Tag Archives: Book Launch

More Marketing your book mayhem

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Marketing your fiction book (or any book) can be unpredictable. You never know what will work. Fortunately there are many options and I am amazed at what individual authors come up with. It may all seem like a maze of unchartered territory, hence the word “mayhem.”

Here are a few tactics I’ve picked up from talking to other authors about how they market.

Some authors go into the bookstore(s) where their book is for sale and they switch the book from spine out to front of book out, sometimes even moving the book to the big display table at the front of the store.

Then there are those big ads in public transit – in subways, buses and streetcars. Each public transportation system has their own set-up and if you want to go this route, you need to talk to them. Word of warning. Once your ad’s time period is up, they discard your posters – you might want to make arrangements to pick them up so you can use them elsewhere. If your publisher has already printed posters, you could use some of those. Not enough? Get an e-copy of the poster and head to your local Staples, UPS store or the like to get copies made. No posters? If your publisher won’t design one or you are self-published, see if any of your friends or family can design your poster or do a work trade with a designer and then continue as mentioned above.

I’ve found a book launch can do wonders for book sales. You don’t need to book an expensive place that charges a large fee for the privilege of letting you have your launch there. I know authors who have had successful book launches in their homes (it is work, but a book launch anywhere requires work as well – from PR to posters). Other authors who belong to a literary club can rent a room at a discount. Some pubs have separate rooms where you can launch your book and they won’t charge as long as you can guarantee to fill the place with patrons who will buy their food and drink. Cafes usually don’t charge either. And then there are bookstores, but they will want to handle sales and take their cut – anywhere from 30% to 60%. But your book is in the bookstore.

My publisher books a bistro, café or pub and he does pay a fee. But he charges an admission to anyone coming (except the authors whose books are being launched, any guest authors reading and any guests of the authors launching who are on the complimentary book list). Guests paying an admission are entitled to one book published by my publisher – the guest’s choice – and the cost is below the book’s regular price.

Self-published authors can also borrow a page from trade publishers’ book launches – launch books by more than one author at a time.

Another author looks at what areas in subject matter her books cover and proceeds accordingly to email information about her books to universities and colleges around the world. This is not a “buy my book” email but an information one. The universities and colleges can do what they like with her books. And they have. Her books appear on university curriculum world-wideand in college bookstores. As she says, you never know when someone doing a PhD will buy your book for their dissertation.

And don’t forget social media.

I’ve found getting the word out about your book works best when you combine the in-person with online.

Don’t forget to brand you and your book. And I’m not referring to branding cows. Get one good headshot of you taken and use it for all you PR. Mine is at the top of this blog (and my website, etc. etc.). With smartphones, digital cameras and iPads, it’s not expensive. (My son took my photo with his iPad.) You want people to remember that face. Also a good small and large jpeg of your book cover. And brand your books. My mystery fiction is branded as the Beyond book series and each book begins with the word “Beyond.”

These are just a few marketing techniques.

And now I better get back to my own marketing.



Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at and including a link to a radio interview at Online TV interview from Liquid Lunch is at

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


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Book Launch Beyond Blood Musings

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

This country’s crazy in terms of fame and what people think it means. They expect a writer to be something between a Hollywood starlet and the village idiot.

  • Kent Haruf

Beyond Blood and Dead Wrong received a big send-off last Sunday October 19 at our mutual book launch at Paintbox Bistro in Toronto, Canada. It was a lot of work – for my publisher Blue Denim Press to set it all up and for my author colleague Klaus Jakelski and I to invite (and persuade) people to show up. The two guest authors reading – Rosemary McCracken (author of the Pat Tierney mysteries and Nate Hendley (true crime author who writes about the baddies and Stephen Truscott also were a draw. See the Blue Denim Press website for photos.

But there are stories behind a book launch – the before, during and after and maybe some lessons to be learned, especially as this was my second book launch.

Not everyone invited will come. I emailed out around 200 invitations but didn’t expect that many to attend – they would have been out on the street if they had. One thing that bugged me at my first launch two years ago and again this go-round is people not letting you know if they can attend or not, but more so if they say they are coming and then don’t show up – unless they have emailed at the last minute that they can’t because of whatever. The last is acceptable. Things happen.

The upside is people invited showing up unexpectedly.

