Sunday, September 27, 2009

Social Media and the Web

The author's need to become known on social media and other Web sites is growing more essential every day. That point is emphasized in articles such as this one in the Washington Post

Amazing that this author managed to sell so many books using all those devices like Marilyn Meredith recommends and a trailer she made like our publisher, Billie Johnson has done. It's also interesting that the article concludes with a statement about how these things may not work for you, but you don't know unless you put yourself out there and try!

Just because I enjoy the Rose Hall Great House tie to my first novel, Hearts Across Forever, I dredged up the back cover and added it here.

Happy writing,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Are You Planning for Your Next Book?

Frankly, I keep promoting all year long. I take advantage of any thing that might come along in the way of book and craft fairs. I have all my books on display. Sometimes I'm told about another book fair while I'm participating at one.

I have a new book that just came out from my other publisher called Dispel the Mist, latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I sent out quite a few review copies and so far have received three great reviews. Of course I'm posting them all over the place.

In October I'm doing an virtual blog tour. When possible I mention my book with Oak Tree Press, No Sanctuary.

When I did a library talk this past weekend, a photographer and reporter came from the local newspaper. Monday morning I was on the front page. Tuesday morning I had an email from the program chair of the local Rotary Club asking me to come speak. Oh, while I was at the library I talked to the librarian about having a book fair at the library next spring. She thought it was a great idea!

My family is having a reunion this Saturday in Barstow CA (strange place but the Holiday Inn Express on Lenwood is great and its right between all the family members in Central and Southern California and Las Vegas. And guess what? I'm having a booksigning there at 2 p.m. Madeline Gornell, a fellow PSWA member, has promised to come as she lives nearby.

The following weekend we'll be in San Luis Obispo for the Central Coast Book and Author Fest.
October 17th is the two day Apple Festival in my town of Springville. Yes, of course, I'll have a booth there.

November 7th will find us in Temecula, besides visiting our grandkids and their kids, I'll be doing a talk about writing at the Erle Stanley Gardner Mystery Festival at 10 a.m. in the Senior Center beside the museum. I've done some sort of presentation for them every year--the first year I offered after finding the event on the Internet.

We'll be heading up to the mountain community of Oakhurst on November 21st for a book fair at the library.

Only thing I've lined up for December is having a table two days in a local art gallery downtown for their Christmas gala.

In January, Sunny and I have been asked to speak to the Clovis Book Club.

And I've already signed up for some conferences. In March, its Epicon in New Orleans where I'll be giving my How to Write a Mystery presentation. May is Mayhem in the Midlands, my favorite mystery con. And of course, June is the PSWA conference--if you haven't signed up for it, be sure to do it before October 31 for the Early Bird registration. I will be going to Bouchercon next year because it's in San Francisco. The big cons you need to sign up way ahead of time.

In the meantime, I try to blog everyday at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot and I post on Facebook a couple of times a day. I use iPing and my posts will go to twitter and all my other social networks--saves a lot of time.

Anyway, that's what I can remember, but it may give you some ideas of what you might be doing. If everyone shares we can pick up new ideas from one another.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chris Redding blog

An excerpt from GUMBO JUSTICE is at
today for ExcerpTuesday.

Chris was really nice and got back with me quickly. (One of Sunny's recommendations, thanks again Sunny!)

I'm working on the follow up to Gumbo Justice right now, trying to think of a title, which is the most difficult part for me. My husband actually came up with the title for Gumbo Justice, but now he thinks all the books should be named after him and include him as a main character, so I don't know how much more I'm going to get from him that's of any use.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sunny's Novel Competes at Covey Awards

I'm not sure how I got on this site, but The New Covey Awards has me listed as #29. The synopsis is also the best one I've read so far, even makes ME want to read the book.

Why bother voting? For starters, it brings attention to the site. Every blogspot owner tries to drive traffic to their web efforts with creativity. I believe a response in the form of a vote it like a "Thank You" from the rest of us. It also gives a chance for the cover artists to be recognized. And, it's always good PR for the author.

So, take care--and get out and VOTE!

Sunny Frazier

Friday, September 18, 2009

Advantages of Working with a Small Publishing House

Help, folks! I'm making a talk tomorrow to a group that wants to learn more about publishing. Oak Tree authors have this great blog where we can share ideas. Reading about your experiences is not only interesting to me as a writer, but I often learn something new and helpful from your posts. Please share with me some of your thoughts on the advantages you have found from working with a small publisher.

