- I was able to pitch formally and informally to all of the agents and editors. Now they are expecting the manuscripts, so I consider it a success, or at least a decent return-on-investment, as the publicist says.
- I sat down with a publicist to review my marketing plan. Even without a publication date, it's not too early to start.
- I could tell you about drinking wine at the MWA reception with a romance novelist wearing an all-white suit, an Appalachian preacher, a Memphis SWAT team sniper, and a Mennonite woman who told dirty jokes, but I'll save it for another blog post.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Chicago-North Romance Writers of America
April 27-28, 2012
Hoffman Estates, IL
Early Registration opens September 1, 2011
New York Times best-selling authors:
*Over 30 workshops, many presented by NY Times bestsellers, RITA award winners and multi-published authors. http://www.chicagospringfling.com/workshops.php
*5 Publisher spotlights
Martin Biro-Kensington Publishing
Tera Kleinfelter-Samhain Publishing
Shauna Summers-Ballantine Bantam Dell
Tessa Woodward-Avon Publishing
Ginger Clark-Curtis Brown LTD
Cori Deyoe-3 Seas Literary Agency
Scott Eagan-Greyhaus Literary Agency
Sara Megibow-Nelson Literary Agency
Paige Wheeler-Folio Literary Management, LLC.
*Agent/editor appointments provided on a first registered first served basis.
*Agents and editors subject to change.
Early registration from September 1-October 31, 2011.
RWA members: $164
Non-RWA members: $174
Regular Registration opens November 1, 2011
RWA members: $184
Non-RWA members: $184
For more information about Spring Fling 2012 and to register for the conference please visit:
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
PS - I'll be doing a workshop at the conference about Blog Book Tours and would love to meet some of you there!
Killer Career is 99 cents
on Kindle & Smashwords.
Forever Young-Blessing or
Curse coming soon.
Monday, August 29, 2011
We can give each character a quirky personality and confuse the readers so much they can't figure out who is the villain. Or, we can make everyone seem normal and one person seem strange. That way we steer the readers into thinking the strange person is guilty. That may or may not be the case. It can be fun to pretend someone different is at fault, and then make the normal appearing person guilty.
Can you relate to this when writing or reading?
Thursday, August 25, 2011
by Jean Henry Mead
Severe weather can be a great antagonist in any genre, especially mysteries and all its subgrenres. I use weather often in my novels: pea soup fog, rain, blizzards. floods, tornadoes or high winds because weather creates drama and pits humans against nature.
Diary of Murder begins in a Rocky Mountain blizzard while Dana Logan and her friend Sarah Cafferty are vacationing in Colorado and learn of Dana’s sister’s death. Her husband claims it was suicide but Dana knows better and drives their 37-foot RV through a storm, which no one in her right mind would attempt, but I wrote that scene from experience.
In Murder on the Interstate, Dana and Sarah discover the body of a young woman in her Mercedes convertible during a rainstorm in northern Arizona. Later, they’re caught in a flash flood in a rented Hummer while pursed by a serial killer during a severe downpour. They have to be rescued by helicopter but they’re still not out of the woods.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
by Earl Staggs
I have the great pleasure of welcoming Randy Rawls as a guest. Randy is the popular author of a series of mystery novels featuring “Ace” Edwards, a PI operating out of Dallas, Texas. Ace is an ex-cop and can be as tough as he needs to be, but Randy considers these books to be cozies. Ace even has two cats. Can you get any cozier?
But Randy harbored an itch to put the cozies aside for a while and write a thriller. I’ve often wondered how an author made the transition from one sub-genre to another. How difficult would it be to put one mindset aside and turn your creative mind in a different direction?
Here’s how Randy describes it.
FROM COZY TO THRILLER
By Randy Rawls
I wrote six books in my Ace Edwards, Dallas PI, series. When I started number one, I simply knew a character I wanted to capture in a story. I did that one and traveled with Ace five more times. And I wanted to highlight some of the small towns in Texas that I grew to love.
Ace and his friends meet most of the checklist as cozies. No graphic violence, sex off page, and clean language. Plus, Ace has two cats. The tick mark the series does not satisfy is Ace is not an amateur investigator. He’s an ex-cop and a Private Investigator. Guess that makes him some kind of hybrid between cozy and . . . Well, I really don’t know. I just know I enjoyed writing Ace and his cats and will return to him someday.
