Monday, July 31, 2017


Writing is a profession, a business as much as an art. If I'd known that back in 1985 when I wrote and sold my first essay about the Ozarks I might not be a writer today. I didn't know I was starting a business.

Through what I call practice and process, a successful author creates, not just an artistic product, but a saleable one, made to fit a market. During our "set-up" phase we practice writing, over and over. We look at our product and process it, not just with a creative mind, but with analytical intelligence and reason. We answer the question, "What does this product offer the reading public? Is it of value?"

If our answer is "Yes," than it's time to sell ourselves as well as our product. And that's the hard part--not back-breaking work, but sometimes heart-breaking, because it can take a long time to get noticed as a writer. There are thousands of people out there who write well and want to sell their writing, or at least share it publicly. Many are choosing to publish their own work. No matter how written work is shared, it's still a business, and a business requires detailed record-keeping.

Work schedule, financial arrangements, a record of business-related travel or study, product stocking, and, of course, income, including payment for talks or teaching as well as personal book sales. The IRS will ask for these records if you are ever audited. Know how to print invoices and know the cost of  postage and packing materials if you mail or ship books. Your publisher may help you with  record-keeping, but it's a good idea to have some knowledge of all that's happening in your business.

And don't forget the Internet. A web site to maintain, time spent writing blogs and keeping up with social networks. (How much do you make an hour?  :-)  )    

I'm sure seasoned authors already know all this, and that beginners are getting the picture. Reading words you have put in an order that pleases you, and seeing the wonderful ideas they express is a glorious thing and a wonder. Just remember, though being a creative artist is primary, you are also running a small business.  Today these two facets of a writer's life go hand-in-hand.

Radine, at

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Public Safety Writers Association Conference Short Report

What an amazing time!

It began with a pre-conference workshop. I gave a presentation on the Importance of Setting. Mike Black talked about other aspects of writing and Mar Preston had some other great insights. However, right away, Mike--the promotion chair and retired detective--had a problem to solve. One of the attendees had her wallet stolen before she checked into the hotel--but didn't discover it until after lunch. Mike spent a lot of time with her at security etc.--one credit card was used--but the next day the wallet was found. Good thing because, she'd flown to the conference--though all of us learned that if a police report is made, that will get you on an airplane.

Though the conference always has panels on writing, there are many on things like: Weapons, Fights, and Consequences, Wounds, Pure and Not so Simple, Team Building, Special Ops and Sting Operations, Investigations 101, Gunplay, Properly Portraying the Essentials of a Shooting.

The panelist were all experts: law enforcement etc.  The last panel had an actual replay of a 911 call, the dispatcher and the officer who responded to the call--a man with a gun. The officer was there and explained everything, he did a magnificent job.

Besides all that we had three featured speakers:

Ron Corbin who discussed Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design/

Jory Rosen who stepped in for his mother, Marcia Rosen, on the topic Marketing your Books--and everyone received a workbook.

Mar Preston spoke about Writing and Editing your Mystery.

Jory Rosen returned to give an amazing presentation on Pitching Your Book to Hollywood. A totally different approach from any I've heard before.

This is a small conference, only one track, and there is ample opportunity to get acquainted with the attendees.

This is my absolutely favorite conference and far more affordable then most.


While I was there, good friend Barbara Hodges took this photo of me and as you can see, I'm not longer dying my hair.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Writing Without a Day Job -- Unemployed or Retired?

by Linda Thorne

Although I hope to be able to call myself a career author someday, right now I don’t make enough money or publish enough books to do so. This past May I published a post here about losing my 9-year job in human resources. I’d been especially busy at that job for the previous six months and was at my wits end because I could not get any time in for writing—zero, none, nada. I was lucky to do a minimum amount of promotion and I had literally stopped attending all author events and group meetings.

My writing life had come to a halt and a big part of me kept thinking maybe I could let the job go and see how I fared. Then I stretched my daydream of quitting into maybe in 6 months, which would turn into maybe in a year, and then I’d add another year and say to myself I could make it for at least two more. It became apparent I’d never let it go and I saw no end to the increasing workload with new owners and restructuring. I didn't get to make that choice and therefore the reason I titled my post, Be Careful What You Wish For.

