Saturday, April 27, 2013

Quick Promotion Via Twitter

A writing friend recently said that she did not see that Twitter was at all useful in promoting a new book. She sent a tweet noting where to find the book on Amazon and BN, and she didn't see any bump in sales at all.

There is no reason that she should.

People sometimes think of Twitter as they would their email inbox, believing that the 1,000 (or even 20) people who follow them will sign onto Twitter and see something a fellow tweeter posted a few hours ago. Not realistic. In the time it takes you to push the tweet tab there will be 10 or 20 new tweets that flash through your line of vision. Did you read them? Not likely.

Think of Twitter as the chance to "speed promote" several times a day, for perhaps five minutes each time. If you send a bunch of Tweets a couple of times a day, at least, you will randomly reach a certain number of people--the number varies with how you address the tweet. Who are these people? They are likely the folks who have just signed onto Twitter as your Tweet appears.

To tweet two or three times a day, you need two things:  a standard message or set of messages, and a list of tweet addresses or hash tags.

Create five or ten tweets that promote an individual book or series. Vary them a bit, which is not hard to do. You can't say all you want about a book in 140 characters. Here are three I use to promote Any Port in a Storm, the fourth book in the Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series.

#series  Fun Cozy. Any Port in a Storm. Who knew Talk Like a Pirate Day could lead to murder? www.amazon.com/dp/B0098CF7RC

#cozy Mystry-humor, friends & occasional murder in a NJ beach town. "Any Port in a Storm." www.amazon.com/dp/B0098CF7RC

#nook Now available for Nook, Any Port in a Storm, humorous mystery at New Jersey shore. Friends, fun & murder. www.barnesandnoble.com/w/any-port-in-a-storm-elaine-orr/1112947692

The number sign and word that adjoins it are hashtags. That means there are people who have associated themselves with this concept. If you like cozy mysteries, you will have 'joined' the hashtag cozy. If you have a Nook, you'll want to get tweets that start with #nook.

There are hundreds, sometimes thousands of people who associate themselves with some hashtags. Popular ones to use when you do a free book via Amazon's KDP Select are #freekindle and #kindlefree.

Once you develop your list of hash tags and a number of cogent tweets you can send 10 tweets in about two minutes. Twitter does not want you to repeat the same message many times, so you will need to vary them a bit.

At the moment, I have coupons for free books at Smashwords, so I rotate through the books in the Jolie Gentil series with some standard tweets and hashtags. For example:

#bookmarketing Free--Talk Like a Pirate Day and mystery-humor in a NJ beach town. "Any Port in a Storm." Coupon TM59W www.smashwords.com/books/view/294045.

It takes awhile to create your list and tweets, but it's worth the initial effort. My next post will contain a list of hashtags I find useful, as well as individual addresses of people who say they will retweet information about books.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Giveaway on Goodreads

This is the first time I've done a Goodreads Giveawy. Five copies of Trouble on the Doorstep are available and will be mailed soon after the April 24 end of the giveaway. Reviews have been very positive.

Orr's characters are engaging and have never disappointed on the interesting situations they manage to get themselves into. There's something for everyone in these stories- plenty of mystery and intrigue, loyal friendships and a spark of romance--and it's fun to reacquaint with the old friends from volumes 1-4. I'd love to see more stories from this series!  luv2read on Amazon

Another fun mystery from Elaine Orr. I love the way Jolie gets herself caught up in murder when she tries hard not to. Scoobie cracks me up. Colorado Pie on Amazon

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Mystery of Mysteries

There are many sources of advice for those who write or want to write a mystery. I am not about to offer any. I have published several cozy mysteries and written others that will never make it that far, but there is always more for me to learn.

Once you write, you learn as much by reading others as studying books. I recently finished China Trade by S.J. Rozan. It is one of the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series, which is set in New York City. Lydia has been hired to trace porcelain that was stolen from a museum near Chinatown. Rozan deftly creates a story of Chinese gangs, art collection, and sibling friction that takes more turns than a mountain road. Rozan's books are often a good study in how to weave a distinct culture into a plot, and there is a lot of humorous dialogue.

Tana French imbeds Irish customs in her Dublin Murder Squad mysteries. French's stories take a slower pace than Rozan's, and there is a lot more internal dialogue. I've read In The Woods and The Likeness, which are the first two in the series. Each has some of the same characters, but the first is from Rob's point of view and the second from Cassie's--each a detective, each very different from the other. If you want a thriller, these books are not for you, but they will especially appeal to someone who wants a more 'literary' mystery.

Back to learning. One book that is a useful overview for mystery writers is Writing Murder, an anthology by fifteen authors with Midwestern roots. Anthologies are meant to be a mixed bag, but not all pull the pieces together as well as this one, which was edited by S.M. Harding and published by the Writers' Center of Indiana.

I am piecing together ideas for the sixth book in the Jolie Gentil series, so I am especially conscious of learning from good writers. Fortunately, there are many from whom to choose.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fun with Audio Books

Audible ACX recently published Appraisal for Murder as an audio book, and Biding Time should be out in a few days. This has given me the opportunity to work with some talented readers, Paula Faye Leinweber for Appraisal and James Fouhey for Biding Time.

It is humbling to have talented artists who are willing to make an investment in my work. Generally, they make money only as the audio books sell. They invest a tremendous amount of time (and sometimes studio fees) as they make the recordings.

Paula will soon be recording additional books in the Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series. Keep your ears open!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Books and Choices

There are so many choices when it comes to books. What to read next? Borrow or buy? Paper version or e-reader?

I appreciate that so many people have thought about questions such as these and decided to buy Trouble on the Doorstep, which came out March 19th. It has been in the top five for cozy mysteries on Amazon since a few days after it came out, and it's so much fun to hear from people who have enjoyed it. I keep pinching myself.

There are many book choices in my life at the moment, since we are preparing to move to Springfield, Illinois. What to keep and what to give away? And of course the local Friends of the Library had one of their quarterly sales recently, so they were no help.

I used to move all my books, but about ten years ago I forced myself to consider what I might reread and what might just sit on a shelf until I gave it away. Now I keep books by my friends, books I most enjoyed, and those that I may refer to as I write. It's tough.

Of course, if I end up with empty shelves when we unpack...