If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our June interviews include: Marla Cooper on June 1, Kathy Prairie, June 8th, Sherry Harris, June 15, Catherine Bruns on June 22, and Krista Davis on June 29. Please check our 2016 WWK Calendar for upcoming author interview dates.

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 6/4 Maren Anderson, 6/14 Joan Leotta, and 6/ 18 Jane Barnard. WWK Blogger Kait Carson always blogs on the last Saturday of each month.

Warren Bull has two short stories, "A Christmas Journey" and "Killer Eulogy" in the Darkhouse anthology titled Black Coffee. Available--Now! Warren's short story collection No Happy Endings is also available at Amazon in paper or Amazon for Kindle.

Jim Jackson's story "Mad Money" was published in the 2016 Winter edition of Mysterical-e.

KM Rockwood's Abductions and Lies, the 6th in the Jesse Damon Crime Novel series, will be released in April. "Last Laugh," a short story in the anthology Black Coffee is available on Amazon. "Tarnished Hope," a short story in Murder Most Conventional, sponsored by Malice Domestic, April 29, at the conference. "Frozen Assets," a short story in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, release date May 14th (an anthology compiled by Chessie Chapter of SINC)

Gloria Alden released the sixth book in her Catherine Jewell mystery series. Carnations for Cornelia is available at Amazon. Congratulations, Gloria.


Monday, June 27, 2016

How to Keep Your Favorite Writers and Books from Disappearing

Ever since mystery publishing had a major upheaval just a few months ago in which many writers of mystery series were dropped by their publishers and many long-time editors in the field were laid off, I’ve been thinking seriously about book sales. I’ve written and spoken a number of times about what an avid reader can do to support the authors s/he loves, and so I thought I’d compile all of those actions into a blog post for today.

As a reader of novels, I was often disappointed and horrified when authors that I loved disappeared or stopped writing series I loved and started writing another that I might not be as fond of.  After I became a published novelist and got to know many other published novelists, I discovered how these things happen and what I as a reader can do about them. A couple of examples—one writer’s books always get rave reviews in the big journals, usually starred reviews, she always earns out her advances, and every single book has been a finalist for some of the biggest awards, but her publisher, one of the Big Five, has dropped her. Why? Her books aren’t increasing in sales enough from book to book, even though they are increasing and are profitable to the publisher. She is looking at writing novels in a different genre now. Another writer had an award-winning series of witty, well-written private-eye novels. He was dropped because it was determined that private-eye novels wouldn’t be selling well soon (a prediction that turned out wrong). He couldn’t get a publisher then. So he had to take a woman’s name and start writing very successful cozies under that.

Often even famous writers are just a breath or two away from tumbling down the slopes in the fickle game of publishing, and success is even more volatile for midlist authors. There are dozens of other stories like these that I could tell. This is what’s happening to the authors you love who vanish and what may well happen to the authors you love now. Even selling enough to earn out their advances is not enough, if they are not increasing their sales drastically with each book. How can we help the authors we love to do that so we can keep reading the books we’re addicted to? Here’s a little list. (And incidentally, most of these tips will help your favorite authors who are indie published or hybrid authors, as well.)

Pre-orders— pre-orders have become more and more important to writers. Publishers often decide how big a print run and how much, if any, promotion they will give a book based on pre-orders. Bookstores base orders on that, too. So pre-orders can determine whether your book will be on the shelves in bookstores around the country or have to be special-ordered.  This can be critical for indie published authors since bookstores tend not to carry their books—and Amazon is making it more possible for them to set up pre-orders, as well.

Other things you can do to help are clicking "likes" and "tags" on Amazon. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads count more toward sales than those longer ones on my blog or elsewhere, and don’t forget Barnes & Noble and Library Thing. Post your author’s book in your WantToRead file on Goodreads when you know the book is coming. Publishers tell us that is important, that other readers look at those and often decide whether to buy the book based on how many other people have listed it as something they want. But reviews on your blog or other review sites do help, as well as in-person book recommendations. I know I’m doing a lot more book recommendations now and not just waiting for folks to ask me.

As soon as I know a book is coming out by one of my favorite writers, I request my library system order that book—and my own pre-orders for those books are through local bookstores because that helps them decide whether or not to order in that book to have on the shelves. Ask your library to order the book, and then check it out. Library sales are important to most authors, and we love libraries. If you check out our books, the libraries will keep buying them and won’t sell us off for pennies at the Friends of the Library book sale. (Many libraries get rid of books that haven’t been checked out in more than a year, so even if you own a book, checking out from your local library helps keep your author alive there.)

When we order books from our local bookstore, we need to tell them what we like about that author and why s/he might be a good fit for the store. That not only can convince them to order the book, but also gives them something to tell people when they ask about it.

Talk up your author and book on Facebook and Twitter. I know for a fact that people have bought my books because of wonderful things some of my fans have posted on those two platforms about them. Word of mouth is still the best advertising.

If you’re in a book club or book discussion group or anything like that, suggest your author’s book for the group to read and discuss.

If you take one or more of these actions for your author, you have given great support and taken steps to make sure that s/he will be able to continue writing and publishing the books you love. Anything we can do to help others learn about the authors and books we love helps to keep them available to us, too.

Publishing is particularly volatile right now. Many of our favorite authors have lost not only their publishers, but even their agents. Check their websites and author pages to see if their series will be continued by another publisher or through their own efforts. If not and they’re having to start a new series, please give it a chance, even if you’re mad that their other series you loved is now gone. They loved it, too, but had no say about it being dropped. Don’t get angry with the author. If you liked their other series, you may well love this new one. At least, give it a chance.

The rocky state of publishing is causing authors to make serious adjustments and will require the same from dedicated readers, I’m afraid.