That May post brought in a number of comments from others who had gone through similar situations trying to write while working a day job and/or having their jobs eliminated. Their experiences ran the gamut from saying their lay-offs were absolute blessings to admitting they didn’t get much more writing done while off work than they did when working full-time. Some people talked about the pluses of not working; i.e., less time constraints and fewer expenses on things like gas for the car and business clothes.

In one of my replies to comments made on that May MMM post, I said I’d get back to everyone on how this pans out for me as time goes by. It’s been three months since I lost my job and here are some things I learned. Yes, I’ve been able to do more writing, but I’m not as disciplined as I hoped to be. When the job was an eight to fiver with a true one-hour lunch break, I got almost as much done writing as I do now with no day job. It was only in the final six months that the work demands became so extreme to stop my writing life. So it was not having a job that held back the writing, it was the increased amount of time it took me to do the job.

I’ve decided I don't want to be retired, but temporarily unemployed instead. I'm looking forward to getting back to my profession in human resources where I have a regimen, deadlines, and a paycheck.

Our dogs would like to see me back at work too. They’re not happy when I feed them later in the mornings and they let me know it. Notice I’m not in the chair in the sitting room below?

That’s because our fur friends don’t want me to use it in the daytime hours. I used to sit in there in the evenings and read instead of watching TV. If I go in there before five o’clock they whine to my husband making the darndest fuss. Somehow over the years they’ve gotten the notion it’s their room during the day whether they're in it or not. I can still use it at night, but daytimeoff limits to everyone but them.   

So I’m past the decision stage and hoping to get back to a regular job. If I get one, I’ll continue to work at writing in my spare time and will likely get as much accomplished as I do now. I hope you'll all wish me luck. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Publicity and Privacy - How Much is Too Much?

by Janis Patterson

The hardest thing about blogging regularly is coming up with an idea for a post. After the basic premise is secure, writing the post is a breeze – and usually takes no more than half the time. But coming up with that idea…

I’ve blogged about technique until I feel I should hand the most faithful of my readers a degree of some sort and about my personal life until, being a very private person, I feel half naked. Besides, I really don’t think that people are or even should be interested in the cute things my animals do or the new curtains I’m putting in the guest room, what I’m cooking for supper that night or my political/religious beliefs. While such things affect my writing, they should not affect my books, and my books are the connection with readers – not my supper plans or curtain colors.

I truly do not understand the need some readers feel to know the minutiae of a writer’s personal life. While I admit to a vague curiosity about if my favorites are married, and in what part of the country they live, and the most general of information, none of it is necessary to my enjoyment of their books – or really any of my business. Their books are the connection between us – not the color of their drapes or dinner plans, to continue my rather tired example.

I find, though, that I am in the minority. Far too many readers today feel entitled to know the daily details of a writer’s life, as if they were next door neighbors or long time friends and the only reason they aren’t welcome to come over every morning for coffee is distance. As writers we are encouraged if not demanded to befriend our readers, interact with them, share with them and no one ever seems to realize that the more time we spend befriending and interacting and sharing with them is time we are not spending writing the next book. Ah, but, says the entitled reader, that’s for everyone else – not for them.

So is it the books they like, or being ‘intimate’ with a writer? I’m afraid it’s what we in the talent industry (I used to work in an actors’ agency) the ‘stardust factor’ – the belief that by being close to someone even semi-famous some of their fame and glamour sprinkles down on them. (I can hear all you writers chortling at the concept of writing being glamorous!) Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone – I have made several dear friends who began as fans, but in every case it is an organic relationship that grew naturally and not something deliberately sought.

Maybe my insistence on a certain level of privacy and distaste of feigning a relationship that doesn’t really exist is why I’m not as popular as I think I should be. Or perhaps it’s just that I was raised with the belief that putting oneself forward constantly saying “look at me look at me” is vulgar. Either way, so be it. If my animals and curtain colors and dinner plans are more important to readers than my books I pity them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Many Ways of Getting News About Your Book Out by Marilyn Meredith

Though I've used a lot of different ways to let people know when I have a new book out, I'm certainly no expert.