But along the way, I developed the itch to write a thriller, something with more meat in it, a tougher cast of characters, more darkness. Thus, Tom Jeffries was born. His story, captured in THORNS ON ROSES, carries the sadness of one denied justice by laws written to protect the guilty at the expense of the innocent. But Tom is not satisfied to be a bystander and allow the guilty to win. He is resolute in his tracking of the gang, Thorns on Roses, who raped and murdered the stepdaughter of his best friend.
I kept most of the graphic violence off-page simply because I do not choose to write such. But I think you’ll form your own images from the words I employ, especially when the first thug meets Big Al, a large alligator in the Everglades. My hope is that other battles between Tom and the gang members will force you to the edge of your chair, even without gross-outs—unless your mind’s eye creates them.
Before you decide the story is all blood and guts, let me say that Tom has his softer side. Abigail (Abby) Archer, an attorney assigned to keep an eye on Tom, brings it out. Their relationship starts as one of disrespect, but the insults and putdowns mutate into admiration, then a budding romance.
Throw in a police lieutenant determined to track the killers before they strike again, and you have my thriller. One of the problems I faced was how to end Tom’s adventure. He commits atrocious acts well outside the norms of society. Should he live or die once his mission is complete?
I found that switching from Ace to Tom was not as difficult as I expected. I simply had to turn my nasty button up a few notches and remember that the gutters swarm with some truly slimy people. I don’t mean to infer that THORNS is a thriller’s thriller. It’s not noir. But it is an avenger story that takes the reader on a dark ride through the viciousness of modern gangs.
I hope you’ll look at THORNS ON ROSES. It will soon be available as an ebook in all formats and as a paper book. In fact, depending on when you read this, it may already be available.
I invite comments at www.RandyRawls.com.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
And yet these changes killed the Model 70. The new model did not find favor in the marketplace, caused sales to plummet and ultimately sank the company. Winchester stopped production entirely, and then sold out to a Belgian firearms manufacturer, FN. Wisely, in 2006, FN reissued the Model 70, returning to the old design and adding a few new features.
What destroyed the market for the Model 70 post-1964? Traditionalists will argue that you don't fix something not broken, that quality issues increased after the move to cheaper production methods. But, others will argue that it was the change from control-feed cartridge insertion to a push-feed bolt that destroyed sales.
|Top: Post-'64 Model 70 bolt|
Below: Pre-'64 Model 70 bolt
Go to any gun store that sells used rifles and compare pricing on Model 70s pre-'64 and post-'64 from '64 to 2006. You'll find that a pre-'64 Model 70 will cost double or more the price of a post-'64 Model 70, pre 2006.
Why? What's the difference between "control-feed" and "push-feed?" Which one is better?
As a writer, if you're going to use rifles in your plotting, you may want to take notice of this issue, because it offers some details that even a non-gunner can use in his/her story, preparing the good guy or the bad guy for the key shot, tracking his thought pattern through the shot.
Essentially, "control-feed" bolts are those which have a large claw extractor built in. Mauser invented this methodology for round feed, and it's still in use today on Model 70s, Mausers and other rifles using the Mauser load principles. Essentially, the way this works is a round is pushed up from the magazine, grabbed by the claw extractor and then held in place by the extractor, is fed into the chamber by the push action on the bolt handle. There's no jostling of the round; it's in the firm grip of the extractor.
|Mauser Claw Extractor (Top)|
Your rifleman will know whether his bolt action rifle is control-feed or push-feed. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, slight perhaps, but enough to kill the market (at least emotionally) for the Model 70 after it changed its design in 1964.
I asked a friend, an engineer knowledgeable in the fine aspects of shooting, what he thought of the difference between these two mechanisms. He shrugged, said, "Dunno. About the same in my book, re accuracy, I'd guess, but it's hard to chamber a push-feed round when you're hanging upside down in a tree."
And right he is. Without the Mauser claw extractor, attempting to load a push-feed rifle while hanging upside down would cause the round to fall out.
But how many people shoot that way?
Another difference relates to speed of your bolt insertion. With control-feed, it makes no difference, because the round is held in place by the claw. With a push-feed bolt, a slow push forward may cause the round to stick somewhere on the chamber ramp. A straight, smooth and firm bolt push will usually drive the round home with no problem. So, with a push-feed bolt, you want a firm, forward pressure to put the round in place. If the shooter's nervous, for instance, or hesitant, he or she might hesitate or slow the pushing of the bolt and round into place, which may cause a stick and maybe require a finger insertion to straighten the round. This may make a bit more noise than locking a round in with a control-feed bolt. And noise is an enemy to a stalker or sniper.
So, these considerations make a control-feed rifle, like the modern or pre-'64 Model 70, perhaps preferable
to a push-feed mechanism.
But there's a disadvantage to a control-feed action: Loading a single round into the open chamber rather than up from the magazine leads to a problem. The claw must first clamp onto the round's rim. That means bending the claw, and extractors are not meant to be bent. So you risk damaging the extractor, which means a trip to the gunsmith.
If you watched "Shooter," an excellent Mark Wahlberg movie, there's a key scene where Wahlberg's character is slipped a round and he drops it into the chamber of his .338 Lapua Magnum sniper rifle and jams the round home, before pulling the trigger and demonstrating that he'd switched the firing pins so the rifle wouldn't shoot.
He could only drop the round in and slam the bolt home in a push-feed rifle.
Excellent rifles come in both modes. Winchester's Model 70 is probably the most popular control-feed rife on the market, indeed in history, post-'64 to 2006 excepted. Other renowned names like Savage, Weatherby, Remington 700 and Kimber, are all push-feed.
Which is better? Is there any effect at all on accuracy?
Who knows? There are as many opinions as shooters. There's no question that the switch from control-feed to push-feed killed the Model 70 market from 1964 to 2006, but most people feel that the aversion to that change was more emotional than practical. Indeed, it's easy to find articles that claim the post-'64 Model 70 action was actually an improvement, one that the market just didn't accept. Indeed, I accept that reasoning; so much so, I looked for, found and bought a post-64 Model 70 in .270. It's one of the most accurate rifles I own. Plus, I don't shoot upside down hanging from a tree, so the feed difference means nothing to me.
The difference really, unless you're shooting upside down, is minimal. But in shooting, everything matters, especially to engineers, as a rifle is really just another piece of machinery. Engineers love to argue about O-rings, tolerances, lube and micrometers. And for the most part, the issue of control-feed vs. push-feed, is one of those issues, about which some will never agree and may argue about relentlessly.
So, while control-feed vs. push-feed may not make a big difference to the part-time or casual shooter, to a killer or one who's familiar with rifles and using one for defense, the difference may be important. And he or she will be very aware as he feeds a round which system he's using. He may even imagine the click of the Mauser claw onto the rim of a cartridge, or he may feel the resistance the chamber ramp may provide as he pushes the bolt on a push-feed system. Either way, recognition of the feed mechanism and its particulars can be made a description or detail point in a story to add realism or suspense.
A short video from the owner of Midway USA, a major firearms parts supplier, demonstrates these differences in a way you can visualize. Bolt Action Feed Video.
Which rifles are control-feed and which are push-feed? I've given some suggestions, but to be wise, before you're going to use a rifle in your story, Google it, and look at the specs. One of them will mention the type of extractor or the feed mechanism. If there's a claw extractor, it's control-feed.
And consider...Will your shooter be firing upside down?
Friday, August 19, 2011
I modeled a character named Djuan Burden after him. Fortunately, the newspaper put an interview with the young man on it's website, giving me ideas for some of the dialogue.
The book opens with Djuan going into a medical equipment store to complain about a Medicare document showing his grandmother owed money on a power chair, which she didn't need and never received. He finds the owner of the store, which turns out to be a Medicare scam operation, shot in the head. He panics, knowing the police would never believe he wasn't the shooter, and flees.
None of the other characters in the book was based on a real person, but when I lifted Djuan out of real life (I even got the name Djuan from a male nurse in my doctor's office), it set the tone for the book. Instead of a story about Medicare fraud, it turned into a tale about police misconduct.
