Archive for December, 2011

Being Indie Part V: Bad Novel! When your Book Doesn’t Fit ~ by Melodie Campbell

Posted on: December 11th, 2011 by Carrick Publishing

For our final installment in the Carrick Publishing “Being Indie” series, we’re pleased to introduce you to an author who is sure to make you smile. Melodie Campbell brings all that is good to the art of writing: intelligence, wit, and a killer sense of humour!

Without further ado, here is Melodie Campbell, author of Rowena Through The Wall:

Bad Novel! When your Book Doesn’t Fit ~ by Melodie Campbell

This post celebrates Indie publishing. But first, step back with me two years.

I’ve always been known as a writer of short mystery and suspense. With over 30 short story publications and 5 awards for mystery fiction, my first novel had to be a mystery. Everyone said so. I started three of them. Two weren’t bad. But somehow I could never get up the energy to complete them.

Then a strange thing happened. I was sitting at my desk one day, totally overwhelmed with work and parental caregiving, and thought, if I could walk through that wall over there into another world, I would. Rowena had her start that night. If I couldn’t walk through that wall, dammit, she could!

What I needed was to escape. Mystery novels have a lot of planning to them. I had enough of that at my day job. Why not just start writing something that is a total hoot to write?

For a mystery writer, this is akin to walking off the job. For the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada, it feels like treason! Write 80,000 words of comic fantasy?

Here is the truth: I was writing the kind of novel I wished someone else would write, so that I could read it. A no-holds-barred adventure story…sexy, funny, and a wild ride of fantasy.

But it wasn’t pure romance, and it wasn’t classic mystery. Where the hell was I going to sell it?

I submitted Rowena Through the Wall to one major publisher. They loved the premise, but told me to give them a rewrite with a more predictable romance structure. (Translation: a predictable plot where boy meets girl in first chapter, boy loses girl, boy get same girl back by the end.) For Rowena, this would be a major rewrite, and it wouldn’t be fun at all. I’m all about fun.

Was this the end of the line for Rowena? I tried one more avenue. I submitted to a small independent traditional publisher. Here’s what I’ve discovered:

Indie Publishers want smart, fun, readable fiction for their publishing lines too. But some are willing to slip the bonds of specific genres to experience something a little daring. That’s what you get as a reader, from Indie fiction – something a little bit different from the strict lines of genre rules that the huge publishers insist upon following.

Indie publishers will take risks. For a writer, this is magic. I am not a huge fan of big R romance, where the HEA (happy ever after) ending is predictable from the start. However, I love a little romance with my fantasy or mystery – something to spice up the plot and add motivation.

Enter my smart Indie publisher. She loved the fact that this novel was unpredictable. She said….”you know, with a little more romance, we could slide this into the paranormal romance market.” Tone down the sex a bit, she suggested. Add a little more yearning… “You don’t have to change the plot – just ramp up the desire.”

Will I do it? Yes! Finally – a publisher who has imagination and daring to match mine.

For writers, our books are like surrogate babies. We created them, and then after birth we pass them on to our publishers and editors to ‘raise’ them, and bring them to market. I have to feel that my publisher knows more about the market out there than I do. So we compromised on some things – to both our satisfaction.

Indie publishers see the writer/publisher relationship as a partnership. I always keep in mind that the Indie publisher is putting his/her own money into the production of my book. Making small adjustments to reach a larger market just makes sense.

Rowena didn’t care. She’s off on adventure number two, Rowena and the Dark Lord.

Melodie Campbell’s book Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin Books) is available at Amazon.com and Smashwords, in ebook and paperback.

Follow Melodie at
http://funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html
View trailer and read opening scene at http://www.melodiecampbell.com/

Melodie Campbell got her start as a comedy writer, so it’s no surprise that editors have called her work ‘wacky’ and ‘laugh out loud funny’. She has over 200 publications, including 100 humour columns, 30 short stories and three novels (two will be released in 2012). She has received five awards for fiction, and is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada.

ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL (No. 2 on Amazon.ca bestseller list, Aug 2011! (fantasy,futuristic)

“Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”
When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she doesn’t count on being kidnapped – not once, but twice, dammit. Unwanted husbands keep piling up; not only that, she has eighteen-year-old Kendra to look out for, and a war to prevent. Good thing she can go back through the wall when she needs to…or can she?

“Hot and Hilarious!” Midwest Book Review
“Jack Sparrow meets Stephanie Plum” Former editor, Distant Suns Fantasy Magazine

Excerpt from Chapter 16

“How did you do that?” Kendra gasped.

“Do what?”

“I just saw you walk right through that wall!”

“Oh that….” I said, brushing myself off. “Look sweetie, not to change the subject, but I don’t have a whole lot of time-”

“And who is that?”

Kendra gaped at Logan, who stood at least a foot taller than her. He, in turn, gazed down at her as if he had just discovered the meaning of life, the universe and everything that might possibly be in it.

“Damn,” I mumbled. “Kendra – Logan, Logan – Kendra. Now that we’re all introduced, I really have to hustle.”

Kendra’s eyes widened. “Is he for real?”

“Yes, yes, he’s real,” I said, lowering my voice. “ Kendra, I have to whip home for my vet bag. It would be easier without him along. Can you keep him here? I’ll only be 20 minutes.”

“Sure, but how?” She could hardly take her eyes off him.

“I don’t know…flirt with him or something. But don’t let him leave this classroom. Got it?”

She gulped. “Okay.”

I ran to the desk and grabbed my car keys. Just as I reached the exit, I heard Kendra say, “So…is that a broadsword on your belt or are you just glad to see me?”

Being Indie Part IV ~ Ignore the Chair, by Jill Edmondson

Posted on: December 4th, 2011 by Carrick Publishing

At Carrick Publishing, we’re keenly aware that there are many ways to approach this new Publishing industry of ours. In fact, there may be as many valid avenues as there are authors!

The one thing all Indie authors have in common is the need to be highly-proactive in promoting our work.

One exciting new author in the Crime Fiction field who has embraced the hard work of promotion is Jill Edmondson. Jill’s Sasha Jackson books have been likened to Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. They are fast, fun and highly enjoyable!

We’re pleased to present Jill Edmondson for Part IV of our “Being Indie” series!

Ignore The Chair ~ by Jill Edmondson

Okay, so you’ve written a book. Great! Now, how are you going to sell it?

Believe it or not, writing the book is probably the easy part. Selling it takes work.

For some authors, the sales part comes easily. I’m pretty lucky when it comes to retail events. I am not terribly shy and I have a bit of a knack for chatting people up.

Here’s how I sell my books at Chapters and Indigo. (I should point out that the process is the exact same regardless of who the publisher is.)

Background

1. Call the store and ask to speak to the Events Manager. Tell the manager you’d like to do an event. Offer him or her a couple dates & times to choose from (your best bet is to try to schedule an event for a Friday evening, or a Saturday or Sunday afternoon). If your book is in their system, be sure they get in plenty of stock. Follow up on this a week before the event.

2. Post the event on Facebook (your own page/profile, plus the page/profile for the store if they have one).

3. Tweet the event several times, especially as the date nears. Be sure to tag the store’s Twitter account if they have one.

4. Call or email SNAP or any local papers. Often, you can get a short write-up or some publicity from community sources.

5. Prepare some promotional materials (bookmarks, flyers, or postcards). If your publisher does not provide you with any materials (or if they only offer a limited amount), then you can (and should) do this yourself (maybe with some help from Staples or a print-shop.) I make all my own promotional materials; occasionally I’ll get the print-shop nearby to make glossy copies, but usually I do them myself on my home computer/printer.

Your promotional material should include tag lines, a synopsis, a list of other titles, and, of course, pull quotes from reviews!

The above steps may seem obvious, and they are all pretty easy to do. It’s the next part that poses a challenge.

Event Day

6. Make sure there is plenty of stock available! If you are bringing your own stock, bring twice the amount you hope to sell. Just as a bare buffet table looks unappetizing, a signing event with only about ten or twelve books on the table is unappealing.

7. Greet the staff! Learn their names and smile at them. These people are going to help you. Tell them about your work and who your intended readers are. Make it easy on them: My books will appeal to readers of Janet Evanovich… My books are cozies with a hint of the supernatural… My novel is like the Da Vinci Code for insecure teens with acne… My sleuth is a modern-day, transgendered Poirot.

Let the staff know about any reviews you’ve had. Some stores have a PA system and will make announcements now and then, and a good pull quote helps them know what to say.

Be sure to give a few copies of your print promo materials to the staff.

8. Chapters or Indigo will set you up with a table/desk and chair. Ignore the chair! Drape your jacket on the back of the chair and forget about it.

With some exceptions, I have no idea what many of my favourite authors look like… and these are authors who are famous and well-established.

So, if you’re a relatively new author or only have a small following, shoppers walking by won’t have a clue who you are. For some reason, customers are reluctant to approach an author sitting behind a desk. Come to think of it, until I began writing, I wouldn’t have stopped by the desk of an unknown either. (Now I will, but it’s more a case of supporting other writers because it’s good karma to do so.)

Stand. Beside the desk, near the desk, perhaps even occasionally behind the desk (maybe even ON the desk…?) But you must stand, and be ready and willing to chat with people as they walk by. If you’re standing, you are meeting people at EYE level.

9. So, what do you say when people walk by? Well, some will be in a hurry and won’t want to talk, which is why you need some kind of print promo material to hand them. Many will throw it out, but some will glance at it as they wander the store, and some will come back and chat with you after they’ve found the Do It Yourself Vasectomy book they came in for. Some may pass your flyer along to a friend or neighbour who is interested in the kind of stuff you write.

10. Okay, so now what do you say when people walk by? I usually say:

“Hi! Can I tell you about my book?”
“Do you like reading mysteries?”
“Are you interested in some local fiction? (local authors?)”

11. Some people will ignore you, some will shake their heads “no,” and some will be interested in a moment of chatting. Make this moment count!

12. When someone does stop to chat for a minute, you actually have much less than that to hook them. You should have a one sentence line to pitch the book. I often say things like:

“My sleuth is an edgy, grown-up Nancy Drew with a martini.”
Re: Blood and Groom “It’s what happens when ‘I do’ becomes ‘I don’t’.”
Re: The Lies Have It “Kinky sex collides with municipal politics.”

You know your book better than anyone, so it’s up to you to zero in on an effective tag line. Whatever it is, it will either interest them and they will buy the book, or it won’t interest them, and they will walk away, leaving you free to chat with someone else who IS interested in your book.

13. Don’t just stand there, MOVE! Don’t be afraid to walk around the store and chat with people who may have come in through a different entrance and didn’t see your table. Let them know that you are doing a signing and offer them a flyer/bookmark/etc. to entice them (maybe) to come by and see you.

That’s it. Be prepared. Get out of the chair. Talk to people. Sell books.

For more info:

jilledmondson.com
Twitter @JillEdmondson
Facebook.com/SashaJacksonMysteries
jilledmondson.blogspot.com

There are three titles in the Sasha Jackson Mysteries series:

Blood and Groom (2009)
Dead Light District (2011)
The Lies Have It (2011)
The Sasha Jackson Mysteries have been optioned for development as a TV series! Stay tuned for updates!