Case Study - Book Launch for Novel

Step-by-Step Activities to Launch a Novel. This will be a lengthy post, following steps to plan and implement an actual book launch of a forthcoming novel – a lovely work by a first-time novelist. The diary combines standard release activities, along with other activities and outreach special to this book because of the content, genre, etc. I believe it could be useful for those planning to launch a book to see the process unfold as a sequential week-to-week diary. I’ll add detailed content once a week, along with an outline of coming activities. And I’m happy to answer your specific questions along the way.Read More →

How to write a great book review

I read a lot of website reviews of books by bloggers, and I have a few suggestions to share for those who want to write useful reviews. What is a useful review? It’s useful for the potential reader (who is wondering, Do I want to spend my precious time to read this or not?). It’s also useful to the book’s author (your review is well written and points to positive aspects – so is helpful to the author, who may wish to quote an excerpt from your piece). And it’s useful to you, the reviewer! As the review author, you want others to link toRead More →

Tea Ceremory

Now, let’s look at how to create good content on your website: posts that readers will want to read and share with others. There’s a clear set of reasons why you should maintain a blog. 1) You’re a writer. You have the skill to write engaging content. 2) Writing engaging content can impress key people: editors & agents if you’re pitching a manuscript; readers and reviewers if you’re promoting a book. 3) Your own website is the only place you control fully, over time, where you can present your ideas, yourself, and your literary products to the fullest. The challenge is to do this well and in a way that it won’t be a sinkhole of time and creative energy.Read More →

Musicians of Bremen fairytale

The great Ray Bradbury summed up the limitations of plot when he wrote, in Zen in the Art of Writing: Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when an action is through. That is all Plot ever should be. It is human desire let run, running, and reaching a goal. It cannot be mechanical. It can only be dynamic. – Ray Bradbury Writers take heed. The issue is not “plottingRead More →

Social Media Strategy

Connecting with influentials is a simple concept, yet may prove to be the most productive of your social-media efforts. Why? Let’s face it. You’re probably not the most popular or influential person on the Internet. How many followers do you have? How many will you have a year from now? If you’re starting from scratch (let’s say with 100–200 followers), you might hope to grow your fan base to 500–1,000 people in a 6–12 month span. Well worth doing. But for the first years, your greatest impact can come from working with influential people and organizations that already have a big fan base. Identify InfluentialRead More →

hobbit home

Creating Your Website: Your Home on the Web. The place to start your social-media strategy is on your website. This will be your home, your nexus. Bilbo Baggins had his hole in the ground in Hobbiton on Bagshot Row called Bag End. You have your website. No matter how far you roam, off to the far-off kingdoms of Facebook or Twitter, your website is the place you’ll return to after venturing There, and Back Again. It’s where you’ll hang your coat and store your dishes and relax in your comfy chair and smoke your pipe. It’s the place you control. You can have as manyRead More →

Not long ago, a writer emailed me to ask how to pick a good domain name for her author website. “Unfortunately,” she wrote, “my name is already taken and is actually hard to spell anyway.” She wanted advice. Good question! The question inspired me to look around at what some successful book authors were using for their website domain names. What is a Domain Name? To start, a domain name is the URL:; it goes in the browser address, and it’s what Google, Bing, etc. uses to send someone specifically to your site. (Currently, you don’t always need to include the www. part; itRead More →

I see posts that claim to list “great” award competitions for indie books. But they often contain mediocre contests, some of which I consider to be mostly profit-making ventures (and no, not for you) rather than serious award programs. I only respect and recommend a small number of indie book award contests. And I consciously avoid a batch of them. It’s hard to say that any award is “bad.” We all like awards. We all like praise, whether from the New York Times or from your mother. Or from an eccentric lady down the street. But if that eccentric neighbor decides to charge you $50Read More →

Fancy a bit of poisoned bakery? I’ve just finished editing and publishing (via Crickhollow Books, as a Crispin imprint edition) the paperback and Kindle versions of Cook the Books, by Oklahoma mystery writer Marion Moore Hill. Marion is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. I didn’t meet her when I spoke a year ago at OWFI, but she somehow heard of Crickhollow and reached out to us about picking up her Scrappy Librarian Mystery series. So I’m publishing #3, Cook the Books, and will also re-release books #1 and #2 (Bookmarked for Murder and Death BooksRead More →

Last week, I was taking a walk in the woods out in the Wisconsin countryside (on the grounds of the Cedar Valley Center, not far from the Theresa Marsh and the northern Kettle Moraine area). I was taking a break from the sessions of the novel-writing book camp I was teaching at (terrific experience, by the way). And encountered a badger. In many years of walking in the woods, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, it was the very first I’ve ever seen! (Although once or twice I’ve spotted what I suspected was a badger den, a distinctive eyebrow-shaped hole in the side of a hill.) AtRead More →