Monday, October 22, 2012

Mystery Author Guest, Carlene Rae Dater, Offers Promotion Tips

About Carlene Rae Dater

Carlene began her writing career as a journalist writing hard news, feature articles and humorous essays. She sold short stories to magazines in the horror, confession, religious and humor markets. To date she has published nine novels, three novellas and a non-fiction book about her adventures as a volunteer at the San Diego Sheriff’s department. 

She has two more books coming out in 2013, both mysteries and one is the beginning of a series. She teaches creative writing classes at Southwestern Oregon Community College where she currently lives in Coos Bay, Oregon with her husband, two huge Labrador Retrievers and Ebony, a small rescue dog they just added to their pack.                          

And Now, Carlene Offers Tips on Book Promotion:

How I promote my books - 

Like so many authors before me, I thought all I had to do was write and publish a book, then sit back and wait for the money to roll in while I wrote my next masterpiece. As we all know, the reality is quite different. To get name recognition, I have a website, several blogs, I blog on other blogs like this one, I Tweet, I write on Facebook and write free articles for E-zines. Still, it isn’t enough. So here are a few things I do to get name recognition for my books.

First of all, I carry business cards with me – everywhere. Business cards are the cheapest form of advertising you can buy. I’ve had several conversations while walking my dogs in the park or at the beach. Somehow, the fact that I’m a published author always comes up. Yes, I’m a pushy broad, but no one is going to toot my horn for me. I whip out a card and press it into their palm. Of course I have memorized an elevator pitch for each one of my nine published novels because the first question I always get it, “what do you write?” I start reeling off the genres, mysteries, humorous mysteries, romance, humorous romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romantic suspense until their eyes start to glaze over. The minute the person says, “Oh, I love mysteries.” I rattle off titles and taglines. Does it help? I think so. Right now all I have on my business cards is my name, address, phone number, websites and blog. I’d really like to come up some something humorous because, humor sells.

When my husband and I started a business and were about to get business cards, he said that he would be president (of course) and did I want to be vice president? Secretary? I thought for a while and then told him that, no I wanted to be Supreme Commander. I was the Supreme Commander for 22 years and, while people would forget the name of the company and my name, they never forgot the Supreme Commander.

Another thing I’ve done that gets my name out is to do author talks at libraries. We moved to a small town in Oregon three years ago, and the first thing I did was drive around to all the small town libraries and sell them my books. Yup, name recognition. Librarians love to have books by local authors in their stacks and of course I put “Local Author” stickers on the covers. I also informed the librarians that I would be happy to give a free author talk any night they wanted me. Once we set up a night and time, I politely asked if I could sell my books from the back of the room and they all said yes. So far, I’ve done talks at two libraries and have another scheduled for early 2013 when I have two more novels coming out, and have sold quite a few books. As an added benefit, I get students for the classes I teach through continuing education at the local community college.

How did I get that job? I’m not a trained teacher and don’t have a teaching certificate but my husband (he’s the smart one – I’m the pretty one) saw an ad in the local paper that the college was looking for people with life experience to teach classes. Because I’ve been writing and publishing for over 30 years, they were happy to have me teach classes and I found out I loved teaching and am still teaching writing classes two years later.

Those are a few of the things I do to try and sell more books. If you have any other good ideas, please leave a comment and share them. I’m always looking for new ways to get my name out!

If you enjoy reading humor, you’ll love my mystery, Roman Circus. Here’s an excerpt:
Monday I dashed out of my apartment wrapped in a towel after my shower to get the newspaper. My cat, named Cat, closed the door, locking me out. I was late for work.
Tuesday my office computer crashed. Unfortunately, I had neglected to back up my work for a while - I think it was a year. My boss was not happy.
Wednesday the Number Ten bus flattened Cat. After corpse retrieval and burial arrangements, I arrived late for work. 
Thursday, my car died. I had to take the Number Ten with all its horrid memories. I was late for work.
Friday, I got fired.
Saturday, Eric, my boyfriend of two years, broke up with me after he decided he was still in love with his college sweetheart, Bruce.
Sunday I picked up the classified section of the newspaper and saw this ad:
               “Life treating you badly? Ready for a change?
                 Run away with us. Come join the circus.”
            So I did.

