Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Many of us create New Year's Resolutions. Many of us don't keep them.

For 2012, my resolutions will be all about writing--especially marketing and promotion. I've made that decision based on studying comments from the numerous writers groups that I follow. It appears that sales of e-books are up mightily! With that in mind:

1. Study the market for e-books. Look at results for Kindle, Nook Books, and more.

2. Make a plan and follow it. Spend 30 minutes a day, twice a week, checking out leads for marketing.

3. Keep a book with records of marketing leads. Record what works.

4. Blog about marketing and promotion one day a week--probably on Fridays.

5. Work on a new book with the e-book market in mind.

What about you? Do you have New Year's Resolutions? Do you have marketing plans for 2012?


Thursday, December 29, 2011

the "famous" poem about booksignings!

To illustrate that we are not alone out there!

And, since this gem dates back, way back, I'm sure some of you haven't read it. Written by English author Rhys Bowen, the internationally known mystery writer (we should be so rich and famous!), it says it all and always makes me laugh:

"If only you'd come yesterday.
I'm sorry no one's here.
It's always slow on Saturdays
and at this time of year.

Too bad tomorrow's Father's Day
and everyone's out shopping.
Too bad the heat is so intense
that everyone is dropping.

I wish you'd come on Friday night,
it's always such a lark.
We had a line around the block
for Mary Higgins Clark.

I'm sorry that it's been so flat.
Let's take a picture with the cat!

Rhys Bowen (who has been there and done that)"

Now, from me: Good luck to all of us and a very Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thinking About 2012 and Book Promotion

This is the time of year when everyone starts considering resolutions for the new year. At the top of my list, I have written, "Find ways for better book promotion."

Hmm. A list of ways for better book promotion might comprise my complete list.

I wonder where book signings should be on that list. Probably not at the top.

One of the authors at a group book signing in which I participated earlier this month commented rather grimly, "This is not the best way to sell books." She went on the explain that although she wasn't getting many sales that day, book signings were good for the independent book store owner. To remain in her good graces, she would continue to do signings there, she said.

"What is the best way?" I asked.

She replied by telling me about a program she gave last month at a college in New York state. Part of the prearranged agreement was that copies of her book would be placed on each chair for attendees at the meeting. Not only did she get the sales for those books, but she was paid as a program presenter and her expenses were covered as well. She told me about another author friend of hers who will not agree to speak to a group unless her book is given to each person who attends. What a wonderful way to promote a book and gain new readers.

What is on your list for book promotion? Do you have a list?


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Sunny here. I'm headlining Emerging Novelists, although I believe I emerged quite some time ago. But, the rest of you might contact Mike Murphy, terrific guy, and see if you can "emerge" on his site.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Sunny here.

Patricia Gilgor, one of the members of the Posse, has done a terrific blog spotlighting members titles. The Posse, for those of you who don't know, is a marketing group I set up (I'm the Sheriff) that consists of potential OTP authors, current OTP authors and pretty much anyone who wants to fast-track their marketing skills. We even have badges!

In this week's post, I spotlight nine of the books that were published by
> Posse members in 2011. I hope you'll stop by.
> Next week, I'll be posting the books that are scheduled for 2012
> publication - again, written by members of our wonderful Posse.
> --

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My OTP Books and Holiday Greetings

My Oak Tree Press books on display at a book fest--though I'm not exactly sure which one it is, I did so many last year. I went wherever we didn't have to drive too far and didn't cost too much.

One thing abut any kind of book or craft fair, you never really know how it's going to go, but you're bound to sell a few books if you have a good display, something to attract people to your table, and you get up out of your seat to talk to folks who pause and look.

This is the time of year when we are or should be celebrating with your family and friends whatever holiday you favor. For me, it's Christmas, always has been and always will be.

But keep in the back of your mind, once the holiday season is over,  you should get busy and map out your promotion strategy for 2012.

Merry Christmas to you all, and a Happy and Profitable New Year.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Season's Greetings

For my last post of the year, I send out a 55-word story, told in code: read aloud to crack the code. For those of you who know "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut," this story is written in the same genre.

To all of you, I wish a happy holiday season!

Rude Off duh Rad-Nodes Raingear

Pour, pore Rude Off. The mother raingears left atom, wooden plywood hem. Rude Off wordy sadist raingear inner hole white whirl. Sopped end sopped tillers nodes tern dread.

Sandy Claws sore Rude Off’s rad nodes end sat, “Aw ride! Yukon guy mice lay!”

Pour Rude Off. Pore guise gutta were call knight!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunny's Website

I've finally updated my website. I have a new link called "Mission: Acquisitions." The covers of some of the books I've discovered in my role as acquisitions editor are on this site. The video Billie and I made is also on this page.

In the NEWS section, there are various photos from different conferences: San Francisco, Puerto Vallarta and Victoria, BC. You can also see what Jeffrey Deaver looks like!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Launch Party Jambalaya Justice

After months of trying to plan a book launch, I finally settled on tonight to officially launch Jambalaya Justice. I'm having the book launch party at our bar, the Last Stand, at 424 Destrehan, in Harvey, LA, at 7:30 p.m. if anyone happens to be in the New Orleans area. (We're across the river from downtown New Orleans, about a 10 minute drive.)

We're doing a jambalaya cook off, with the winner getting to name a character in the third book, Chocolate City Justice. We did the same for Gumbo Justice, so if you read Jambalaya Justice, the character Christie Bouvier was named by the gumbo cook off winner last year. (One of the strippers in the book was also named by a contest winner in an auction on ebay to benefit the First Amendment Project.)

I think it's going to be slow, because there are a lot of Christmas parties in the area, but I didn't want to put it off any longer. If nothing else, it'll be a nice chance to get out and relax for once, even if I don't make a lot of book sales.

