A book launch event May 22, 2016 from 3 to 6 pm at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago

DonnaUrbikas 72 dpi Full Color (1)Donna Solecka Urbikas has written a truly unique story of growing up with a mother and sister who had been deported from what was eastern Poland at the start of WWII to labor camps in Siberia and Russia. She grew up in the Midwest during the golden years of the American century. But her Polish-born mother and half-sister endured dehumanizing conditions during the war. War and exile created a profound bond between mother and older daughter, one that Donna would struggle to find with either them.
At four o’clock in the morning of February 10, 1940, Janina Slarzynska and her five-year old daughter, Mira, were taken by Soviet secret police from their small family farm and sent with hundreds of thousands to labor camps in Siberia. So began their odyssey of hunger, disease, cunning survival, desperate escape across a continent, and new love amidst terrible circumstances.
After the war, Mira, Janina, and her new husband—a Polish Army officer who had helped them escape the Soviet MSM cover artUnion—are haunted by the past. Baby boomer Donna, born in postwar England and growing up in 1950’s Chicago, yearns for a “normal” American family. In this unforgettable memoir, Donna recounts her family history and her own survivor’s story, finally understanding the damaged mother who had saved her sister.
Donna Solecka Urbikas had careers as a high school science teacher and environmental engineer. She is now a writer, realtor, and community volunteer, and lives in Chicago with her husband. They have three adult children.
More information including a book trailer, interview, and events can be found on http://www.daunutaurbikas.com
A book launch event is planned for May 22, 2016 from 3 to 6 pm at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL. RSVP donna@danutaurbikas.com

Why, with all your varied experiences did you choose to write mysteries? by Marilyn Meredith

Me at Madera LibraryThis the first stop on my blog tour for my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, A Crushing Death. PJ asked me this question—“Why, with all your varied experiences did you choose to write mysteries?”

The main reason I’ve had “varied experiences” is because I’ve been around for such a long time.

I grew up in a community of Los Angeles called Eagle Rock. I’ve always been a voracious reader and as a child I loved Nancy Drew mysteries. I graduated from them to many adult books, but remember that I also enjoyed the historical gothics.

A blind date with a cute sailor changed the direction of my life. We married despite everyone’s warnings that it wouldn’t last. How wrong they were. We lived in Maryland and Virginia and finally settled in Oxnard CA where hubby was stationed at the Port Hueneme Seabee Base. By the time we had our third child we bought a home and raised all of our five kids there.

My reading moved on to the many mystery novels written by Erle Stanley Gardner and I read a lot of romances given to me by my next door neighbor. I also worked at many jobs: telephone operator, teacher in a pre-school for kids with developmental disabilities, day care center teacher in low-income areas, in a pre-school where I was the only one who wasn’t fluent in Spanish—I did speak Spanish but my students all learned English quickly.

While in Oxnard I wrote two historical family sagas based on my own family’s genealogy and started the process of submitting them to publishers, receiving many rejections and doing lots of rewriting.

We moved to the foothills of the Sequoia and took over a licensed facility for 6 women with developmental disabilities. The first year we were here, I received an acceptance letter for the first of the sagas. I thought I was on my way to being famous. Didn’t happen. I was woefully uneducated about the needed promotion.

(We continued working as residential care providers for over 20 years and during that time I planned and taught training classes for other Administrators, and put out a newsletter about residential care for administrators—and still do.)

I decided to write mysteries, and the first one contained characters and some of my experiences working in one of the day care centers—and it was my first book to have a police officer in it that was published. However, I had started to write the first Rocky Bluff mysteries before we left the coastal area.

I’ve used many of my experiences and the places I’ve lived and even some of the people I’ve known over the years in my mysteries—of course sprinkled with lots of imagination.

A Crushing Death Blurb:

A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for attacking women, and Detective Milligan’s teenage daughter has a big problem.A Crushing Death Right

Bio:

  1. M. Meredith who is also known as Marilyn Meredith is nearing the number of 40 published books. Besides being an author she is a wife, mother , grandma and great-grandmother. Though the Rocky Bluff she writes about is fictional, she lived for over twenty-years in a similar small beach town. Besides having many law enforcement officers in her family she is counts many as friends. She teaches writing, loves to give presentations to writing and other groups, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Public Safety Writers Association.

Website: http://fictionforyou.com

Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

Facebook: Marilyn Meredith

Twitter: MarilynMeredith

Contest: Once again, the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour, can have a character named after them in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. Tomorrow you can find me here:

http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/

Buy link http://www.amazon.com/Crushing-Death-Rocky-Bluff-P-D/dp/1610092260/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457618775&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Crushing+Death+by+F.M.+Meredith

The Fair the World Still Remembers by Judy Alter

white teethThe Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago in 1893, but planning began in the 1880s. Competition among cities to host the event, designed to commemorate Columbus’ arrival in the New World, was fierce. St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York City, and Chicago all fought to be named. New York spokesmen claimed Chicago would put on a cattle show, but Chicago—once described as a “flat city on a flat prairie by a dull lake”—was the winner. The announcement came in 1890, and the date was pushed a year beyond the anniversary to give Chicago time to construct the fairgrounds—and demonstrate that it had become a sophisticated city of over a million people.

The site chosen was on the city’s south side, near the fashionable suburb of Hyde Park and where the University of Chicago now stands. Three years later, the White City was ready for the world with gleaming white pavilions, sculpture and fountains and art by the world-famous artists like St. Gaudens, a moving sidewalk that took visitors through the grounds and out over a portion of Lake Michigan. Attractions at the fair included Wild Bill Hickok’s Wild West (not allowed on the actual grounds), pianist Paderewski, Little Egypt featuring belly dancers who horrified some proper women, and the first Ferris wheel, so big its cages held twenty-four people. Lunch was served as people rode high into the sky.

I grew up in Hyde Park and went to the University of Chicago, so the Midway where the exposition was held was familiar to me. As I studied the event, one woman fascinated me—Bertha Honoré (Cissy) Palmer. Wife of hotel owner Potter Palmer (the Palmer House still operates in downtown Chicago). Cissy was a pioneer in recognizing that great wealth brought an obligation to philanthropy, and she put her belief into actions, inviting young factory workers into her home, working at Hull House, Jane Addams’ famous settlement house, and visiting the poor.

The exposition was planned to have a women’s building, operated by a board of Lady Managers, with two delegates from each of the states. Cissy was elected president of the board—a full-time volunteer job. It wasn’t easy—there was strife among the women; it was a time of both the feminist and the temperance movements, and she dealt with it all. She and her husband traveled to Europe to secure delegations and exhibits from many countries. Due to her efforts the Women’s Pavilion was designed by a woman—a thought that horrified famous architect Daniel Burnham, responsible for the fairgrounds–and featured murals by artists Mary Cassatt and Mary Fairchild MacMonnies—Cissy was then in the middle of two artistic women who did not get along with each other.

The exposition was a huge success. Twenty-seven million people from all over the world visited, 750,000 in one day, but the White City did not last. Homeless people drifted into the buildings which were made of temporary material. Today, only one building survives as the Museum of Science and Industry.

My novel about Chicago and the Palmers, The Gilded Cage, grew out of my fascination with Chicago and Cissy Palmer.

 

The Gilded Cage

Chicago, from swampland to host of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, as lived by two leading historical figures: tycoon and hotelier Potter TabbyTheGildedCage-BigPalmer and his activist wife Bertha Honoré Palmer who fought for women’s rights and help for the poor. A story of love, major historical events, class warfare, intrigue, a forbidden love interest, and murder. A history of Chicago’s colorful Gilded Age.

 

Judy Alter

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West—Elizabeth Bacon Custer, Jessie Benton Frémont, Lucille Mulhall (first Wild West Show roping cowgirl), and Etta Place, the Sundance Kid’s girlfriend. In The Gilded Cage she has turned her attention to the late nineteenth century in her home town, Chicago, to tell the story of the lives of Potter and Cissy Palmer, a high society couple with differing views on philanthropy and workers’ right.

She is also the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death, and the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House and Murder at Peacock Mansion. With the 2014 publication of The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame.

Website is http://www.judyalter.com and blog is http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com

Lessons I’ve Learned along the Way by Peg Herring

HerringoutsideIt was the first evening of a conference, and I was at the cocktail party with three authors I know slightly (from hanging out at conference cocktail parties). As we sipped wine, the topic of success came up. Each of us is traditionally published and has received good press, awards, and accolades from readers. Yet none of us has a name you’ll see on a NY Times Bestsellers List. We won’t be the Guest of Honor at a con or have publishers engage in a bidding war for our next manuscript. One wise fellow put it this way: “When you realize you’re not going to reach the Big Time, that’s when you re-discover the joy of writing.”

Most writers learn two huge lessons over time. (1) You probably won’t become famous, and (2) that’s okay, because writing is its own reward.

When I got my first book contract back in 2006, I made a list of things I wanted from my writing. While I didn’t realize it at the time, that was a really smart thing to do. Sometimes I go back and look at the list, because nowhere did I say I longed to become rich or famous. I wanted two things: to share my stories with readers who enjoy them, and to earn enough money to stop claiming a loss on my taxes. That’s pretty much it, and though the money part took a while, I am where I wanted to be.

The reasons we write are sometimes forgotten under pressure from publishers and fans. “When will the next book be out?” is a stressful question when the book is no more than a vague idea at that point. Lists of what a writer “must” do abound, though there’s no proof any of it actually works. deaddetectiveagencyebookWe’re told we have to blog, arrange promotional events, advertise, collect email lists, and a dozen other things that take time from writing.

Here are some questions I ask myself when I’m feeling Publication Stress.

Is my primary concern money? I’ll admit, the money is nice, but I’d proceed differently if a tangible reward was really important. Those blog tours would matter a lot more.

How hard do I want to work to become famous? Once I accepted that promotional efforts are difficult to quantify, I was able to relax a little. I promote in the ways I want to, when I want to. My interest in what’s new in social media has begun to lag, but I figure most of my readers are in the same boat. I stick with what I know or can do well.

Why do I want to write? I suppose even the James Pattersons of the world started out with the simple urge to share a story. Mega-authors tell about wanting to kill off their protagonist because they’re sick of him/her, but their publishers won’t hear of it. When I ended my Loser Series, on the other deadftshowcoverhand, the publisher asked for more, but I felt the story arc was complete in three books. They were nice enough to let me end it, but if we’d been making millions, would my principles have stood up to the reward offered? If not, I wouldn’t have been writing what I wanted to. For me and my modest wish-list, that would be wrong.

What have I learned that can benefit others? If you write because you love it, if you don’t care that your name isn’t a household word, and if you’d rather write than promote, relax! You’re doing what you love. Maybe ten years after you’re dead someone will say, “That author did some great writing!” It won’t matter to you then, but it shouldn’t matter now either, as long as you’re doing what you love.

 

Peg Herring reads, writes, and loves mysteries, and that’s a good thing. As an educator she once set the school stage on fire. As a driver she’s
been so lost that she passed through the same town in Pennsylvania three times in one day. Family and friends have lost count of how many times
she’s locked herself out of her house. It’s much safer if she sits in her office and writes, either as herself or as her younger, hipper alter ego,
Maggie Pill.

Links:
Peg’s website: http://www.pegherring.comDftM_2_final_eBook
Maggie’s website: http://maggiepill.com

Book Description:
The Dead Detective Mysteries ask the question: What if a murder victim could arrange for his/her death to be investigated from the Afterlife?
Seamus the cross-back detective is introduced in THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY and continues his tough-guy P.I.role in DEAD FOR THE MONEY and DEAD FOR THE SHOW. Seamus’ final case–his own murder–is the subject of DEAD TO GET READY–AND GO, releasing in April of 2016.

Becoming a 21st-century author…gradually by S.K. Rizzolo

SKAuthorpic12014

Sometimes a world is born when you aren’t paying attention. This was certainly true for me when I took a twelve-year hiatus from my mystery series while I was busy raising my daughter and teaching high school English. I do not regret the time spent in either of these meaningful pursuits. But needless to say, I don’t suggest that authors pursue this path!

 

I published the first novel in my Regency mystery series, The Rose in the Wheel, in 2002, my second, Blood for Blood, in 2003. But my third and now my fourth did not see the light of day until 2014 and 2016. If there was extensive social media promotion going on in 2002-03, I do not remember it. I went to the Left Coast Crime conference for mystery fans, had some write-ups in the mainstream press, and put up a website. That’s about it. Other authors in the vanguard were likely doing much more, but at that time neither Facebook nor Goodreads nor Twitter nor digital publishing existed. This truly was a different world.

