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

Our October Author Interviews--10/4 Wendy Tyson, 10/11 Marilyn Levinson, 10/18 Earl Javorski, 10/25 Linda Lovely. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


October Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/7 Mark Bacon, 10/14 Elaine Orr, 10/21 WWK's Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/28 Kait Carson, and E. B. Davis 10/31 to fill out our fifth Tuesday.


WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla! Look for Carla's blog this month to find out the winner.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Juggling Novel-Writing and Book Promotion—Part 1 Resources

by Linda Rodriguez

I’m going to post some lessons and tricks I’ve learned in the process of going through this whole writing-novels-while-promoting-books thing. This will be a fairly long post with lots of links and other resources and a choice of first baby steps to take at the end. I know many veteran novelists probably have more tips to add—and I hope you will in the comments.

Some of the most valuable information I’ve learned comes from the following people and places. (I’m giving Twitter handles, as well as websites, because, as you’ll see, I’m going to suggest you get on Twitter, if you aren’t already.)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt, @BryanThomasS, a science fiction/fantasy writer and social media guru—lots of great information at his blog under the heading Write Tips http://www.bryanthomasschmidt.net

Tamela Buhrke, @iwisecoach, a book marketing coach—lots of great stuff at her blog, much of it free, remember she makes a living at this http://www.iwisecoach.com

Jenny Blake, @jenny_blake, an author and coach—she has so much to help you, tips and templates, but especially her awesome The Ultimate Book Marketing Master Spreadsheet! http://LifeAfterCollege.org

These are a few of the major sources I’ve turned to again and again, but there are many more out there. I’ve found that the International Thriller Writers is not only a great professional organization for writers of crime fiction, but its members share great tips and opportunities with each other in the their two discussion forums on the ITW website, http://thrillerwriters.org/, and in their forum on Linked-In, where I met a New Zealander crime writer and blogger who interviewed me for her blog. Sisters in Crime is another terrific organization that provides tons of knowledge, including free (for members) books and videos on marketing and promotion, on their website, http://www.sistersincrime.org, and at their branch meetings.

If you check out all these websites and blogs and follow the many links they provide, you’ll very soon be feeling overwhelmed by all the information and possibilities for promotion that you learn about. Don’t despair! As I mentioned earlier, there is Jenny Blake’s awesome book marketing spreadsheet to help you keep track of everything. Download it right now, and give yourself permission not to do anything with it right away. Just knowing you have it there will help with the panic attacks as you learn how much there is available to you. Also from her great blog, I learned about ToDoist, http://todoist.com, a free online to-do list and tracker that lets you break things up into projects and tasks within them and set deadlines and reminders, etc.

The first step is to check out these wonderful resources, or as many as you can without feeling totally overwhelmed. I’ll be giving some tips that you may want to implement along the way, though. And the first is—know that you can’t do everything all at once! Start where you are, and add one or two things at a time. As you get those under control, add another one or two. No one can go from zero to Queen or King of the Marketplace overnight, and we never want to lose sight of the fact that writing these great novels is our first and highest priority.

The first thing I did, since I was already on Facebook and had a blog, was to set up a Twitter account. So I suggest that, depending on where you are in your online presence, you set up a Facebook account, a Twitter account, or a free blog. Choose one only, at first, please. If you already have one or more of these, choose one of the others. Just take baby steps at first, and you’re more likely to experience success that you can build on as you expand your online presence. Eventually, we’ll link them all together, but we need to have ourselves firmly established and comfortable in each first.

For my blog, I use Blogger, http://www.blogger.com, but WordPress, http://wordpress.com/, is another free blog-hosting site. From what I’ve heard, it’s a little easier to turn your Blogger blog into a website later, but I’m going on hearsay from folks who’ve used both. I haven’t.

If you opt for Twitter as your first step, http://www.twitter.com, you can start by following me and the great resource people I’ve listed above. Another person on Twitter that I would recommend you follow is Molly Greene, @mollygreene. Her website and blog,http://www.molly-greene.com/, offers tons of information, especially on Twitter. Molly was my mentor on Twitter when I first entered that world and terrifically kind and helpful to a newcomer.

I’ll go into the next steps in my next post here on Writers Who Kill in two weeks. What are some of your first steps toward establishing a marketing platform for your books that you'd recommend to new writers?


Linda Rodriguez's book, Plotting the Character-Driven Novel is based on her popular workshop. The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, an anthology she co-edited was recently published. Every Family Doubt, her fourth mystery featuring Cherokee campus police chief, Skeet Bannion, will appear in 2017. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust, and Every Last Secret—and her books of poetry—Skin Hunger and Heart's Migration—have received critical recognition and awards, such as Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices & Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” published in the anthology, Kansas City Noir, has been optioned for film.

Rodriguez is chair of the AWP Indigenous/Aboriginal American Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, a founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International Thriller Writers, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community.

17 comments:

Julie Tollefson said...

Great post, Linda! Another resource I'm finding more helpful all the time is the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter. Although this is my "local" chapter, it meets in Chicago -- about a 9-hour drive one way. BUT the chapter is making a real effort to stream meetings and host online gatherings to bring together its widespread members.

KM Rockwood said...

You're right, Linda! I'm feeling overwhelmed just reading this! I will look into the resources you cite.

Thank you so much for this nudge. I know it's something I should be doing, but I keep putting it off.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Julie, I thought about adding MWA, but they don't seem to have much in marketing help for members, at least at the national level as indicated by their website. They offer lots of other resources, of course, but for this post, SinC and ITW were more relevant. Novelists, Inc., used to offer a lot of resources on their website, even for non-members (which made sense because you had to have at least two traditionally pubbed novels to join). I've downloaded many of them in the past. But when I checked in again for this post, I found they've taken them all off. They're probably still offered to members, but I don't know.

Linda Rodriguez said...

No need to feel overwhelmed, KM. No one can do everything. My method is to do it all in baby steps. Get on FB OR start a blog OR get on Twitter--one only. Then, once you're used to that social media venue, add just one of the other two. Again, take time to get used to using it. And then finally, add the third and take time to learn how to use it. Don't think you have to do everything at once. One little step at a time.

E. B. Davis said...

Yay for writing this blog. I've been researching book marketing instructors for the Guppies for months. I look forward to what you'll blog about. One instructor only dealt with branding and setting up a website with Google optimization. Another only taught how to set up advertising on Facebook. Do you know of anyone who is one-stop shopping for marketing books, Linda?

Warren Bull said...

Thanks Linda, This information is very helpful. I started a Twitter account but I'm not sure how to make the best use of it.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Elaine, I used to do a two-part book promotion class locally for The Writers Place and still get requests, but I've been avoiding doing that in-person class again because they made them so big that they were really wearing for me physically. I think you'd want a course that covers these topics, at least.

Here's the agendas I gave out for both parts. (They'd need a little updating now since I've not done these in a couple of years.)

Book Promotion 101: How to Create Buzz for Your Book

1. Make a list of all the people/organizations that might help you promote your book
2. Brainstorm of promo methods
3. Hand out marketing plan sheets—Mark which ones will work best for you
4. Marketing plan—daily, weekly, yearly, with a time budget—First thing every morning, list 3 things (even tiny) you can do to get the word about your book out—Elevator pitch, 50 word tagline about the book—Email signature line
5. Professional organizations—RWA, MWA, SinC, SBCWI, SFWA, online groups
6. Conferences—professional org, writer’s, artist’s, subjects in yr book, book festivals (FOF)
7. Street team—online and at home, group blog communities, authors (FOF) Favor Karma
8. Brainstorm conferences, orgs, street team
9. Book sell sheets, press releases/packets, review packets, book trailers—why, how
10. Reviews—how to get them, good review sites online (FOF)
11. Interviews, profiles, guest blogs—how to get them, what to do when you do (FOF)
12. Brainstorm review, interview, profile, guest blog sources

Quick overview of Level One online marketing
13. Online branding—creating online hub, using social media to channel to it
14. Internet hubs—blogs, websites, group blogs, genre sites, Internet is forever
15. Social media choices—“social” is key, not “commercial,” making choices
16. Amazon author page, Goodreads author page, Library Thing, linking, groups
17. Facebook—personal vs. author pages, etiquette,
18. Twitter—signing on, etiquette, Tweetdeck/Hootsuite
19. Other social media—Google +, Linked-In, Pinterest, Scribd.com, listservs, others
20. Closing questions


And this is what Book Promotion 202 covered.

In-depth Level Two online marketing
1. Blogs—what makes a good blog, using Goggle analytics
2. Websites—what you need for a good website
3. Amazon author page—linking blog and Twitter, Bookscan & tracking your sales/rank
4. Goodreads author page—linking blog and Twitter, groups & possible uses, caveat
5. Facebook—etiquette, strategies to create/involve fans
6. Twitter—etiquette, strategies to be effective without being obnoxious
7. Integrating your message across platforms—making choices, Tweetdeck/Hootsuite/etc.
8. Other social media—google +, Linked-In, Pinterest, Scribd.com, listservs
9. Create a group of hardcore fans in your Street Team, how to use them effectively, how to keep them involved and happy, reward your fans & build that love
10. TV, radio, internet radio, podcasts—how to get them, how to do them, local press clubs(FOF)
11. Appearances and signings—how to get them, how to do them, multi-author(FOF)
12. National/local book clubs/reading groups—how to find/get them, reader’s guides (post to website, send out), Skype and teleconferences (FOF)
13. Handouts/mailers—book business cards, bookmarks, postcards
14. Internet and print articles—newspapers, magazines, print and email newsletters, ezines(FOF)
15. Contest and giveaways—on your site, Goodreads, book blogs, topic website
16. Email newsletter—MailChimp, others, email list making
17. Local retail stores/stores found on trips—reading copy, consignment(FOF)
18. Connect with libraries—ask fans to request & check out your books even if bought, start or join book club(FOF)
19. Writer-in-residence—universities, community colleges, high schools(FOF)
20. Publicists—how to coordinate with your publisher’s publicist & make them want to do more for you, what to look for in hiring a private publicist, what to ask for and expect from your publicist

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, start by following publishers or writers you know or admire. I've found a few people who give a lot of great info on what's going on in publishing, such as Jason Pinter--@jasonpinter, Sarah Weinman--@sarahw. I've got two lists on my Twitter profile--Bookstores, etc. and Mystery--that have lots of good folks to follow who can keep you on top of what's going on with reviewers, bookbloggers, publishers, and writers in our field. Just go to those lists and follow the ones who seem of interest to you.

It doesn't hurt to just lurk and read what folks say for a while. Then move up to retweeting what you find interesting or posting interesting links. If you find it interesting, others may also. From there, you can move to #FridayReads and #FF (Friday Follows), which will connect you interactively in communities of like-minded people on Twitter. Always start small.

And NEVER, NEVER send out Buy-my-book or Like-my-Facebook/website tweets to people who follow you back. Keep your interactions to a majority of retweets of interest, social conversations, links to your blog posts of interest, boosts of other writers/editors, etc., to a minority of Praise-for-my-book, Buy-my-book.

Gloria Alden said...

Like KM, I have so much going on in addition to my writing, I have very little time to promote my books, and I'm not sure of wanting to give up what I am involved in to do it. However, your blog is very interesting, and I'll probably take your advice on somethings, but not twittering. I do not like spending time on the phone or on Facebook.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, there's no one size-fits-all in book promotion. Rather, it's what you feel you can and want to do right now, which may change later. If you are single or your kids are grown and you're a productive writer who turns out several books a year, you may want to go full-tilt and do as much as you can. If, later, you marry and have little ones or you or your husband face serious health issues, you may downsize your book promo efforts for a while until your life develops more space. What you do will also change with the place you are in with your career. Many new writers tour as much as they can manage to get their unknown name out there to bookstores and libraries, as well as readers, but a number of big-name bestselling writers limit their tours to only a few large events when a book first comes out and only every couple of years. No one plan is right for everyone. The idea is to know what's available and what it costs in time and money and in what ways it's effective, and then to pick and choose what's right for you.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Kathleen, with a lot of handholding from my daughter, I joined Face Book. Do you have someone who can help you set up a personal and author page? Twitter will have to be next for me.

Thanks, Linda, read, print out, and refer back to this blog. Got it.

Jim Jackson said...

It is easy to get overwhelmed, throw up one's hands, and give up -- which is why your advice to start slowly and add gradually is so important.

Thanks, Linda.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Margaret, no one would ever know that you had to have help getting on FB. You seem like an old pro.


Jim, it is easy to just give up--and there's no need for it. Anyone can do little bits of promo, and little bits done regularly add up.

Kait said...

Oh, this is an excellent post, Linda. Thank you so much. I have double printed it - hard paper print and on One Note. Marketing is my downfall. I am truly struggling with it and appreciate all the tips and help. Fantabulous!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kait, I'm glad you found it helpful. I'll have more next post. There's so much involved with marketing that I'm just staying with little baby steps for these blog posts.

KM Rockwood said...

Margaret, I do have a Facebook page. I just can't seem to make it do anything sensibly. It jumps seemingly randomly from one thing to another, & I have never mastered the whole thing.

My daughter tells me it's because I completely lack any concept of what it's supposed to do (what is it supposed to do, anyhow?) or how it works.

She's right.

I also have a website, but I don't pay much attention to it.

Over the years, I have had to master so many different writing programs, etc, going back to when you had to program the computer yourself, and I'm afraid I'm overwhelmed.

Linda Rodriguez said...

KM, start with just one thing. If you've got a website, maybe start by paying attention to it. Make sure things are up to date. Is it putting forth the image you want? One thing at a time. No need to throw yourself into overwhelm. Once it's in good shape, turn your attention to Facebook. In each case, you want to begin by deciding just what you want out of your site/page. Keep your goals small at first. You can get more ambitious as you become more proficient. Remember you should control your marketing--it shouldn't control you.