I've had a few other characters over the years based loosely on real people, but, with the exception of one in my first published novel, they all played minor roles.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Compared to other stories, this one was particularly difficult to write. I struggled making all the parts fit together. I don't recall how many drafts I did before it was accepted by FUTURES, but that wasn't the end of the struggle. Three editors worked on it. Each editor had a different take and suggested changes that would send it in a different direction. I'd make the changes and return it only to discover that the editor had left and a new one had come on board. Earl Staggs might be the only FUTURES editor who didn't work on it. By the time it was published, I was tired of the story. I didn't read it again until I decided to put this collection together.
To be honest, I didn't expect this story to hold up well, so I was very surprised to find, when I read it again after ten years, that it's still something to be proud of. There are some hard-boiled elements that I'm very pleased with. At the time, I was experimenting with hard-boiled themes and menacing antagonists. The experiment seems to have worked.
As I said, I struggled to make all the parts fit. It wasn't until I added the main character's backstory that everything fell into place. I introduce the backstory as a conflict between the main character, Val, and another woman, Carol, in the opening scene, which takes place on a college basketball court. Carol is the head coach of the team and Val has just signed on as her assistant. The conflict is some unfinished business between the two of them. The last time the two women had met, sixteen years earlier, was on that very court. They were the stars of rival college teams meeting in a game that was highly anticipated by the two of them, by the teams, and by the fans. The game would determine which woman was the best. Unfortunately, Val made a mistake which kept her out of the game. Her team lost and Carol went home with a hollow victory. The loss had haunted Val for all those years. Now she was back because one of the current team's stars was making the same mistake Val had made and Val has to stop her before she ruins the team's chances again.
If you do happen to read it, I would like to know what you think about it. David Shackelford (email@example.com) did the cover. He'd like to know what you think of the cover. Do you see the death's head in there?
Hawaiian Eye blog
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
My job consisted of doing all the laundry, cooking breakfast and dinner, preparing lunches, a lot of paperwork, teaching the women independent living skills and taking them fun places on the weekend and for vacations, grocery shopping, taking the gals shopping, and of course, the inevitable doctor appointments. (I hired someone to do the housework.)
Believe it or not, I got far more writing done then than I do now. Looking back, I'm not sure how I did it, but this is how it usually went. Up at 4:45, showered and dressed, hubby started breakfast while I got everyone up and ready to go. We ate. By 6:15 one of us was out at the end of the lane with the gals waiting for their day program/work bus to show up. I got the laundry started too because I washed at least 4 loads of laundry a day.
When my mom and dad lived in the little house next door, mom and I would then go for a walk and we usually did 3 miles. Took us about an hour. When we got back, I moved the laundry along, and then went into my office and began writing. I was interrupted a lot. Phone calls, taking care of the laundry, etc., but I kept writing. Time out for lunch, maybe folded clothes, did some dinner prep, might get another hour of writing in. (Those were the days I didn't have to go to a meeting or take someone to the doc or elsewhere, or do my grocery shopping. One day a week was dedicated to that.)
By three, the ladies were home and I was there to greet them, hand out medications, hear about how their day went, have a snack, got them situated with whatever they needed to do, usually they separated and folded the clothes I'd washed for them and put everything away. They all had chores and fun things they liked to do.
Some helped me with getting dinner going, setting the table etc. We all had dinner together and often we had other company too like my grandson's friends. I did a lot of cooking in those days.
After dinner, it was time for baths, some had to be supervised, and of course they had a set schedule for watching TV--not my schedule, theirs. A lot of interaction went on during this time--and hubby and I joined in. When things settled down I often did paperwork required by the state and sometimes I did some editing of my own.
By nine, we were all ready for bed.
Weekends were totally devoted to the ladies--we went bowling, shopping, out to eat, to the movies, and whatever exciting was going on in town, and church on Sunday and a big meal afterwards. (Yep, cooking again.) I didn't do any writing on the weekends.
Now, I don't have to take care of anyone, but hubby. I still cook a lot, but not nearly as much though we almost always have our son, his wife, my granddaughter and her hubby at our dinner table. (They all live next door.) My laundry has dwindled to a couple of times a week. My daughter-in-law does my cleaning. And I still have trouble finding enough time to write.
