Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bragging on our Covers ...AGAIN!!!

Take a moment and watch our cover slide show!! I've just spent a little time updating the array of covers, and you gotta say, we have great covers! Yes, there is more work to do, and I will get there, but this is a lovely update, don't you agree? Billie Johnson Publisher

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Travel for Inspiration

"Canyon Light" Copyright MMSikes
As author of the Passenger to Paradise book series, I love to travel and to discover new places that inspire both my fiction and my non-fiction writing. While in Sedona AZ earlier this month, I learned about a place I had not visited. Actually, I had not even known about its existence until I overheard a conversation about it in a restaurant. I'm sure I noticed a spectacular photo that our guide through Antelope Canyon later told us was on the cover of National Geographic magazine one month, but I didn't connect it with Arizona.

Thinking we would visit the Grand Canyon once again along with this new canyon we'd discovered, we headed north from Sedona. It was a three-hour journey to Page, located on the edge of Lake Powell and almost into the state of Utah. Antelope Canyon, both Upper and Lower, was about three miles from Page and on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

The first thing we spotted as we began the tour was a plaque remembering the tour group that died in 1998 when a flash flood struck the canyon, and the visitors could not get out before drowning in the rising waters. Most of the tourists were from Europe. The tour guide was the only person to escape, according to our guide.

Now, I can see all sorts of stories developing from that tragedy. How was it that the guide escaped and the others did not? Did he feel any guilt or remorse because of what happened?

This canyon journey was more intense and far more beautiful than we expected. We never made it to the Grand Canyon that day.

How does travel influence your writing? Or does it?

Monti

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oak Tree Press Authors

Just wanted to remind everyone to have a facebook page you can find me on there under Jeana Thompson . I also started an authors page a while back where I am posting reviews etc.... I highlight one Author at a time . I am trying to be better about staying up on the page. I seem to get swamped at times and do my best . So look for Oak Tree Press Authors page once your on facebook !!!!

heres the link http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oak-Tree-Press-Authors/210979042259140

Sikes Emailer Scores Media Attention!!

I've just heard from Monti Sikes that a recent emailer piece we distributed to announce some of her upcoming events caught the attention of a newspaper in here area and resulted in an almost-full page feature article! This shows you the benefit of getting us some information about your upcoming events! Our media releases go to more than 1200 media outlets, nationwide. You never know just what morsel of information might capture the attention of a newspaper or radio talk show looking for interesting guests. Here is an image of the article...
A couple of hints for successful releases: **Get your information to us as early as possible. We like to schedule the SEND a week to ten days ahead of the event. **Don't just skip it because you are tight on time, however. We'll do our best to get the release out right away. **Check with Jeana to be sure your local newspapers and radio stations are on our lists. We can add them as a one-time recipient. Always be thinking of the possibilities! Billie Johnson, Publisher

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Report on my Blog Tour(s) for No Bells

Yes, being a glutton for punishment, I'm on two blog tours--my big one which began on April 3rd and won't be over until May 4. At the same time I'm participating with 7 other authors on the Spring Mystery We Write Tour.

This is what's happening on the big tour--some people forgot. Those are the ones who don't put the post up until the day I'm supposed to be there. It's much better if you use the schedule setting on Blogger putting in the day and time you want the post to appear. I have no idea how you do it on Word Press, but I'm sure there must be a way.

On some, it's difficult or there's no place to comment. Since the contest I'm running is the winner will be the person who commented on the most posts, not being able to comment is a problem.

I tried to pick blogger who didn't necessarily have the same followers as I do so that I'd get different exposure along the way. Except for the people who are really trying for the prize, I think that part is working.

One thing people have seemed to like is the fact that I've written different posts for each blog and in most cases, sent along a different photo of me.

Is it resulting in sales? I have no idea. At the moment I'm having trouble even accessing No Bells on Amazon. It looks fine on Barnes and Nobel.

On the other much shorter tour--8 days only--again the contest that each person is having depends upon people posting. One blog doesn't accept comments at all--and another is difficult. Some of them have the hardest captcha words to copy. On one I had to do it 5 times before I got it right. If you're going to participate in a blog tour, for goodness sake, be sure that your blog is user friendly.

You can go to my blog http://marilynmeredith.blogstop.com and read my guests' posts on the shorter tour and if you want to catch up with mine I have the stops listed.

