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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I applied in January to become a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization. As I am an indie author, they have a special side category for membership as an indie author. Only authors with respected publishers become part of their "Active Members" list. All through February to April I was sending them stats on sales, etc. I sent them e-copies of Fair Play and The Perfect Day in February and guess what?

I am now an Active Member!

I am deeply humbled by this and intend on doing my part as a member to contribute to helping other indie authors in Thriller, Romance and other categories get the recognition they deserve! To even think that some time in September my name will be on a list with Patterson, Baldacci, and the other greats is just overwhelming to me right now.

I've been really down lately because of sales not being what I had hoped, and this is just the thing to help my spirits pick up. It is awesome beyond belief and a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel that doesn't seem like the headlamp of an oncoming train.

Thanks to all who have reviewed my books and I hope that this is able to keep me doing what I love and that is creating entire worlds where I can kill people I don't like, fictitiously that is, in horrendously violent and cruel ways.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Help in Promoting Your Book on Social Media

Authors! This #FREE book will help you promote your book on Twitter and Facebook! http://brev.is/K8e8 Share! and be a part of our Team!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Book Promotion: Don't Be An Ass-hat.

I've never met a writer who is thrilled to death at the prospect of spending hours on end promoting the book(s) they have written. Writers write. Marketers promote. Sadly though, in this brave-new-world of indie authors there are hundreds of new books each day that are being published to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Oyster and more.


And each of those books to some varying degree get promoted. The first time indie author sits at home looking at the numbers that never seem to move on the sales charts wondering what the hell is wrong with the world when his/her masterpiece just doesn't seem to be selling. It can be discouraging.

The truth is the most wonderful piece of fiction ever written, whether it be romance, urban fantasy, erotica or mystery-thriller may go for years completely undiscovered because it gets lost in the sea of other wonderful (and not so wonderful) works of other authors.

Take heart writers, even the most seasoned of writers kept writing before their books became hits, and again truth be told, most of us will never become full time writers. That is the dream, that only if enough readers got their grubby little hands on OUR book, our lives would instantly be changed.

Vegas-trips baby! Ok, that might happen. After all, there has been no better time in history to be an indie writer. There are millions of readers looking for the latest and greatest read and one day that read: Might. Be. Your Book. But that said, whether you are an indie writer or have had the greats of the publishing industry smile down on you from their heights, YOU are still responsible for promoting that one of a kind masterpiece.

 How?

The purpose of this little piece is to put together some of the best and worst ideas in promoting your books. And yes, I am guilty of using 100% of ALL the worst ideas. But I am getting better. So here goes.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS WAS KING!

As of the date of the writing of this article, there still is no faster way to promote your book than social media. However, it is quickly becoming passe as Facebook begins tightening the screws on us all in an effort to get advertising revenue. The organic reach to those who "Like" your author pages is shrinking in single digit percentages. All so you will pay them to advertise to people who don't give a crap about reading your book. It's a fraud. It is an out and out con to pay for advertising on Facebook. Does that mean you abandon FB? Stop Tweeting, twittering or whatever they want to call it? NO!

Indie authors are notoriously broke. If we weren't, we could pay for those slick ads online. But we can't. So to get at least a minimal impact to find new readers (for free), social media is still your best bet. So how do you promote your books on Facebook?

1. Find Groups of Readers, Authors and Bloggers. Join them! But don't be an Asshat! What is an Asshat you ask? An asshat is someone who spends 100% of their time promoting themselves and never makes an effort to help another author. If you help others, they will help you. And if they don't, they are Asshats! If you are daily posting a link or ad for your latest book on every f*&^%&* group page you join, then leave as if you were never there, that is being an asshat. (And yes, I have done this before. I don't anymore.)

Read, enjoy and promote other authors in your genre! They in turn will do the same for you. Be ready for disappointment as there are quite a few asshats to work through to find a real street team and partner in crime.

2. Attend events that interest you, but for f^&* sake don't create seven events a week, damn, we've all got day jobs and can't be at all those events! PS - If you say you are going to attend, then be there! Share it with your followers, Tweet, post and repost for others' events!

3. If you expect people to 'like' and 'share' your posts, 'like' and 'share' theirs! It's only polite.


DON'T BE A TWAT ON TWITTER!

One of the essential rules on Twitter is treat others' tweets the way you want your tweets treated. In other words, Re-Tweet! Use your favorites options and "favorite" some tweets. See I didn't understand the "favorites" for the first several months I was on Twitter. I was afraid to choose a 'favorite' because I thought to myself, "what if a better tweet comes along?" So there are no 'limits' on favorites. You don't get like 10 and you have to choose which of the thousands belong in your 10.

Here's the key. Twitter never stops!

It doesn't matter whether it is 8am, 8pm or 3am, the tweets come and they come fast! You can't keep up with RT others' tweets unless you are tweeting 24/7 and how is that sequel ever going to be written if you are staring at an endless stream of memes and pithy sayings? Easy, it won't. You need help!

That kind of help exists in using free tools to help you gain a following. One of those tools I have used with great success is RoundTeam.co which will automatically RT for you. Now, you don't want to RT trash. You don't want to RT EVERYONE! That's ok, you can only RT those people you put into a Twitter list. Let's say for example, you want to promote other authors works. Great! Put all of those authors into a list on your Twitter page. Entitle the list, Romance, Mystery, Erotica, etc.

If you write romance, create a list of romance authors on your twitter account, link your free roundteam account to that list and everything those authors tweet will be auto-RT for you! And keep in mind, when you add a new follower to a list, they get a message that you've added them to a list and the title of that list. So please don't name a list, "I don't know where the f&^* to put these people" list. That would make you a twat.


 A word of caution here! This does not negate your obligation to interact, to favorite, to reply to messages and in general keep up what you are doing now, only with far better results and far less time. Use the 'filters' to make sure you aren't RT conversations or other things you don't want to. I add everyone who participates in my Promote UR Book Events to that list. So far, everyone has ended up getting 100+ new followers per week.

Now you may be asking yourself why I want a bunch of writers on my RT list. The answer is simple, who follows writers? Readers. And yes, I have a Twitter list entitled "Avid Readers" too. I have to work my way through helping 100 writers to get maybe ten readers, but there isn't a limit yet on Twitter followers, so I'm going to keep it up!

Now what would be better than auto RT and gaining 100 new real followers a week? Easy, setting your posts to FB and tweets to Twitter to recur, weekly, monthly or bi-monthly, and yes even annually. This you can do with Gremln.com. It costs $6.00 a month.

SINCE THE ORIGINAL PUBLICATION OF THIS ARTICLE, THE MUCKETY-MUCKS AT GREMLN.COM HAVE DECIDED TO NIX THE $6.00 A MONTH PLAN FOR NEW SUBSCRIBERS. GET THE UPDATED IDEAS IN THE SECOND VERSION OF MY BOOK, PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!

That is the extent of my marketing budget right now. It is well worth it. If after reading this article, you would like to follow me on Twitter, I am @gunnaralawrence. send me a message to be added to the list, you add me to your roundteam/twitter list and we will both be a team in promoting each other and all those who come after us.


 After doing all this, I do not promise that your sales will increase. (Although a few of my authors on the list did report this to me.) I do not promise that your books will inspire a movie, television show or theme park.

What I will say is this, it will free up loads of time for you to work your day job, finish that sequel and keep your dreams alive.

I leave you with these rules for Twitter:

1. RT
2. Follow back - unless it's a bot or someone you just aren't sure about, and I have plenty of those.
3. RT
4. Interact - You can't auto-favorite or auto-engage others, but the time you spend doing so will be drastically cut down.
5. RT
6. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER pay for followers on Twitter. You don't need ten thousand bots following you. They don't RT, they don't buy books, they don't have fans that will lead to your finding more readers. Bots are the plague. Treat them as such.
7. Favorite - if you like a post, favorite it! If there are a bunch of "Mentions" in a post and you are one of them, "favorite" that mention!
8. Be polite. Are there stupid people in the world? Yes, don't argue with them, ignore them and they will lose interest.
9. RT
10. Build your Twitter lists, subscribe to others' lists and organize your followers and followees.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Read the Article that is making waves in the Thriller Authors community!

#Authors, television and movies have changed the way your readers respond to your books! What does it mean for you? http://bit.ly/1fr3EXR

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Special Price on The Perfect Day AND Fair Play!

Tomorrow begins a special promotion for both Fair Play and The Perfect Day! Tomorrow you can get each book for $3.00, that's both books in the Paul Friedman series for less than the regular price of #ThePerfectDay. The special is running to coincide with the kickoff of a two week promotion campaign where the cover for the third book in the series will be revealed. The Consortium. Coupon codes will be given twice a day for each book. Promotion only happening on Smashwords!

Fair Play - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/335084

The Perfect Day - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/339529

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Promoting Your Book

Every author/writer/novelist would much rather be writing their new book/story/poem than they would spending time marketing their work. Sadly, there is no easy way to get out of the plain truth that if you want your writing to sell, you; that's right YOU have to promote it. It doesn't really matter if you published the traditional way or as an indie author, getting the word out is key.

And social media is the way to do it. But for those of you who are doing everything right, there is still the issue of HOW to use social media to promote your book. Beginners in the promotions endeavors find every conceivable Facebook group, page and event and post the same ad for their latest book on each of them.

Every day.

Every week.

And I'm guilty of that. When I didn't know what I was doing, I was doing just that. There's a word for what I was doing. That word is SPAM. And there's a word the describes perfectly those who do it, me included, and that word is Ass-Hat. Don't be an Ass-Hat! Here is a plan for you writers who don't have the budget to pay someone to do it for you, who don't have the time to be posting, tweeting and hashtagging 24/7.

I can't promise sales will result if you do this, what I do promise is a rapid and continued spurt in your Facebook and Twitter following. The more attention you get in these main places the better you will be prepared for the next promotion or the next book. Are you ready? Did I mention that this is Free?

First, when you open your Twitter account page click on the "ME" button. Find the "Lists" tab and click. These Lists enable you to organize your followers into different 'folders'. Create a list for authors in your genre, create another one for those in a genre that is not yours. Scroll through your followers and add each author, writer and poet to that list. Got it so far?

Next, open up an account at Roundteam.co (no there's no m in the .co) Scroll down to find the "Lists" section on your Roundteam page. Use the title of your author list on the Twitter account and add it to the Roundteam List page. What will this do? It will mean that every author, writer and poet on your list in Twitter will be automatically Re-Tweeted. They will see you RT'ing and recommend you as someone great to follow. You will get followers. In a period of just over two months, I went from being under 1,000 followers to close to 3,000 followers.

Now you are RT'ing 24/7 even when you only get on Twitter for minutes each day. Your Twitter following will increase as you add more writers, authors, and readers to your list. What about Facebook you may ask?

That's when we move out of the free and into the per month promotions priced at $6.00 a month with Gremln.com. (No "I" in Gremln) For $6.00 a month you can schedule recurring posts to your personal FB page, your Twitter account, and a Linked In Account as well. Schedule promotions weekly, monthly, annually or if you must, daily. (Don't do too many of those, though.)
Gremln will allow you to post, tweet, and more all day long every day, on multiple social media pages all at the same time. You don't NEED Gremln to use the RoundTeam, but I highly recommend it because your auto posts will be RT automatically by everyone on that list.

It's exponential growth in promotion which gives you the free time to write that sequel. Add me to your author list and send me a note to add you.

https://twitter.com/GunnarALawrence

We'll discuss hashtags, filters and more later, just get started now and watch the results!

See my review for Opening Moves! by Steven James.

Opening Moves (Patrick Bowers Files, Prequel)Opening Moves by Steven James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For those of you unfamiliar with Steven James or Patrick Bowers this book may come as somewhat of a shock. The first book in the series is The Pawn and James wrote four others before giving us this frightening 'prequel' to the series. There really isn't a cliche book review quote that would do this one justice.

Action? Absolutely! Sleepless nights as you find that bookmark you placed in Opening Moves calling to you from the bedside table, 'one more chapter'! Whether you start the Bowers series with this book or The Pawn, it doesn't matter. Either way you are in for a treat.

If you remember the Dahmer murders, have a sense of the history of modern serial killers, this book will leave you both chilled and breathless as Bowers takes on the deviously clever antagonists. Yes, there's more than one. If you haven't started reading his work, seriously, you are missing out on a lot.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review of Sketch of a Murder




Review for Sketch of a Murder

When I first started reading Aya Walksfar’s Sketch of a Murder, I didn’t know fully what to expect. It’s a book with a frightening premise, not because there is a murderer killing people, but because of the reason the murders are committed. We’ve all seen the news stories of the rapist or murderer escaping punishment because of who they knew or who they could hire as an attorney and it’s something that most of us are truly disgusted by in our legal system. In Sketch of a Murder, Aya’s character The Avenger, helps open up the door in our own minds and gives us a peek at the darkness that lies within all of us. The part of us that would justify the torture and murder of another ‘human being’. 

With characters that are diverse and more than a little complex, Aya’s book takes us into the investigation and into the lives of these people. Each member of the Special Crimes Team has a past, be it a lack of ability to stay within the confines of the law, or the flaunting of the political negotiations that must often accompany standard police procedure. I felt I could relate to Lt. Michael Williams’ desire to get at the truth regardless of what it took to get there. I understood Nita Slowater, the strong willed female detective with a good heart and a passion for the people in her life, a woman who won’t take crap from anyone, including her superiors.

A great story involving characters you come to care about, in a struggle against an adversary who seems to be two steps ahead of them the whole way. It’s an all-round good read for those who enjoy the thrill of the chase and the twists and turns of a murder mystery.

Aya Walksfar Interview

We welcome to our Books that Thrill Section Aya Walksfar, mystery novelist! She is the author of several books including the one reviewed, Sketch of a Murder.





Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My childhood was a chaos of poverty and violence. My grandfather, who was completely illiterate, and my grandmother, who could barely read and write, provided a way, and the encouragement, for me to learn to read and write by age 6. Between them and a Carnegie librarian, I began a true love affair with the written word.
I published my first series of articles in a newspaper at the age of 14. After that, I published poems, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues.
In 2002, the first edition of my literary novel, Good Intentions, won the Alice B. Reader Award for Excellence. In 2013, Mountain Springs House publisher brought out a full-length murder mystery, Sketch of a Murder, the first of a series; a stand-alone novella titled Dead Men and Cats; as well as the second edition of Good Intentions.
All of my books can be found on my Amazon author page:  http://amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

What would people who know you best say is your greatest character strength?

Actually, they would probably say it is my greatest character strength and my greatest character defect: tenacity—or you could call it bullheaded stubbornness.

What is the most interesting job you have ever had?

Other than writing, I would have to say it is my day job: designer and manager of a wildlife habitat.

You’ve been granted three wishes by a genie, what’s the first one you wish for?

That my wife, Deva, should always know that she is the keystone of my life.

You are stuck on a desert island with only one book and one movie. (Fortunately this desert island has electricity and a DVD player.) Which book and which movie do you choose?

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. This powerful book challenges me to think deeper about the ‘big questions’ in life, like love and sorrow. Sister Act 1 makes me laugh. And, I love Whoopi Goldberg.




What are you most passionate about?
Using words to entertain, and to bring about positive change.

Tell us a little bit about your book.

Take a female police sergeant, whose best friend has recently been murdered when a reporter cared more about a scoop than a good cop’s life, place her with a superior who carries a trainload of guilt since his cop-daughter was killed in the line of duty, then add in a pushy, lesbian reporter.

Now, mix in a team of independent, misfit cops who have managed to tick off their superiors enough to merit being relegated to the Siberia of law enforcement, the Special Crimes Team.

Add one serial killer, self-dubbed The Avenger, who is targeting wealthy, prominent men who have skated out from under sexual assault charges.

Blend well and watch the blood fly!
The question is: can these disparate people work together to save an innocent man from being the killer’s next victim? This is a character driven murder mystery told from multiple, first person points of view, including the killer’s.

Is this book part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
This is Book 1 of the Special Crimes Team series; however, each book can be read as a stand-alone. Read as a series the reader can watch the development of the characters.

Was there an event or person that inspired your idea for this book and who or what was it?
At the age of 9, my grandfather was murdered, and his killer never brought to justice. Since that time, I have seen people commit crimes and walk away due to a technicality, or just having the money to buy the best lawyer.  That planted the seed.

Which book of yours are you most proud of? Why?

Good Intentions. In Good Intentions I explore the ramifications of family secrets. Several people have emailed or spoken privately to me to let me know that my book touched them in some way, helped them to come to terms with their lives.



What types of marketing strategies have worked for you best?

I am still working on defining those. Right now, I am learning to use social media to connect with my readers, and other authors. Being a technosaur makes this a challenging endeavor.
I have a Facebook profile page where I post Biker Granny Motorcycle Philosophy; updates on my work; articles and videos that I find online and feel are important, such as UpWorthy’s sharing of the video “Sweetie” and things my readers specifically request, such as book recommendations/reviews. http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar
My Facebook author page is dedicated to my novels: sharing news, reviews, and excerpts from them as well as insights into my writing journey. http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor 
On my blog are individual pages for each of my novels on which I post reviews, comments, character interviews and other things of interest.  I love to share the work of other authors by interviewing and/or reviewing their novels. There are also articles of interest to writers and non-writers as well as short stories.  http://www.ayawalksfar.com
Pinterest is a new endeavor. I post photographs of places mentioned in my novels, such as Mount Baker where The Avenger is cornered in Sketch of a Murder;  places that are important to my characters like Mount Vernon which is Sergeant Nita Slowater’s hometown; inspiring quotes I’ve found, and, of course, wonderful photographs of animals. http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar
Other social media I'm involved with are:

What is your definition of being a ‘successful’ writer?

Touching lives in a positive and lasting manner.

If there is one lesson that you want readers to take away from your book, what would that be?

Look beyond a person’s fa├žade to see the real human.

Do you have another project in the works right now? What can you tell us about it?

Actually, I have three. Street Harvest, Book 2 of the Special Crimes Team series, is due out Spring 2014. It explores the issues of missing children, street kids, and human trafficking.

Run or Die! Is a murder mystery that confronts the fears of a small town and how that explodes into violence when good people remain silent.  Run or Die! Is due out Summer 2014.

Old Woman Gone, Book 3 of the Special Crimes Team series, looks at the lust for power and to what lengths people will go to obtain it.