But--I almost always sit down for at least a couple of hours to write. I think the big difference is when I was doing all that dedicated writing was before all the social networking and online promotion that takes so much time. (And writing blogs like this one.) Promo was limited to sending out announcements when I had a new book out and a few bookstore signings and a library talk now and then.
What about you? How do you schedule your writing time? What interferes with it?
Monday, August 15, 2011
I'll let Rebecca Tell You About Herself and What She's Been Up To:
I sort of fell into the job of running a crop-dusting business when my dad decided he'd rather go on a cruise than take another season of lazy pilots, missing flaggers, testy farmers and horrific hours.
After two years at the helm, I handed him back the keys and fled to a city without any of the above. And no, I was never a crop-duster.
I write about a tall, blond and beautiful ex-model turned crop-duster who, to quote Lalla Bains, has "been married so many times they oughta revoke my license."
In A DEAD RED CADILLAC she's about to turn forty, and in
My Amazon page: http://tinyurl.com/6hdg3bf
Both books are available on kindle for 99 cents.
Also both are in trade paperback.
Contact me at my website & blog : http://www.rpdahlke.com/
Sisters in Crime, National and Desert Sleuths, AZ.
Past Chapter Pres .Cochise County Chapter of, AZ chapter of Sisters in Crime 2003-2005.
Arizona Mystery Writers
Society of Southwestern Authors, Tucson, AZ.
A DEAD RED OLEANDER, 3rd Lalla Bains mystery.
A DANGEROUS HARBOR, a contemporary romantic mystery set in Ensenada, Mexico will be out in the fall of 2011.
REBECCA'S ALL MYSTERY! ENEWSLETTER -
Back issues & author submittal info can all be found at my website: http://www.allmysteryenewsletter.com/
I also have the following platforms to promote authors of All Mystery e-newsletter:
Rebecca Phillips Dahlke
aka RP Dahlke
Please leave a comment to welcome Rebecca to Make Mine Mystery.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
John, why, after all your business successes, did you decide to write?
I’m still a part-time writer, with a full-time job that keeps me busy most days. But I’ve wanted to write books since I was in high school. I’m stopping to do a mental calculation. Could that have possibly been 43 years ago? Wow. I wanted to try my hand at writing all these years, but never got around to it because life kept getting in the way.
I know you write thrillers, but why Westerns?
I had to pause just now to smile. Why westerns? Let me tell you something. Westerns are magic. When you read a western, you’re viewing the world in microcosm, because there’s a fixed time and setting, generally, with endless possibilities. The whole dynamic of a man and woman optimistically venturing into an untamed land with little more than a horse, gun, wagon, meager supplies…and a whole lot of courage—is the very definition of heroism. Courage is at the core of every western. And every good western offers adventure, heart, and a classic confrontation between good and evil.
How much research do you conduct before you begin a novel?
I do a lot of research, but try hard not to let it get in the way of a good tale. For example, my westerns take place in Dodge City, in 1860, and I describe a rough-and-tumble, bustling city in need of taming. Now I certainly know the first house in Dodge City wasn’t built till 1871, and it was a sod house. Why not set my story in 1876, when Dodge was exactly the way I describe? Because the other factual elements work for 1860, such as the terrible Kansas drought and the railroad and the stage coach lines and the trails and Indians and so forth. I could have invented a town or made my characters travel farther, but Dodge symbolizes everything I wanted in a western town, and it has name recognition.
My readers delight in the small things I point out that almost no one ever thinks about, like why Indians of the time were terrible at shooting rifles, or how dangerous it could be for a town woman to use an outhouse in the middle of the night, because where else would a bad guy lurk? But I don’t try to impress readers with the facts I uncover. I make the facts a part of my characters’ everyday life.
In your latest book, Don’t Poke the Bear, you talk about jail holes dug in the ground to house prisoners in Dodge. Did they actually exist or are your plots based purely on your imagination?
This is an example of the details I uncover and weave into my stories. It is true that almost no towns had jails in 1860. When a town did have a jail back then, it was literally a hole dug in the ground. But in Kansas in those days, it was very difficult to dig deep holes because the ground was often hard, and it was a rare settler who owned a decent pick and shovel that wasn’t damaged!
Why are there women's legs on all your book covers?
This was my publisher, Claudia Jackson's, idea. When I told her 75% of my readers were women, she said we should use women's legs on the next cover, because women are naturally drawn to other women's legs. I thought it was a clever idea, like a brand, so we decided to do all the covers that way. Now, when
people see women's legs on a book cover, they know it's a John Locke book. I get publicly criticized for it sometimes, but my readers know it's all in fun. Also, we put a little number on the cover of every book so readers will know which number in the series that particular book is. It's sort of like a "Where's Waldo" but not hard to find! In Vegas Moon and A Girl Like You it's part of the boot. In Now & Then it's in an open coconut!
What’s the most important promotional activity a writer can conduct to make the public aware of his or her book?
Writing a personal blog in your unique voice, and getting it read by your target audience. I explain exactly how to do this in my new marketing book for authors titled, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months.”
Do you feel that ebooks are going to eventually eliminate brick and mortar bookstores?
The word “eventually” makes me lean toward saying yes. Until recently I thought book stores were like movie theaters, meaning there are enough people who enjoy the movie experience so much they’re willing to pay a premium for it. But that’s no longer a fair comparison to bookstores. Movies cost a fortune to make and distribute, and require the efforts of many people to create, which means high quality production can only be achieved a couple hundred times a year. But high-quality ebooks can be created by tens of thousands of excellent authors and distributed instantaneously throughout the world for a one-time cost of a few hundred dollars.
If writers follow your success plan to the letter, what’s the most they should charge for their ebooks?
They should charge whatever price makes the most economic sense. For me, it’s 99 cents. Here’s why: Follow the Stone has sold 60,000 downloads in five months, earning me $21,000. If I had charged twice as much I’d have to sell 30,000 downloads to break even. Let’s go all out and say 40,000 readers would pay twice the price. I’d earn $28,000 instead of $21,000. Did I come out ahead? In my opinion, no. Because in that example 20,000 readers chose NOT to buy my book at the higher price. Those 20,000 readers won’t be buying my second, third, and fourth books, nor will they spread the word to their friends.
Which social media outlets do you feel are the most important to further an indie writer’s career and how much time should he/she spend networking on the Internet?
I’m a Twitter guy. Facebook is probably good, but I prefer the Twitter experience. I don’t know the other outlets. If an indie writer is working social media effectively, he or she can tie a dollar figure to every hour spent at the keyboard. Let’s assume that dollar figure is $50 an hour. If I paid you $50 an hour to work at your keyboard, how many hours would you devote? The key is to learn what each hour of your time is worth. You can’t base it on what it’s worth this week. You need to compute it over the lifetime of the sales. Maybe in the past hour I met someone on Twitter who invited me to do an interview, and that interview resulted in twenty sales. And those twenty people each told three friends who told three friends. And then they all bought my other nine books. What was that hour worth to me? If I did the math correctly, it’s around $910. Maybe I worked another four hours today and generated nothing. Was it a good five hours of work?
Thanks, John. Where can people visit you on the web?
Everything I do can be found in one place: www.SavingRachel.com. When you go there you’ll see my books, my blog, my book synopses, reviews, trailers, and interviews. I hope your readers will stop by, take a look, and say hi..
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Now for an update. You guys gave me some great suggestions which spawned a lot of ideas. I can't say that I chose one suggestion over the other, but I tried them all and experimented with tag lines for each. While working on the tag lines, the title popped up.
The title is Game Face
The tag line: Val Lyon puts on her game face when the competition heats up, but death has his game face on so Val had better bring her A game.
Here's the cover blurb:
Honolulu's hottest private eye, Val Lyon, has her game face on in these eight tales of love and lust, greed and corruption, murder and revenge, sports and cheating. Lots of cheating. On the court and off the court. In bed and out of bed.
Never one to shy away from adventure, Val drops from the sky, navigates a turbulent ocean and mixes it up on the hardwood. She faces man-eating sharks and ferocious bulls, but the most fearsome opponents are the two-legged ones.
Whether team sports or individual sports, the competition is fierce. It doesn't matter if the game is basketball or volleyball, or golf or surfing, the opponent is always the same—Death—and he always scores first.
So put your game face on and get in the game. These games are for keeps.
A game face signifies an intent to win, to prevail against tough odds. That's the one theme, besides sports, that runs through the stories. So keep watching this space and I will keep you updated on the progress and let you know when the book comes out. For now, thank you for your comments and suggestions on the title.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
So many folks have gone to putting their own books on Kindle, but I hardly have time to do what I do now, I really don't want to learn how to do something else. My publishers do a good job of it and my books look good--plus I do pretty well selling the trade paperbacks at book and craft festivals. I don't want to have to learn how to design covers and the insides of the book--I want to write.
I like the writing life that I've carved out for myself even if it's not hugely profitable. I wouldn't be the chairman of the PSWA writing conference if I hadn't been writing books with law enforcement officers in them. We just completed the latest one and I'm happy to say it was a great success, I met a lot of great professionals in the law enforcement fields and I got to see old friends too while learning a lot. Even sold some books. If you'd like to know more about the conference visit http://www.policewriter.com and check out the Conference Newsletter. There are also pictures of the conference there.
Going to other conferences and conventions is something I enjoy too. I'm headed to Killer Nashville in August and I've already signed up for Left Coast Crime in Sacramento.
When I attend the book festivals, I get to meet readers--that's something I love. We're trying a new one in Tehacahpi, returning to the Nipomo library's annual affair, and are also doing the Central Coast Book Festival in San Luis Obispo.
Because I'm a writer and make appearances places, I was asked to be a presenter for the Central Coast Writer's Conference this year. Talking and teaching about writing is something else I love.
So, if I wasn't a writer, I wouldn't be doing all of the above--so guess I just keep on plugging away. For those who do read my books, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Monday, August 1, 2011
My husband and I own a small real estate company which we have wound down because the market is so difficult. Our plan was to declare ourselves retired until the real estate market got better. Our original plan was to travel but, while we are fine for day to day expenses, our investments aren't generating enough income to let us do what we planned. With so much time on my hands I got bored, so I decided to start killing people instead of selling houses.
I set up a micro publishing company, took my real estate experiences, used them for background, and began writing a mystery with a Realtor protagonist. The new company was what you would call, "very carefully" self funded. Initial costs were $35 to copyright a company name and logo and $35 for a printer set-up fee. I could have purchased an ISBN number for one book for $55, but they are cheaper in bulk and I had plans, so I purchased a bank of them for $250. We have discovered how to find free or almost free graphics for book covers and books are print-on-demand so I order a minimal number and return profits to order more books so we are never out of pocket too much.
It's good we took this route for a couple of reasons. It turns out it is almost impossible to become a non-celebrity first time author after the age of fifty; we older individuals are not considered to have the stamina for promoting our books. Other older writers have started approaching us about publishing their books, (we now own gezzerwriters.com) which is also going to be fun.
My writing-as-a-game has become a book series: the fourth book in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries was just released. I've never had so much fun in my life, and I've enjoyed a variety of jobs. I never aspired to be a writer, this is a newly discovered passion, something I will do as I age, in retirement, as long as it's fun and I sell books.
Writing hasn't produced an income anything like being a Realtor in the good times and I don't expect this adventure will never make me rich, but we are making money and I wake up every morning excited about what the day may bring. I've had adventures I would never have had otherwise and met people from all over the world I would never have known without promoting the books.
Our investments are doing better and we are talking about traveling again, but now we'll be taking books on the road and doing a booktour. It's going to be fun to have a focus for traveling and as an added bonus, I've discovered I enjoy public speaking. I'm getting better and better at free publicity, and that bank of ISBNs was a good investment, as it turns out.
You may read opening chapters of the books at http://www.goodreadmysteries.com/. Samples are free, and you can pick up a copy of the recipe for "Mysterious Chocolate Chip Cookies" while you are there. I created the recipe to go with the books. (We spunky seniors are so multi-talented;)"
Nancy Lynn Jarvis
The Death Contingency
The Widow's Walk League