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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marketing an Ebook -- the Difficulties

Dogs kick up the ground after marking in order to make themselves known to other dogs. My 80 pound mutt, Buster, leaves me standing in an inch of dirt surrounded by broken shrubbery. He's the bane of Saugus landscapers. If only I could work up the same enthusiasm for broadcasting my name and works.

I've got a new ebook out--The Groom's Cake. It has a clever cover, I think the story is fun (I would, wouldn't I) and it's an inexpensive purchase. So why is it so difficult to approach the marketing?

First off, there isn't anything tangible to offer. Sure, you can print off an ebook, but you still haven't anything to take to book fairs. It feels weird. Then, the book is currently available at Wicked Ink Press. They are wonderful people, but since that's the only place it's on offer, people can't follow their habits to Amazon. I feel like I'm asking people to step outside their comfort zone just to buy my ebook.

And since I don't own the rights, I can't simply upload it to Kindle, which has a much broader fan base.

There's a really great post by author Pam Ripling at http://networkedblogs.com/6l9Z4 about what she's done over the past few weeks to promote. She has a specific slant--her suspense stories take place in and around lighthouses--but they are great suggestions for marketing. I'm going to study them and see what I come up with. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"New" Authors Galore!!! Cozies

I love finding "new" authors, especially those who are on their way up the ladder. These people have just as much reason to be household names as Evanovitch and Fluke.

The next time you want a good read, bypass your routine and try out a new author!

There are so many on my list that I've decided to divide them by sub-genre. Today's authors are those frolicking, fun cozy writers--authors who can tell a good story and make you laugh at the same time.

Hannah Dennison

Dennison's slueth is cub reporter Vicky Hill. Daughter of the notorious "Fog",Vicky decided to remain in England and pursue her life's passion--reporting--while her parents went on the lam in Spain. She's on the lookout for the scoop that will catapault her into fame. The only problem is, Vicky has really bad instincts when it comes to crime. She does recognize a crime has been committed before others are aware of foul play, so she gets credit there. However, reading Vicky is like watching one of those scary movies where the ingenue doesn't notice the killer in the closet. You love screaming "Look out!"

These are light and funny stories with a touch of heartbreak. After all, she has had to cut ties with her mother and father and she misses them terribly. She also has to guard the secret of her identity, which makes for some hair-rasing subplots. And Dennison is smart enough to let Vicky grow, and we feel for her as she discovers some not-so-nice facts about her father.

In each story, Dennison includes an unusual English pasttime--from snail racing to hedge jumping.

The books, in order, are "Scoop!", "Expose!", and "A Vicky Hill Exclusive!", with "Thieves!" coming out in January of 2011. A lot of fun!

Kate Carlisle

Book restorer Brooklyn Wainright is my kind of gal. She's funny, self-depreciating, and  loves her wine. She's also being pursued by hunky British security consultant Derek Stone. It's worth the price of admission just to read about Brooklyn's zany family. (And hunky Derek Stone. Did I mention him?). She grew up on a commune led by Guru Bob and her parents are laid back hippies who now run a winery.

Carlisle also writes romances, and you can tell by the deft way she mixes sex with humor. (Nothing graphic. You could lend this to your grandmother without blushing!) Each story includes fascinating tidbits about book restoration and revolves around a book with an ominous history--a cursed edition of "Foust" in the first novel.

The novels, in order, are "Homicide in Hardcover", "If Books Could Kill", with "The Lies That Bind" coming out November 2010. Don't forget to check out Kate's romance "The Millionaire Meets His Match". I've read an excerpt and Kate's signature humor is there.

Laura Levine

You can tell that author Laura Levine was a comedy writer on such greats as Laverne & Shirly and the Bob Newhart Show. She has great comedic timing.

Her slueth Jaine Austin is a copywriter. She'll work for anyone. (Her most famous ditty involved toilet flushes.) Jaine's clients have a habit of getting murdered or, alternately, being accused of murder. On the peripheral of the good life, Jaine is the outsider looking in on the wealth and beauty of Los Angeles. It's easy to relate to a woman with a Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey habit and a lack of fashion sense that leaves her dressed in a Coco Puffs t-shirt.

She takes the un-bloodied deaths of a cozy mysteries three step beyond genteel--electrocutoin by hair dryer and deadly plunge from a balcony during pretentios Romeo & Juliet wedding vows to name two. I dare you not to laugh.

Her string of novels stars with "This Pen for Hire and runs through "Death of a Trophy Wife". In October 2010, "Gingerbread Cookie Murder" comes out and also includes authors Joanna Fluke and Leslie Meier.

 You can find these books in your local independant bookstore or order them online.

Sweet Relief! The Ebook is Out!

Wicked Ink Press has launched my ebook novella, "The Groom's Cake"!

It's very cool! Though mine is a humorous romantic farce, the other covers on offer are quite sexy!

What did it take to get an ebook out?

Well, first I submitted, naturally. Then they accepted. I haven't been through the process with a print publisher, but I'm assuming it's pretty similar, except I bet I got more involved than I would have in print.

Their wonderful art director, Delilah K. Stephans, contacted me and asked for ideas on what I'd like the cover to look like. I stressed the humor, and she came up with a perfect fit!

Editor Hollie Domiano worked through it line by line to make sure the wording was perfect.

And publisher Mary Keith made sure it wound up where it was supposed to be, online at Wicked Ink Press!

I am really pleased at the price--$1.50. I worried about how much a publisher would charge for an ebook, but these are obviously industry pros, since they didn't charge a lot.

Now it's on to marketing. I already talked about scheduling appearances on blogs, and as I try other avenues, I'll let you know how they turn out!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm Ready for my Close-up, Mr. DeMille

My ebook is finally slated to come out. It's still not a FIRM date, so I'll hold off sharing until I know.

One move I've made to promote myself and my book is to guest on other blogs. Those other bloggers will inevitably ask me for my bio and a picture.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that my computer crashed last month, but I had to have the operating system reinstalled. Even though I backed up regularly, I still missed including a few things in the backup, like a decent photo of me.

Here is one I've been using. Notice that it's a bit blurry. It's cropped from a pretty good photo--pretty good for sharing with the grandmother who loves me! Many sites want a certain DPI (dots per inch).

One thing I discovered through research is that DPI shouldn't matter in this age of digital photography. A photo can be clear enough without worrying about 300 DPI. It's hard to convince the requester of this, sometimes.

My photography buddy said that you should be able to set the DPI on your camera before you take the picture. My camera doesn't have this option, but yours may.

Now the question arises--do I step out into my not-so-fabulous backyard and have the hubby snap pictures of me until I find one that I can live with? One without a desert rat scurrying across the wall for background color? Or do I have a professional picture taken?

Money is tight, so I'll have to forego a professional professional headshot--meaning someone who does headshots for a living. I can however check out the local JC Penny photo studio. It would definitely be one up from my backyard.

I did research online, and you can order a package that includes a disk of your photos. This is important, because you need to be able to email your photos to publishers, websites etc.

I've contacted the girl who does my hair. (At my age, 22 is a girl.) Unless you are very good with hair and makeup, it will be worth it to find someone to style you before your session. You want to look like a professional author, not like you're going to the grocery store in your best sweatpants.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

If anyone has other tips for getting a professional photo without going broke, please share your ideas in the comments section.

Here is the link for JC Penny Portrait Dept.

And just so you don't run into my computer problem, here are some online backup reviews from CNET.