Novel Rocket

Monday, November 24, 2014

"The Ghost Box" is Open!

I'm thrilled to announce the release of my new Urban Fantasy "The Ghost Box: A Reagan Moon Novel." The title is available exclusively through Amazon in either paperback or ebook. Having published two trad novels, both aimed at the Christian market, I have decided to stretch my creative legs a bit and create a story that might appeal to a larger audience. So while The Ghost Box has plenty of spiritual themes and imagery, it contains profanity and does not follow a theological checklist. (At my blog today, I go into more detail about why I decided to cross over and the unique elements such a decision poses for a Christian author.)  The story is a mash-up of sci-fi, noir, and horror elements, which one reviewer described as "'Blade Runner' Meets 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'"
As part of the book's launch, today I'll be giving away one autographed copy of The Ghost Box to a commenter on this post. My only requirement for entry is that you promise to post a review of the novel at Amazon and Goodreads (if a member). Just leave your name and a comment and this evening (probably 8 or 9 PM Pacific time) I'll be randomly selecting a winner and announce it here. So if you're into Urban Fantasy containing spiritual elements, but nevertheless is gritty and dark and full of exotic monstrosities, why not consider opening The Ghost Box.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

DIVINE GENEROSITY

by Cynthia Ruchti

The Apostle Paul made a controversial statement in his letter to the Philippians, a letter so bulging with truth that it begs to be memorized…a goal for me for the new year.

Tucked among the "I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers"(Phil. 1:1 CEB) and "The one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job" (1:6 CEB) and "God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes" (2:13 CEB) lies this reason-to-be-thankful gem:

"God has generously granted you…"

Starts out well, don't you think? Keep reading.

"God has generously granted you the privilege, not only of believing in Christ…"

As Thanksgiving approaches, how many will be gathered around a table thanking God for the privilege of believing in Christ? Between now and then, I'm spending time pondering the beauty in those words, the wonder in that truth.

But the sentence is not yet complete.

"God has generously granted you the privilege, not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering for Christ's sake," Philippians 1:29 CEB.

Suffering for Christ's sake. A privilege granted by God. That can't mean what we think it does. Or does it? For the church to which Paul addressed his words in biblical times

Because this blog is specifically directed to novelists, and the Sunday editions are devoted to the spiritual health of a novelist, let's consider the kinds of things novelists deal with that might land on the "suffering for Christ's sake" spectrum.

  • It's hard work to write a book.
  • A novelist has to give up much-loved hobbies and habits in order to write well.
  • Reviewers sometimes sabotage a book's ratings.
  • Sales figures can be heartbreaking.
  • Those closest to you don't always understand what it takes to be a writer.
Before the list gets any longer, let's agree to one key point. That's not the definition of suffering.

Many writers suffer. But the above list falls on the disappointment spectrum, not suffering.

Have we even begun to understand what it means to suffer for Christ? Have we ever considered that suffering for Him is a gift from God, a sign of His generosity toward us, one of the privileges He grants?

As Thanksgiving week dawns, it's a concept that will occupy my mind in a new way. I pray it changes the way I approach the upcoming year and its challenges, too.


YOUR THOUGHTS: How difficult is it for you to consider suffering as a gift? How does that relate to the writing life?



Award-winning author and speaker Cynthia Ruchti--privileged to write for Him--tells stories hemmed in hope. Her latest novels include When the Morning Glory Blooms and All My Belongings, both from Abingdon Press. You can connect with Cynthia at cynthiaruchti.com or www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Trends, Tie-ins and Writing From Your Heart. Possible? Carrie Turansky

Authors are often told, don’t try to follow the trends, write the book of your heart. But does being aware of trends and what’s popular in culture, and choosing to write about it, mean you aren’t writing a story that comes from your heart? I think not!

I believe what people actually mean when they give this advice is: don’t just follow a trend for the trend’s sake, and don’t try to write a particular genre just because it’s popular. Write a story you are passionate about, one that comes from your heart. 

And I agree . . . but I do think you can follow a trend and write a story that you and your readers will love.

In 2012, Downton Abbey was just becoming popular. I enjoyed the show, and I wanted to write longer historical novels, but I wasn’t sure I could write a series that required so much research. After doing some reading about the era, I promptly fell in love with it and decided to create a proposal for The Edwardian Brides Series. I used some of the same elements that made Downton enjoyable: characters from both the staff and a wealthy, aristocratic family; a beautiful English estate as the setting; and important events and issues from the era as part of the plot.

When I pitched the series I said it’s like Downton Abbey meets Jane Eyre. This piqued the interest of several editors, and soon I had a three-book contract. The series was connected to a popular trend, it was a time period that was interesting, but had not been overdone in CBA, and it was the type of story that I loved to read and wanted to write.

Tying my book to Downton Abbey has been a wonderful marketing tool and a great connection point with readers. We mentioned it in the back cover copy and the endorsement on the cover. We used it in our book launch promotions and often use Downton Abbey gifts in our giveaways. I gave my website a makeover so it had an English Historical feeling similar to Downton. I joined a few Downton Abbey Facebook Fan groups and set up a Downton Abbey list on Twitter. I set up a Google Search for Downton Abbey articles and often share those photos on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. I visited the Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit and even traveled to England and Scotland to visit two filming locations for Downton Abbey. I used that research in my books and shared those trips on my blog, email newsletter, Facebook and Pinterest, and my readers love it. 

My publisher created a special poster they distributed to libraries all over the US called “Downton Abbey Read Alikes.” It included my book and several others. This gave me another opportunity to connect with Downton Abbey fans.

I’m not the only author who has ridden a trend with good results. Several authors including Cathy Gohlke, Tricia Goyer, Janice Thompson, and others planned ahead and took advantage of the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, using that as a back drop for their stories. Other authors like Julie Klassen and Katherine Reay have connected their novels to popular author, Jane Austen. Julie’s books are historical, and she has used her Austin research in marketing her books and connecting with readers who enjoy Regency novels. Katherine’s books are contemporary, but she uses themes and quotes from Austen in beautiful ways in her award-winning books. Cara Putman used the popularity of The Monument Men as a tie-in when her WW2 historical novel, Shadowed by Grace released. And several WW2 novelists recently joined together for a promotion remembering the 75th Anniversary of the beginning of WW2. Very clever ideas! 

So do write the story of your heart . . . and do consider cultural trends, historical anniversaries, unique settings, popular authors from the past, and other tie-ins that might allow you to connect with new readers and expand your audience.

Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas, including Surrendered Hearts, Snowflake Sweethearts, and Along Came Love. She has been the recipient of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award. Turansky’s first historical fiction novel, and the first in the Edwardian Brides series, The Governess of Highland Hall, is a 2014 Carol Award finalist. While Turansky has been writing articles, devotions and essays since 1999, writing fiction is her passion, and she’s thankful for the creative ideas God has put into her mind and heart.

When she’s not writing Turansky enjoys spending time with her family, working outside in her flower gardens, cooking healthy meals for family and friends, or walking around the lake near her home.

To keep up with Carrie Turansky, visit www.carrieturansky.com, become a fan on Facebook (AuthorCarrieTuransky) or follow her on Twitter (@CarrieTuransky) and Pinterest (CarrieTuransky).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Small Press Option: Interview with Christina Tarabochia, Co-Founder of Ashberry Lane Press

I'm in a Christian Indie group with Christina Tarabochia, Co-Founder of Ashberry Lane Press, and I knew she'd be the perfect person to explain how small presses help their authors. These days, as many authors investigate options outside traditional publishing, small publishers are a very competitive option and bring unique benefits.

This interview was so informative and I hope you take time to ask Christina any questions below in the comments! ~Heather Day Gilbert


Christina Tarabochia and her mother, Sherrie Ashcraft, 
Co-Founders of Ashberry Lane Press



~Interview with Christina Tarabochia~

HG: Christina, tell me a little about how you decided to start your small press, Ashberry Lane. Also, what is the significance of that name?

CT: My debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, came out in 2009 from Moody Publishing under my then-name of Christina Berry. (The book took 2nd places in the 2008 Genesis.) I had one of the top agents in the business. I was up for a Christy and won the first Contemporary Carol Award in 2010. I had put in my years and years of learning, networking, pitching, honing and my career was going to skyrocket! Yeah!

But it didn’t.

Instead I spent a couple more years writing proposals, getting rejections with specific reasons that had nothing to do with my actual writing, and spinning my wheels. Meantime, I saw the indie movement growing and wanted to jump in right away. For better or worse, I didn’t actually take the plunge until 2013 when my mother, Sherrie Ashcraft, and I left our agent and started our press, Ashberry Lane—a combo of Ashcraft and Berry. (But doesn’t it sound like a nostalgic little road with sweet peas growing along the edges of a path that leads to a cozy cottage?) 


Ashberry Lane

We planned to release our own book, On the Threshold, that we’d been working on for FOURTEEN years and then keep writing more together as I finished up all the others I’d started over the years.


On the Threshold, Winner of the Oregon Cascade Award
Click to Find on Amazon

We released On the Threshold in May of 2013. Within a few weeks, Dianne Price contacted us. She was dying of a slow-moving cancer and would we be interested in publishing her six-book WWII series? We quickly worked up a legally solid contract and signed her with our house. Unfortunately, she passed away one week before Broken Wings released. 


Click to find Broken Wings on Amazon

Next, Bonnie Leon approached us about doing a 20th Anniversary Revised Edition of her debut novel, The Journey of Eleven Moons. (That’s my daughter—the little one on the cover!)


Click to Find The Journey of Eleven Moons on Amazon

Once we signed a known, well-respected author, we were off and running … to the printers.

Since then, we’ve worked with several agencies and signed unagented authors as well, have released eight books, and have contracted nine more. In the words of Ephesians 3:19-20, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (NASB)

HG: Do you have an editor on staff who screens proposals/manuscripts for possible production? What are some crucial elements you look for in books you choose to publish?

CT: Um … getting a little bit convicted here. ;) I know there will be a point when I need to pass the first-reader responsibility on to someone else within the company, but I just can’t give it up yet! It is so much fun to open an email and see the idea of a new story. Sometimes the synopsis sounds a little outlandish, and then I start reading and the writing can carry that plot. Or a story sounds great, strong hook and good market potential, and the writing can’t quite deliver.

When we do have to say no to a manuscript, we try to offer very specific reasons why and offer to look at the piece again if those changes are made.

Reading submissions is like eating a box of chocolates (Click to Tweet!)—you have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get because there are labels clearly saying what each candy is! (Humor credit to my daughter, 15-year-old Andrea, who originally came up with that cliché twist.)

So, what are we looking for?

~Nice, tight, no-personal-space-bubble Point of View. Let me become the character and live the book, please.

~Word counts that fit our guidelines: http://ashberrylane.com/submissions-guidelines/

~A story that touches our heart and points the reader toward a better understanding of and closer relationship with the Lord. This can be in any genre, even Sci Fi or Humor. It just has to fit our Tagline: Heartfelt Tales of Faith (& Fun!).

Once I think I might want to flirt with a manuscript—you know, give a wink or a sly glance--I send it on to my mother, President of Ashberry. We both read fulls on our Kindles. If we forget we’re reading an unpublished book and can’t stop reading and fall in love with the writing, it’s pretty much guaranteed we’ll be offering a contract.

HG: You mentioned to me you are somewhat "indie in thought and traditional in practice." Could you elaborate on that?

CT: The foundation of our publishing house is grounded in indie ideas (Click to Tweet!)--things like quick production times, freedom from genre expectations, pricing according to fluctuating markets, instant feedback on promotional efforts, access to sales numbers if we have them, transparency about what works and what doesn’t for marketing at this time, planning permafree with #1 in a series, etc. We’ll try pretty much anything an author wants to try.

But we give the traditional stamp of approval that a publishing house has chosen that manuscript out of all the ones submitted (and we’ve been shocked at how many we’ve already had to turn down) and put money and resources behind getting that story into readers’ hands. We do most of the traditional things for authors. (SEE BELOW)

HG: Give me some examples of what Ashberry Lane does for authors, such as: cover art, formatting, uploading, marketing, etc.

CT: We’ve evolved into quite a complicated machine for being so young. I give a very detailed first edit—I ran an editing business for five years before we started Ashberry Lane so I love this part!—while the author discusses cover ideas with our designer, the amazing Nicole Miller, and starts working on cover copy, gathering endorsers, and building reach with Mom’s help. 

After the author and I go over the first edit together, the manuscript moves on to the second round of editing. We have three editors who provide macro/micro/line edits all put together. I compile those and return the results to the author. After those changes are made, the manuscript goes to three proofers—who all find different things, of course. They check for consistency, grammar, and clarity, but also point out if there are any “big picture” issues left. Compile, return to author, repeat.

No, wait, that’s shampoo.

Either way, the product gets cleaner and cleaner. Meanwhile, we’re all back-and-forthing about the cover and book blurb.

I do a final read-aloud edit to catch the typos we made while fixing typos and any “echo” words that slipped by us. Then I format the paperback version, Nicole finalizes the cover, and we order a proof. I make three different e-formats from the print version. (We have really pretty great distribution for both print and e-books.)

As we use paid advertising, we’re finding which opportunities are worth it and which just don’t give a good ROI. We’ve got some exciting new marketing plans in the works, but this is definitely the area in which we are trying to grow the most! Y’all can help us by signing up for our newsletter at www.ashberrylane.com J We have around 1200 subscribers but would love to have more. And come like us at www.facebook.com/ashberrylanebooks.

HG: What are the benefits to authors with going with a small press like Ashberry Lane? Who would you NOT recommend small presses for?

CT: There are authors who are amazing as indies, but there are also authors who want only the full-blown, huge trad route. In between is a breed of authors who want FREE cover design, several rounds of edits, formatting, distribution, want to have a name-stamp of approval, and mostly just want to write and not do all the business part of indie. Not all small press authors want all those things, but they are considerations.

Also, being part of our small press is being part of a family (Click to Tweet!). Everybody's books have links to everyone else's in the back, we share each other's memes, we share each other’s books in our newsletters, we have a secret page for our authors, we try to remember birthdays, etc.

AGAIN, this is not what everyone wants! If you love to control every aspect of your book, if you love to learn new things, if you see indie as a challenge that God will walk you through, then full indie is probably the best route. But I think it's great for the market place and for authors to have the full spectrum.

HG: (*Raising hand* I do like control--but sometimes it would be nice to have someone else take some of the load!) Could you give me some idea of the royalty breakdown for things like e-books/softcovers through your press--in other words, what do authors keep?

CT: Another area we try to be pro-author/indie-ish in thought is when it comes to royalties. We pay our authors 50% of net on BOTH e-book and paperbacks. We also don’t charge any markup for author copies. By giving the authors more money and taking all the financial risk, the first 1.5 years of the company have definitely been an investment, but as we release more and more great Heartfelt Tales of Faith (& Fun!), the company itself should become more and more profitable, which means more profit will then be passed on to authors. A pretty cool cycle.


HG: I feel like I was talking to you in person, not conducting an e-mail interview! What a wealth of information you have brought to authors today, Christina. All the best to you and your mother as you serve authors and readers with Ashberry Lane!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sensing God's Presence

By Rachel Hauck @RachelHauck


Last week Allen Arnold asked a pretty tough question in his blog, The Deeper Magic of Writing.

"Are you so hungry for God’s involvement in your writing that you’re willing to call it quits until you sense his presence?"

This is a powerful, loaded, 18 million dollar question!

Allen goes on to remind us that we don’t just need his presence in our writing—we need his presence in our life

My husband preached a sermon earlier this year about how we carry His presence within us—the Holy Spirit.

Afterwards I said, "Dude, then we should never be without His presence."

Right. Therein lies the hitch. 

How do we touch God? Sense His presence? Because we know from scripture He is with us.

Far too often when we sit down to pray, or worship, or deal with the kids, household chores or a difficult co-worker/family member/neighbor, or to write that book, we have no reality of the presence of the Holy One in us, with us and willing to move on our behalf.

It's the battle Jesus referred to as, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!(Matthew 26:41)

Just how do we tap into the divine? How do we recognize His presence?


Here's a little bit of my story.

In '98, the Lord began a journey with me that began with a recognized need to go deeper in God while coming to grips with the reality it would take a life time to get there. And then some.

Yet, along the way, I would see and feel changes that would enable me to fellowship with His presence. 

As a writer of stories, I want His fragrance to be in and on my writing. I long for the power of story to impact the reader's life.

As this is my life's work, I am hyper-vigilant about partnering with the Lord.

I told my husband one day, "I do not want to give myself to anything that will not remain. 

I want to write in such a way my work endures to the age to come! 

But what does that look like? I have to partner with Him to figure it out!

A few years ago I was writing my second trade for Thomas Nelson, Diva Nashvegas, now called Nashville Sweetheart

It was hard. Oy! 

