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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Accidental Book Marketing

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Last weekend one of my stops at the annual Toronto Doors Open was the MZTV Museum of Television & Archive in the Zoomer radio complex.

So what does all this have to do with book marketing? Especially as it wasn’t even in the actual radio studio.

It was the accidental run-ins with someone I know and someone I don’t (but quickly did). I looked up from the exhibit and saw a familiar face from my gardening club. We looked at each other and started talking. She asked how I was and what I was doing. And so I said I write mystery books and have two in the Beyond series out now. I might have mentioned then about doing readings with other Crime Writers of Canada authors or maybe that came later.

Immediately she launched into a possible speaking engagement for me – not with the gardening club, although one story in Beyond the Tripping Point is set in a garden centre. My gardening friend also sometimes goes to a local Toronto Heritage Club, which meets once a week and is looking for speakers. It may be a bit of a stretch for mystery writing with novels set just north of Toronto (I did tell her where they were set) but there are possibilities for heritage to connect with mystery and maybe even my Beyond series. One is the location (which is fictitious but based on what’s there – I used to live there), so might be able to do a comparison fiction and reality heritage of the area. There is also the topic of the history of mystery fiction set in Toronto and written by Toronto authors, which could lead into my Beyond books. At her request, I gave her my business card which has photos of the two Beyond books on one side with the publisher’s name, and the flip side my headshot, contact info and my mission statement for all my writing and editing – “We make words sparkle.”

And with speaking engagements comes the possibility of selling books.

The other one was a chance encounter outside the Zoomer Complex with a lady who asked me if I knew who was in the photo in the window. Although I could name only two people, we started talking. She seemed fascinated and very respectful to be talking to a writer – something we writers often forget as we take our writing as second nature. We talked about mystery writing, my books, the radio personalities and shows on 96.3 classical radio and the tour we had both been on inside there. We continued our conversation on the bus. She is interested in buying my book at a bookstore and possibly going to one of the library readings I’m doing with CWC in June and July. I gave her my business card and we said the usual “nice to meet you” when I had to get off the bus at the subway station.

So, sometimes by keeping your mind open and attuned to marketing your books, but not pushing it, opportunities can pop up in unusual and unexpected places.

And for some excellent author etiquette for book promotion, read my friend and colleague Rosemary McCracken’s post on her blog Moving Target

https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/etiquette-on-the-book-front/.

Meantime, I’m preparing for those future readings and presentations. Check my website www.samcraw.com under Beyond Blood for my upcoming gigs.

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 – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo from Blue Denim Press. Click on the Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post.

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In praise of public libraries

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series available in e-copies from Blue Denim Press

Way back in the late 1980s, an editor at one of the community newspapers I wrote for used to give me assignments connected to the local libraries. He said when he thought of libraries, he thought of me.

In the past few years I have traded my journalism hat for writing mystery fiction. But what this former editor said is still true. I suspect his thoughts would apply to most writers – journalists, fiction, whatever they write.

Libraries seem to be growing – Toronto, Ontario, Canada just opened its 100th branch in the city’s east end. Although the library landscape has changed, writers and readers (the two often overlapping in the same soul), cannot live without their public library. Even if we don’t get off our duff and go inside a library as often as we used to, we do online research in library databases, download e-books to “borrow,” put holds on books (print and e-books) online, and check library websites for their events. Reminders of books coming due or holds available also arrive in our Inbox from the library. And we can read and comment on library blog postings or join online book clubs (Note: there are still in-library book clubs).

Library events will get us into the library. So will picking up print books on hold. And if you are an avid reader like me, once you are in the library, it’s like a candy store. You can’t just leave with what you came there to get. How many times have you stepped into a library to pick up one book on hold and found two or three more you just have to read? Many people don’t want to have to deal with online movies, etc. and prefer to watch a DVD. Your local library to the rescue. You can also borrow old movies, documentaries and the like on DVDs.

Public libraries are also getting into the self-publishing business. The Toronto Reference Library has the Asquith Press service for patrons who want to self-publish a book. See http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/using-the-library/computer-services/book-printing-service/

Don’t forget those knowledgeable librarians who can help you find obscure information in books, non-circulating reference material, online. etc., etc.

And those library events – many are workshops to teach patrons everything from computer basics to finance to writing. The latter is one way I (and other writers) connect to the librarians and library branches. For the past four and a half years I have been teaching writing workshops (fiction and memoir writing) at various Toronto library branches and I love doing so. Besides the librarians, I get to meet a lot of interesting writers and help them with their writing. Some may “follow” me (for want of a better word) to my writing critique group – the East End Writers’ Group, also held in a library branch and may come to my crime readings and presentations (with or without other Crime Writers of Canada members) at …you guessed it – library branches.

And that is a good way for us writers to connect with readers. So is getting your published book into libraries.

That’s the way it should be. You know one of the rules of writing (Rule No. ? – as Gibbs would say on NCIS) – if you are going to write, read in the genre you want to write in.

That is more than an old journalistic research trick.

I would like your comments on libraries. How do you connect with your library branch?

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 – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo from Blue Denim Press. Click on the Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post.

 

 

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Taming Time to write your novel

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Lately I’ve fallen into the writer’s trap of finding (or not finding) time to write my Beyond novel-in-progress. My characters – PI fraternal twins Dana Bowman and Bast Overture, the stuttering Detective-Sergeant Donald Fielding seem to be getting far away. Life, in too many forms, has gotten in the way. And this is not to my liking. So, it is time (pun intended) to go through an update of how to tame time (well try) so you can write.

First, two big words – delete and prioritize

  1. The “devils” in your life who intrude – can be family, friends, telemarketers, utilities and other people who mess things up for you, and house and property repairs. The list is endless. Decide who and what are important and when. Speak to family and friends about your writing situation but reiterate you will get back to them. Telemarketers – don’t answer the phone or door (for the in-person one). Utilities, etc., decide when you will deal with them.
  2. Emails – (and I’m guilty here) – decide what to answer and when. Set a timer if necessary.
  3. Decide what can be deleted from your life – use the word “no” a lot more. Better still, don’t sign up for something you are only mildly interested in. For me, that is one writer’s organization AGM (two hours is two-hours too much of my time). The Crime Writers of Canada AGM, however, is half that time and is followed by their annual banquet and Arthur Ellis Awards evening.
  4. Make your decisions on “delete and prioritize” on what is really important in your life – what works for your goals, particularly writing.
  5. For those with day jobs it can get even trickier, even when, like me, you work from home and client work takes up more time than you expected. For the latter, slot it in for specific times.
  6. If you are promoting another book via social media and/or in person – schedule a set time for the social media. In person may not be completely under your control for time and date, but factor it into your schedule.
  7. Draw up a flexible timetable – “flexible” because stuff happens. You just don’t want so much stuff happening you don’t have time to write.
  8. Re-acquaint yourself with your novel’s characters. You can be plotting in your mind as you go for a walk.
  9. And don’t forget to relax, to breathe and enjoy the day now that spring is here.

 

Dana, Bast, Donald, et al. I’m thinking of you and will be writing more in your novel tomorrow.

 

And anyone or anything that gets into the way of that will have to answer to the wrath of Sharon A. Crawford. Remember my current published mystery novel is titled Beyond Blood. And some events and people in my life who have really aggravated me have been fodder (fictionalized of course) for my short stories and novels.

 

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 – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo – there.

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile. If you buy a copy there, please do a review there.

 

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Authors helping authors

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

I have always tried to help other writers in whatever way I can – and I don’t just mean editing their writing or consulting for a fee. And this is so true for authors promoting their work – published and unpublished. We all have strengths and weaknesses here (and sometimes we don’t always know what they are at first).

Sometimes it is a good idea to mutually help each other – using our individual strengths. You know the old saying “two heads are better than one.”

Last evening I had a chat covering all this with another published fiction author (suspense romance) Karen Blake-Hall. When we met I had no idea that our conversation would lead to this mutual help to promote our books. Karen has a sales background and is willing to help me with using social media. Yes, I use some, but could do much more with social media and boy did, Karen have ideas.

On my side, as I admitted to her, I am better at the in-person promotion. A blogger once told me I am good at connecting people with what they want and need – in person and by email (All those business networking lunches, dinners, etc. in the past are paying off). And I am good at public (as in physically there) presentations and readings). Still need a little bit more promo slants there, though and Karen came up with something she does that would work for me, too. I also connected Karen with the TV and radio programs where I was interviewed.

I am glad to do so. For those of you who might have the idea that authors helping each other will interfere with their book promotion and sale results, think again. Think of a variation of the old saying “safety in numbers” – i.e., “more exposure and more fun in numbers.” Still don’t believe me? Read my guest blog post from March 9, 2015 on Shannon A. Thompson’s blog at http://shannonathompson.com/2015/03/09/author-and-reader-connection/

 

Often I help emerging authors –whether through writing workshops, my East End Writers’ Group, word of mouth, email, etc. And their thank you and getting some good, some success, out of what I have to offer gives me a good feeling.

I do believe that what you sow, you shall reap – in other words what goes around comes around.

It might not be right away, but it will happen. And good Karma is better than bad Karma. So why not work together?

Authors helping authors. It’s win/win.

And here is a link to Karen Blake-Hall’s website. Take a look and maybe some of her e-books will interest you. http://karenblake-hall.com/

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 – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo – there.

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile. If you buy a copy there, please do a review there.

 

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