Buy it from your favorite bookseller ….
at your favorite indie bookstore
or ask your librarian to order it!
I first read about the concept of “1,000 True Fans” a long time ago from someone in the music industry. The gist of it, for him, was that if he got 1,000 people to spend $100 every year buying his music, going to his concerts, ordering the t-shirts, or whatever, that would translate to $100,000. A pretty nice yearly income from his art.
I started thinking about this in terms of my writing. I make money on my books, but it’s not my primary source of income, so I defined my idea of success for me.
• I want to have FICTION CAN BE MURDER in every public library district in the United States.
• I want at least 50 Amazon and Goodreads reviews and ratings with at least a 4.0 average.
• And I want True Fans who are excited every time I have a new book or short story out.
So how does that happen?
If you like my writing (or if you just like me!), there are many things you can do to ensure I get to keep writing. (Publishers don’t like it when books don’t sell or when there’s no buzz.) Here are some suggestions. If you can see fit to do one or more of these things, you will have my undying gratitude and find yourself in True Fan territory.
• Pre-order FICTION CAN BE MURDER from your favorite bookseller before it launches in April from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or find an independent bookstore, and encourage your friends to do the same. When you pre-order, the book gets shipped to you the minute it’s released. The bigger the pre-orders, the higher the rank, the more likely it will get other buzz from Amazon or certain lists, etc. Buzz, buzz, buzz. It grows exponentially.
• Share info about my books on your social media. (Here’s the direct link to my Amazon page you can use.)
• Request that your public library carry FICTION CAN BE MURDER by Becky Clark. They’ll only need the ISBN 978-0-7387-5332-4. This is very important to me. I love libraries and I love the idea of one book being shared multiple times all over the country. Ask your friends to do the same at their library.
• Post photos of my book in the wild — in your hand or at the library or at a bookstore or something uber-creative that I can share. (Be sure to send me a copy!)
• Post Amazon and/or Goodreads reviews and ratings. Honest reviews influence readers and are very important to author rankings. Reviews don’t have to be long to be effective, just a couple of sentences work. Reviews are important all the time over the life of a book, but they’re especially important during the week of its release, April 8, 2018 in my case. Which is also why pre-ordering is so very important.
• Ask your book club to read FICTION CAN BE MURDER as one of their monthly selections and ask the members to post their reviews.
• If you’re on Goodreads, add FICTION CAN BE MURDER to their various lists. I’ve seen lots of lists where it would fit, for example — books that make you laugh, woman-authored books, humorous mysteries, beach reads-mystery, best of little-known authors, cozy mystery series-first book of a series, best cozy mystery series, best humorous books, and my favorite list … “If You Like Books by Janet Evanovich, You May also Like…” If FICTION CAN BE MURDER is already listed, then vote on it to raise it higher on the list.
So, those are a few things you can do to help me.
You have all the power.
Writing is a solitary endeavor, and one where it’s too easy to lose perspective. It’s so gratifying when people enjoy what I’ve done and I want to keep doing it as long as I can, so THANK YOU for indulging and encouraging me.
I’ve been asked to join a blog tour. Normally the phrase “blog tour” makes me run screaming from the room, rending my garments and foaming at the mouth, but not this time.
Why, you ask? Two reasons. First, because I was invited by DeAnna Knippling over at Wonderland Press. She knows stuff and I’m a little bit scared of her. Her latest release is Alice’s Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts, a serial set in a Victorian London in which the zombies have been civilized…mostly. It’s a historical dark fantasy about a little girl trapped in her society, and the man who tried to give her the key for getting the better of it.
The second reason I joined the blog tour was because this one was so easy. Most of the time blog tours require months of preparation, scads of PR and abstaining from alcohol for the duration. Or so I’ve been told.
But here, all I have to do is answer four little questions. The kicker? People actually want to know the answers to these! I know this because they’ve, you know, asked me.
1. What am I working on now?
I am about halfway through the first draft of the next Dunne Diehl Mystery, picking up where BANANA BAMBOOZLE left off. I don’t want to give too much away, but MARSHMALLOW MAYHEM involves a dead body, a winter road trip in a recalcitrant RV, edible marijuana, and an adorable, absolutely silent dog, who might actually get a couple chapters of her own. I have fun writing it and I hope people will have fun reading it.
I’m also working on some short story background vignettes, for lack of a pithier name. My characters Dan and Cassidy have a long history together and have found themselves in many hilarious situations. But I can’t put them all in the books, so I’m writing separate short pieces for certain escapades. For instance, in BAMBOOZLE I referenced a trip to Las Vegas. So many readers asked me what happened there, that I feel compelled to overlook the rule that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But you’ll only get these short adventures if you sign up for my mailing list.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Most cozy mysteries have an element of humor to them, but I’ve been told that BANANA BAMBOOZLE had more than its share of laugh-out-loud moments. I hope that’s true, but I’ve lost all perspective about that. I always think I’m freakin’ hilarious.
I tend to write what I like to read, and I love the cozy mystery genre. BAMBOOZLE was my first foray into writing one, however. I was coming off a spate of writing books for kids and a bunch of low-calorie cookbooks so I was itching for a change of pace. I also love funny books, but writing humor is difficult. I wanted to see if I could sustain it through an entire novel, rather than just a blog post or Facebook status update.
4. How does my writing process work?
I am an outliner. It’s not your 5th grade teacher’s outline, though. Ted Hardwick, my fab and funny co-writer, and I have conversations (many of them) so we know the broad strokes of the plot. We hammer out a synopsis from this, which is really just 2 or 3 pages of telling the story, as if we were writing a letter to a friend about something that had happened to us. No specifics, unless it’s germane to the plot — clues, characters, locations, snippet of dialogue. Then it gets transformed into an “outline.” I use quotes because it’s really just what has to happen in each chapter or scene to move the story to the end. No Roman numerals or subheads involved.
I like having a plan when I write because I always know exactly what to do the minute I pull up the draft. I never have moments where I look at the screen and think “Hummina, hummina, hummina. Where do I start?”
When I wrote BAMBOOZLE I had a trick of stopping every day in the middle of a sentence so I only had to read a couple of sentences and then — boom — I’m right back in it the next day. For MAYHEM, though, I’m trying something new. In my daily allotted writing time, I force myself to write an entire chapter. It’s a bit bare bones, but I want to get in the habit of writing faster so I can produce at least a book every year. Two would be even better. I love first drafts but hate — with the white-hot intensity of ten thousand suns — revisions. I’m better at adding purses and jewelry to the outfit of a story rather than pulling a thread and having the entire skirt unravel.
That’s a bit about my writing process. Share your process. I love hearing how other writers write and I hope you do too!