Chapter 1
  Monday morning my fingers were slick on the phone and the breakfast coffee gurgled in my stomach. I had to dial three times before the call went through. I took a deep calming breath and listened to it ring. I was either embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, or I’d wind up as a bag lady – maybe both.
“Hello.” The voice was gravely, deep and very masculine. My creative mind conjured up the image of a tall, dark-haired man with piercing blue eyes, dressed in a red ring master’s coat, carrying a whip. A butterfly of excitement fluttered in my chest. 
“Yes, my name is...
            “Hold on, hold on, the friggin’ phone’s ringing off the hook.”
The line went dead and calliope music filled my ear. Before I could identify the melody, he was back.
            “Yeah, okay, what?”
            “Uh, the ad in Sunday’s paper, I’m applying for the...”
“You’re applying for the job, yeah, yeah. How much do you weigh?”
            “Ah...” the words stuck in my throat. How on earth did he know I was on a diet?
            “Come on, come on don’t be shy, how much? I gotta tell you, if you’re one of them skinny women under three-hundred and fifty pounds, we can’t use you.”
            “Three...,” sweat dotted my forehead and I automatically reached out to stroke Cat until I remembered. I wiped my hand on the nubby fabric of the couch instead. “The ad I read didn’t say anything about being, f..., ah, heavy.”
            I heard the rustling of paper and the man let loose with a string of very creative curse words, some of which I’d never heard before.
            “Sorry, little lady. I forgot we got two ads running; one for an advance publicity person and one for a fat lady.”
Publicity? My mind took a short vacation while he babbled on. Publicity for a circus, how hard could that be? I could give up my apartment, travel to all kinds of exotic locales, buy a new car, and meet the man of my dreams. The rusty voice intruded on my fantasy.
“Friggin’ phone’s been ringing off the hook, but you’re the first one for the advance job. Didn’t realize there were so many porkers in the world. Can you come in for a meeting today? We borrowed an office to do the interviewing, one on the first floor with wide doorways, if you get my drift.” His rusty laugh sounded like pebbles in a tin can. “I can’t friggin’ think straight here.” More rustling of paper and he rattled off an address in downtown San Diego. “Can you be here at one o’clock?”
“Yes, of course.” I couldn’t find anything to write on so I scribbled the address in the coffee table dust.
            “What’s your handle?”
            “Sorry, professional habit. Name, what’s your name?”
            “Harmony Jane Jones.”
              He was quiet for so long, I thought he’d hung up.
“Are you kidding me?”
“No, unfortunately I’m not.” I silently cursed my parents for my weird name, again.
“Okay, kiddo. I’ll see you at one.”
“Wait! What’s your name? How will I know you?” But the line was already dead. Well, he sounded very tall, and with that deep masculine voice, probably handsome. I was nervous, but looking forward to meeting the man. ……

Find Roman Circus at at: and
Find Carlene at:
Twitter: @CarleneRaeDater

Please welcome Darlene Rae Dater to Make Mine Mystery by leaving a comment.


Morgan Mandel said...

Hi Carlene,
Welcome to Make Mine Mystery. Your excerpt is fascinating!

Morgan Mandel

Chris Verstraete said...

Great tip and excerpt! Always can use a book that makes you laugh!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I was so hooked by that Monday-Sunday opening that I didn't have to read Chapter 1 to know I want this book. Thanks for featuring Carlene today, and Carlene, thanks for the promotion tips. Now off to buy Roman Circus...

Carlene Rae Dater said...

Thanks for the kind words, Morgan and Chris. Patricia, I'm SO happy you were grabbed by the beginning of my book! Please do let me know how you like the book.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Great promotion tips. Thanks for visiting MMM.

Carlene Rae Dater said...

It was my pleasure, Lynn. Hope some of the tips helped you.

Terry Ambrose said...

Thanks for the promo suggestions, Carlene, great ideas. In fact, I just finished working on a talk for libraries. Also, remember service clubs. They're always looking for speakers, too.

jean hart stewart said...

Great column and escerpt. As you know, I love your writing...

Evelyn Cullet said...

Hi Carlene, I'm new to the marketing game, so I really appreciated your post. Loved your excerpt. I'm doing a library talk next week, any advice on that?

Carlene Rae Dater said...

Good idea, Terry - service clubs. That's why I love to post on great blogs like Morgan's. It generates lots of ideas. Keep 'em coming!

Evelyn, the best advice I can give you is to be yourself and let the audience ask questions - lots and lots of questions. We all have so much information in our brains, that we're bound to forget to put something in our notes. Fortunately people will ask good questions and pull that info out of our brains. Do post back here and let us all know how your talk goes!

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