Also, those of you who have self-published, please share some of your ideas about going in that direction. I imagine I'll have questions to answer about that as well.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and ideas with me.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dames of Dialogue

Nice long interview for me and promotion for GUMBO JUSTICE at Dames of Dialogue, Also, I have finally gotten my computer guy aka my brother in law, to add a paypal button to my website so I can sell signed copies of my book. I would post more but my demon spawn gave me the flu, so back to bed.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice

Great Review for Pot Thief

Lou Allin, the well-known Canadian mystery writer, reviewed The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras today on DorothyL. She is one of my favorite writers. She also has a title on my list of best murder mystery titles. It's a book called Murder, Eh. Another one on my list (not one of Allin's) is Absinthe of Malice. That probably gives you a clue what the list is like.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Public Safety Writers Association's Conference

The deadline for the Early Bird registration fee is October 31st. September is rushing by so quickly I felt like I needed to remind everyone.

Those of you who went to the conference last year know this is one you don't want to miss. I promise PSWA Conference 2010 is going to be even better!

Like I keep telling people, if you want to be on a panel, you'll be put on a panel. Bring our books and they'll be for sale--only 10% is kept by PSWA. You'll learn a lot about writing and promoting and be able to rub elbows with all of our experts. I can guarantee you'll make new friends.

Want to know more? Go to the website:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marketing JBP

Advice from a cozy mystery writer - er, make that a writer of cozy mysteries - is probably not what an author of a business book needs, but since you asked...
I don’t think the cover and title are a problem. In fact, I think both are great. Here are the titles of the 10 business advice books Entrepreneur recommended for summer reading a year or so ago:

  1. Bill & Dave
  2. Blog Schmog
  3. Coolhunting
  4. Crazy Bosses
  5. New Ideas from Dead CEOs
  6. No Yelling
  7. Rules for Renegades
  8. Typo
  9. Your Management Sucks
  10. Buddha: 9 to 5

Only 4, 5, 9, and 10 have titles that hint at their being business books. Here are the subtitles:

  1. How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company
  2. The Truth About What Blogs Can (and Can't) Do For Your Business
  3. Chasing Down the Next Big Thing
  4. No subtitle
  5. Lasting Lessons from the Corner Office
  6. The Nine Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership You Must Know to Win in Business
  7. How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel in Your Individuality
  8. The Last American Typesetter or How I Lost $4 Million (An Entrepreneur's Education)
  9. Why You Have to Declare War on Yourself…and Your Business
  10. The Eightfold Path to Enlightening Your Workplace and Improving Your Bottom Line

Except for Crazy Bosses that has no subtitle, it is clear that the business connection is in the subtitle, so The Jellybean Principle follows the title/subtitle model of these successful books. I can’t show all the covers, but most of them aren’t as eye-catching at JBP.

I’ve never tried to market a non-fiction book, but my guess would be that, as in most marketing, you need to reach a target audience. Entrepreneur, Inc., and other business magazines have columns devoted to business books. They seem to favor hands-on specific advice over generalized theory, so JBP is right on target therel. I would try to get JBP reviewed or mentioned in as many business publications as possible. Think Entrepreneur, Inc., etc. are lofty targets? Maybe, but how about a letter to the editor from a third party extolling the book? And for a less competitive arena, there are literally thousands of newsletters published by chambers of commerce and regional business associations that are often desperate for material to fill space. Tracking them down and contacting them would be labor intensive, but it could pay off. Write a snappy 500 - 1000 word article on applying some of the principles from JBP that is not specific to any region or particular sort of business. Something like, “A Burst of Energy from Jellybeans; How to Juice up Your Business During the Current Economic Craziness.” Mail it to the list of organizations with newsletters culled from hours of dull Internet research. You’re giving away the article; they’re looking for filler. I suspect it get a lot of ink.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Help! OTP Author Needs Advice & Input!!!

Ladies and Gents...we need some advice! The Jelly Bean Principle is a great book, but it is just not getting attention. I am stumped and the author is stumped, so we are turning to you for feedback.

The author has been on TV and talk-radio numerous times, and he is an experienced guest in these venues. We've sent a number of review copies, some have responded, some it's too soon to look for them. I have exhibited the book at numerous expos. Lack of effort is just not the problem. My one minus would be that social networking is a bit light.

This book is filled with great advice for small businesses...while doing the interior design, I frequently was drawn into the topics, found that Barry's tips got me rolling on ways to promote OTP. This is not a joke, not eye wash. I mean it. And for the life of me, I cannot understand why we aren't connecting.

So, since I know some of the most creative, talented and effective promoters on the planet hang out here, I am throwing it open. Let me hear it!

Is it the cover? Maybe the title and subtitle should be reversed? (I noted that there is a book about school administration on Amazon called The Jelly Bean Principal!) Maybe the JPB doesn't connect with business people...perhaps it doesn't sound serious enough. Here's the webpage: Jelly Bean Principle

Let's turn this one around! It will be good for the author, for OTP and, in these troubled times, it will be good for our economy!