Anyway, it's been interesting, and I've certainly learned a lot along the way.

Marilyn

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Goodreads ads

My second non-genre novel, Feast or Famine, is now an ebook on Kindle. It's a comedy-drama which depicts what happens when the tension between the Catholic Church’s restrictions on self-indulgence and the Italian desire for food, gambling, physical passion, and expensive (although tacky) material things encounters the social upheaval of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

I signed up for an ad campaign on Goodreads. I followed their advice to place two ads, one targeting authors with similar stories or style and another aimed at genres consistent with my story. After two weeks, I have not had many people clicking on the ads to find out about the book. I was wondering if anyone had any advice as to how to make the Goodreads ads successful.

Gus Cileone
author of
A Lesson in Murder and
Feast or Famine
www.augustuscileone.com

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Can't Help Myself, Have to Show Off Some More

Because I was a finalist so many times for an Epic eAward (used to be an Eppie) I am really thrilled to finally have one. Lingering Spirit is the one that finally brought it home for me.

I'm holding it though you can't really see it too well in the photo. This picture was taken at my critique group and I'd like to have my friend's camera. All my wrinkles and imperfections have disppeared--too bad my hair didn't get combed too.

I brought the award to show off, but our leader also served cake so we could celebrate.

Anyway, I promise this is the last time I'll hog this blog with my win.

Marilyn



Sunday, April 8, 2012

New beginnings: A writer's view


As the French saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or, to be fair to the French, Plus ça change, plus c' est la même chose.


So how does that pithy saying relate to readers, writers, and publishers? In my experience, as an author of nine stories under three different publishers, it means this: that all those parts of the writing business that have plagued, frustrated and delighted us at the beginning...well, all these elements are still there, albeit in slightly different forms.


The publishing industry never stops evolving if slowly, slowly, slowly. From an initial few big houses, to the many conglomerates of the 80’s and 90’s, and to the multitude of small publishers we have now, publishing has moved along. From having a handful of books come out a year, to e-publishing and self-publishing every story that is written, the shelves are still filled. The big publishers have been slow to accept electronic changes, but then they were slow to accept Indie publishers, too. Their’s has been a grudging acknowledgement, if not acceptance, that yes, the times they are a’changing.


The PR of the business has gone from the invention of the book tour (by a Harpercollins editor who can’t remember why she thought it was such a great idea) to blog tours online and every single venue in between. As the number of bookstores decline, so do the book signings, which were a mixed blessing, at best, I think—an expenditure of time and money for a very iffy outcome.


Mystery stories themselves have evolved from the traditional to what I call the “themed” series’s with recipes and knitting instructions; from police procedurals and village cozies to dystopian plots and supernatural protagonists. All of these are still labeled mysteries and it’s up to the reader to find the stories that fill their needs.


Distribution is in flux. As online choices grow (even beyond Amazon.com), there are more ways to advertise our book, but, still, no one can say if these increased venues actually create more sales and more readers. With one of my books that had really lovely preorder numbers, I hired a PR person. She had me doing signings and talks everywhere. She advertised. She did it all. Bottom line was there just a few more sales than the original preorder numbers. It was a tremenous amount of work and time spent for little advancement, sales wise.


Ahh, that bottom line. For the fact remains that there is no one foolproof method to get someone to buy a book. I’ve been at panels where an in-your-face author actually hands a book to an inquiring reader and then I’ve watched as this reluctant reader quietly puts the book back down on the pile and sneaks away, bookless. No one has figured out what actually sways the buyer. Agents and editors like to follow trends of “best or better sellers,” but these trends have a short life span. By the time the copycat book is written, generally the hot trend is over. No wonder agents and editors get so frustrated. Perhaps it’s the cover, the back copy, the reviewer’s blurbs or the author’s reputation that cinches the sale. No one knows for certain.


What has stayed the same in our business is that it’s still a whopping 5% of writers who make plenty of money from their work. And often there are the same names, too, year after year. The rest of us count the pennies we make, do our writing, try to advertise our works in various venues, and hope for the best. We don’t know what works to sell, but we might get lucky! To end with another quotation (this from the English poet Alexander Pope) Hope springs eternal, and that’s something all of us writers understand. Maybe this new story we’ve sweated so hard over will be our “breakout” book! Hope is what keeps us doing what we love to do, writing our stories.


Kit

www.kitsloane.net


Friday, April 6, 2012

G. Thomas Gill - Dog Island

I received an email from Taylor Katz today. She is a web producer of 10 News in your neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Florida.

A story about G. Thomas Gill author of Dog Island is to be posted on Spring Hill website, Saturday , April 7th after 1:30 P.M. You can catch the story by visiting

springhill.wtsp.com

Very Nice Tom !!!!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

OTP Titles are Finalists for the PEACEMAKER AWARD

Are we on a roll or what!!! Now Bonnie Kelly and Wayne Dundee join Marilyn Meredith and Sally Carpenter in the winners' circle!




These two wonderful novels are on the Best First Western Novel finalist list...Jeana just passed us the news!

Fabulous!

Billie Johnson
Publisher

Guest post on Susanne Alleyn's blog

Susanne Alleyn has posted an interview with my protagonist character from the China Bohannon series.  It's always great fun to write from the character's point of view! I hope you'll check out the site and leave a comment. There's one of the China Bohannon books up for grabs, although if you win the drawing and  chose THREE SECONDS TO THUNDER you'll have to wait a bit.

http://susannealleyn.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/interview-with-china-bohannon/

Carol

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Clark Lohr: OTP authors at Left Coast Crime.

JANET RUDOLPH: REMAINS OF THE  CAKE.
J

Marta Chausee


WILLIAM DOONAN

L to R: Sunny Frazier, Morgan St. James, Steve Scarborough, Billie Johnson.

Front row L to R: Marilyn Meredith, M.M. Gornell.  Back row L to R: Susan Cummins Miller, Clark Lohr, Vicki Doudera. Occasion: Panel Discussion on small presses.

Lots of OTP authors at Left Coast Crime. I took some pics and I hereby post them. LCC Mining for Murder worked for me. Lot of fun. I met Sunny and Billie for the first time. Sunny got me published.  If you haven't heard the story it goes like this:  A couple years ago Susan Cummins Miller (http://www.amazon.com/Quarry-Frankie-MacFarlane-Mysteries-Book/dp/089672574X) forwarded OTP info to me.  I submitted in hard copy, then forgot about it.  Months later, my daughter told me to join the 21st Century and get on Facebook. One of the first messages I got was from somebody I never heard of asking, "Are you the author?"  I figured it was somebody from eastern Europe trying to steal my credit cards so I answered along the lines of: "Who wants to know?" Turned out it was Sunny Frazier...now I'm published and I get a chance to hang out at Left Coast Crime conventions.  I was a wedding photographer for years; I went to a trade school for photog. I've posted pics of OTP authors and some pics of the LCC Awards ceremony.  Also, Janet Rudolph and what was left of her birthday cake after a room full of people rushed it. Janet publishes MYSTERY FANFARE online.  Great resource for mystery fans and mystery authors.

Clark Lohr: OTP authors at Left Coast Crime.

JANET RUDOLPH: REMAINS OF THE  CAKE.
J

Marta Chaus




Lots of OTP authors at Left Coast Crime. I took some pics and I hereby post them. LCC Mining for Murder worked for me. Lot of fun. I met Sunny and Billie for the first time. Sunny got me published.  If you haven't heard the story it goes like this:  A couple years ago Susan Cummins Miller (http://www.amazon.com/Quarry-Frankie-MacFarlane-Mysteries-Book/dp/089672574X) forwarded OTP info to me.  I submitted in hard copy, then forgot about it.  Months later, my daughter told me to join the 21st Century and get on Facebook. One of the first messages I got was from somebody I never heard of asking, "Are you the author?"  I figured it was somebody from eastern Europe trying to steal my credit cards so I answered along the lines of: "Who wants to know?" Turned out it was Sunny Frazier...now I'm published, I get royalties, and a chance to hang out at Left Coast Crime conventions.  I was a wedding photographer for years; I went to a trade school for photog. I've posted pics of OTP authors and some pics of the LCC Awards ceremony.  Also, Janet Rudolph and what was left of her birthday cake after a room full of people rushed it. Janet publishes MYSTERY FANFARE online.  Great resource for mystery fans and mystery authors.