This time round none of my cousins could make it, but my son, Martin and his girlfriend, Juni (bless them) did. I was thrilled when they walked in and Martin handed me a big bouquet of flowers. I was determined to keep it close and when I left it at the restaurant where we ate after the launch, I got off the bus (one stop after boarding) and raced back to the restaurant to collect it. If I hadn’t have done that I would be so upset. How did I miss grabbing it? I guess my mind and hands couldn’t take in more than a big shoulder bag, purse and doggie bag of leftover dinner. I also had stood the bouquet up on the wall behind where I sat to keep it safe. Safe from whom? Me?

I had also tried to get plenty of sleep the nights before so I could avoid being in a daze like the previous book launch. The enough sleep part didn’t work out but no daze. My wits were in place and I made a point of moving around, jumping up from where I was sitting to talk to everyone who came to the launch.

The readings went well, although I stumbled up the stairs and Sarah the publisher had to grab me. Note: I was not drunk. Hadn’t had anything stronger than water to drink. But my very short intro to Beyond Blood and the short excerpt I read went very well. One of my writing colleagues says I read like audio. True, I channel my characters as I read and got the chance to do that at the end of the launch presentations when Klaus and I did a short humorous skit where my main character PI Dana Bowman interviews his main character Dr. Peter Martins. Klaus was lucky as he could appear in his dress suit. I had to alter my appearance. I have long brown-grey hair and wear glasses. Dana has short black hair and doesn’t wear glasses. At least we are both short in height.

I pulled my hair into a ponytail and shoved it under a cap. The glasses went and I buttoned up my sweater and made it look like a sweat shirt – one of Dana’s wardrobe items. I kept my black slacks and black shoes but carried that big shoulder bag mentioned earlier and a sketch pad. Dana sketches while interviewing people. I can’t draw to save my life.

But I could see without the glasses and didn’t trip going up or down the stage stairs this time.

Afterwards the spontaneous dinner arrangements got a little hectic. Paintbox Bistro was closing for the day, so we decided on a Thai restaurant nearby. Shane and Sarah from Blue Denim Press were packing up everything and going to drive to meet us there. Another couple of friends, Sheila and Rod drove. My friend Bob, Martin, Juni and I walked there.

The restaurant was closed on Sundays. We made another choice. But couldn’t text Shane or Sarah to let them know because I didn’t bring their cell phone numbers with me. So the frantic activity began with Martin rushing back to Paintbox and texting Juni back that it was closed and no one was there. Meantime Sheila and Rob had arrived. So when Martin returned we devised a plan. Sheila and Rob would drive to the other restaurant; Bob wanted to walk, and Martin, Juni and I would wait outside the closed restaurant for Shane and Sarah. We waited and waited. Then Juni and I walked to the new restaurant and Martin waited.

Bob, Sheila and Rob were seated in the restaurant when we arrived. A couple of minutes later the other three walked in.

Really, my organization skills are better than this. They have to be because the book launch is only a part of promoting your book.

And more on that in future posts. Meantime click on my book cover above – it will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at

And check my website – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.


Sharon A. Crawford


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Come to Sharon A Crawford’s Book Launch Sunday Oct.19

Sharon A Crawford author of the short story collection Beyond Blood published by Blue Denim Press

Sharon A Crawford author of Beyond Blood published by Blue Denim Press

Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.
– Nancy Kress


Dana is scurrying around The Attic Agency Office when Bast walks into the room.

Bast: What are you doing?

Dana: Getting ready for the big launch.

Bast: Our agency opening reception. I thought all was…

Dana: No, no, not that. Sharon A. Crawford’s book launch. You know the author who created us?

Bast: Of course. That is coming up already?

Dana: Yes, this Sunday. October 19. We have to get the word out Bast about her book Beyond Blood.

Bast: You mean before our agency opening?

Dana: Yes, and Sharon’s book launch has to happen first so that Beyond Blood can happen.

Bast: You mean our actual launch, the kidn…

Dana: Sh. Bast, don’t give it all away. People have to come to the book launch and buy a copy of Beyond Blood to find out what happens.

Bast: Right. And we should also mention what else is happening at the Book Launch.

Dana: Yes. The book launch is also for another first time mystery novelist, Klaus Jakelski’s book Dead Wrong. It’s a medical mystery.

Bast: Yes. And Klaus is a medical doctor in Sudbury, Ontario.

Dana: And Sharon, like you is a former journalist, although she covered health as well as some crime stories.

Bast: Sharon is also short like you. In fact, she has a couple of inches on you.

Dana: Bast. Leave my height out of it.

Bast (chuckling): Okay, if you wish.

Dana: What I wish is to find that poster that Blue Denim Press, Sharon’s and Klaus’s publisher, had printed. Have you seen it?

Bast: Yes, right here on my desk.

Dana and Bast grab the poster, hold it up and together announce:

Blue Murder with Blue Denim Press:

Join in the murderous mayhem at the launch of two debut mystery novels:

Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford

Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski

More mayhem provided by guest readers Rosemary McCracken and Nate Hendley

Launch presented by Blue Denim Press.

Mayhem provided by all.

Location:     Paintbox Bistro

555 Dundas Street East (at Parliament St.) Toronto (parking inside building), Ontario

Time and Date: 3 p.m., Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bring a guest or two if you wish.

There is an entrance cost of $15. per person. That entitles you to a copy of a Blue Denim Press book-. Your guest(s) can choose another book published by Blue Denim Press. No charge for children 16 and under.

See you there.


Dana Bowman

Bast Overture


Sharon A. Crawford

And check out Sharon A. Crawford’s Facebook author page

Linked In profile

Sharon A. Crawford’s website and click on Beyond Blood for all the details of Sharon’s gigs.

And visit Sharon’s publisher Blue Denim Press at to see that poster.


Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press


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Beyond Blood’s twin PIs receive ominous phone calls

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.

  • Nancy Kress


Dana speaking into her cell: What do you want?

Voice on the other end: Hello to you too. Just want to touch base and see how you are doing.

Dana: Right, after three years. What about David?

Bast speaking into his cell: Hello. Yes. Who is this?

Muffled voice on the other end: Someone from your past to tell you I will be at your detective agency opening this coming Friday.

Bast: It is an investigative agency. We’re in Canada.

Muffled voice: I know that.

Bast: Who are you? Identify yourself.

Muffled voice: You don’t need to know now who I am. Expect me at your investigative agency opening.


Bast: He hung up.

Dana, looking over at her brother: Who was it?

Bast shrugs his shoulders: I don’t know. He disguised his voice.

Dana: Maybe it’s a she.

Bast: No, I’ll bet my interest in the business that it’s a man. Just don’t know who. And who are you talking to?

Dana, covering up her cell: Ron, my ex.

Bast: That jerk. What does he want?

Dana: Don’t know and don’t care. I’m just letting him ramble.

Bast: Is that wise?

Dana: He didn’t even ask about his son? He leaves us on our own and…wait.

Ron: … so that’s why I’m late with the support payments.

Dana: So, what’s new? You are always late – when you send them.

Ron: Now listen here.

Dana: No, you listen. I want all the support payments you owe me up to now and I want them here before the end of this month. Do you hear?

Ron: I hear but I just told you why I’m late this month. Weren’t you listening?

Dana: If it were just this month, I might listen and give you some leeway. But it is always this way, excuse after excuse.

Dana hits the off button on her cell and starts swearing.

Bast: Hold on Dana. Take a deep breath. It’s just pre-opening jitters.

Dana: Yes, but look at who has been here – in person or by phone. I don’t trust Lois or Ray Chalmers as far as the end of my desk. Debbie looks like a ghost and now we have Ron and some unknown muffled voice. Methinks the opening will not go well.

Bast: We’ll just have to hope for the best. And stay calm. Look why don’t we focus on something else.

Dana: Like what?

Bast: What about the author of our novel Beyond Blood? She has a big book launch coming up soon.

Dana: Very well. Tell me more about it.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where Dana and Bast provide details about the Beyond Blood book launch with a unique twist.

Meantime check out my books. The book cover of Beyond Blood at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile. Be the first to review Beyond Blood.

For those of us with a Kobo, here is that link for the e-pub version. And check out my updated web page at and click on Beyond Blood. Scroll down to Sharon A’s Gigs to see where I will be appearing with Beyond Blood.



Sharon A. Crawford


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They’re back – PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture in Beyond Blood

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Ideally, I like to integrate the human issues into the suspense story itself.

  • Jeffery Deaver


As the book launch for my prequel mystery novel Beyond Blood is gearing up for October 19, 2014, Dana Bowman and her fraternal twin Bast Overture are back here on my blog post. So are some of the other characters carried over from their four linked short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point. The time is August 1998 and the scenarios coming up now and the next few weeks are supplements to Beyond Blood.

In this session, Dana and Bast are mulling over the opening of their Attic Investigative Agency upstairs in their house, when… well, you’ll have to read on here to see what happens.

Dana enters the Attic Investigative office where Bast is hunched over his computer.

Dana: Still sending out invitations for our open house reception? Or, do we already have some business?

Bast: No just emailing for some more publicity.

Dana (frowning): That’s what I’m concerned about.

Bast: Publicity? Thurston may be a large town but not everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Have to get the word out to get business.

Dana: Yes, I know and that’s what I mean. I really want to do this but I’m still having concerns about our location.

Bast: Dana, we’ve been over this before many times. We are centrally located, a few blocks in from Main St. in downtown Thurston. And having the business in our home keeps us close to David.

Dana: That’s it – close to David. He is a six-year old and I’m still not sure if the top floor of the house he lives in is safe for him. We will be dealing with criminal cases, probably interviewing some shady characters, and…

Bast (swings around to face his sister): Whoa! Hold on there Dana. The office is separate upstairs with a closed door. David will be downstairs or outside with one of us or Debbie when she comes over to babysit. Sometimes she’ll take him to her apartment, as she does now. And David will be in school full days starting next month.

Dana: I suppose. But I keep getting this funny feeling in my gut.

Bast: You’re just hungry. You need to eat more. You’re

Dana and Bast: too skinny.

Dana: Let’s leave my weight out of it.

Bast: You are under 100 pounds.

Dana: I’m also under 5 feet short. No, food won’t remove that gut feeling.

Bast: We have an alarm for the office.

Dana: Yeah, but you haven’t tested it yet have you?

Bast: No. All right. I’ll do it now.

Bast goes over to the alarm, sets it, leaves the office, and returns.

The sounds of silence fills the office air.

Dana: See what I mean.

Bast: All right. All right. I’ll call the alarm company.

He has just done so when loud footsteps are heard on the stairs and two figures rush into the office.

The sound of the alarm vibrates inside the office. Both Dana and Bast jump up.

Dana: What are you two doing here?


Stay tuned for next Thursday’s blog post to find out just who did rush into the room and why.

Meantime check out my books. The book at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile.

For those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. And check out my updated web page at and click on Beyond Blood. Still more updates on my reading gigs to be added as I get them.


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Beyond Blood shows up in print


Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.

~ Charles Caleb Colton


My publisher just delivered my print copy of Beyond Blood and it is bloody good – lots of red on the cover, better than the icon here.

Beyond Blood had a long journey from inception to print. The original story was first conceived in the late 1990s. I researched, wrote, rewrote, rewrote (many times),

Think again, Sharon A.

Sure, one publisher asked for the full manuscript and read it – but rejected it. So did several other publishers who looked at only one to three chapters.

Into the drawer. Hide it on my computer.

Until my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point was published by Blue Denim Press in fall 2012. Just before that the editor at BDP, Shane and I were talking about a series and I mentioned the closet novel. He was interested in looking at it.

So the big rewrite began. I started working from a printed copy because that is easiest for me to grasp the whole story and scribble notes. Not that I looked at them all when doing the rewrites. Something about putting it down on paper ingrained the changes in my mind. And when I rewrote, the ideas expanded.

I thought it was ready for Blue Denim Press. Not quite. But they were willing for me to have another go. So I did with Shane’s suggestions and fine-tuned it some more. Then I sent it back.

Not quite yet – but they were accepting it. I just needed to do some more rewriting. So, with Shane’s suggestions (and some more ideas of my own that they spawned), I got back to work rewriting. Even hired a freelance editor to proofread it and the author who wrote the back page review even took it upon herself to comment in a few places. So more changes were made.

After a bit more to-ing and fro-ing of questions and comments between Shane and I the bloody manuscript was ready. And I’m not swearing – remember, the novel’s title is Beyond Blood. And that was my original title.

It’s taken 17 years, but Beyond Blood has come to fruition.

So all you “closet” novelists, keep writing and rewriting. Keep persisting. Get feedback.

Don’t give up.

For a peak at what Beyond Blood is about – go to Check out the flyer for information on the book launch October 19 – and if you are in the southern Ontario Canada area, come to the book launch.

And stay tuned – the fraternal twin PIs from the Beyond books – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture will be back here starting in next week’s post.

The book at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile.

For those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. And check out my updated web page at and click on Beyond Blood. Still more updates on my reading gigs to be added as I get them.



Sharon A. Crawford


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Beyond Blood my mystery novel debuts amid promo frenzy

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.

  • Nicholas Sparks



My first mystery novel Beyond Blood is making its debut in the e-copies on and Kobo now – early. I am still frantically doing all the pre-book launch PR and wishing I had a clone or astral body to do some of the work.

Not that I mind – I love doing the PR but my two-week holiday earlier this month probably wasn’t a good idea time-wise. However, I did do some promo during my vacation– lining up possible reading gigs for Beyond Blood in southwestern Ontario and telling my cousins – “you’ll get an invite for the book launch once the details are finalized.”

Well, after all the other promo that comes before is done. And yes, I do have a marketing plan. Finding the time to do all that is on it for pre-book launch is the challenge. Too much else going on but I am trying to prioritize. Whatever can wait goes on hold on the back burner. That includes answering some email and even some client work. For the latter I am focusing on one editing client’s manuscript evaluation because the deadline is the end of next week.

But I am so happy that my fraternal twin characters – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture are back. Some of you may remember them from the four linked stories in Beyond the Tripping Point. Or from the series of Dana interviews on this blog a few months ago. Beyond Blood’s story is actually the prequel to the four linked stories.

Watch for Dana and Bast. They will be returning here in these blog posts soon.

Meantime, check out the book. The book at the top of this blog post links to and for those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. And when I (finally) get my amazon profile and web page updated I’ll give you the links to them.

Print version of Beyond Blood is coming out soon.



Sharon A. Crawford


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Lessons learned from the actual book launch

Sharon A. Crawford reads at the book launch of Beyond the Tripping Point

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

~ Joseph Pulitzer

The book launch for my debut short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point has happened.and I’m still going around in overwhelm. First off it went well – we filled the backroom of The Rivoli and everyone had a good time. The Rivoli want my publisher and his authors and the entertainment (Sunny and Shane) back next year. So, my publisher is happy.

But I learned a few things from the experience and I’m passing them along for anyone out there organizing and experiencing their first book launch. Some of the points also are pertinent for doing public reading.

First I’d like to state that I was in a state of shock and operated on automatic pilot throughout the three hours. Not from nervousness, not from the time change overnight to eastern standard time, and not even my always time-strapped life. It was a phone call from a friend earlier that morning. And if you want to find out about that you will have to read my other blog’s post this week at

Now on to lessons learned.

When you are on stage at a club or pub, the lights may be too good – you can see what you are reading but you can’t see beyond the lights into the audience. You have a bright-light blockage. I like to connect to my audience when I read.

The next day (and thank you Shane for waiting until the next day) the editor at my publisher’s said I had read too long with the second and last reading. For one story, I had attempted to combine reading story excerpts with filling in a few storyline gaps. My editor said he saw a few people fidgeting. (I blame this one on being in shock/autopilot as I did the practice for this at home after the phone call). However, I am taking my editor’s advice for next readings. So time yourself to the second when you practice and when onstage reading, check your watch at the beginning and glance at it a few minutes later.

Mingle more with your guests. I did a lot of mingling, going around to tables chatting with my guests during the first part of the meet and greet and signing books. Then I sat down with my son and his girlfriend to talk to them. But I invited some friends to the table and also got up a few times to talk to others. I stayed put after that, except to go onstage to read. My police consultant came up to the table just before the music started so we didn’t have time to say much. I can’t carry on a conversation over performances on stage and don’t like to talk when authors are reading. After all the readings, friends and colleagues came up to say “hello” and for me to sign their copy of my book. But I wished I could have talked to them all more. I didn’t even see my cousins from out of town until afterwards – I joined them then. My son said that now I know how it is with him when one of his bands has a CD launch. I know that people do come in late and have to leave early and that can’t be helped. One of my friends later told me she would have liked a longer mingling session.

And connected to my other blog’s post – don’t try to arrange transportation, including car pools, for anyone coming to the launch. Just give them the location and directions there.

It also helps if you get enough sleep, which I hadn’t and still haven’t lately.

Besides the photo at the top, you can go to In the audience photo, the fellow who looks like he is napping is my son. I’m not there because I’m on stage.

And if you click on my book photo below, it takes you to Amazon.

Next week back to more of the ins and outs of writing fiction with brief information about my upcoming readings, etc.


Sharon A. Crawford

Cover of Beyond the Tripping Point


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