I did sell a few books at the Holiday Bazaar last Saturday at my youngest daughter's school. Vendors paid $30 (it was a Pre-K fundraiser) for a spot in the school yard. It had a nice turnout considering the weather was a little cold for here and sort of dreary. Most vendors had to provide their own tables but I was working our co-op table (equivalent to PTO or PTA), because I am president and didn't have enough volunteers, so at least I didn't have to bring or set up my own table.

My only regret was that I have been operating on such a schizophrenic level lately between the co-op, my "job-job", my article writing job, working on my third book, Chocolate City Justice, and general family duties (two kids, husband, dog, deaf cat, fish), not to mention Christmas, that I forgot to order copies of my first book in time to have them for the event. A lot of the people who bought Jambalaya Justice wanted to buy a copy of Gumbo Justice, the first book, but I only had one to sell and my first customer bought it.

The only negative to this particular venue is that the sheriff sends a tax collector deputy with forms to pay our parish sales tax within 20 days, and she checks our name off a list to prove she gave us the form. So we do have to pay the sales tax relatively quickly.

My advice if you are planning an event--make a list of what you might need and don't assume you've got everything covered just because you've done it before. Especially around the holidays or other hectic times where something you might ordinarily remember may slip your mind.

This brain only holds so much, and I'm pretty sure it's full to capacity at the moment.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

guest blog

Today (Sunday) I am Mike Murphy's guest on his blog, Emerging Novelists, thanks to our PR gal, Jeana. Please visit and leave a comment if you aren't too busy watching football. It's an interesting site for readers and writers, for sure.

And I love the "emerging" part. After nine books I wish I had already "emerged," but it's a slow process and actually "emerging" is probably optimistic!

Happy Holidays to all,


Monday, December 5, 2011

A basket case

Each year my parish hosts a charity fundraiser with a silence auction for gift baskets of goods and services donated by members and neighbors. This year I donated a "Mystery Lovers" basket with a signed copy of my book and four other mysteries written by people I know--novels that people would not find in a bookstore. The basket received four bids (one woman bid twice) for a winning bid was $48. The winner was excited that she won and I said I would personalize the book for her if she wanted. I don't get any of the money BTW--all of it goes to the church, the local food pantry and the homeless center.
OTP authors may want to consider donating your books to local service clubs for charity raffles or fundraisers. It's a great way to help a worthy cause, generate good will in your community, and promote your work. And for anyone making a gift basket of books, why not ask OTP authors for a contribution?
Sally Carpenter
"The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper"

local signing

I had a GREAT time at the annual Xmas Fair here at our local golf course restaurant. I've been doing this for ten years and it was so terrific to meet, again, lots of my readers. Sold LOTS of books, both new (CLOSE-UP) and earlier stories and chatted with all my devoted readers who are so interested in my characters or, as one asked, "How are the kids doing?" The kids being Margot and Max through 9-adventures!

It's such a treat to meet my readers again and share our stories and answer questions. I always give a good discount. It only seems fair in this day and age. It's worth it when I know 32 more people will be reading my series!

Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New England Crime Bake X

I recently attended the tenth annual New England Crime Bake—Crime Bake X—convened recently in suburban Boston (Dedham, to be precise).

Comparing notes and experiences with other writers was probably the most enjoyable and helpful aspect of the weekend.

Barry Eisler and Nancy Pickard were Guests of Honor. Past honorees have included Sue Grafton (2009), Harlan Coben (2008) and Robert B. Parker (2004).

Eisler is the author of “Requiem for an Assassin” and “The Detachment,” among many others. He was a participant on several panels. On “Top Guns: Five of Mystery’s Best Discuss the Keys to Success,” he was joined by Pickard, Donald Bain, Renee Paley-Bain and Michael Palmer.

Eisler encouraged the authors in attendance to remain open to suggestions and criticisms.
“You can’t be too possessive of your words,” he advised. “[They] may not be perfect.”

By the way, Eisler’s web site,, is chock full of excellent tips and links for writers.

During that panel, Bain talked about his writing schedule that consists of 10 pages each day, seven days a week—a good way not to lose writing momentum, he explained.

Palmer is a practicing physician who has written several thrillers. He was among the authors who conducted a “master class.” His was about “Creating a Thriller from Alpha to Omega.”

Other authors participating included Gerry Boyle, Margaret McLean, Lynne Heitman and Hank Phillipi Ryan. Phillipi Ryan has a large following in the Greater Boston area and New England. She is the author of four mysteries and is also an on-air reporter for WHDH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Boston.

I found the weekend very enjoyable and informative in an informal and relaxed way. Crime Bale shop talk included various ideas and opinions about publishers, web sites and the debate of Kindle vs Nook. (Even though I’m still confused about which one, if any, to get! Any suggestions?)

And it was great to be among other writers and authors who have all fought the battle of the blank page—be it paper or electronic.

Along these lines, Michael Palmer confessed still to having anxiety whenever he begins a new novel, and drew knowing laughs when he reminded the Crime Bake audience, “It’s not supposed to be easy.”

Letting libraries do the selling as well

To piggyback on Mike's previous post, writers shouldn't overlook libraries as a good promotion tool. I told my city library about my new book and that I was a local author. Within a month the library ordered five copies of the book, set up a display of the books and had me appear on an author panel. I've also donated copies of the books to other libraries in the county. One librarian contacted me today and said the book has been catalogued and is already circulating. Also, would I be interested in appearing in the library's once a month local author Q&A series? I also plan to mail a copy of the book to my hometown library in the midwest. People who read a library book and love it are likely to buy it, plus the libraries I contacted will no doubt be willing to purchase future books in my series as they come out.
Sally Carpenter
"The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper"