Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ready, Set, Action: Useful Websites for Mystery Writers!

Here is a list of a few of my favorite websites I use when writing a mystery: Includes Crime Scene Investigation resources, training, articles and links to forensic web pages. Comprehensive resource covering forensic identification. Articles related to crime scene investigations, physical evidence, death investigation, and DNA. The Art and Science of Criminal Investigation. Writer's Medical & Forensic Lab Professional Investigator's Magazine Every story need a little Romance Great Site

Just a few I use for research, happy writing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Book Sumission Success

Do your homework to cut down on rejections on your part. You should have gone through Writer's Market 2009, Jeff Herman's guide to book publishers, editors and agents, Preditors & Editors, Agent Query. Very important, always match the correct genre. It would would be a hugh mistake to send a romance to an agent/pubshier that only handles mysteries, but you won't believe how often this happens. Now the fun part let's all play are favorite childhood game, Simon Says, remember if you don't do what simon says you're out, only this time you'll get a cute little rejection letter for not listening. Agents and publishers are human too, they are overworked, have families and friends, and most of all if you've never been a New York office you would freak to know the stack of submissions really are piled to the ceiling on their desk. Yikes! Even with the perfect manuscript these things will make the best agent/publisher throw you manuscript in the slush pile.Take Note:Read the entire submission guideline for the agency you are sending too. Don't get cute and pull any tricks like color paper, going through three boxes till you get to the manuscript, get the idea.
1. Font: Always use 12pt Times New Roman/Courier
2. Use good quality paper, speaking of paper never use paper clips, staples, or fold paper. make sure it's clean, i.e. no coffee stains, or cigerette smears.
3. Use a lazer printer, if you don't have get it copied at Kinko's or any office supply store. Unless you want immediate death never sent a hand written, or copy where your printer has run out of ink getting lighter in the last few chapters. sudden death for sure.
4. Spacing, Typos, & Margins: Check the submission guidelines/call to confirm. No cute stuff follow the rules. Some companies now are having authors use only one space between words so check guidelines. I know this sounds like I'm beating a dead horse but I'm not. take special not if yu work on one computer say, and send it to another for rewrites, the back and forth tends to cause formatting issues, you are better off to stay on one computer. I see this with say your work is on an old computer with XP and transferred to a new computer with Window's Vista.
5. As I've written before, but worth repeating:Start in the first chapter in the middle of action, you should have action/heat on every page.Use Dialog, Show don't tellBacksory is a few sentnces anymore and it's not a backstory. Salt & Pepper the back story through the book, don't hit the reader with it all at once, they'll loose interest and the book will lose momentium.Conflict is king! use it, abuse it, and anything that does not move your story along cut it!Your ending should be as strong as your opening, don't wip out now, Nail it!
6. Run the spell check, but remember the word may be correct but the the right meaning. Use Explanation points, ..., dialects, slang, sparing. Remenber to use a good word mix, Watch you POV, your repretention one one word, watch for purple prose.
7. Rememer when writing the scene to sift the five senses through the character. What is the characrter feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, gives the scene a real feeling.
8. When writing blogs like these, write them first on word, then copy them onto the blog. You will be able to run spell check and see what you're writing. I was just politely blasted on another site for my typos in this article--never mind I was trying to give helpful advice. And don't write them after doing 3 twelve hour shifts back -back in the Emergency Room, LOL.
Hope these tips were helpful Happy Writing!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marketing Your Novel with Success!

Alrighty then, your book has been published--Great! Now the hard work really starts, you need to know it's up to you to promote it. I know some of you are working with a large publishing house and think your covered. Well take off your rose colored glasses. Yes, the big houses will do some promo work, but it's not like it use to be, with budget and staff cuts all around, you can't sit back and hope magic happens. If you don't know this, take note, publishers and agents you will deal with from now on are concerned with "The Numbers." How many copies did you sell? You made be a kick A writer, but it's the numbers that will keep you in the game. Some writers have even went with a pen name to start over so the powers that be don't get blind sided by the poor numbers they recieved on their last book.

First, you need to get your face and name out there. Get a website, this is a must. If you don't know how to built one get professional help. Picking a webmaster can be tricky like everything else some are out to take your money and give you a crappy site. I use You can check out his work on my site at

Set up your author profile on Myspace, Facebook, Blog Spot, Authors Den, Crimespace, refers to my website for more of these links. After you get your blogs going write and submit articles related to writing, add your url to search engines like Google, Yahoo, might take a week or so before they crawl to top ranking.
Consider doing guest blogging or blog tours, start with your contact list, most other authors will be glad to have you as a guest on their blog. Don't forget your bussiness cards, book markers, book posters, post cards you should always carry your cards with you. Vista print offers free deals on several products you just pay S&H.

A note on Book Signings- set them up at least a month in advance. When you are about 3 weeks from the date, (very important remember this) confirm they have no problems ordering your book and confirm that they have ordered it. Book stores usually order 20-30 copies. I make sure I have an extra twenty with me. You don't want to show up for the signing and not have books! Can you say disaster. Most books stores don't think signings sell books so they don't do much in way of promotion. Take your book or a PDF file to a office supply store and have them make up a simple color poster of the front cover of your book on a board. cost about $5-7 dollars depending on the size you order. I also take a camping table with me, in case they don't have a table or it's too small. Set up your books, posters, flyers, cards on the table. I also have a dish with suckers and chocolate kisses, to draw the customer to the table. If you can, ask the book store if you can place one of your poster in their store window with dates of your signing a week or so prior to the event. Remember to place your table at the store's entry so you see customers as they enter. Whatever you do don't just sit there, nows not the time to be shy. you don't have to jump them, but greet the customers as the come in, tell them your the author and mention your book. if they seem interested pitch your book in 20 secs.

Press Releases are another great way to market your book, send them to book stores, independent book stores, newspapers, libraries, the college you graduated get the idea. If you don't know how to write a sell sheet/press release I will be posting a sample one.
Sign up for book conferences, do signings, network. Join writers forums, and writers organizations.
Theses are just a few of my suggestions for affortable book promotion, I hope these tips were helpful to you...