10 television studios, Las Vegas and Clark County Housing Authorities, Desert Springs Hospital, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ron’s CPTED credentials and experience has led to him being interviewed as a subject matter expert in articles published nationally in “Reader’s Digest,” “Sunset Magazine,” “PetroMart Business,” Las Vegas Life”, “The SIREN (Municipal Motorcycle Officers of California)”, “Vegas Life”, “Las Vegas NOW”, “Around Your Home”, the “Crime Reporter” (Ventura, CA PD),  and “PORAC-LE News” magazines. He was the Editor of Training Publications for LVMPD. He has been a contributing author and columnist to “Avista” magazine. He currently writes a safety column for the “PSWA Newsletter.” He is also a 10-time award-winning writer for short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. BEYOND RECOGNITION, Ron’s award winning book (Public Safety Writer’s Assn- 1st Place, 2013) was written as a means of closure and dealing with survivor’s guilt, a form of PTSD. It’s his memoir of a tragic helicopter crash he had as an LAPD pilot; one which killed his student pilot trainee, and put Ron in a burn ward for 70% burns. It’s a story of how he overcame his physical, mental, and emotional pain, and provides a recommendation for others who suffer from tragedy.
Ron Corbin, PhD
Retired LAPD/LVMPD

Vietnam Veteran (1966-67, 69 – Army Helicopter Pilot)
Member of the Public Safety Writers Association
Member of the Wednesday Warrior Writers 

Author of “Beyond Recognition”

First Place Award Winner

My 3 Biggest Promotional Errors by James M. Jackson

It’s been nearly six years since the release of my first book in the Seamus McCree series, and even before that day, I struggled with the best way to introduce people to the series. Barking Rain Press, a small publisher in Vancouver, Washington, published the first book. It received good reviews (4.3 on Goodreads), but sales were meh. When the second book came out a year later—also published by Barking Rain—I hired someone to promote the book. That wasn’t the mistake; the error was what I had her focus on.

She spent considerable time (and therefore money) building my Twitter following and setting up a bookstore tour. Problem was, she liked Twitter a lot, but I am not a 140-character guy. I enjoy more nuanced “conversations” and am much more comfortable with Facebook. That waste of time and money is minor compared to the bookstore tour fiasco. Perhaps this is the right time to mention that although I am a social liberal, I’m a numbers guy and a fiscal conservative. Well, usually, I’m a numbers guy. This time I let my ego get in the way—and that was a huge problem.

Michael Connelly or Janet Evanovich can generate lines stretching down the block for a book signing. As a mechanism to introduce lots of new people to an author, it is a colossal waste of time and money. First, there is the time and effort to set up the tour, which my hired publicist did. Second, driving to independent bookstores takes time that could have been more productively spent. Third, meals out and motels are expensive. The economics are terrible. Let’s say I had a terrific event (for an unknown) and sold a dozen books. Net royalty to me is about $24. But, whenever bookstores order too many books, the costs of returns to Ingram are ultimately charged back to the author. My net might even be negative!

I enjoyed those events, and if I do say so myself, I’m good at them. I’ve learned to only do local events with a natural draw. The net result on book two, you ask? A 4.3 Goodreads rating, a few more books sold, a lot of money lost.

My third published book won a Kindle Scout competition, which meant a bigger advance and an Amazon imprint would publish the Kindle version of the book. The Kindle Scout model is to give away copies of the title to those who voted for your book during a 30-day competition. Of course, I worked hard to get everyone I knew to vote for my book—which meant that since my fans already received the book for free, sales would have to come from people who didn’t know the Seamus McCree series. Exactly what I needed, and I’d have Amazon’s marketing efforts behind my book!

And therein lies my second huge promotional mistake. A math guy like me should have realized that Amazon is driven by algorithms with very little human intervention. Books that do well get major support to drive them to do even better. Books that languish are left to wither. The positive of all the Kindle copies they gave away was that I received more reviews for that book than for any of the others. The reviews for the book were excellent (average 4.4 on Goodreads), and sales of the other novels in the series also increased.

And then the whole engine died. I thought Amazon would drive sales with “If you liked this, you’d like . . . “ mine. Not so much. As with any publisher, Amazon controlled the pricing, and I couldn’t run price-promotions. I expected them to and then to advertise them. It didn’t happen. What I needed to do was invest in advertising right at the beginning to encourage more people to read that book. Without positive statistics, Amazon’s algorithms don’t kick in to help. It was a grand opportunity that I wasted.

Over time I regained rights to my books and introduced advertising and periodic price promotions. I increased my newsletter followers and reader by reader continued to add fans. I was confident (and I still am) that since readers rated the series well (4.38 on Goodreads over the entire series), I just needed to develop a wider marketing tool. If I could reach readers who like to read the kind of books I like to write, they’ll try my books and enjoy them.

Over the years, I have received some good newspaper reviews, and I thought one way I might reach new readers was through a national review. I have my own nano-press now and used my publishing arm to purchase a Kirkus review. It cost $425, which I figured would be money well spent if my book earned one of their coveted starred ratings. It did not receive a starred review (sigh), but every reviewer has his or her own perspectives, and what was promised was a fair review, not a great review. Okay, gamble lost. What was disappointing was the review contained two egregious factual errors and consisted mostly of a plot summary containing spoilers. Unusable, and one more lesson learned: despite the so-called level playing field of fair reviews, it’s still tilted against independent authors.

So, this time with a new book out, I’m reaching out to the blogging community, hoping my posts will encourage readers who like character-driven suspense novels to take a chance on a new author. I’d be interested to learn how y’all decide which new authors to try. Let me know in the comments.

***

James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree series consisting of five novels and one novella. Jim splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but others suggest they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome. He is the past president of the 700+ member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. You can find information about Jim and his books at https://jamesmjackson.com. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and/or Amazon.

You can order paperback versions of his books from your favorite physical or online bookstore (or from his website if you’d like them autographed). You can find his Kindle books here.

***

Empty Promises Blurb

In Empty Promises Seamus McCree’s first solo bodyguard assignment goes from bad to worse. His client disappears. His granddog finds a buried human bone. Police find a fresh human body.

Seamus risks his own safety and freedom to turn amateur sleuth in hopes he can solve the crimes, fulfill his promise of protection, and win back the love of his life. Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking . . . and the hit man is on his way.

Switching Genres by Marianna Heusler

I’m a cozy writer. I love reading them, I love writing them, and I love watching them on television. I love the puzzle – and the way that the crime is never too violent, or bloody, and the dead person is never too nice or too useful. Cozies make me feel safe.

 

And yet my latest novel One Stone Left Unturned is very different. For one thing, although it’s a mystery, it’s also an historical fantasy and it’s aimed at the middle grade market.

 

I’ve always been fascinated with the fall of the Russian dynasty. When I was teaching junior high in a Catholic School, I taught the film Nicholas and Alexandra. The students loved the story and I was able to incorporate the theme into many subjects.

 

In religion we debated the power of Rasputin, the crazy monk, who brought down the empire. Was he a saint or a sinner? Where did his power actually come from? (In my novel it comes from a jewel sewed into Tatiana Romanov’s clothing when the royal family is exiled.)

 

And, of course, there is history. How did Russia and why did Russia end up as Communists? We computed the days that the royal family was in exile for math, and the children were mesmerized by the science of hemophilia, which afflicted the heir to the throne, for science.

 

If my students loved the story, I figured other kids might too and I wrote the novel from the point of view of Tatiana, one of the little princesses. The question soon became – how to promote it.

 

When you write for middle grade children, you are really writing for two markets, the kids themselves, and the gatekeepers. Middle grade kids don’t often shop for books by themselves, so you have to get the parents, the teachers and the librarians on board.

 

The easiest way to do this (although none of this is easy) is through school visits. I booked myself into some classrooms. I do a small reading (kids have very little attention spans), a little mystery to solve, a brief lesson on writing, and then a contest with a prize. I leave a copy of the book for the library and bookmarks for the kids in case they can get their parents to order a copy. And sometimes the entire grade will order the book before I even arrive. Where else can you sell two dozen books in a few hours?

 

I did have a stroke of luck – a publisher from Croatia agreed to translate the novel and make it available to every library in the country. That won’t necessary increase my sales, still it’s nice to know that people half way around the world are enjoying the book.

 

It’s hard when you switch genres, because whatever fan base you may have acquired isn’t coming with you. And unless you plan on writing a sequel, any new fans won’t be of any help to you in the future.

 

But sometimes, an author has to write a story because it’s just itching to get out. Sometimes a writer thinks it’s a tale that must be told. And sometimes veering away from your comfort zone gives you new strengths.

 

And sometimes that’s enough.

 

BIO

 

Marianna Heusler is an Edgar nominated author of nine novels and hundreds of short stories. A former elementary school teachers, she lives in New York City with her husband, Joel, her son Maximilian and her little dog, Dolce.

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK

 

My middle grade novel, One Stone Left Unturned, is part mystery, part fantasy and part history, and is told from two different points of view.

 

The novel follows the final days before the Romanov massacre from the eyes of their daughter, Tatiana. The second point of view is that of Augusta Ashford, a lonely teenager.

 

On July 16th, 1918 the Romanov family was murdered, thus signifying the end of the Romanov Empire. Historians believe that a peasant by the name of Rasputin was instrumental in the downfall of the dynasty. Because the royal family believed that he could cure their son, Alexis, who was suffering from hemophilia, Rasputin was able to influence the Imperial Family.

 

But what if Rasputin’s power did not come from God as he claimed, but from a simple jewel, a tri-colored fifteen caret tourmaline? And what if that very stone landed in the hands of a teenager a century later?

 

Link to Purchase

 

https://www.amazon.com/Stone-Left-Unturned-Marianna-Heusler/dp/1591334276/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521133234&sr=8-1&keywords=one+stone+left+unturned

 

Review

 

At first I wasn’t even sure I wanted to review this book as it didn’t seem to fit into any of my preferred genres. However, one good thing about being a reviewer is that it widens your literary horizons and I am so glad I agreed.

 

The story of the last days of Tsar Nicholas’ rule of Russia is extremely well researched, and, as a history fan, this part of the story really appealed to me. I wasn’t so sure about the stone with the special powers as though this seemed a bit far-fetched to begin with. It didn’t take long, however, before I was avidly reading to find out more about the parallel contemporary story of Augusta and her grandmother. The stories are expertly interwoven and I have to admit to enjoying everything about the book. Marianna Heusler is a skillful storyteller and this book will have you gripped as you wait to see how the power of the tourmaline unfolds.

 

It is a historical novel combined with a modern contemporary story of teenage bullying and a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. Somehow this just works. Although it is aimed at YA, it is a story that would appeal to adults too.

 

  • Julia Ryan

 

Social Media Links

 

http://mariannaheusler.typepad.com/

 

https://twitter.com/MariannaHeusle1

 

https://www.instagram.com/mariannaheusler/

 

https://www.facebook.com/

 

The Devil’s Cold Dish by Eleanor Kuhns

If you haven’t come across her already, I’d like to introduce you to author and librarian Eleanor Kuhns and the latest in her Will Rees mystery series – The Devil’s Cold Dish.  Eleanor’s writing is rich in the history of the time with melodic descriptive phrasing and characters that come alive on the page. You may want to go back and get the other books too!

Photo by Rana Faure

Eleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel. A lifelong librarian, she received her Masters from Columbia University and is currently the Assistant Director of the Goshen Public Library in Orange County New York. http://www.eleanor-kuhns.com/

 

The Devil’s Cold Dish

By Eleanor Kuhns

 

 

ISBN-10: 125009335X

ISBN-13: 978-1250093356

Minotaur Books

Series: Will Rees Mysteries (Book 5)

Hardcover: 336 pages

June 14, 2016, $17.49

Genre: Mystery

 

 

 

Will Rees is back home on his farm in 1796 Maine with his teenage son, his pregnant wife, their five adopted children, and endless farm work under the blistering summer sun. But for all that, Rees is happy to have returned to Dugard, Maine, the town where he was born and raised, and where he’s always felt at home. Until now. When a man is found dead – murdered – after getting into a public dispute with Rees, Rees starts to realize someone is intentionally trying to pin the murder on him. Then, his farm is attacked, his wife is accused of witchcraft, and a second body is found that points to the Rees family. Rees can feel the town of Dugard turning against him, and he knows that he and his family won’t be safe there unless he can find the murderer and reveal the truth…before the murderer gets to him first.

