Sunday, December 28, 2014
We in the Intrigue Publishing family have a lot to be proud of as we look back on 2014. We started the year with the release of our first sensual romance short story, Chocolate, Cheese and Choices, by Juli Monroe.
Intrigue Publishing made a fine showing at the Love is Murder Con in Chicago, where CA Verstraete gathered a Lovey Award for best paranormal/sci-fi/horror novel with Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.
We followed that up with a collection of Hannibal Jones mysteries in each of the next three months. Publishing short stories for the Kindle gives readers a chance to try our authors for just 99 cents.
In July we published The Girl They Sold to the Moon by ChrisStevenson in paperback and ebook versions. This Young Adult dystopian science fiction novel has gathered some great reviews, which is no surprise since he is a past Finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and took 1rst place in the Entranced novel writing competition.
August brought our first urban drama, Let Me Just Say This by B. SwanginWebster. The author is in great demand at book clubs, in part due to her popular online radio show We Be Swanginon on Listen Vision Live. Webster also featured several of our authors on her show through the year.
We released Beyond Blue in September, introducing my new detective series. I’m told it is a fitting companion to my Hannibal Jones series.
The second annual Creatures,Crimes & Creativity Con in October proved to be the party of the year. We enjoyed three days of panels, presentations and book signings, and people are still talking about John Gilstrap’s stirring keynote speech.
In November we offered two new Hannibal Jones short story e-books including a Christmas-themed collection. We also faced a new, unexpected challenge. We discovered that an unrelated individual was publishing self-help and medical advice pamphlets under the name Intrigue Publishing. After some legal research and a cease-and-desist letter we put that threat to our brand behind us.
We ended the year with a bang! We celebrated Annie Rose Alexander’s Retribution at a fine dinner book release event which gave the Intrigue team a chance to meet and greet Annie’s wonderful family and friends. That was quickly followed by the ebook crime short story Death of a Sandman by Ed Teja. And the Intrigue team traveled to New York to attend the release party for Jeff Markowitz’s Death and White Diamonds at the Mysterious Bookshop. Jeff’s novel quickly hit the list of Amazon Hot New Releases.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
A couple weeks ago I told you some of the things avid readers could give their favorite writers. In this season of giving, I'd like you to consider a few more ideas that will help those authors have a merry Christmas.
Last time I mentioned making a video, but you don’t have to go that far to show your chosen writer love. He or she would appreciate you posting pictures on your social media pages just as much. It’s always cool to see a reader holding up a copy of one of my books. So take that selfie with the novel you loved. Ask someone to take your picture while you’re reading the book. If you take it on vacation with you, post some location shots. That’s a gift every author would like.
We writers know that getting published does not mean our book will appear on the shelf in the local bookstore. And a fan may not be able to give their favorite author that gift, but it is worth a try. The managers of bookstores, especially independent stores, do listen to their customers. If just a few readers tell a store manager that they had to buy a book on Amazon because it wasn’t in their store she may well take the hint and decide to stock the book.
An in with a local reading group would be a much welcomed gift. The book clubs are a great way to get the word out about a book. They are also hard to reach and usually choose their books months in advance. So if you’re a member of a book club, or know about one, let them know about books you love and then put them in touch with the author.
Readers love to be the topic of conversation, so every time you mention a book you loved on social media, you’re giving its author a great gift. After you post on Facebook and Twitter, don’t forget Library Thing and Goodreads.
Most authors love to get emails or messages through social media, but how about offering more than praise? Ask the author for a stack of bookmarks. Then leave them where they’ll be appreciated: bookstores and libraries. Put them on the counter, or slip them into books of the same genre. Every writer I know would love this kind of local exposure.
Keep track of your favorite author’s travels and if they’re going to be in your area for a reading or signing you can offer them a great gift. You could distribute flyers. Or you could call your local newspaper and ask them to write a story. Such a request from a local reader is much more effective than a call from a publicist.
BTW, making a beloved book a gift is also a gift to the writer. So if you just finished a great read, buy a copy for a friend. If you REALLY want to boost the author, remind the person you give his book to that they should review it when they finish it.
And if gifting to a friend is nice to the author, gifting to a library is even better. So donate a book. Then contact the writer. Let them know where readers can check out their book at a local library.
Then tell them Merry Christmas, because local exposure is a wonderful gift for any writer.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Today’s guest blogger, Dana King, works at an undisclosed location. It’s not classified; he’s just not going to tell you. Dana’s writing has appeared in New Mystery Reader, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, Mysterical-E, and the original Thuglit web site. He also has several novels out including his latest, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made of: A Nick Forte Mystery. Dana stopped in to tell us why he writes what he writes…
First, thank you to Austin for allowing me to share his blog space today. He suggested I write about how I chose crime fiction, specifically private eye fiction, as my preferred genre.
I’ve read PI stories ever since I started with The Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown. When I got serious about writing myself, crime was the obvious choice for a simple reason: it was easy to tell when the story should end. I’d read literary and mainstream fiction and, too often, otherwise excellent books seemed to peter out toward the end until they reminded me of a former music teacher’s description of Impressionism: music that gets sicker and sicker until it dies. (John Irving is a notable exception. The endings of A Widow For One Year and A Prayer For Owen Meany are damn near perfect.)
But crime stories, well, they ended when the case was solved. Sure, there would be some housekeeping to tidy up, but the thread of the story was the crime, its investigation and resolution. Other things could go on, but those touchstones were always there.
It was the private eye aspect that allowed me to go deeper. First person has been the default mode of telling PI stories pretty much since their inception, and describing how the detective saw and interpreted things allowed me to do a lot with character. The more I wrote in the genre, the more, and better, PI fiction I read. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, John D. Macdonald, Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, and others taught me there were things the PI could get into cops never bothered with. Cops have to close cases, and they have more than they can handle. PIs—at least fictional ones—can worry about closure. (I’ve written about this in more detail on my blog, One Bite at a Time.)
I chose wisely. Declan Hughes gave an impassioned speech at Bouchercon in 2008, arguing that the PI story, when done well, is the highest form of crime fiction. Listening to him, I felt proud to write PIs. Last year I joined the Private Eye Writers of America, and attended the banquet at Bouchercon in Long Beach. The camaraderie there was obvious, a group that felt strongly about the genre and were delighted to share their enthusiasm with like minds. To have my novel, A Small Sacrifice, nominated for the Best Indie award, was truly an honor. Never mind that I didn’t win.
I write procedurals now, too, but I’m always on the alert for an idea that can work as a PI story. Some say the genre is dying; I don’t buy it. Why not? As his core, even the modern, flawed PI meets the standard set by Raymond Chandler in his essay, “The Simple Art of Murder,” distilled to its essence:
If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.
Seems to me to be a worthy spot for a writer to stake out.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
What most writers I know want more than anything is readers. We all want to be someone’s favorite author and would love to have lots and lots of those kinds of readers.
Well, few of us have legions of fans, but many of us have a few. We have a handful of true fans who love our work, eagerly await our next books and usually want to help our writing careers. Why don’t they? I think very often they just don’t know what to do that might help. SO, for all the avid readers who visit my blog, I’m going to be blatant. If you want to give your favorite writer what he really wants, here’s an author’s Christmas list. Here’s what we’d really LOVE to get from you for Christmas.
Number one on my wish list, and I suspect on many other authors’ lists, is reviews. Whenever I am at a live book event I give my card to every person I sign a book for and ask them to send me an email after they read my novel to tell me what they thought. Many of them do write to me, giving me a chance to thank them for reading my work. At the same time I always ask them to post a review on Amazon.com. It’s hard to underestimate the value of real opinions about your book, written by a reader. I fear a lot of readers don’t post reviews because they think their opinion matters. Readers, please believe me when I say it does! If you like a book, please review it. In fact, if you DON’T like the book, review it. Constructive criticism is almost always welcome.
Avid readers who want to give their favorite writer something more special can consider putting their review on video. Amazon will post it and imagine how thrilled that author will be when he checks his book’s page and sees a video there. It’s easy to make your video a special gift. Just make it short (try not to go over a minute) smile, hold up the book and, when the video is done you an upload it to Dropbox and get it onto amazon. What a great way to form a personal connection with a writer.
Next week I’ll give avid readers some more hints of what their favorite author really wants for Christmas. And writers – you might want to share these hints with YOUR fans.