Sunday, 8 January 2017

Partnership in Promotion: Top Ten Tips


Long gone are the days when authors could write a book and then sit back and let it sell itself. Now, whether traditionally or independently published, authors need to spend some time marketing their books. I know many of you will feel this is a never ending task, and others won't even know where to start. Never fear, help is here. Or should I say help is near. 

Let me elaborate. Help is as near as you reaching out to others. It has been proven time and time again that working together with others can exponentially rocket your marketing efforts. There are a number of ways in which this can be done. 

1. Speaking engagements - I have joined together with two Scottish Crime Authors, Chris Longmuir and Jackie McLean to form the Dangerous Dames. We undertake a number of speaking engagements together. This increases exposure for all three of us as we chat about the events on various social media platforms. 

2. Start a Facebook group of authors with similar genres, or interests. Within this agree to share about each others books, or share marketing ideas

3. Host and/or interview on each others blogs. 

4. Join together to run giveaways related to various times of the year. 

5. This may be somewhat limited but I also interview authors on my radio show

6. Share each others social media posts about your books

7. Share each others books on your own website. 

8. Share each others business cards/ and or postcards 

9. Join together to do pop up shops in malls

10. Join associations which deal with writing and/or your genre. I am a member of The Association of Writers, Scottish association of Writers, The Crime Writers Association, SCWBI, Sisters in Crime, The Association of Christian Writers, and Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers. No only do these help me to be a better writer but increase opportunities and ways to help each other out.

I will finish by saying this is well worth exploring as it is worth way more than just the sum of all its parts. It's time to sell more books. 


    

Saturday, 31 December 2016

An Exciting New Year Beckons


As I write this we stand on the cusp of a new year. As you read it the New Year will already have begun, in Scotland anyway. New Year is always a time for hope, looking to the future and wondering what the year will bring. 

As a writer the past year has been an absolute blast. I have been to several conferences, met some lovely people and brought out four new books. These were Killer's Cut and Killer's Crew in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, The Dagger's Curse in the Fergus and Flora Mysteries and one non fiction book. The non fiction book is called Power Packed Book Marketing and was written to accompany a talk and workshop I was doing. 

Over the year I have been a speaker at several conferences and run workshops at several more. Book week Scotland was crazy busy with 11 events in 8 days. The highlight had to be being on a panel at Bouchercon in New Orleans. This was special in many ways. It was my first time speaking at an International Festival as a writer, also my first time in New Orleans. I also met a number of delightful people who I now call friends. 

Killer's Countdown, the first book in my DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries won a Chill With a Book Award. This was my first writing award and I felt quite emotional. If you haven't yet read this series then now is the time to start. To celebrate the award Killer's Countdown is only £1.99. You can get it from any Amazon

As I say 2016 was memorable. It was fun and full of adventure and excitement. It was also full of wonder. Wonder that this was happening and gratefulness that it was. 

I am excited about what 2017 will bring. I have already been asked to speak at several conferences including the Scottish Association of Writers Conference and the Dublin Writers Conference. I will also be attending a number of other conferences including Killer Nashville and Bouchercon in Toronto. The Crime Writers Conference is happening over my birthday so I am looking forward to that. I have been asked to run a full day of writing workshops for The Prince's Trust

I have a number of projects and books ongoing. The Haunted Broch, the next book in the Fergus and Flora Mysteries will be with the publisher any day now. The next Shona McKenzie book will also be out in May or June. I believe that 2017 will be just as exciting, if not more so, than 2017.

Many people are choosing their word for the year. I have decided my word will be opportunity. I know that there are a number of opportunities which could come along. I plan on embracing them and making the most of them. Where they will take me I can not tell. I do know that I will continue to follow my dream. To enjoy every single minute of the journey and let it take me where it will.

As 2017 approaches I urge you to follow your dream. Take the first step, then another and another. You will soon be well into your journey and on your way to reaching your goal. If that dream is to write a book then pick up a pen, or pull forward a keyboard and write the first word. Share what your dream is in the comments below. Your first step could be telling the world. It will make it somehow more real.

However, the year has not just been about writing. It has also been about reading. My first read of the New Year will be The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith. Expect a review on here very soon. What book are you starting the new year with. Let me know in the comments so I can get some recommendations.

Whatever you may be doing I trust you will have a blessed and happy year. Thank you for sharing the last year with me and I look forward to sharing the next year with you as well. 


  


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Celebrating the Year Just Gone




As we start the year as writers we tend to look to the future. What will the year bring? What will be writing? What projects have we got planned? We often forget to look at what we have achieved so that is what I am urging you to do today. We are always growing and developing, both as a people and as writers. If we look at what we have done this can help us to move forward.

As writers we can often be despondent about our work and our achievements. We feel like we don't measure up or are not as good as others. We should be celebrating our successes whatever they may be. Take NaNoWriMo as an example. There are a number of writers celebrating because they reached the finish line. However, some will not have reached that Goal. Celebrate what you have done. Be it 10, 20, 30 or 40 thousand or even a thousand words, that is more words than you would have written if you had not been doing NaNoWriMo. You are that many words closer to completing your book.


As I look back over the past year I was genuinely astonished that I have completed 4 books and had short stories in 3 anthologies. This started with Power Packed Book Marketing in March, Killer's Cut in April, The Dagger's Curse in September and Killer's Crew in November. What a year and definitely worth celebrating. It has been non stop with conferences attended, speaking at conferences, speaking engagements, book signings and meeting readers. I signed a publishing contract for a series of young adult books and have an idea for another series. In short it has been a fabulous year, full of fun, laughter and writing.

Although the year has not ended yet I think one of the best ways to end Book Week Scotland was when Killer's Countdown was given an award. That, and the fact readers are enjoying my books make me a very happy writer indeed.



When taking stock of the year just gone it helps us to make decisions about the year ahead. Knowing what I am capable of has made me realise what I am capable of if I try. It has given me encouragement to achieve even more in the coming days and months and on into the future. If you are a writer I would encourage you to do a similar exercise. You might be amazed at what you have achieved without even knowing it.

Goodbye for now my Bookaholic friends. If you would like to buy signed copies of any of my books as Christmas presents then you can do so from my website. I'll get them out first class the day I receive the order. They make great stocking fillers as well.

You can also buy them from Amazon on the links on the right, Kobo, Nook and CLC Bookshops

See you soon my Bookaholic friends. Until then keep reading, and writing. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Observation for Writers - Travel part 2



In the past few weeks I've travelled a long way, and to many different places, for both business and pleasure. This has been a lot of fun, but has also been monotonous and quite stressful at times. Today I am on my way home. My trip this morning started on a bus. Standing on a bus, with a suitcase, another bag and my rucksack. As this was at 7.30am it was rush hour. Now given the time of day the bus itself was not busy. However, what should have been a ten minute journey took 35 minutes due to the sheer volume of traffic. I read a few days ago that traffic in London is so dense that modern vehicles move more slowly than a horse and cart. I can well believe it.

The next part of my journey involved the tube from North Greenwich to Baker Street and then the Metropolitan Line to Kings Cross. Sorted. Well you'd think so, but no. They had shut the circle and district line which meant that the Metropolitan Line would be heaving. I duly got out at London Bridge and took a taxi for the rest of the journey. The taxi driver was lovely, but the traffic was crucifying. I was rapidly wishing the horse and carts were back on the streets.

So why am I telling you this, and what does it have to do with London? Firstly, this gave me a lot of time to observe my surroundings. it also gave me a lot of time to observe people. I also had an epiphany. Often, in my genre of Crime, there may be a high speed chase or two in the books. In most cities, depending on the time of day, this would be impossible. A brisk walk would be more appropriate, and much faster. Also, if someone is being tailed then a tube station in the rush hour would be impossible. Oxford Circus at rush hour, forget it.

I appreciate I am concentrating on London here but I am sure many other large cities are the same. During the rush hour, The Kingsway, a dual carriageway that goes through Dundee, is a car park. No one is escaping. Buses are packed and move at a crawl.

In conclusion, traffic conditions are something we writers should be thinking about when writing scenes in our books. I hope this has helped you think in a different way.

You can get your free ebook, DI Shona McKenzie's Guide to Killing Your Boss, from my website

If you would like some help to boost your book sales, Power Packed Book Marketing is available via the link on the right side of the page.

All other books in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries are available via the links on the right side of the page


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Observations for Effective Writing


Today in the Authors Electric blog I am talking about how travelling can enrich you writing. I would like to take this a bit further in this blog. For the writers my hope is that it will help you. For the readers I hope you enjoy the insight into how writers find their inspiration. 

As I say, this blog gas arisen from a blog about travelling and writing. It is said that when travelling solo you are more likely to notice things and I have found this to be spot on. I have seen so many fascinating things and people on my travels. Children in particular, are an endless source of delight and fascination. 

Lets unpack what we see in the images above. Well the image of the little girls anyway. What can a writer get from this. Firstly, the girls look happy. I think they look mischievous. It immediately gets me thinking about what they have done. Or could it be they have never seen a camera before and are enjoying their moment of fame. Are they shy? Has the photographer got them laughing? The girl on the right looks more confident than the one on the left. Why is that? Are their backgrounds so different? Why is the girl on the left wearing a scarf? Is she Muslim? Is she cold? Are the girls friends? Are they sisters? All these questions come to mind and can be used in writing.

The picture does not only bring questions to mind. There are also a number of things that can be observed and used in books. The tilt of the girls head as she laughs. The way her hand is rising to cover her mouth. Her hair falling over one eye. The short hair of he girl on the right. Is it a girl or is it a feminine boy? The way their eyes crinkle and shine. The whiteness of their teeth. The way the girl in the scarf is leaning forward slightly. The confident stance of the other child. There is so much that a writer can get from one small snapshot.

The important part of this is that it can help a writer 

I have a challenge and en exercise for you. What else can you get from the picture on the left? Please let me know in the comments below. That is the challenge.

The exercise is for you too do a similar deconstruction of the photo on the right. Please comment on whether you found the exercise useful.

Finally remember to pay close attention to everything and everyone you see. You never know when this might come in useful.

If you like crime thrillers then take a look at the best selling DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. The fifth book in the series, Killer's Crew will be released on 10th November. 

If you would like a free DI Shona Mckenzie Book take a few seconds and pop over to my website




About the Author

Wendy H. Jones is the author of the Best Selling DI Shona Mckenzie Mysteries. The Dagger's Curse is the first book in her Young Adult Series, The Fergus and Flora Mysteries. She has also written one non fiction book - Power Packed Book Marketing: Sell More Books. You can find out more on her amazon author page 




Monday, 10 October 2016

Branding Your Book Covers


There is a lot of advice out there when it comes to author branding. Most exhort authors to ensure they have a brand that is recognisably them. Branding includes a number of areas such as author name, genre, book titles, and also, crucially, covers.

The cover above is for my forthcoming release, Killer's Crew. This is the fifth book in the DI Shona Mckenzie Mysteries. All my books have a similar layout. The bottom part of the cover is an image from Dundee where the books are set. The top half is an image which portrays something which happens in the book. The titles all have Killer's in them and there is always blood dripping from the writing.

The books are instantly recognisable as crime books. They have the Wendy H. Jones factor. Readers instantly know this is one of my books.  Anyone in the know would recognise them as having something to do with Dundee. The name of the detective Shona McKenzie certainly sets them out as having something to do with Scotland. 

Each book is a different colour so they stand out from each other. However, together they are branded as being part of the same series. They certainly stand out on the shelf. The covers for Killer's Countdown, Killer's Craft, Killer's Cross and Killer's Cut are below.

  

I am sure you will agree the cover designer has got the branding spot on. Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics  is an outstanding designer who takes great care to ensure that the covers meet the needs of her clients. In this series she has excelled herself. 

One thing I will say about the covers. There is an argument that you should not put the book numbers on the cover as human nature means people think they should be read in order. However, readers like to know the number of the book in the series so I went with the readers views in this case. They are stand alone books and can be read in any order. 

It is worth taking time to ensure that your branding reflects both your books and who you are. Well maybe not who I am unless I am a despotic serial killer. But you get my drift.

I have one more cover to present to you. This is for my free book DI Shona Mckenzie's Guide to Killing Your Boss. This is available form my website Shona is feisty, funny, sharp and dedicated. She also has the boss from hell. For the first time she shares her secrets of how you can bump him off. This book also doubles as ideas for deaths in your crime book so a double whammy. 


If you would like to find out more about the books you can do so on my website or on my Amazon author page 


  





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Saturday, 8 October 2016

How Travelling Can Enrich Your Writing



I've been flying around the world recently as well as chasing around the UK. Life as a writer is so busy and often I think that I don't have time for any of this. It's getting in the way of me actually doing any writing. But on a number of occasions I have discovered that travelling can also broaden and enrich my abilities as a writer.

This morning I was on my way to The British Library. To get from where I was staying I had to change from the rail network to the London Underground. As Tower Bridge Station is undergoing renovation there is a long walk to get to the underground station. At a number of places along the route there are staff members guiding travellers in the right direction. Now this seems, to me, to be quintessentially British. It's like the tube are saying we have inconvenienced you but not that much because we are helping your commute to go well.

One of these staff members took it one step further. In fact I think they took it a whole heap further. He was saying, "It's Friday. leave work 15 minutes early. Relax, start your weekend well, go for a drink and take it easy."

Now how cool is that? It was sad that most of the commuters were paying him no notice. They were doing what they always do and putting one foot in front of the other. Content only on getting to work they were unaware of what was happening around them. As I had no clue what I was doing I was taking everything in. I was able to notice the kindness of one stranger who was doing his best to make life more pleasant for commuters in the Capital.

How much do I often miss by not taking in my surroundings. As a writer I should be inquisitive and looking around. Looking for nuggets which could shape scenes, settings or characters. This has taught me a valuable lesson and I will certainly be paying more attention in the future.

My exhortation to you today is to do the same. Look around you, take stock and really take life in. Don't let it pass you by.

Wendy H. Jones is the author of the best selling DI Shona McKenzie Mystery series of crime novels set in Dundee. The Dagger's Curse, the first book in her Fergus and Flora, Young Adult Mystery series was released on 10th September, 2016. She also has one non fiction book, Power Packed Book Marketing: Sell More Books. You can find out more on her:

Website

Amazon Author Page