Because I'm on Facebook a lot, those who follow me know I'll soon have a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree out, A Cold Death. It's been edited and now waiting for the final proof and the cover. Of course the final proof will have to be checked carefully. We're hoping for an August publication. Yes, I know, we're cutting it short.

I'm big on blog tours, not so sure they generate sales, but a lot of people will hear about whatever book I happen to be promoting. I haven't done a thing about a blog tour for this one--just no time. Will I organize one? Probably.

As I've reported, I've done many library presentations--though I only sell a few books at these, people do learn about my two series. Fortunately, I have more library presentations to come.

Though I seldom do bookstore signings, I have two planned. One with Barnes and Nobel that a fan arranged, and another in a particular area I have many friends and even a couple of relatives.

I'll no doubt promote in the various Facebook groups--I'm never sure if this helps or is just annoying to people who belong to more than one of these groups.

I have a big presentation coming in August to a large writers group on the coast. I've been to this group many years ago and I'm looking forward to being there again.

I'm on several listserves--a couple of Sisters in Crime, other mystery related groups, and I will certainly let them know about the new book when it arrives. And of course, I'll drop a line to DorothyL.

Speaking of Sisters in Crime, I will indeed be sure to tell the three groups I belong to about the new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Though I'm not a big user of Twitter, I will indeed Tweet about my book.

In October, I'm going to participate in the Great Valley Bookfest--a fun event, and a good place to promote a new book.

Last, but not least, I have a monthly newsletter where I always write about what's going on in both my private and writing life.

If you know of something I've missed, please say so in the comment section. Or if there's something you've done that has worked well for you, tell us about it.


In the Saroyan Gallery at the main branch of the Fresno Library--listening to a question asked by an audience member.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Make Mine Mystery
July 5, 2017
Linda Lee Kane


            When it comes to marketing my books, like most authors, I am completely out of my element and totally inexperienced.
            What I want to do is write, tell a great story, perfect my craft but if my books don’t sell because of my lack of knowledge of the marketing world than its almost impossible for me to keep writing for anybody but myself, which is okay but I usually write stories to convey a message.
            So it came to my attention that a book by an author called the 30-Day Book Marketing challenge by Rachel Thompson might be of help. It is jammed packed with loads of useful information and websites to get you where you want to go in the world of Social Media Marketing.
            Most authors have embraced blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, you congratulate yourself by thinking, “I have arrived”. Now what? Well, isn’t that the 50 million dollar question?
            One of the first things Rachel did is brand herself-experimenting with pre-release activities prior to her book launch. She actively markets her own books, 100%. So isn’t just talking the talk, she is actually doing it.
            Day 1 of her 30 day Challenge is all about Twitter-she believes Twitter is a great channel for networking and visibility.
            Rachel gives a lot of helpful information on how to use it to your best advantage and feels twitter is an important book marketing tool because it’s where your READERS are. Book marketing is about BOOK DISCOVERY.
Next month, if I get some interest, I’ll post some of her go to websites and helpful information on your bio and pinning a tweet.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Mystery of the Disappearing Blog Post and More

This is the second time it's happened to me, two different blogs.

No doubt it's something I did, or didn't do. Not sure if I should blame it on old age (I'm certainly there) or just having too much going on at one time.

This is a mystery I haven't been able to solve.

I just went over the edits for the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, A Cold Death, and sent them back--so that's on the way. Of course I'll have to go over the galley proofs and approve the cover which isn't created yet.

In the meantime, I'm working on the first chapter of the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, trying very hard to get it finished (the chapter) so I have something to read to my writers' group on Wednesday night.

And of course, today is a holiday--Happy Fourth of July!

Over the years we've celebrated many different ways, usually involving food. When we had a houseful of kids, we would climb onto the roof (well everyone but me) to watch the fireworks at the harbor. We've had cookouts, gone camping, been invited to other people's homes to celebrate, and watched public fireworks from various parking spots. This year, though the young people who live with us are having a celebration here which will include food and swimming in the river, are only plans involve staying cool.

How are you celebrating this Independence Day?