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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Marketing from both sides of the publishing fence

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

This evening Shane Joseph, the editor at my publisher’s (Blue Denim Press) and I are doing a presentation on marketing your fiction book. Two points of view – author and publisher – will be covered at the Beaches Branch of the Toronto public library system.

For those who can’t make it for obvious reasons – you don’t live anywhere near Toronto, Ontario Canada, I’m not exactly going to give a rundown of our content in this post. But, there are a few Marketing Your Fiction points I will mention.

Marketing your book – whether self-published or published by a trade publisher is hard work. You start way before your book is being published and you continue long after. It is a constant learning experience and I have found that learning how others market their books – whether through social media or through workshops or networking – can only help. And not just you and your book. For example, if you attend another author’s book launch, you can meet many new (to you) authors and do what authors like to do most (beside sell book copies) when in the same room – talk about writing and all that goes with it.

Author readings and presentations at cafes, pubs and libraries are another good way to see what is going on with other authors and their books and where you can fit in. Joining a writing organization that focuses on your writing genre is also helpful. For example Romance Writers and Crime Writers of Canada. Often joint presentations can be enlightening as you can again learn from each other.

And it’s not just other authors you can learn from. Don’t forget the publishers. Even if you go the self-publishing route, remember that publishers know what is going on out there in the publishing world and can provide information from their viewpoint.

Another trick I have learned is to attend talks, panels and the like where a publisher and/or a literary agent talk. Not just for their knowledge, but after the talk, you can go up to them, introduce yourself, make a positive point about their talk, and give them a soft pitch about your book – basically to find out if you could email them a book query. Sometimes the publisher will say to skip just that and send a few chapters to them, not the general submission email. The point here is you are no longer part of the slush pile. You have established a connection with them.You can start your query or cover letter with something along the lines of you and the publisher (or agent) talked at such-and-such a time and the go into your query.

The blurb for Shane’s and my presentation this evening reads as:

Marketing Your Fiction Book

Thursday, March 26, 2015

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Beaches Branch Toronto Public Library (Program Room)

2161 Queen Street East, Toronto

Join Sharon A. Crawford, author of the Beyond mystery series, and Shane Joseph from Blue Denim Press, for a lively presentation about marketing your fiction book. Sharon will discuss how the synchronicity of series characters and plot affects book marketing, while Shane will outline recent publishing innovations. No admission charge.

Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com including a link to a radio interview at http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/ Online TV interview from Liquid Lunch is at http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.

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When your fiction characters get inside your head

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Are your fiction characters trying to take over your mind? Do you seem to be losing yourself in their quirks and even their talk?

Two of the main characters from my Beyond mystery fiction series (Beyond the Tripping Point, 2012 and Beyond Blood, 2014, Blue Denim Press for both) are doing this. Dana Bowman, the PI mom of six to seven-year old-David (age depending on which book) and the stuttering Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding.

Sandra Kryzakos in her Liquid Lunch interview with me says I’m channeling my characters. She bases this on how I talk about them and how I read excerpts from the books. And to add more fuel to the channelling fire, when I told her about Detective Fielding, I started to stutter and said so.

“Now, she’s channeling,” she said. (Watch this thatchannel.com interview on You Tube at http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY)

Not the first time something like this has happened. Others hearing me read say I don’t read like I’m just reading but I put myself into the characters, into their heads.

Now, are Dana and Fielding getting back at me? Just kidding? Actually I welcome my characters getting into my head. Besides giving me an excuse for if and when I stumble over words, my characters are speaking to me. They give me ideas for what to write in my third Beyond book. They keep me in touch with what is happening in their lives and remind me of what is impossible. They also remind me they are distinct characters and not me.

Although I wonder about the latter. Especially when I find myself sometimes using “Dana’s big bag” to cart groceries and other purchases. For Dana this bag is her purse. To my credit I use another smaller bag as my purse. But just calling the bag “Dana’s bag,” says something. However, I still can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler and Dana is also an artist, sketching the people she interviews and incorporating the interview context into the drawing. And she drives a car and the only driving I can do is to drive people up a wall. She is also not a gardener and I am. Then there is the 25 or so year age difference. (Note: I’m the older gal here).

And of course, I don’t have a fraternal twin brother – don’t have any siblings.

So, I’ll let Dana, Detective Sergeant Fielding and whomever else I write about “invade” my mind. They have stories to tell and I need to tell their story, not mine, in the Beyond books.

Now, if I could only sort out this dream business. Dana sometimes dreams about the future (you have to read Beyond Blood to see that). I’m hoping my horrendous, sometime scary dreams, are not premonitions of my future. If so, it could be a bleak future.

Dana? What do you think?

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Maybe I’ll see you at a future gig. I post my reading and presentation gigs on the Beyond Blood page of my website www.samcraw.com. Keep checking back for updates.

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com including a link to a radio interview at http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.

And that Liquid Lunch interview link again is http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY

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Get a Room – Sharon blogs about unique author-reader experience

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

This week I did a guest blog post on Shannon A. Thompson’s very busy blog. Shannon’s blog focuses on the author-reader connection and that happened to me and three other Crime Writers of Canada authors when we recently did a presentation at the Beaches library branch in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’ll put the first few paragraphs of my post here. Then I’m connecting you over to Shannon’s blog. (I know; I know; lazy-way out but it gives you a chance to check out another writer’s blog.).

Get a Room – the Ultimate Author and Reader Connection

Readers and writers like to connect on Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs. Videos on YouTube give the reader some idea of the author’s persona. But they are not connecting physically. As the title of a song made famous by the late Peggy Lee (back in pre-online days) asks, “Is that all there is?”

But get an author in a “bricks and mortars” room with a group of readers and more can happen. Call it creative magic, call it real connection – whatever you wish, but it is like the icing on the cake.

Why else do authors still do readings and interviews in libraries, cafes, pubs, at book clubs, writing festivals and conferences? Sure, we authors want to sell books, but we want to meet our readers in the flesh. And when you do like me, partner up with authors from a writing organization, the atmosphere can escalate into a literary, or in my case, criminal high. No drugs needed.

As the crime fiction author of the Beyond mystery series (Beyond the Tripping Point, 2012 and Beyond Blood, 2014, Blue Denim Press) and a member of Crime Writers of Canada, I often “appear” with other crime writers to do readings and author interviews. A recent appearance at the Beaches Library Branch in Toronto, Canada, turned into an incredible evening.

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And now over to Shannon, who introduces me first and then posts my blog post.

http://shannonathompson.com/2015/03/09/author-and-reader-connection/

Happy reading and maybe I’ll see you at a future gig. I post my reading and presentation gigs on the Beyond Blood page of my website www.samcraw.com. There are more I have to post but I’m getting to them. Keep checking back.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

Author of the Beyond book series. See http://www.samcraw.com and http://www.bluedenimpress.com for more info. Book at top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.

To watch my interview on Liquid Lunch on thatchannel.com go to Go to http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY and enjoy.

 

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Kick-start writing your novel when it hits stall mode

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Has the novel you are writing hit stall mode?

Maybe you’ve been procrastinating? Maybe family and/or work stuff has taken up a lot of your time? Or maybe, like me, 2015 has been shoving unwanted and unanticipated problems at you.

To get back on track with writing your novel takes some major work on your part. What I am doing to get back on track with writing the next novel in my Beyond mystery series may not be your cup of tea, but for what it’s worth, here it is.

When I get hit with a lot of problems from “outside” as I call it – and that can be anything from weather-related property problems to cable TV problems to computer problems, I find that getting angry about it helps. I use that anger to get at whomever or whatever is causing the problem to fix it. Sometimes I am even nice about it. But I find anger combined with persistence, can help get the problem resolved.

That’s when a third party doesn’t have to be called in to fix the problem, but that’s another story.

As you can guess, all this steals my precious time, time I could be using writing my new mystery novel. So how am I getting back to that?

  1. I switched over to Research mode – I had some research I needed to do before I could get much further in the novel anyway. Research can be worked into a fragmented schedule at home or in transit (except when driving) – whether online or from print material.
  2. Go back to your novel outline – plot and characters. Chances are your mind is scattered with all your problems, so focusing on just where your novel is going (or not) and fixing that not only gets your mind off the problem temporarily, it helps you move forward with your novel. Because of the crappy winter weather conditions, I decided to arrive very early to teach a memoir writing workshop last week at a local library branch. I didn’t bring my laptop because I was carting enough books and handouts for the workshop. But I did bring a small print file containing some plot and character concerns. So, I sat in the library branch and reworked some of the outline. I figured out exactly why I wanted X character to be the murderer and also how to add more suspense and foreshadowing in the novel.
  3. Make an hour or two during your day when you can actually sit at your computer and do some more writing – and to hell with the problems. This is a good distraction and also moves your novel along.
  4. I also went back to the beginning to work in more suspense and foreshadowing, mainly connected to the murderer. Sometimes going back to the beginning and just reading it, not only refreshes your memory, it might also provide more ideas and you will find yourself making a few changes.

 

And the problem causers?

They better watch out. I don’t take kindly to having my life screwed up big time. Especially when it interferes with my writing. Sometimes I work these people, organizations, etc. into my fiction-writing – changing names and details of course. All fodder for the fiction.

 

See, you can have some fun as an author and also get some writing done, too.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

Author of the Beyond book series. See http://www.samcraw.com and http://www.bluedenimpress.com for more info. Book at top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.

To watch my interview on Liquid Lunch on thatchannel.com go to Go to http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY and enjoy

 

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