Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pondering Marketing

Every so often I get stymied by the marketing aspect of being a writer.  In the 'olde' days, authors spent their time in front of a Royal typewriter pecking away at the keys, conjuring up those perfect phrases and combinations of words before putting them to paper. When they finished, off to the publisher, a check came back, the author celebrated and then began the process all over with perhaps a couple of trips here and there to promote the book by presenting oneself at a bookstore.

Today?  The author does it all electronically and for some strange reason, the publishers now feel the author must be part of the marketing program.  Yes, authors must hustle their books.

And we've all done it.  But I wonder, are there some marketing strategies that are better than others? Is there some simple trick to get the book to the targeted audience?

There is the proverbial book signings but book stores have fallen to the wayside and there are only a few of them left today.  Libraries are even falling into non-use with the arrival of the Internet.

Ah, the Internet.  The electronic bane... uh, boon to everyone.  An author can hustle themselves on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Blogspot and several other sites of social interaction.  The only drawback I've discovered is...

Invite your friends to join [..insert website name here..]

Uh, I have replicated many of my friends on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc etc etc.  Oh, yes, I definitely have 'some' different friends on each of the lists but I'm discovering everyone on these lists are there for the same reason I am -- to hustle my book(s).  We're only friends because we hope the other person will purchase a copy of your book.

But wait, there are other marketing ploys out there.  I listened to a speaker at a writing group I belonged to -- she had a book out with a title similar to "Tea and Murder With Mrs. Tuttle" or something like that.  Each of her business cards she handed out had an image of her current book and a tasty bag of tea stapled to it.  Another speaker came, spoke, and handed out colorful freezer magnets with his book cover, name and where to purchase a copy of the book.  Yet another author was handing out book markers with her name, book title and where to purchase.

I saw those as viable marketing strategies.  Freebies.

My question is a simple one and I hope you'll share your insights.

What marketing gimmicks do you use or have you seen that seem to work?
There has to be more to marketing than just "friending" every soul you meet online.  At least dating services attempt to match you with another.  To me, it seems the electronic marketing of Facebook, Twitter ad nauseum is very generic and hit and miss logic.  I'm connecting with other authors -- I really want to be connecting with readers.  Is my logic flawed on this one?
Until next I ramble on...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Ghost Story

I've already introduced you to Kathryn Meyer Griffith, author of several novels including Dinosaur Lake which is available at Amazon.com/dp/B00943P0JK/. This post is moving us toward the month end and Halloween.

Kathryn is going to tell you a little about ghosts.

A Ghost Story

by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Because most of us are terrified of dying and death, of losing all we know so well in this mortal plane, we want to know: is there life after death? Do ghosts walk the earth? Vengeful or benevolent spirits? Immortals such as vampires and werewolves? Does good always win against evil? As human beings we’d love the answers to these questions and if we can’t find them, prove them, well, then we’ll invent, create, worlds where we can.

Now I must say that I can’t be considered a true skeptic when it comes to the supernatural because at the tender age of sixteen I saw a ghost, or what I believed was a ghost. My great Aunt Mary had died two days before. Not unexpectedly. She was old, had been in a nursing home for months, and we knew it was coming. Before the nursing home, though, she’d lived ten years with my maternal grandmother, whose name was also Mary, and had been happy there. The night before the funeral I’d been sleeping in my bed and something – to this day I don’t know what it was – woke me and I wandered down the dim hallway to use the bathroom.

And there was my dead Great Aunt Mary standing at the end of the hall in an eerie pulsating ball of light. She looked so real, as if I could reach out and touch her and my fingers would feel flesh. She was gesturing excitedly to me and rattling off a string of words that had to be German because I couldn’t understand a word of it. The old woman had been an immigrant who’d never learned our language, which is one of the reasons she’d been so content living with my grandmother; they’d both spoken German. The only word I could understand was Mary as she kept repeating the word over and over. I assumed my aunt was calling for my grandmother, as if my aunt were lost, and looking for her favorite niece. It’s the only explanation I have for the visitation.

Why she appeared to me, I’ll never know, but she did. I remember thinking: It’s Aunt Mary. Oh my God! But she’s dead. Dead. When it finally hit me, I was so frightened I turned and scurried back to my bedroom and dived beneath my bed covers. To this day, my mind swears I didn’t see what I thought I saw…Aunt Mary’s spirit…but my heart and my senses chide me and say, yes, you did. You saw a ghost. A real ghost. So there.

Since that day I’ve never been able to laugh at the possibility of the paranormal existing. The thing is, because I consider myself a down-to-earth realistic person (even though I’m considered basically a horror writer even with the other genres I write) , if someone asks me if I believe in ghosts and such I often as not hesitate before I admit that I might have seen one. Might. No one wants to be thought of as unbalanced. Seeing spirits is only one step above seeing little green men or pink elephants.

I want to be taken seriously. I mean, I’m a writer, not a nutcase.

All toll I’ve been a writer of paranormal fiction for forty years and proud of it. I’ve written about spirits, benevolent and malevolent; ghosts; angels; demons and all manner of vampires and unexplained creatures; and even, once, a possessed gun, and a woods haunted by an entity that was an eternal killer. Can’t get more spooky than that, can you?

Happy Halloween!

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Be sure to check out all of Kathryn's works at Amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith#

Until next I ramble on...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dinosaur Lake

Today I'd like to introduce Kathryn Meyer Griffith, author of several novels including Dinosaur Lake which is available at Amazon.com/dp/B00943P0JK/.

Many times we will read a book and wonder what caused the author to write it or why it happened the way it did.  This is your lucky day since Kathryn is going to fill you in with the backstory about her novel - Dinosaur Lake.  Sit back and enjoy.

First, a little about Kathryn in her own words...

About Kathryn Meyer Griffith...

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had sixteen (eleven romantic horror, one historical romance, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel and two murder mysteries) previous novels and eight short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-four years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

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And now the backstory...

Dinosaur Lake’s Backstory Essay
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith
Of all my 16 novels Dinosaur Lake has the strangest story attached to its creation, death and rebirth…20 years later…of any of them.

Not so much because, as a few of my books, it took so long to write or publish, but because in 1993 it was contracted, edited and the final galleys had been proofed by me for a 5th  paperback book release from Zebra (Kensington Publishing) after 3 earlier novels with Leisure Books. I even had a stack of the full-color, printed and embossed covers; it was only weeks before it was to go to the bookshelves (in those days the brick & mortar stores were still king, no Internet or ebooks). I strongly believed it’d be my breakout book. You know, the book that’d make my career and launch me into the stratosphere with Stephen King and Anne Rice? How wrong I’d be. But, hey, I thought who wouldn’t love a tale of a cunning but malevolent rampaging prehistoric dinosaur living in Crater Lake, Oregon, and the Park Ranger who, along with a ragtag gang of heroes who’d try to stop it? I mean, I’d always loved anything about dinosaurs…dinosaur books, playing with those little plastic figurines and watching old stop-action dinosaur movies of the 1950’s and 60’s…who hadn’t?

Apparently someone. My new editor at Zebra.

By 1994, after four novels with them, I’d lost my sweet editor there and a new one took her place...and over the next year he didn’t like anything I wrote for him and later that year Zebra unceremoniously dropped me and my book (Predator…which never came out but still lingers to this very day like some weird ghost book in every computer on the global Internet) only six weeks away from going to the bookstore shelves. When we were editing the book and deciding on the title and the cover, I’d begged the new editor not to call it Predator (his choice as they hadn’t liked my American Loch Ness Monster title), bad title since there was a popular movie out of that name and the movie, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, was nothing about a dinosaur, and the cover was awful, an empty boat on a lake…what!!! Having that book–my first ever–dumped like that was a crushing experience, let me tell you. I had a stack of finished, printed covers and my final edits were done! But nothing my agent or I could say or do would change their minds. They said they were cutting their horror lines and setting adrift a lot of their mid-list horror authors because horror (in 1994) was on the decline. The new editor-that-didn’t-like-my-writing explained: “And no one wants to read a book about a dinosaur.” Yeah, sure.

And six months later Jurassic Park the book came out! We all know how that story ended, don’t we? People loved the book, the movies; they loved dinosaurs.

I’ll never know the real reason they cut the book but that male editor never bought another book from me…which was another weird thing because when I’d met him in New York (I went for a Horror Convention) in the summer of 1993 he’d taken my husband and I out to lunch and gushed over me and said how much he’d loved my last release WITCHES. Hmmm.

Anyway, I got to keep my advance but the book was officially dead. It never came out. I grieved.

I was so disgusted I stashed it in a drawer somewhere and tried to forget it.

Until now. After I’d finished revising and rereleasing all my new/old 15 books (and besides paperbacks they’re in ebooks for the first time ever) from Eternal Press/Damnation Books in June of 2012 I remembered my American Loch Ness Monster novel, took it out and reread it.

Whoa, like a lot of my older novels now years later I could see what was wrong with it and how to fix it. Back then I hadn’t seen the head-hopping I did or the awkward phrasing, stiff or overly dramatic dialogue, repetitive words and other things I’ve learned since to recognize and stay away from. Of course, computers help make the editing so much easier. I think I’d done the original book on my electric typewriter.

Anyway, telling myself the dumping of that book had been a turning point in my writing life–sending me in the wrong direction for a long time apparently…I couldn’t sell a book for eight long years after that–I decided to rewrite and finally release it. In fact, I was going to do something that twenty years ago would have been unheard of and frowned upon…self-publish the book myself. With Kindle Direct. For the first time in forty years I was walking away from the traditional publishers and going on my own. Thank you J.A. Konrath’s blog! I figured I could sell the Kindle ebook a lot cheaper and, thus, use it to introduce (as enticement) more readers to my writing and perhaps, if they liked it, they’d buy more of my other fifteen novels, novellas and various short stories.

It could work, right?

So here it is, retitled, rewritten, updated and with an amazing new cover I love by Dawne Dominque… Dinosaur Lake. I hope my readers will like it.

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I hope you enjoyed learning the history about a book now available to purchase and read.  Even if you still think those books just magically appear on bookshelves and internet pages, trust me, they don't.  There is an immense amount of work involved. 

So be sure to check out all of Kathryn's works at Amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith#

Until next I ramble on...