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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 http://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/ and Nate Hendley (true crime author who writes about the baddies and Stephen Truscott http://www.natehendley.com/books.html also were a draw. See the Blue Denim Press website www.bluedenimpress.com 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 www.bluedenimpress.com.

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

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

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Book launch of Beyond Blood has two guest authors reading

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

Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.

  • Jane Russell.

This just in.

Nate Hendley who writes true crime books and Rosemary McCracken who writes mystery novels are guest readers at my book launch October 19.

They will certainly add variety to the two of us from Blue Denim launching our books. Lots of murder and mayhem (in the books, not in the Paintbox Bistro, Toronto launch location). Let’s see:

Nate Hendley has written several books about the baddies such as the The Black Donnellys: The Outrageous Tale of Canada’s Deadliest Feud, American Gangsters: Then and Now, The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture and Crystal Death. His current book focuses on something different – a miscarriage of justice – Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice (Five Rivers Publishing, 2012). Nate is also a Toronto, Ontario-based freelance journalist and the Ontario VP for Crime Writers of Canada. I have been helping him line up public readings for CWC authors in Ontario. Find out more about Nate and his books at http://www.natehendley.com/ And check out his crime blog at http://crimestory.wordpress.com/

Rosemary McCracken, another Crime Writers of Canada member writes a mystery series about financial planner Pat Tierney and if you think that sounds dull, think again. Pat seems to get herself embroiled in financial mayhem and murder, and usually some family member is involved somehow. So far the series books are: Safe Harbor (Imagin Books, 2012), and Black Water (Imagin Books, 2013). Pat Tierney also appeared in Rosemary’s short story “The Sweetheart Scamster” in the short story anthology Mesdames of Mayhem Thirteen (2013). Check out Rosemary’s website at http://www.rosemarymccracken.com/Home_Page.php for more book information and her Moving Target blog at http://www.rosemarymccracken.com/Home_Page.php. Rosemary and I did blog tours and my blog post there is at http://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/interview-with-author-sharon-a-crawford/

Nate, Rosemary and I have also made several appearances together and done readings with these CWC presentations. The three of us may be touring together later this year or early next year for more readings. Stay tuned.

And of course, the two of us with books being published by Blue Denim Press

Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski – a medical murder mystery. And yes, Klaus is a medical doctor with a family practice in Sudbury, Ontario, but his book takes place in Boston, Massachusetts and Toronto, Ontario. His book is available in e-copy at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Wrong-Klaus-Jakelski-ebook/dp/B00N32O9Z4

And my book, Beyond Blood, with the infamous fraternal twins Dana Bowman and Bast Overture, a mystery taking place during eight days in August 1998 in fictitious Thurston, Ontario, just north of Toronto.

Meantime, yours truly is still frantically doing pre-book launch promo. Not going as fast as I had hoped. It doesn’t help that both my email/website server went down for a day during maintenance and yesterday my modem-router went off the ISP grid for a bit but only on the hard-wired connection on my desktop computer. The wireless was fine and my laptop was connected. Glitches fixed thanks to good techies at the other end(s). But it steals from your time.

I’m blaming that on why I haven’t updated my website page for Beyond Blood. Some of the updates are off-line but when I had the time to load it – that’s when the website server was off. More info will be up on my website www.samcraw on the Beyond Blood page in the next few days.

Check out the details on my book and my colleague Klaus Jakelski’s book at www.bluedenimpress.com.

The book at the top of this blog post links to amazon.com and for those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And when I (finally) get my amazon profile and web page updated I’ll give you the links to them.

Print versions of Beyond Blood and Dead Wrong are coming out soon.

Watch for Dana and Bast. They will be returning here in these blog posts soon. And I promise, Bast will not go missing this time, but somebody else might.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Some thoughts on marketing your published book

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.
– A.A. Milne

The book cover for my new mystery novel Beyond Blood is about ready for print. Shane the editor at my publisher’s (Blue Denim Press) and I have been to-ing and fro-ing by email to proofread the cover, mainly the back page info. I think we got the last comma squared away. Whew!

And the cover is awesome and reflects the book’s title and content. When Shane emails me the actual cover in a smaller size, I will post it on this blog.

Meantime I continue on the pre-book launch PR. I also have to consider the other mystery novelist (first novel for both of us) being published by Blue Denim Press – Klaus Jakelski, a medical doctor and author of the medical mystery Dead Wrong. Ironically, Klaus is one of my editing clients although except for providing Blue Denim Press’s contact info, I had nothing to do with his book getting accepted by them. But Klaus and I will be doing some of the PR together.

There are many, many ways an author can publicize his or her book. My publisher is doing some PR (Shane sent me a list, including what we authors can do). However, I have learned much from my PR efforts with my debut mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point.

1. You need a marketing plan as I found out when trying to book a gig reading Beyond the Tripping Point (before it came out) at a bookstore in Waterloo, Ontario. The store manager wanted to see my marketing plan first.
2. You need to organize your marketing plan to suit you. I tried doing it by category (i.e. book launch, writing organizations, etc.) first in a Word Table and then a colleague set it up in Excel. Too confusing. For yet another possible marketing venture, I had to list my Marketing plan by the month. That one works best for me. Under each month I list what I will do by – you guessed it – category. The list meshes social media, email and in-person. And it is always in flux and open to additions – some of which my publisher emails me.

What else have I learned from the PR I did for BTTP?
1. A combination of social media, email and in-person appearances/readings,workshops and lots of book reviews is the way to go. Despite this digital age, author appearances reading should not be excluded. People still like to connect in person with authors.
2. E-mail PR can still work and can be segued into social media and result in book sales.
4. Videos of author reading (short) and interviews (shortish) are also draws if posted on You Tube and all your other social media.
5. Blogging, including blog tours, with connections to amazon.com, etc. and other social media works.
6. A book page on the now old-fashioned website. I have one for Beyond the Tripping Point and have started one for Beyond Blood at http://www.samcraw.com. You can list your author gigs, including blog tours and other relevant info. Just keep it short and use links where possible.

 

What new strategies I need to use with Beyond Blood:

Among others – book trailer, using my social media much more, getting more book reviews, visiting more bricks and mortar bookstores for readings (with or without other Crime Writers of Canada authors) and getting more TV interviews and maybe a radio one, and the DVD copies of the interviews to put up on You Tube, etc. (with my son, Martin, the computer expert’s help), and using a tagline for all of this (for Beyond Blood and Klaus’s Dead Wrong it is Blue Murder, a play on words for the publisher’s name. Shane from Blue Denim Press came up with that one.

It’s almost a full-time job, but as I posted a few weeks ago in https://sharonacrawfordauthor.com/2014/07/10/juggling-time-to-publicize-first-novel-and-write-second-novel/

I do other writing, teaching and editing. It boils down to being organized and picking my battles for all the other stuff in my life that goes wrong. Like the bank (i.e. one of their tellers) paying my property tax money into the city utility (water and waste) account by mistake, so I get a big fine for “non-payment” of property taxes. The bank manager is supposed to be fixing that and seemed very interested if I knew which teller was responsible, so I hope they nail her. She should be paying my fine.

And if any of my readers use other PR strategies for their published books (whether Indie or traditional publisher), please comment.

Meantime, back to the PR for Beyond Blood.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date. And remember that clicking on the book icon at the top gets you to my Amazon profile.

 

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Writing conferences help writers

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

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

Last weekend I attended the Bloody Words mystery writing conference at a hotel in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was Bloody Words’ 13th conference since 1999, but it is also their last. Bloody you-know-what. As an author I’ve found Bloody Words to be very helpful, the other authors just as weird (we are crime writers, after all) as me. And friendly and helpful. Two years ago at Bloody Words, I received a lot of encouragement and help for my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point. And at that time it was accepted for publication by Blue Denim Press but I hadn’t yet signed the contract, although I had a copy and was reading through it. I was also rewriting some of the short stories for the publisher. From this conference, among other things, I found a book reviewer for an Ontario city newspaper, for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. and my police consultant, also a mystery novelist (police procedures from the constable’s viewpoint), Brent Pilkey. Brent helped me sort out some police procedure and crime scene difficulties in two of those not-yet-finished short stories.

Fast forward to this year’s conference. My first novel, Beyond Blood, the prequel mystery to four linked stories in Beyond the Tripping Point, is being published this fall by Blue Denim Press. This time the contract is signed and the manuscript final is with the publisher. I also moderated a panel on short stories, Are short stories the new black? which went over well – lots of positive feedback, not only from the panellists but from the audience – there was good rapport among us all during the panel discussion. And I kept us on time – my big bugaboo with running panels. But it helped that for once I didn’t have a panellist who talked too much at a time. Ditto the audience with questions and comments. Great way to share info.

But one of the big pros with this conference is another way to help a writer – in a closer way. One of my editing clients also has his first mystery novel (first published work even) being published by Blue Denim Press in the fall. The editor at Blue Denim Press is calling it Blue Murder and my client, who is also a writing colleague and friend for 18 years,  and I will be doing some publicity under the Blue Murder from Blue Denim Press “banner.” So, I introduced my colleague to many other published authors and we asked questions about PR in different areas of Canada. I introduced him to one of the Crime Writer of Canada executive and she made it her business to get him signed up for CWC – because doing readings with CWC authors at various outlets is good for exposure and we might even sell a few books. I also introduced him to the book critic at Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine who sat at the table next to us during the Saturday evening banquet. He was there with the Hammett (as in the late great mystery author Dashell Hammett – remember The Maltese Falcon?) awards also presented in conjunction with BW. He stated when he needs the books for reviews and in what format. So, he may do book reviews of our books. Also learned a few places to go in Montreal for readings, and I finally joined the Toronto branch of Sisters in Crime who are really good about promoting their author-members’ books and readings.

So all this networking and the panels (I did attend others) were also learning experiences. Among other things I learned that my short stories help other writers with the techniques in their short stories, how other authors create their characters, and had a lot of fun.

More information on Bloody Words is at http://2014.bloodywords.com/

Remember the two mystery novels coming out this October 2014 from Blue Denim Press:

Dead Wrong, a medical mystery set in Boston and Toronto by my friend and colleague Klaus Jakelski who is also a doctor in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada and Beyond Blood, a mystery with the two fraternal twin PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture by Sharon A. Crawford. More anon on these as we get closer to the publication date.

And as a follow-up to last week’s posts on writing contests I will be posting a link each week to another writing contest. Here is this week’s, which also has a writers’ and readers’ celebration in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

Word Northumberland
Saturday, October 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The writing contest is just below the celebration deets.
http://spiritofthehills.org/word-northumberland/

Meantime, you can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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