Interview today

Just wanted to let you know I have an interview on Linda Faulkners blog at Thanks to Sunny for recommending me.

Holli had a great interview on there a couple of weeks ago. Linda really does her research and asks great questions based on the background material so each interview has a different feel to it. This is open to all published authors. Linda has instructions on the site on how to get started. You have to love free publicity!

W.S. Gager
A Case of Infatuation

Bookland Heights

I'm featured at Bookland Heights this week at (another thanks to Sunny Frazier, because I'm sure she turned me on to the site.)

I've been away from promoting for a few days with two sick kids- my youngest, almost 8, had a fever of 105 Friday night and Saturday. Saturday night my 10-year-old started with the same symptoms and now has the same thing, but not quite as high a fever. I'm just waiting for the headache and sore throat myself!

Anyway, I was glad I had already scheduled the Bookland Heights feature and I should be on Dames of Dialogue this Wednesday if I'm not mistaken, also previously scheduled, which helps since the kids have effectively kept me off the computer this weekend.

It's funny how when you submit an interview or get invited to a website and your info won't appear for two months, you think it's such a long time away and wish you could get it posted it sooner. Now, I'm happy with the way it worked out.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pot Thief Interview

Check out my interview at This is a great site that Sunny put me on to. Susan does a great job.

Mike Orenduff

Book Launches and Such

Most everyone knows that I writer for two publishers, Oaktree Press and Mundania Press. For Oaktree I'm writing the Rocky Bluff P.D. series and for Mundania, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

Whenever a new book comes out, I do a book launch and set up as many in person places to promote as possible. I never concentrate on just the newest book that's coming out.
I always take the newest books in both series when I'm going to be speaking and/or selling at a book fair or festival.

For my latest Tempe book, Dispel the Mist, I'm heading over to the coast (Central California) to the Nipomo Library for a book and craft fair. Of course I'm talking all my Rocky Bluff P.D. books because they are set in the coastal area. I've learned people like to read about murders in familiar places. I'm bringing more No Sanctuary because it's the latest in the series.

My Tempe books always come out in the fall and the Rocky Bluff P.D. books in the beginning of the new year. This means that along with the promotion I need to be writing two books a year. So far I've been able to do that.

The library in the town 17 miles from us called and asked me to do a presentation--perfect timing for Dispel the Mist. I hadn't been able to find a venue in Springville where I live until I received a phone call from a friend. She had exciting news about a new little place in town where they sell homemade cakes and cookies. Of course I went right up there and asked if I could do my book launch there. The owners were thrilled. (I also bought a cake and cookies which were yummy.) Now if they can stay open (new businesses in Springville have a tough time) I'll have a place for my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.

In October I'm going back to the coast, but this time San Luis Obispo for an author and book festival. Great place to sell books because everyone who comes is thinking books. Received an email asking if I'd be on a panel about getting published and marketing. Of course my answer was a resounding "Yes!" I learned long ago that if I could give a talk about my books that I will sell more books.

I've got other books festivals and talks planned and hopefully I'll sell lots of books.

Meanwhile I'm promoting like crazy on the Internet. I'm going to be doing a virtual book tour which means I'll be visiting other people's blogs. I'll be having a contest of some sort and a video book trailer. That's happening in October, but I don't have any details as yet.

When I talk about my Deputy Tempe Crabtree books, I always mention my other series too, and especially No Sanctuary.

Yes, it's a lot of work but I enjoy it too especially when we make a trip to the coast. We have friends there to visit and we always have dinner at some fabulous fish restaurant.


Friday, September 4, 2009

A Book and a Recipe

Here's another thing Sunny Frazier has gotten us to do, Martha Cheves' site for a recipe with her book review. Please take a look at I don't cook, but I used to. This is a recipe I had from way back then, and I think it is perfect for Secrets by the Sea. Everyone should check this out, and see if you want to ask Martha to do a review for your book. She posts the review on lots of other sites as well, including Amazon. Please take a look and let me know what you think.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Luck of the Draw

I was chosen as the author of the month for Anyone can submit their info and someone is picked every month and featured on the website, as well as featured in the magazine Poetic Monthly. The link to the page is

I won another random contest last month through First Turning Point, and received a free tote bag, a free book, a free e-book, and a critique of romance-related pages I wrote. The most interesting thing about it is even though I didn't actually do anything other than put my information on the website, if you google my name, winning this contest shows up as one of the results, with a big congratulations and my name.

It takes a few minutes to input all the information and get your pages up on some of the author websites, but I think in the end it is worth it, even if you just win a free tote bag. But then again, if you're real lucky, somebody might actually read your information and buy your book.

I definitely think Sunny Frazier has the right idea with this type of promotion.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice