Monday, December 31, 2012

"C" Words for Crime Shows

I was considering the title for a new project and my mind wandered a bit.  It's an occupational hazard. Think of all the fictional crime shows that begin with the letter C.
  • Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) and its various offshoots
  • Criminal Minds
  • Cold Case
  • Criminal Intent (a Law and Order offshoot)
  • Car 54 Where Are You? (OK, a comedy mostly and I'm dating myself)
  • Castle
  • Columbo
  • Cagney and Lacey
 Makes you wish you had a psychology degree.  It also means I'll shy away from the word 'crime' in a title. If you know more C shows, feel free to add to the list.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Free Books Everywhere

Authors are always trying to attract new readers. With so many people getting Kindles, Nooks or another e-reader for Christmas or other December holidays, many authors are offering Kindle freebies for new buyers.  Here are my freebies for the next week, and a link to a page that has many mysteries noted.  That list is sponsored by Murder Must Advertise. Remember, you can read these freebies on your computer or in the cloud, and you can convert a Kindle file to another reader (see last item).

Free Dec 26-28.  Any Port in a Storm. Friends, humor, and murder at the Jersey shore. This is the fourth in the Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series.  It continues to garner good reviews.

Free December 26th. Caring for Treasures-Helping Your Parents Through Life & Death. Overview that's not overwhelming. If you have visited your parents for the holidays and think they may need some help with things they have traditionally handled, you may find this book really helpful.

Lots of people start the new year with resolutions, and in my circle of friends that often means starting (or finishing) a book or other writing project.  Free December 26-27 and January 1, 2013, Words to Write By: Getting Your Thoughts on Paper.  It's a short overview on organizing your thoughts so you write more easily.

A list of free and low-cost mysteries is below.  Scroll to the right if you don't see the links to download/buy.  There are a lot of freebies.  

Another Murder Must Advertise author provided info about downloading a book in Kindle format and then converting it for your Nook or other reader.  Go to and click on the Demo tab to see how it works.  (Thanks to Rob Walker for the info.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

That About Covers It

Every article or book on marketing your work says some of the same few things, starting with write something worth reading and followed by use a really good cover designer.  For some I've done the cover myself.  On one you can't tell but others you can.  So, after I'd sold a couple thousand books I began working with a wonderful cover designer named Patty G. Henderson, who does covers for a number of indie writers.

Sales immediately rose when she redid the cover of Appraisal for Murder, and I truly believe it is her cover that draws people to Any Port in a Storm, which is now the biggest seller of the Jolie Gentil series.

Now that the four books have been on sale for awhile I find that the second book (Rekindling Motives, which I loved writing) generally sells five to ten percent fewer copies and has the fewest reviews.  Why?  Look at these four covers.

What's the difference?  Drumroll...dark colors for Rekindling Motives.  The designer (Miss Mae -- also really good to work with) developed a cover along the lines we discussed.  What this reinforces is that the best way to let cozy mystery readers know that a books is not a police procedural or something dark is to have cheerful-looking covers. If the readers wanted gore they'd go watch a CSI episode with bugs.

This is not rocket science, but it was instructive for me. So, as I work on Trouble on the Doorstep, I'm thinking yellows and blues are good.  And they'll be needed to convey a light tone, as the books opens with a short scene during Hurricane Sandy. It is the Jersey shore, after all.  And the resilient spirit of those in the New Jersey beach towns is reflected in the book, which will be out in early 2013.