 

Other books by Kuhns:

 

  1. A Simple Murder – 2012
  2. Death of a Dyer – 2013
  3. Cradle to Grave – 2014
  4. Death in Salem – 2015

Writers’ Conferences: Just for Keynote Speakers? by Gayle Leeson

I once had an agent tell me, “Don’t waste your money going to a conference unless you’re a keynote speaker.” Based on that advice, I avoided conferences for years. These days, I concentrate on how I might benefit from the conference in question.

 

So, how do you know whether or not you’ll benefit from a conference? To be completely honest, it’s a crapshoot. But let me fill you in on some of my experiences.

 

The Ghosts of Conferences Past

 

My first conference was a small Romance Writers of America chapter event in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was as green as those eggs Dr. Seuss’s protagonist Sam refused to eat. At that conference, I learned how much I didn’t know. I also made friendships that have lasted throughout the years. I found my first publisher at that conference. The company published my first book and went out of business shortly thereafter (I’m certain the two events aren’t related, no matter what you might’ve heard), but I was able to go from being an “unpublished author” to a “published author,” and that’s kind of a big deal in publishing-speak, even if your publisher did hit the bricks while your book was still warm from the printer.

 

With a few published books under my belt, I set out to Malice in Arlington, Virginia. Although I was able to get on a panel and had a table where I was able to sign my very few books, I was mainly a star-struck newbie at this conference too. It was here that I learned that some of the most well-established authors are the sweetest. Harley Jane Kozak and Dorothy Cannell were delightful.

 

At Bouchercon, I had a cold and felt miserable most of the week. That said, I still met some great people and gathered a lot of valuable information.

 

The Suffolk Mystery Authors’ Festival was terrific. The festival coordinators do a wonderful job of hosting fun author-only events to cater to out-of-town authors and help build relationships among them, and they provide events that readers enjoy and keep coming back for year after year.

 

At the RT Book Lovers’ convention in Atlanta, I once again met people I adored, and I feel I made some fantastic connections. The sheer number of people at the event was overwhelming, but everyone was great—brought together by the love of books. At the Giant Book Fair that boasted thousands of readers, one woman sought me out to have me sign a copy of Wicked Stitch (written as Amanda Lee) that she’d won in an online contest. She made my day!

 

So…ARE Conferences Worth the Expenditures?

 

That depends. What is your purpose in attending a conference? If you’re going to learn, there are valuable online resources—many from conferences—that you can buy for much less than the cost of one night in a hotel. VW Tapes ( http://vwtapes.com/) has recordings of panel discussions from most of the big writers’ conferences: Thrillerfest, Bouchercon, American Screenwriters Association, Aloha Writers, Sleuthfest, etc. And, of course, WritersDigest.com and Feedspot (search for writing and save blogs of interest) are wellsprings of information too.

 

If you’re going to pitch, and if you can afford the expense, sitting down across from an agent or editor face to face is a valuable experience. You can deliver your carefully-crafted pitch and are right there to answer any follow-up questions the editor or agent might have. If you can’t afford the expense of a conference, but would still like to pitch your manuscript, you might give PitMad (http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/) a try. Of course, your best bet would be to search out agents or editors who are seeking your type of manuscript and send them a polished proposal (one at a time, if simultaneous submissions are not accepted).

 

If you’re going to network, then you can’t go wrong. You’ll always meet likeminded people who want to sell you their books, maybe buy your books, and possibly be willing to share their advice and expertise.

 

Bottom Line

 

If you determine whether or not you’ll attend a conference based on the question, “Will I sell enough books to justify the cost of the conference?” then the answer—unless you’re Stephen King or J. K. Rowling—is no. However, if you can fit the conference into your budget and justify attending (remember, you can write it off on your taxes!), then by all means, go. I seriously doubt you’ll ever come away from a conference thinking, “Gee…I didn’t learn a thing.”

 

###

 

Gayle Leeson is a cozy mystery writer who also writes as Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee. Gayle’s latest book isHoney-Baked Homicide, the third book in the Down South Café Mystery series. Please visit Gayle online athttp://www.gayleleeson.com or http://www.gayletrent.com.