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Crime Writing Trio off to York Region again

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The crime-writing trio of Rosemary McCracken, Nate Hendley and myself Sharon A. Crawford are off to yet another library in York Region. In this irregularly scheduled book tour of various York Region libraries, this evening we will hit the Woodbridge Library at 150 Woodbridge Ave. in where else – Woodbridge, Ontario. That’s just north of Toronto. Here’s the blurb about our presentation.

Crime Writers of Canada authors – Nate Hendley, Rosemary McCracken and Sharon A. Crawford have another run-in with crime (between the book covers) coming in September. It is all part of an irregularly scheduled tour of York Region library branches. The “crime” trio will be talking about their books and writing, answering questions from the audience and reading. Nate Hendley writes true crime, Rosemary McCracken writes the Pat Tierney mystery series, and Sharon A. Crawford writes the Beyond mystery series.

I find it interesting doing any crime writing presentation and reading – whatever format we use. This evening one of the librarians will introduce us and we will talk individually about some aspect of our writing. As Rosemary and I both write series mystery fiction, we try to talk about something different in crime writing (besides our book series and character and plots being different). Rosemary will talk about how writers handle writing a series and how writing contests helped market her short stories. I’m focusing on where my characters and plots come from and what, how and why I do the necessary research. Nate writes true crime so that is a whole different perspective,

Rosemary is driving us there and we plan to arrive a bit before the whole presentation starts at 6.30 p.m., going to around 8 p.m. We will have copies of our books, so if you are in the area (I know not all reading this post are), please drop in. It is free and promises to be entertaining.

Our photos and links to our websites/blogs appear below.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/

 

Nate Hendley true crime writer

Nate Hendley true crime writer

http://www.natehendley.com/

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series http://www.samcraw.com

 

 

 

http://www.samcraw.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Criminals and historical figures on CWC panel

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The bad guys and history guys weren’t there in person. But five of us from Crime Writers of Canada – Rosemary McCracken, Steve Burrows, Sylvia Warsh, Nate Hendley and I told tales of crossing paths with the above and more in our research to write that perfect mystery novel or true crime story.

Rosemary moderated the panel which gave me a breather from that function so I would just have to show up and answer questions. But apparently I had trouble finding the Fairview library branch, or rather the exit from Fairview Mall, where I had to run a few errands first (like glasses cleaner, very important to be able to see through your glasses to read from your books). And I’ve been at this library before and had no trouble then going from the mall across the parking lot to the library. This time I couldn’t find the right exit or even the right level of the mall. Finally I asked at the Guest Service booth.

We had a good audience turnout. Rosemary got us panelists talking and the stories that came out. Sylvia’s Dr. Rebecca Temple mysteries are set in 1979 Toronto, but Find Me Again also goes back in time to Catherine the Great. She did most of her research on the Internet. You can’t exactly interview Catherine the Great. Nate, who writes about true crime (Crystal Death), has met the criminal element – bikers and the like. Rosemary, whose protagonist Pat Tierney is a financial advisor (Safe Harbor), writes about finances as a journalist, so has information and connections there. Steve writes the Birder mysteries (A Siege of Bitterns), so birding features in his novels (Steve is a birder), but he had to do some police research. My Beyond books (Beyond Blood) are set in the late 1990s (so far, the third one I’m working on goes into the twenty-first century). As mentioned in last week’s blog post (https://sharonacrawfordauthor.com/2015/07/23/researching-mid-stream-for-your-novel/), I have a police consultant and have to keep any police procedure in that time period. I also have to be careful with technical devices. No social media. Internet connection was via dial-up until late fall 1999, cellphones were just that and they folded closed and had antennae. But there was email and that figures in my Beyond books. In this third one I write, I may have to talk to a psychic, so that should be interesting.

We also read excerpts from our books and answered questions on marketing your book.

Authors and audience connected so well, we had to be reminder by the librarian that it was time to leave.

In August I take a break from actual gigs. So will be spending more time researching and writing that third Beyond book. With a bit of final arrangements for fall presentations and readings. It promises to be a busy fall. Check out the Gigs and Blog Tours page on this blog and also my website http://www.samcraw.com/ for updates as I get them in there.

Meantime, the photo at the top of this post still connects to where you can get e-copies of Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. Print copies available (among other places) at https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=Beyond%20blood%20and%20Sharon%20A.%20Crawford

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Gigs and other book promo

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Gearing up for another presentation with other Crime Writers of Canada authors next week. Rosemary McCracken, Nate Hendley, Steve Burrows, and Sylvia M. Warsh and myself will descend on Fairview Library,in Toronto, Canada next Thursday, July 23. I’m being lazy this time round as Rosemary is doing the moderating honours, including coming up with some questions for us authors to reply with sizzling answers to draw in the audience. We’re also going to read a bit from our books.

Meantime I’ve been busy organizing more gigs for the Crime Writers of Canada gang. And talk about being lazy – no not shrinking back in doing there, but I am consolidating some of my book promo (and also other CWC authors) with DRUM ROLL HERE….

A new page on this blog Gigs and Blog Tours.  It features upcoming gigs, some past gigs that were memorable, blog tours and the like, with lots of photos. Check it out at https://sharonacrawfordauthor.com/getting-around-with-the-beyond-blood-gang-and-friends/.

It is an evolving page, with constant changes/additions. You never know from week to week if it will be the same.

Info on my books and gigs are still on my website, but the setup will change – once my son and I get finished creating a new website for me. This is my writing and editing and instructing website http://www.samcraw.com – old one is still up until the new one gets finished.

Meantime, the photo at the top of this post still connects to where you can get copies of Beyond Blood – e-copies and print.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

 

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E-book sales inconsistent

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The stats are in. E-book sales are down, at least for traditional trade publishers. Yet some authors are beating the odds. What exactly is happening here? Weren’t e-books supposed to be the new book sales venue, the one readers gravitated towards?

First, a few statistics.

From Publisher’s Weekly:

“One reason for the 2014 decline in revenue and earnings was also a drop in digital sales. E-books accounted for 23.2% of S&S sales last year, down from 24.4% in 2013. Total digital revenue, which includes downloadable audio, generated 26.4% of revenue, down from 27.1% in 2013.” (See http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/03/publisher-revenues-down-as-ebook-buying-slows/

and

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/65592-sales-earnings-fell-at-s-s-in-2014.html

Publishing pundits are blaming the decline partly on self-published books (the other is lack of block-buster books published). So… what about Indie published books? As self-publishing becomes more acceptable is this really hard to comprehend? And traditional book publishers only publish so many books each year – a lot has to do with their funds. In Canada, some rely on government grants.

Having said that, some small trade publishers such as my own Blue Denim Press, and Imajin Books in Western Canada, still manage to keep publishing (and we hope they continue to do so). Some of that is by going outside the usual trade publishing box. Both keep their “print run” down by going the Print on Demand route. My e-book sales were also down too the past year. But from what I can see from my royalty and royalty statement, and what I sell on my own at readings, etc., the print copies of my mystery fiction books are up slightly from the previous year. I don’t know if this is partly because I now have two books published with Blue Denim Press. What I do know is for the first time Blue Denim Press published a new book (complete with launch and all the promotion with that) this spring – not mine, but an anthology, Hill Spirits II. Blue Denim Press have been in business since 2011. See www.bluedenimpress.com for more info.

And why am I mentioning Imajin, another small Canadian trade publisher? Because one of their mystery fiction authors, Rosemary McCracken, was their top-selling e-book author for May 2015 for her mystery novel Safe Harbor. See Rosemary’s blog, Moving Target at https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/bestseller/.

As Rosemary states, Safe Harbor was published three years ago.

That should tell us something.

A few of those somethings are both author and publisher have to get out there (online and in person) to promote their books – a lot. And try new things. Both publishers and authors have to be flexible. The publishing industry is going through many changes. As some pundits have pointed out, the publishing industry is where the music industry was a few years ago.

And we know how Indie music has helped musicians – many we would not have heard of otherwise. And we music appreciators would have missed out on some excellent music.

Maybe the larger trade publishers need to take note, be more flexible, and go along for the ride.

We cannot go back.

My toonie’s worth anyway.

What do you think? Comments please.

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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Behind the scenes of author presentations

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Authors don’t suddenly appear at libraries, cafes, pubs and other venues to read. There is work involved, especially with the organizers. And when you have two different events on consecutive evenings, it can get shall we say busy?

Especially when Mr. Murphy (that rascal from Murphy’s Law) gets into the act.

I help organize crime readings/presentations for Crime Writers of Canada. Most of these are in libraries but some occur in cafes and pubs. This week there are two, one this evening and one tomorrow evening. I’ll list them at the end.

First, way back before the reading time, I have to contact the library branch or café or pub. Sometimes I email; sometimes I phone and sometimes it is in person. Whichever way, there is always follow-ups re details between the venue and myself and of course, lining up authors. Then some to and froing by email to authors, to the venue, re publicity – who does what – and actually doing it. Being somewhat old school (well, in age) I like to print some flyers and the like, but I also do a lot of social media, e-newsletters, etc.

I also have to organize the presentation setup. Sometimes I get lazy and just introduce the authors and have them talk about their books and writing, read a bit, and then answer questions from the audience. Other times I organize an interview or panel setups (with some reading and q and a). The latter two are the way of this week’s two presentations. Fortunately, my cohort in crime, Rosemary McCracken is helping with the interview setup for tomorrow’s presentation. (More below).

However, sometimes when things seem to be going along well, Mr. Murphy appears.

For example, an unexpected rental fee for microphone equilpment at a café or pub. Or bad weather – blizzards or heavy rainfalls (the later has happened and the event was cancelled – which meant contacting authors and the library. This one started as an email, then phone conversation between one of the other authors reading and myself. We decided it would be best to cancel – if the library agreed. Fortunately, I got the librarian on the phone and she cancelled the event. The other author I had to email because I didn’t have his phone number. And he was from just east of Toronto. Fortunately, he had the sense to phone the library to find out.)

This weather for this evening’s event is for dry warm weather – so far. Tomorrow’s? More showers, maybe some scattered thunderstorms. Keeping toes crossed here that all goes well including the event. And that means not just the authors able to make it okay but people to see and hear us.

Only time will tell. But it can get nerve-wracking. My point? When you go to see and hear authors read, remember that there is work involved in putting these events together.

And the two events this week where some of us Crime Writers of Canada authors are appearing.

Tonight, June 11 at the Bloor/Gladstone library branch, 1101 Bloor St, West, in Toronto from 6. 30 p.m. to 8 p.m. I’m moderating a panel featuring Rosemary McCracken, Steve Shrott and Steve Burrows.

Tomorrow, June 12, at the Red Rocket Coffeehouse, 1364 Danforth Ave., Toronto, from 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Rosemary McCracken and I share the interviewing duties and authors will also read a bit and answer questions. Also featuring Karen Blake-Hall, Steve Shrott, Linda Cahill, Robert Hoshowsky, the latter a true crime author.

And of course we authors are bringing copies of our books, hopefully to sell some.

See Rosemary’s blog post on Moving Target today for some more details. https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/busy-days/

And if you are in the area, drop in at one of the locations for an evening of crime – between the book covers.

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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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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Tales from the book promo trenches Part 2

Sharon reads from her Beyond book series

Sharon reads from her Beyond book series

The book promo for Beyond Blood continues. This time the promo took on somewhat different formats.

 

Wednesday, November 26 I was the guest speaker at the East End Writers’ Group. Disclaimer: it is my own group but because we meet in a library branch (S. Walter Stewart in Toronto) in their large auditorium, we can schedule guest speakers for the first part and after the break do our usual writing critique of members’ works-in-progress.

I talked about how I transition from short stories to novels and vice-versa with series characters. As my situation of writing/publishing is backwards in time, i.e. not chronological, that makes it more complicated. Beyond the Tripping Point, the short story collection was published in fall 2012 but the four linked stories with the fraternal twin PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture, occur in 1999. Beyond Blood is the pre-quel novel set in eight frantic days in August 1998.

My dirty little secret is an older version of Beyond Blood had been written 12 or so years ago. Of course, it had to be completely rewritten. But some of the plotline and character development was already there – something I had to keep in mind when writing the BTTP short stories. It was a constant back and forth as was this presentation last week because I also had q and a with the audience. We even worked humour into the discussion. I ended by doing a short reading from Beyond Blood.

No, didn’t sell any books there – at least in print. But maybe a few people bought e-books on line. Also, when I thought of it, some of the people there had come to my book launch and had already bought a book. Still a good evening.

Saturday, November 29 my books were part of the Toronto Heliconian Literary Group table at the Toronto Heliconian Club’s first (in this incarnation) art and gift sale. In fact, I organized our table. Like sometimes happens with the first of anything, attendance wasn’t great. But I did sell three copies of Beyond Blood and had some good chats with the other member authors. Afterwards, three of us went to the nearby Hemmingway’s Pub for some wine, an early supper and more chatting.

And I bought a mask from one of the artist vendors at the club sale. I collect masks.

But I am now wiped out from all this physical book promo, organization and also client work. I will be taking some time off soon this month to reconnect with family and friends, to attend some Christmas parties and to do some more writing/rewriting of the next novel in the Beyond series. And I will focus more on social media promo for Beyond Blood. And getting more sleep.

But this blog will continue on its weekly (Thursday) basis. However, for the next two weeks I’m letting my two PI characters – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture – do the posting.

Meantime, you can go to my publisher’s website www.bluedenimpress.com to order e-pub and Kindle copies of Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. Also check out my interview with Tom Taylor on cable TV. I talk about writing novels, short stories and some of the characters in Beyond the Tripping Point. Go to http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/ and scroll down on the right until you get to  Watch Sharon A. Crawford and Beyond the Tripping Point on Rogers Cable TV

And I will be going to the book launch of World Enough and Crime Anthology featuring stories by Rosemary McCracken, Rosemary Aubert, Melodie Campbell, Donna Carrick and many more this Saturday, Dec. 6 from 2 p.m. to 3.15 p.m. at Sleuth of Baker St., 907 Millwood Avenue in Toronto. Check out Sleuth at http://sleuthofbakerstreet.ca/ Beyond Blood is also available there to order online.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press. Click for link to purchase e-copies

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press. Click for link to purchase e-copies

 

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