Thursday, July 27, 2023

Marketing for Indie Writers? Take a Leap of Faith . . .

Today has certainly been exciting! And you can take advantage of some 150 writers offering (with no strings at all) their cozy mystery books for free in three categories: Contemporary, paranormal, and historical -- including my own art crime mystery, The Seventh Tapestry.

What are you waiting for? You can go to Amazon direct for The Seventh Tapestry OR jump onto the Cozy Mystery Book Club Book Blast page to snag some freebies until midnight tonight.

You may already know how challenging marketing can be for a self-published indie writer (that's me). So when I found out about this opportunity from the Sisters in Crime Puget Sound (a regional group linked to the national SinC group that supports and encourages those who love mysteries), to list my cozy art crime mystery, I jumped right in. By the way, my personal Kindle freebie will run through July 29.

What did I anticipate from this Cozy Mystery free book blast that runs once a quarter? Maybe some downloads. Maybe some trickle through purchases or an increase in numbers of pages read. Perhaps a review or two. But most importantly, I'm hoping for new readers who will like my stories.

What did I do to support this Cozy Mystery blast? I set my book, The Seventh Tapestry, free for four days. Sent out a ton of e-mails, posted to Twitter and Facebook, and sent out a newsletter.

So how did I do? Truly, I wasn't sure what would happen. By this afternoon, I heard back from a few e-mails, which was so nice, and I sold maybe 4 books. But the exciting results? Some 1,191 people downloaded their free copy. Even if only a few people go on to read another book of mine on Kindle Unlimited or actually buy a copy, this is the biggest response I've ever gotten on any promotion. So, playing the numbers, if even 5% read any of my other books, that's an increase of 60 people. Perhaps some will go on to write a review, and maybe some will even sign up for my newsletter! 

So, what do you think? The ability to reach new readers is an amazing opportunity -- at least for cozy mystery writers. Perhaps this opportunity will motivate me to write the second art crime mystery sooner!

Happy reading, happy writing, and happy summer! We have a few days of respite here in Spokane, but the sun will be back out with temps in the 90s next week.  Stay cool!

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Everything's Heating Up . . .

 Today's high is 81F, and tomorrow, we head into the 90s. My sister lives in Tucson, too close to Phoenix and those record-breaking heat blasts. Sigh. Surprisingly, I find myself missing the snow, just a little!

What I'm reading. Just now, I'm reading Olga Godim's delightful Squirrel of Magic: Short Stories. And I want to learn much more of this young witch. Olga has that ability to bring adventure and a sense of innocence to life wth a slight paranormal twist. 

On the craft side, I'm diving into Paul Tomlinson's Mystery: How to Write Traditional & Cozy Whodunits. A former librarian, Tomlinson has produced an amazing list of 'how to write' books, along with some intriguing science fiction (Robot Wrecker, Bounty Hunger: Outlaws of the Galaxy). His website has more info and maybe some free short stories.

Today, I have a snippet for you from a story that may stay in the drawer for a long while. 

Last week, I was at a local writer's meeting. One of the writers told us about a woman he'd been helping with editing. She stopped writing her memoir because it was too intense. I understand that. 

A writing friend I admire always says, "Write what you love! Tell the stories you want to tell." Yes, some stories need to be told. We need to know and maybe help those who have suffered. We can also heal ourselves and others by telling stories of light.

So, dear blog readers, what do you think? Should this story be told?


    I unlocked the door between the two apartments and led the young girl clutching her four-month-old baby inside. “You’ll be safe here. Just stay one hour, and then . . . .” I pushed a slip of paper in her hand. “Go to this address. They’ll take care of you.”
    The young woman whimpered. “They’re going to come after us.”
    “No,” I smiled. “They’re gonna come after me. Not you.” I touched the baby’s cheek. “Just look ahead and make a new life for this little one. Promise me.”
    She looked around the apartment. “But someone lives here. They’re going to come home and find me.” Her lips trembled.
    “Nobody lives here. It’s a cover. This and next door. Both are under assumed names. Just do what I say, and you’ll be fine.”
    Her hand loosened on my arm. “Alright.”
    I checked the living room, tiny kitchen, and bedroom. “Rest and then go. Check the fridge and eat something. I’ll maybe see you again later.”
    She stared at me as if she were still back in that basement with the other women that Caleb and I had gotten out, after two months of undercover. She nodded slowly. “I’ll never forget you, Serena, or that man who helped us.”
    “I gotta go. Don’t worry about me. Think about this little one.” Touching the baby’s soft cheek one last time, I went back into the first apartment, locking the door behind me.
    But I was too late. A circle of bullets snapped into the door of the first apartment. One pinged the edge of my arm, and pain blossomed. I heard cursing as whoever was on the other side shoved the door, trying to break in. I ran into the bedroom, snapped the window open, and pushed through to the fire escape. Closing the window behind me, I raced up, knowing they’d be looking for me to escape going down. I puffed my way up three stories, stopping only once to catch my breath, grateful again I was wearing all black, not especially a good look for me, but useful now. I slipped only twice, because, of course, it would be raining, and a cold rain at that. Once on the roof, I opened my mic and updated Headquarters. “Need a safe way out. I’m on the roof.”
    Sirens sounded below, and I sighed with relief. We were safe. This time.

Blue Butterfly (Pixabay)

May you stay cool these coming weeks of summer!

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

IWSG July 5: Writing Inspiration? In your dreams . . .

 This month's Challenge Question from the Insecure Writer's Support Group had me smiling:

July 5 question - 99% of my story ideas come from dreams.

Where do yours predominantly come from?

The very first historical fiction novel I wrote, Standing Stones, came from a dream about mermaids off the coast of Northern Scotland  and morphed into a four-book family saga in the mid-1840s. My next series, inspired by our travels, kicked off The Seventh Tapestry, an art crimes mystery about a mysterious tapestry that began in Scotland with ties to Paris. 

Just two weeks ago, I was about 50% into drafting book 2 of this art crime mystery series, this time set in Egypt, when I had a dream.

My dream began with a woman on the run who finds herself in a small town, befriended by the local sheriff and his dog, Max.

Now, most of the time, I'm a slow writer, 250-400 words a day. But this story is flying off my keyboard. My working outline is complete with lists of possible scenes, and my character sketches are slowly building. I'm so entranced by this story that I already made the cover using images from Pixabay and templates from Book Brush.  Here's my latest version of the cover (the first cover is posted below).

All I can say about being inspired by dreams is that I'm grateful for the dream that brought me this story. Writing this story is simply fun. I'm learning more about the mystery genre and dogs, Golden Retrievers to be precise. And I can't wait to see where Max the dog will take me next!

May your dreams inspire YOUR writing!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a database resource site and support group for writers and authors. Featuring weekly guests and tips, a monthly blogfest gathering, a Facebook group, a book club, and thousands of links – all to benefit writers! 

JUST FOR YOU FROM IWSG: Fast Five Free Gift - Mobi / Epub / Pdf

The awesome co-hosts for the July 5 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, Gwen Gardner, Pat Garcia, and Natalie Aguirre!  With special thanks to Juneta Key for facilitating this month's post! 

Why not join in by visiting our co-hosts and checking out the amazing IWSG bloggers!

IWSG Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

IWSG Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

May summer be a good month for you -- for dreaming and writing!