 

You can imagine the culture shock when I published Die I Will Not in 2014. Suddenly I learned that authors, even quiet, introverted ones, were expected to tackle a list of promotional must-dos that seemed a mile long and strangely exotic, as if I were a visitor in a strange land. And often the advice came across as “do or die” imperatives (ignore the unintended pun on the title of my book, please!).

 

The imperatives went something like this: You must create a platform to consist of thousands of diehard fans. You must have a newsletter and a blog and tweet x number of times per day. And you must write not one but two or three or even four books every year while constantly “engaging” and showing off your charming personality.

 

Silly me. I thought it was all about the books. Naively, I thought that books must battle for their audience, be launched to sail away alone in a vast pond, and that classy authors should shut up and stay out of the fray. Hadn’t my mother always told me it isn’t polite to flaunt your accomplishments? “Don’t get a big head,” she used to say.

 

So I had to learn a brand new approach to the business side of writing. After a while I realized that I could participate more comfortably in this brave new world of publishing if I reframed my idea of promotion, a word I don’t much like. Instead of promoting my books (or worse, myself) online, I decided to view the process as joining a community, becoming a literary citizen in order to fulfill the obligations that come with any job.

 

It occurred to me recently that I behave on social media rather as I would at a party. I look around for like-minded souls and retreat to a corner with them. In my case, this has involved participation on Goodreads, where it really is all about the books, and on several Facebook discussion boards frequented by people who enjoy historical fiction. On Goodreads I have accumulated a small friends list—but these are readers who have similar tastes and interests. I genuinely enjoy interacting with them while also doing giveaways and blogging on the site.

 

Also, I venture out to do guest posts on hospitable blogs like this one. I still do not tweet, and I post only occasionally about my books. This approach works for me. I have made some friends, raised my author profile, and become part of a much larger community of readers and writers who share my love of the written word. I am starting to try new promotional tools in my own time and at my own pace.

 

So my advice to anyone just beginning this journey would be that you shouldn’t think you have to do everything. Find what works for you, what suits your personality and your aspirations, and do that. Take your time. It’s okay to let your author persona unfold gradually. Yes, marketing is indispensable to the 21st-century writer. Yes, we should give our work its best shot by finding a way to let people know it exists. Yes, it’s true that no one can be responsible for our careers but us.

 

But maybe a slow-building career can work in a fast-paced world.

 

 

Angelo-Gemmi-page-border-1-800px

S.K. Rizzolo earned an MA in literature before becoming a high school English teacher and author. Her Regency mystery series features a trio of OnaDesertShorecover-byRolfBuschcrime-solving friends: a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister. On a Desert Shore is the fourth title in the series following The Rose in the Wheel, Blood for Blood, and Die I Will Not. Rizzolo lives in Los Angeles.

SHORT BLURB FOR ON A DESERT SHORE:

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.

LINKS:

Website:
http://skrizzolo.com/

Indie Bound:
http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781464205453

Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/S.-K.-Rizzolo/e/B001K832ME/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1447013900&sr=8-1

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

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

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/1/+SKRizzolo/posts

The Writing Life: starting with words journal entry: by Robert Richter

SanBlas2014017               A Monday.  A familiar morning scene: I’m sitting near an open window with a cup of coffee and this journal in hand; writing here because, alas, I have no Great American Novel in the works; because, at least, this is putting words to paper, which my so-called occupation, profession, avocation, hobby, pursuit of life, whatever.  I’m just doing what I’ve been driven to do: document life around me, no matter how lame and insignificant it is from this perspective of self-imposed exile on the American High Plains.  I’ve simply been doing what I feel that I must be doing: a life passage, or rather, the passage of a life by word.

I didn’t come to writing in retirement, as a hobby, or even as a job to put food on the table.  It came to me much like a disease might, unnoticed, unwanted, incurable, not even clearly diagnosed.  No doctor instructed, “Write two poems and call me in the morning.”  No father admonished, “Be a journalist and take responsibility for yourself.” No mentor advised, “Write a great novel and become a celebrity.”  There were plenty who have said, “Do something with your life.  If you’re going to write, be a writer we want to read.  Be something we can identify and be comfortable with.”

It was never as simple as that.  Writing came to me as a kind of self-definition.  It was not about what and how to write; it was the act itself:  putting words on paper, putting words on paper every day.  Long ago I committed myself to a way of life, not to a profession or a hobby or a self-display.  As I grew up within the American educational system and experienced the (more or less) middle class social, political, and economic way of life, “The Arts” came to hold for me a significant, yet imprecise and inexplicable relationship to human life and human endeavor.  The art and act of writing, plus the imparting of ideas and experience, shape human perception, attitude, and behavior in particular ways.  It’s never had to do with making a living or filling idle time or trying to entertain someone.  I have written a lifetime because I was driven to pursue something else: a self-definition and existence through an indecipherable thing called “Art.”

Of course, generally speaking, what works may come to be defined by (any segment of) humanity as “art,” is not determined by the producing artist.  Art takes decades and centuries to be appreciated for what it is, like history.  An artist’s worldly satisfaction and recompense often never materialize; neither does the art.  Over five decades (and more) of a writing life, I’ve known many an aspiring artist to give it all up when they got hungry, when the world wouldn’t praise their work, when the first kid came and the debt mounted and the spouse said, “Get real!”  I’ve met many an aspiring (and publishing) writer, come later in life to the craft as a profession, who think they should publish everything they write now because technologically they can, and they define what to me has been a way of life (a lifetime) as a strategy of technology, genre, marketing and sales.

I’m not saying those things aren’t elements of a writer’s life.  I sought an audience early in life and published academically and in the small press world when publications were few and acceptance was determined by a handful of editors and publishers and personal connections.  I published in hardback in New York City to good reviews in the “right” industry magazines, and that might have gone on had I listened to others and produced what they wanted and expected.  But I didn’t.  I wasn’t an academic who wrote poetry (while running my own quarterly publication on English department funds); I wasn’t a journalist who could produce an article for Woman’s Day or National Geographic and make a living at it.  I wasn’t a mainstream novelist, producing formula to meet my editor’s and fans’ expectations.  I may have liked to produce more often something common and comfortable enough to fit others’ wishes and be professionally profitable; but I didn’t.  Is a writer’s job to produce what’s wanted, expected, comfortable?  I’ve written more in the vein of the journals of Thoreau and Emerson, something that hasn’t been interesting or profitable for almost two hundred years.

Early on, I made the decision that I wasn’t a professional or a laborer who wrote.  I was a writer who labored at other professions to be able to write as I wanted, what I wanted.  For twenty years I was a writer who farmed.  For another twenty I was a writer who drove trucks, led tours in Mexico, taught part-time, interpreted in the courts.  For all those years and more, I was a writer who wrote.  Every day.

Sometimes I’ve been conscious of audience other than self.  Sometimes I’ve been conscious of form, of voice, of plot, of character, of tension, of dramatic pacing, of intent; in short, conscious of craft and professionalism.  I have published in forms satisfactory to editors and readers, but none of that makes me a writer.  Words on paper, day after day, make me a writer; their necessity like air, water, food, sleep.CFSomethingtoDiefor

 

www.robertrichterauthor.com author page

http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Richter/e/B001K80Z1K/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1   Amazon author’s page

http://www.mexconnect.com/culture-arts    review of SOMETHING LIKE A DREAM on MexConnect.com

 

Bio:

The author of ten books, including poetry, fiction, and regional history, Robert Richter has a forty-year relationship with Latin America, and that cultural geography inspires his work. In 2000 Richter won the Nebraska Arts Council’s Literary Achievement Award for nonfiction, and in 2007, he was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Buenos Aires.   Richter has also been a wheat farmer, substitute teacher, and tour guide in Latin America. Besides the ‘Something’ series, Richter’s other books on Mexico include Search for the Camino Real: a history of San Blas and the Road to get there, and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas and the Roots of Mexico’s New Democracy.

 

My newest novel and the “Something” mystery series:

SOMETHING TO DIE FOR is the fourth in a series of action mysteries, featuring Cotton Waters, a gringo expatriate in illegal exile on the Mexican west coast for several decades now. Known to his cantina buddies as “Algo”–Something in Spanish, Waters scrounges survival money out of the Puerto Vallarta tourist trade as a private hustler of a Mexican Riviera lost-and-found–helping some people get lost and finding others –if the price is right or the client’s cause worth the time and interest.The causes Something takes on lead him from the glitz and glamour of Puerto Vallarta and the Mexican Riviera to the backwater poverty of coastal fishing villages and jungle life, from the modern urban bustle of Guadalajara to sierra outposts of indigenous clans still living in the pre-colonial past. His clients range from the jet set rich and frivolous to poor villagers and derelict friends still struggling to survive the modern world’s hard knocks.

The series also includes SOMETHING IN VALLARTA (1992), SOMETHING LIKE A DREAM (2014), and SOMETHING FOR NOTHING (2015).

 

 

In an Era of Social Media, Do I Still Need a Website? By Karen McCullough

Karen_McCullough_2015_200Increasingly over the last year, I’ve seen authors and businesses abandoning their websites and using Facebook or Tumblr or other similar social media sites exclusively instead.

 

I get the reasons – it’s cheap and easy and provides a good way to keep in touch with your core market to keep them up to date with what’s going on in your piece of the world.
But I think it’s a bad idea for anyone who’s trying to sell a product – like books, for instance. I could be accused of self-interest here, since I run a website business, but in fact, I’m at retirement age and I’m phasing out of that business, so I no longer have a horse in the race.  I have other reasons for thinking it’s a bad idea, particularly for authors.

 

Boiled down, a website is an advertisement for an author – an extensive and, if done well, an appealing one. An effective website reflects the author’s brand in every bit of it – color scheme, information breakdown, graphics, and content. Plus it provides information tailored to the needs and interests of visitors wanting to know about you and your books.

 

Facebook and other social media sites have built-in limitations that make them less effective in that role. You can add a nice graphic header to a Facebook page, with a little work, but let’s face it – the biggest percentage of the branding is pure Facebook. And the content most visible is the most recent few posts and comments. Everything else is difficult to find.

 

A well-done website is a hub for all of the author’s marketing efforts, brought together in a way that gives visitors a full picture of the author and what he or she writes and has available to the public. It sells you and your books. Visitors can (or should be able to) find a list of all your books in order, related material to the books, a bio of the author, a listing of your appearances or events, and how to contact you.

 

There are ways to display lists of your books in series order on Facebook, but they’re awkward and viewers won’t always realize what they are. You can include buy links in your posts – sort of.  Easy enough if it’s on Amazon only, but including a set of links to other publishers/sites is awkward at best. And including a link with your post, any link, almost guarantees it’s less likely to be seen by a large number of people. In fact, Facebook has gotten much pickier about who gets to see your posts, period.

 

Part of the appeal of Facebook and similar sites is that it’s so easy to keep the content dynamic and fresh and to interact with visitors and friends easily. It helps keep people coming back. That’s a major virtue and it’s a bit part of the appeal, which is why Facebook is part of so many authors’ marketing strategy.

 

But it shouldn’t be your entire marketing strategy. A website that can display all your books at the click of an easily identifiable button is an essential for authors who want to improve sales. A site that makes it easy for visitors to find out what books are coming out in the future and when the next book in that series they love will be available can’t help but increase your exposure (and pre-orders!).

 

Your website should be a hub for all you marketing efforts. An integrated blog can provide dynamically updated content and a way to discuss things. A Twitter widget can display your latest posts. Links to everywhere you have a presence can keep visitors moving through all the places you hang out. But you can maintain more relationship by using your website as a central switching station for all your activity as well as a repository for the essential information you want people to know about you.

 

 

Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a AGFM_200finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

 

Website: http://www.kmccullough.com

Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenMcCulloughAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kgmccullough

 

Blurb for A Gift for Murder: The Gifts and Home Decoration trade show provides Heather McNeill with the longest week of her hectic life. As assistant to the director of Washington, D.C.’s, Market and Commerce center, she’s point person for complaining exhibitors, missing shipments and miscellaneous disasters. It’s a job she takes in stride—until murder crashes the event.

 

Buy Links: