Showing posts with label Book Marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Marketing. Show all posts

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas (August 2013) & the RONE!

I love conferences, conventions, workshops, and expos. I especially appreciate the organization that goes into planning and pulling off an event with so much creativity and attention it looks as if it fell together flawlessly. 

As a librarian I loved library conferences: books, new technology, books, lectures and meeting new and old friends. Did I mention books? As a library consultant I loved setting up booths, standing for 3-5 days (well, not that so much), demoing the new technology, meeting new and old friends and clients, competitors’ parties, entertaining, and swag. Library sway was always great (did you know?).

I also exhibited at law library conferences, whose parties and swag were really over the top. The books - not as much fun.

When I was involved in the world of dogs I loved the organization of dog shows that allowed over a thousand dogs to enter a myriad of classes and on the show day, all show up at the right time and place, judging takes place and like a fantastical elimination contest, and the day ends with one dog judged Best in Show. (It’s not that simple, but it still is amazing.)

Since I started writing, I’ve never attended a big romance writers’ conference. I’d heard about the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas for authors and readers of romance (August 7-11, 2013) and considered it was close enough for me to drive, but dithered. When Released finalled in the RONE (Reward Of Novel Excellence) contest hosted by  the classy InD'tale Magazine, I was told winners would be announced at the RNC. I checked the RNC website and was impressed with the organization and raw creativity Jimmy Thomas put into this first ever event.

It seems to have all the elements of a romance writers’ conference. Nationally knows speakers, parties for networking, book fair, raffle, prizes, swag bags and swag tables. (The RONE contest itself was masterfully planned and executed and deserves a post to itself.)

But some aspects were not so common. Reasonable prices for the conference and lodging in the convention hotel. A very creative food package. Practical programs for writers and reader. Nationally respected speakers (Bob Mayer, Jennifer Ashley, etc.). A costume ball (with opportunity to rent costumes) A professional photographer for headshots. Romance novelist Virginia Nelson’s wedding (how romantic is that!). And movies for when you’ve talked yourself hoarse.

And oh yes, male cover models will compete for a “Mr. Casanova Competition” (how appropriate – Casanova was a librarian.) Yes Jimmy Thomas, the organizer and host is a cover model, a great businessman, a smart and generous man, and not bad-looking. And he does grace over 5,000 romance novel covers.

Brilliant promo idea - Authors may rent the cover models to have them learn and perform a scene from their book. 

And  - the awards ceremony!!!!!!!

And for you dog lovers:
I’d love to interview Mike O’Hearn (7-time Fitness Male Model of the Year and a Mr. Casanova judge) about his rescue dogs. After they were used on a photo shoot, he took them home rather than hove them returned to the pound. Awwwe….

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to Have a Successful Blog Tour - Part 1

 My blog tour company!

I've asked Colette, my favorite blog tour operator, from ABG Reads Book Tours to offer authors some tips on book tours. Whether you contract with a tour company or DIY, here's her great suggestions:

Having a successful blog tour is a lot like matchmaking - it takes a lot of misses to get it right, but when the spark happens, magic ignites! Here are some tips to take the mystery out of finding readers for your tour. 

  •  Timing - The most important part of having a successful blog tour is giving bloggers enough time to put you in their schedule! If you contact bloggers at the last minute, don’t be surprised to get a lot of nos. However, the more time you have to schedule the tour the more bloggers you will be able to find. Most work 2 to 3 months ahead of time, with the bigger blogs sometimes working 4 months ahead for reviews.
  •  Approachability - When contacting bloggers be sure to include their name if it’s on their blogs or the name of their blogs in the email. Be sure to have a synopsis of the book and the cover in the email. First impressions are key: I have found putting a one line description after the initial request to join the blog tour works wonder. You want to capture readers attention from the very beginning. Don’t send out mass emails if you can avoid it. Bloggers can tell that they are mass emails and are less likely to respond to them.
  •  Genre specific blogs - You want build an audience, and to do that the best way is to find blogs that read the genre that you write in. A lot blogs (like mine, ABuckeye Girl Reads) read cross genres, but there are a lot that only read certain genres like Young Adult, Erotica or mysteries. If you find blogs that read your genre, they will have readers that read that genre as well. If you write Urban Fantasy, you don’t want to go to a blog that focuses mainly on Young Adult. Almost all bloggers have a review policy - all you have to do is read it to see what genres they read. Here is mine:
Here are some blogger databases to help you find readers:

  • Originality - Don’t be afraid to be creative!! Instead of doing a typical guest post that just answers one question, think about doing a playlist that goes along with your book or a top ten list that is fun but also tells readers about your book. Think about doing themed guest posts throughout the tour. Take the readers on a tour of the world you created.
  • Giveaways - A great way to drive traffic to the posts that you do on blogs is by having a giveaway. The giveaway doesn’t have to be about your book. It can be a giveaway that has themes from your book, chocolate, a book bag, bookmarks, a gift card, or a past title. 

Colette’s Bio: 
I have a passion for books in all genres, but have a weakness for romances. I started the blog A Buckeye Girl Reads
3 years ago, and through that blog have worked with many authors. I discovered much to my surprise, that I loved helping them get their book noticed by as many people as possible and started ABG Reads Book Tours.  Hobbies outside of reading are sparse, but include: cooking, baking, traveling and writing.  

Thanks, Colette, for visiting. Please come back and tell us what to do during the tour.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

2013 Library Author Forum Video

To celebrate the 2013 Author's Forum at the Cottonwood Arizona Public Library, the library invited 27 local authors to meet library readers and tell them about their books. Library patrons were thrilled to meet "real" authors and authors had fun meeting a wide variety of local writers.

As a surprise treat, Richard Corey, dog fiction author, interviewed authors for his Art World of Sedona TV series.

This YouTube clip features sci-fi author Val Chanda first and then an interview with me, and my not-so-real dog, talking about The Shapeshifters' Library series.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Radio Interview & Audio Adventures

Audio Adventures
I love audio almost as much as print. And I like to talk. 

Besides good book promotion, a radio interview is great practice talking about your book. And if it’s done by telephone you don’t have to dress up and go into a studio. A good interview should feel like listening in on a relaxing (and interesting) conversation. 

Recently Connie Gotsch interviewed me for her radio show Write On Four Corners on KSJE Farmington, New Mexico.  

After you get the interview what do you do?
  • Listen to at least one show to know the tone the interviewer uses – fast and peppy or laid back and casual.
  • Send the book and synopsis if you haven’t already done this to get the interview.
  • Send a few questions the interviewer might ask that might be interesting to listeners. Think talking points or frequently asked questions appropriate for the show.
  • Write out and memorize a brief synopsis (like a pitch), Be sure to include how your book can be purchased.
  • Ask how long the interview will be and what the interviewer wants to talk about and if you will be reading an excerpt.
  • Will it be live or recorded? Live means you keep going even if you make embarrassing mistakes. If it’s recorded, ask what to if you say something you want to eliminate or do over.

What I did the day of the interview –
  • Moved my desk to a quiet spot
  • Plugged in a land line. (Don’t take a chance with a cell phone connection.)
  • Poured a glass of water
  • Printed out notes in a large font and laid them to avoid paper shuffling. Copied the pages for the book excerpts I’d read aloud (as requested by the interviewer to mix into the interview.)
  • Removed clanky jewelry
  • What I forgot to do – check the time difference between New Mexico and Arizona (a state with no DST)
  • Turned off call waiting
  • Sat up straight and took a deep breath
 If you are an author writing about the southwest or living in the southwest, or both, Connie’s show may be perfect for you. Her show Write On Four Corners takes all genres, self published, traditional, and non traditional publishers. And of course no excessive cussing, gratuitous sex, or hate of any person, religion, ethnic group, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Connie is a great interviewer and makes it easy to give an interesting, relaxed interview If you think your book would be of interest to Connie’s listeners, check out her blog and email her.

For more on audio see my interview with Dana Davis  "How Authors Can Use Audio for Promotion & Publishing."

More Audio Adventures
Last week I spent time in a sound studio re-recording my relaxation CD. The new full “album” Relaxing the Writer Relaxation contains a 20 minute relaxation with tense and release instructions and another track called “Prelude to Sleep” to help listeners fall asleep. This time I also recorded two 10 minute meditations: Relaxing the Writer Hand Meditation and Relaxing the Musician’s Hand that I plan to offer as MP3 downloads.All three will supplement my soon to be published book Relaxing the Writer.

Since this was my second time in the studio, I was more relaxed and the studio owner asked if I’d like to audition for reading textbooks. Maybe is was my excellent pronunciation or my non-Lady Gaga outfit that intrigued him. Who knows, it sounds like fun and I wouldn’t have to write my own script. It even made me think of doing podcasts and audiobooks...or not. I may be too good at helping listeners fall asleep.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Arizona Dreamin’ 2011 - A Romance Reader Event!

Welcome Kris Tualla, creator of 

Arizona Dreamin’  2011  - A Romance Reader Event

Amber: All authors want to connect with readers and potential readers. Many conferences and events are directed at writers or those who want to write. Not that writers don’t buy a lot of books (and those that don’t definitely should) but readers who gobble books for the sheer joy are like triple chocolate cake every night. Kris Tualla’s vision created Arizona Dreamin’ -  Arizona's first Romance Reader event! 

Amber: So Kris, how did you become the Arizona Dreamin’ Queen?

Kris: I attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and heard about reader-focused events in other parts of the country. I thought - why not in Phoenix? A city this size can certainly support such an endeavor!

Amber: How did you advertise to attract readers?

Kris: The vision was to bring my fans and introduce them to your books, and vice versa. So I asked each of the 24 authors to get 4 of their own fans to come. If they did, we would be full.

Amber: Did you break even the first year?

Kris: Not even close, sad to say. Half of the authors didn't generate any ticket sales at all! I learned that new authors are hungry and understand that they need to promote. Authors published four or five years ago (or more) have no clue.

Even so, those readers who did attend had a blast! I have never seen so many consistent smiles in a very long time. Everyone was talking about who they would bring with them "next year"! Not only that, but they bought $1800 worth of books and raised $315 for charity!

Amber: Anything authors who want to attend and be part of AD2012 needed to know?

Kris: Yes. First, we are expecting double the attendees. Part of that will be generated by a special incentive offered to the 2011 attendees. Another part will be generated by the authors themselves who will each purchase 4 tickets to resell at a discount, or use in raffles and contest prizes as a thank-you to their fans.

Second, I am committed to keeping the event small and intimate. We plan to cap the authors at 24, and keep the "Book Clubs" - the meetings of authors and readers - at 10 per club.

Amber: I saw some pretty yummy photos with a cover model (definitely not female). How did you arrange that and did it help the publicity?

Kris: Ah, yes. Jimmy Thomas is definitely a thing of beauty - and currently on more than 1400 book covers. He's sweet as can be and was a doll to come, plus he added a very special touch to the event! He's also a smart businessman; he stages, photographs and sells images designed for every genre of romance novel ( ). I had him on my blog last year as an example of businesses that will rise up in support of independently publishing authors.

When I asked him to come to Arizona Dreamin' he agreed. While he was here he worked, shooting covers with two different models in two separate sessions. The fun part for us is that he allowed us to watch! Then he posed with readers in exchange for a donation to our charity. Next year we'll have a special backdrop that looks like a book cover for those photos!

Amber: What about the details for Arizona Dreamin' 2012?

Kris: Saturday, June 2, 2012, Noon - 10:00pm. Tickets (probably around $30) include a delicious and bountiful buffet dinner with the authors. 

Breaking News!

Location - Windmill Inns & Suites of Chandler / 3535 W. Chandler Boulevard / Chandler, AZ 85226. Event room rates are $79 per suite for those who want to make it a girl's overnight or weekend (it's next to the Chandler Mall)!

!Subscribe to our blog to receive the latest updates

on Arizona Dreamin' 2012

Amber: What is the one (scratch that)… What are the 5 most important things an individual or group would need to pull this off?


  1. Passionate belief in the concept. I took the financial hit in 2011 because I know this event will grow!

  2. People working with me who have a passionate belief in the concept. My committee was small but comprised of some truly amazing authors, including Deena Remiel and Tami VanGurp.

  3. Energy - which plays out in commitment and follow-through. This isn't a path for the faint of heart!

  4. The understanding that no author is an island. I help you and you help me; we are stronger together.

  5. Make certain that the things which are in my control are efficient and planned to the last detail. That way when things that are out of my control go awry (and they will) we are still successful!

Amber: Thanks Kris for telling us about your event for romance readers. And good luck with next year.

Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romances, writes with a fast-paced and succinct style. Her plots are full of twists, passion, and very satisfying outcomes! Kris started in 2006 with nothing but a nugget of a character in mind, and has created a dynasty - The Hansen Series. 

Find out more about Kris and her books on her website! 

"In the Historical Romance genre, there have been literally countless kilted warrior stories told. Well, I say it's time for a new breed of heroes! 

Come along with me and find out why:  

Norway IS the new Scotland!"


Saturday, March 12, 2011

How NOT to Shop in an Independent Bookstore

This week I'm reprinting a blog post from my favorite bookseller, Joe Neri. Joe (Bookseller/Bluesman) and his wife Kris (Bookseller/Mystery Paranormal Author) operate The Well Red Coyote Bookstore in Sedona, Arizona. 
How NOT to Shop 
in an Independent Bookstore
by Joe Neri 
You would think that browsing a bookstore is pretty easy. Walk in the door, find the books that interest you, and browse. You might be surprised, however, at what Kris and I encounter when we open the doors for business each day.

Based on our real experiences, here are some suggestions for how NOT to shop at an independent bookstore:

1. Don’t tell us how much you’re going to miss Borders.

2. Don’t tell us that you just got a Kindle for your birthday.

3. Don’t only look for books by James Patterson and Danielle Steele. Believe it or not there are literally thousands of good authors, encompassing all genres, who actually write the books with their names on the covers.

4. Don’t ask for paper and pen to write down the titles and authors of wonderful books you discovered by browsing in our bookstore, with the intention of buying them online. Especially don’t use our high quality (i.e., expensive) business cards and/or bookmarks to do so.

5. If you must do #4 above, please don’t steal our pens.

6. Don’t use your cell phone’s internet connection to check online availability and pricing for books you find here.

7. In fact, don’t use your cell phone at all while browsing in our bookstore. Your need to be “connected” at all times doesn’t quite fit in with the ambiance we’re going for (why do people think they have to shout into cell phones?)

8. Don’t ask us to research a book, of which you don’t know the full title or the proper spelling of the author’s name, taking up half of our counter space with your notes on scraps of paper, and preventing other customers from getting service, if you don’t intend to buy the book from us.

9. Ditto for phone requests. If you can’t find it yourself on Amazon, don’t ask us to help you.

10. Don’t pretend to browse when all you really want is to use our restroom. Just ask – we won’t refuse your request to answer nature’s call. Just don’t take any of our books in there with you (the “George Castanza” syndrome).

11. Don’t take books from our shelves and randomly scatter them around the bookstore. Unlike the large chain stores, our talent is our knowledge of books, not our need to pick up after you.

12. Don’t hide your empty Starbucks containers or banana peels on our shelves or under our chairs or tables. If you have trash to dispose of, just ask us where to put it.

Of course, the above represents an extremely small fraction of our daily experiences. Most are with the wonderful book readers and book lovers that make owning an independent bookstore worthwhile and satisfying.

But, someday I’m going to write a book. Retail – gotta love it! 

Thanks, Joe.

Now if you authors want more advice from a bookseller 
read Kris Neri's posts
She's not shy (either) telling authors how to work with booksellers.

Joe Neri combines years of business experience with his lifetime love of books (along with the added touch of his blues band/songwriting creativity) as co-proprietor of The Well Red Coyote. Originally from New Jersey, Joe is an escapee from the asylum known as Southern California. He has been in love with the Southwest for most of his life and is now living his dream in Sedona. Joe's a proud founder of the Sedona Book festival. His band is Blues Dawg.
Find more of Joe's blogs
Kris Neri is the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Award-nominated author of the Tracy Eaton mystery series, REVENGE OF THE GYPSY QUEEN, DEM BONES' REVENGE, and REVENGE FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE. Also recently published is her new urban fantasy, HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE. Her other books include a standalone suspense novel, NEVER SAY DIE, the short story collection, THE ROSE IN THE SNOW. If there's anything Kris loves as much as writing, it's reading, and sharing her love of books with others. Now that she's realized her dream of living in Arizona, she enjoys meeting her new neighbors and sharing her love of books and writing with the customers of The Well Red Coyote.
Shop their virtual store   
for Sedona books 
and the latest Kris Neri hits.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Website Design Tips from Connie Lee Marie!

Welcome Connie Lee Marie, graphic designer, musician, and Website Goddess!

Amber: Can you share some tips with authors struggling to make their own websites?
Connie: Design your site to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible and your visitor’s experience will be smooth and pleasant.
Save photos and graphics for the web at the smallest file size possible (looking good with details) for fast loading, using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, etc. with the “Optimize for the Web” option.

Amber: You made a great banner for my website. Once I had the banner I used the color and feel to redo the entire site. How important is the header for a site?
Connie: The header is the most important element of website design. It tells the visitor who you are and what the site is about. It’s your first chance to make a good impression.

Amber: What about type size and fonts?
Connie: Here are a few things to remember -

  • Never make your type too wide across the page. Wide columns are hard to read and look unattractive. I like a maximum width of approximately 600 pixels (6 inches) for an easy-to-read column and of course, smaller columns of approx. 250+ pixels are great for ease of reading. Newspapers traditionally used skinny columns for a reason!
  • Use short paragraphs; line breaks help readability.
  • Very long pages (with lots of photos) may take a long time to load and readers will have to do a lot of waiting and scrolling, or worse yet, leave before the page finishes loading!
  • Remember to set your links to "Open in new window" (in Dreamweaver set the target to _blank) to encourage visitors to return to your website after they’re done looking at an off-site linked page. Your site will be waiting for them after they close the linked page.
  • Typefaces - Very small type is hard to read, especially serif styles. Too large type is also annoying to the eye. Experiment with Verdana or Ariel. I like to keep everything readable. I tend to lean towards san-serif for the web and serif for print. Maybe I’ll change my mind on that someday! Also think about how readable the color of the text is on your background color. Think: Contrast.
  • Underlining. Also use sparingly.Use only a few words in special situations. Make words Bold if you want them to stand out. Too much underlining can make the type hard to read and also can be confused with links.
  • Add italics, bold, underling or ALL CAPS like spice to a dish, to taste. Never use too much!
  • I feel the same way about animated gifs or flash. Too much movement becomes tedious and distracting. A little here or there is good; too much can be annoying. (Do I really want to wait to watch some type or graphic dance around on my screen? Most likely I’m out of there before it loads.)
Amber: Can you share some websites you designed and tell us what you especially like about them?
I like the Old Town Center site because it matches the style of the building perfectly! I also created an email blast template that matches their site for email marketing with Constant Contact.
I don't usually like dark backgrounds on websites because the type is hard to read, but I do like this one. I also made a matching email blast template for this site.

Connie Lee Marie is an artist, 
graphic designer,
and enjoys 
a little plumbing and home repair 
once in a awhile, but not too often.

 Amber: Connie, please can you give us just one more tip?

“Shuffle the Chi!” 
Translation: Make your website interesting!

Learn more about 
Connie Lee Marie's designs