I was writing about a country superstar, which I am not! Nor had I met Sara Evans yet, so I had no one to talk about the intricacies of life on a tour bus, life on the concert circuit, life in the studio ... you get my meaning. 

I read biographies, made phone calls to entertainment attorneys, dreamed, imagined, thought, prayed, cried, prayed and cried, and in the end, just had to just grind it out! 

One morning during prayer at church, the Lord whispered to me, "Isaiah 41:13." 

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

I was so encouraged. He's helping me! We are getting 'er done!

But it was still hard. A few weeks later, I said to the Lord, "I thought you were going to help me!"

He said, "What makes you think I'm not?"


"Because it's hard!"

Ha! I burst out laughing.

"Just because it's hard doesn't mean I'm not helping you."

A year later Diva Nashvegas became my first award winner. 

The book didn't tear up the sales charts nor catch the eye of an influencer who could help "get the word out," but that award call was such a sweet kiss on my heart from the Lord. "I'm with you." 

Oh, and managing your expectations becomes a big part of the writer's journey. But that's for another blog.

Back to Allen's question. How do you tap into God's presence as you write? Before you write?

I won't offer you a formula or how-to. God wants to talk to you about your life with Him.

But I will suggest this: it's not a one time event. Or a philosophy. It's about being and doing with Him every day, in every aspect of your life.

I've been a full-time writer for ten years. In the last five or six years, I regularly "feel" drops on my head as a write. Light, soft touches. Wings? Drops of oil? A breath from the Divine? Yes, maybe, all of the above?

When I feel those touches, I'm reminded He's with me. I pause and ask, "Lord, what do You need?"

Anyway, here are a few things that really, really changed my heart and walk with the Lord, which impacted my life, which impacted my writing.

1. Prayer. Not only being more purposeful in my own personal prayer time, but attending prayer and worship meetings at my church, in the city. I cannot stress enough how the Lord encountered me in the place of prayer, (added with a bit of fasting,) and changed me. Even my emotional chemistry.

2. The Word. Not just reading the Word, but praying it back to the Lord, dialoging with Him over His own writing and letters to me! I took Him at His Word and He proved Himself over and over.

3. Worship. Placing my cold heart before His flame. Chasing worshippers and worship music that had an anointing on to remove the stones of my heart and bring me into His presence. 

4. Attentiveness. Listening to teachers and preacher who told me I could have more of God and ways to get there. (See above list. ;)

5. Fellowship. Hanging around people who wanted more of Him. Hanging with people who challenged and inspired me.

6. Commitment. Understand it's not a one time event but a chasing-after, going for it, turning your life upside down to dwell with Him way beyond the call of writing but for the upward call of God in Christ. Phil 3:13.

Have faith. You can do it! If you're already doing it, keep doing it! Share your testimony in the comments! I need more inspiration, too.

When you sit down to write, know He is with you! He is for you! Start or keep developing your own "history in God."


***


Rachel lives in sunny central Florida.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.

She’s the author of EPCA and CBA best sellers, RITA and Christy nominated books. She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.

Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Her novel, Once Upon A Prince, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist.

Here latest novel, Princess Ever After and novella A March Bride, released in February 2014. 

Her novella A Brush With Love releases Dec 30th. And the final Royal Wedding book, How To Catch A Prince, releases in Feb 2015.


Visit her web site: www.rachelhauck.com.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I’ve Contracted Stingy Book Buyers Disease

by James L. Rubart @JamesLRubart

True (embarrassing) confession. I’ve become cheap when it comes to buying books.

What‘s wrong with me?

A few months back the e-book version of Patrick Carr’s first novel, A Cast of Stones was offered for free. So I downloaded it on my Kindle. I liked it so much I bought the second book in the trilogy for my Kindle. Cost: $4.99


I finished The Hero’s Lot this past Saturday. Loved it. So I jumped on the web to get book three. Then I saw the price. $9.99?! Are you kidding? That expensive? I debated back and forth for at least twenty minutes before buying Draw of Kings.

But I didn’t hesitate for even a second when I strolled into Subway the other day and they wanted $9 for a flatbread pastrami sandwich.

The Conditioning Factors
We’ve torched ourselves haven’t we? If I had been buying quality sub sandwiches for the past three years for free, or .99 cents, I’d probably balk at paying nine bucks for a sub. But I haven’t.

We sure have been conditioned when it comes to books though. With Bookbub, and eReaderIQ and the like, we’ve trained readers (and ourselves) to think paying anything over five dollars for an e-book is a considerable amount of money. (Have you balked at paying even .99 cents for a book that looked good? I have.)

A few weekends back I flew to Oklahoma to speak at the ACFW chapter in Oklahoma City. I sat next to a man who is a rabid Lee Child fan. Has read every one of his Jack Reacher books. But he couldn’t imagine paying $15 for Child’s latest.

Lamonts
In the 80s and 90s there was a clothing store in the Seattle area that was basically a cheap version of Nordstroms. They sold a lot of merchandise until they implemented an advertising philosophy that was essentially to have everything on sale all the time.

I’m not talking 20% off sales. I’m talking 70% off.  All the time. How could they sustain that type of deep discounting? They couldn’t. Lamonts ended up filing for bankruptcy twice during the 90s and closed their doors for the final time in 2000 when they sold the company to Gottschalks (which went bankrupt as well in 2009.)

I Wouldn’t Want to Be a Publisher
I love my publisher. My editor has become a dear friend. But wow, I wouldn’t want to work there. They are up against significant challenges. I don’t mean them specifically. I mean any publisher. That’s a battered ship at the moment. (I do know what'd I do to turn the ship around which I'll share in a later column.)

What’s My Point?
I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. You realize we’ve cut our own throat. When your publisher is selling your books for .99 cents, you’re not making a lot of bank.

So what do we do? As authors I believe we need face reality (as many of you already have) and admit the only way we’re going to find an income is to embrace the hybrid model. I used to think it was an option. Not anymore.

Yes, I hear some of you saying, “Uh, James, where have you been? You just now waking up to that certainty?” Yeah, I suppose I am. But I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Three Questions
  • Have your buying habits changed?
  • Are you embracing the hybrid model? (Or the fully indie model?)
  • How can publishers keep from becoming Lamonts? 


James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy award winning author of six novels. He’s also a professional speaker, and marketer who helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at http://jameslrubart.com/

Monday, November 17, 2014

Have a New Release Coming Out Next Year? It's Never Too Early to Think Marketing!

I know many who stop by Novel Rocket daily have new books coming out in 2015 and beyond, either by traditional publishing or indie. Either way, it’s never too early lay the groundwork for a successful marketing program for your book. Here are a few suggestions to get started.

1. Book a blog tour.
Many people love to host authors and their books on their blogs, and many bloggers are already booking for at least the first half of 2015. Let the bloggers out there know you have a new book coming out in the coming year and you would love to have a slot on their blog calendar. When you book a visit, if at all possible, offer to do a giveaway of your book. The possibility of winning a free book always brings more visitors to the blog, and if they don’t win, chances are they will look for your story to purchase it. It doesn’t hurt to suggest to the winner to post a review on the various online shopping sites if they enjoyed the story.

2.  Book personal appearances and signings.
If you are having a launch celebration, the party venue is the first place to book. But, there are other places such as the local library, local bookstores, unique locales that tie in to your story setting. Try to think out of the box and come up with some places that might be willing to host an event for you. For example, if your main character is a chef, perhaps a local restaurant, cooking school, or a store that sells cooking utensils.

3. Contact local news media.
Always contact the local paper where you story is set. People love to read books set in places they know. If your setting is a actual small town, contact the editor of the paper to arrange for an interview. I did this for my Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, WI and was blessed with a half page article above the fold! And don't overlook the local paper where you live. I often see articles about a local author having a book out.

Also, if your home area or the story setting has a local radio station, contact them to arrange for an interview. But don’t stop with local media. Internet radio is fast becoming as popular as broadcast radio. Check into what programs are looking for authors to interview on the air.

4.  Order promotional items.
Now is the time to order bookmarks, postcards, and other items such as pens, sticky notes, or whatever clever items that could tie into your storyline. You might look for something related to your character’s profession, or something that promotes the setting.

What other things can you think of that aren’t on my list?




A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago with her two rescue cats, an hour's drive away from her Wisconsin hometown which she visits often to dig into its historical legacy. Her novels include Thyme for Love, and Love Will Find a Way, contemporary romantic mysteries and her 1933 historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing in microfilms and historical records about Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas.