Monday, February 28, 2011

They Made A Book Trailer!


My publisher, White Rose, just sent over the link to the book trailer they made for the whole series. I love it!  Please take a look and leave a comment.

The Three P's of Promotion - Marketing Mondays, Guest Post

Little did I know when I made the decision to turn my personal journal into a book to help others that it would take longer to edit, design and publish than to write. When I held Letting Go in my hand for the first time I felt a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. The time and money invested seemed well spent. Being a first-time author I was totally unprepared for what follows the birth of a book.
Now what? Once I went through my circle of influence - friends, family and clients - now how do I find the people who can most benefit from Letting Go? Talk about being unprepared. I’m a pharmacist turned animal communicator. I don’t have a promoter or sales type personality. It’s just not who I am.
Frustration and discouragement crept back into my life. I spent months online trying to follow suggestions of others with more experience. I joined a local writers group in search of people with more experience than I. They became a wonderful source of support and friendship.
While many of the presenters are focused on the craft of writing, we had a wonderful presentation on book promotion by Christy Tillery French. When I went up to thank Christy for all the wonderful information she shared, she offered to review Letting Go. I mailed her a copy immediately. Her lovely review was published on in February 09. 
I followed my publisher’s advice about starting a blog. After only a few posts I received a comment from Carol Upton from Vancouver. Carol has interests in animals and animal communication as well being a publicist of authors, artists, etc. I followed the path the Universe was showing me and hired Carol as my publicist. What I’d spent months trying to accomplish, Carol did in hours with infinitely more success.
As a result of Carol’s expertise and contacts, I began receiving requests for radio interviews from hosts all over the US and Canada. As the interview requests kept arriving, Carol began to submit articles I’d written. Everyone she’s submitted has been published, some in print and online, some on multiple sites. The positive response from Carol’s efforts lessened my frustration and discouragement.
With a few months, I had three features published in local magazines and newspapers. One was an article I submitted to “Western North Carolina Women.” The other two were from Carol’s efforts. What I didn’t know how to do in my own town Carol accomplished from Western Canada. I was featured in “All About Women” in my town. The third was in “The News Herald,” which is a newspaper about an hour from my home. I believe this illustrates the importance of working with someone that is far more experienced at what you need than you are.
For me, promotion is without a doubt the most challenging part of being an author. I’ve learned that as with everything in life patience is a key element. Everything has its perfect timing. I trust that the Universe knows better than I how to help Letting Go find the people who need it the most, but nothing happens without effort. Once Carol sends me a positive response to her inquiry, it is up to me to pursue the lead. It’s always about timing.
Perseverance is crucial to help survive the ebb and flow of book marketing and sales. I surrender to the timing of the Universe and let it work its wonders. I truly believe the people who are ready to read Letting Go will find it, but it requires that I do all I can to help it find them.
Without pursuit, perseverance and patience, I would have given up on promoting Letting Go by now. Calling on each of these Ps at the appropriate time has allowed me to put the hours into promotion that it requires. Although the promotion of Letting Go has delayed the start of the first of my animal-communication books, I do believe that everything happens for a reason.
Recently I was given a metaphor for all the efforts I’ve put forth promoting Letting Go and my animal work. It’s like pushing a snowball up a mountainside. It’s extremely challenging requiring an enormous amount of effort. But, once you reach the pinnacle with a tap of your little finger it effortlessly rushes down the other side building its own momentum along the way. My friend encouraged me to “keep pushing.”
So, don’t give up when you’re feeling frustrated and discouraged. Muster all the pursuit, perseverance and patience you have and keep pushing until you reach your pinnacle, and then, TAP!

Nancy A. Kaiser lives in the healing Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina surrounded by her family of dogs, cats and a horse. She is the author of Letting Go: An Ordinary Woman’s Extraordinary Journey of Healing & Transformation, about her recovery from trauma with the help of animals and nature. Nancy operates Just Ask Communications, a practice devoted to healing the human-animal bond through enhanced communication and understanding and does sessions in-person, via phone or on Skype.  Visit her at:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Left At The Altar - BookSneeze Review

This is not a book for the faint of heart. Filled with jaw dropping moments of angst and epiphany, Kimberley Kennedy's reflection on that terrible day and the months that followed is actually a story of hope and healing.  With her no-holds-barred conversational style, Kimberley fills the pages of her book with stark honesty and humor.

A news anchor herself, Kimberley's heartache was front page news. The jilting of Kimberley Kennedy by her fiance' the day before her "perfect" wedding was a story carried by news channels across the country. From Good Morning America to Primetime, her nightmare was broadcast for all to see.  

But this is not just for jilted brides. It is for any woman who has felt the pain and loss of rejection. From the loss of a dream to the loss of a marriage, Kimberley's hard-won wisdom is both useful and encouraging.

With sections on How Not To Let Rejection Define You to How To Shape Your Future Story, Kimberley arms her readers with pearls gained from her terrible experience to uplift others.

Kimberley's book doesn't stop there. Personal stories from readers drive home the point that you don't have to be a national star to feel the sting of rejection or the triumph of coming out stronger after the fact. The stories, sent to her by women following her story, were both comforting and rallying for Kimberley and by extension, her readers.

To top it off, she includes the male point of view.  The "Dumpers" if you will. Something I didn't expect and learned a lot from.  The interviews from men of varying ages, socio-economic background, and relationship experience was eye opening.  What they have to say may surprise you.

If you've ever been rejected, you're often left with so many questions.  Why? What went wrong? How can I avoid this again? This book helps you come to terms with those feelings and offers advice on creating a future...a different one than you wanted, but hopeful none-the-less.

Through prayer and much soul searching, Kimberley comes to understand her own role in the disaster. This is important because the lessons she learns about control and trust are what she passes onto her readers.  With her spunky, no-nonsense attitude, Kimberley tells it how it is and helps others in the process.  Filled with insight and encouragement, Left At The Altar is great read. 

I recommend it to anyone who has felt the pain of rejection and wonders if it ever gets better.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I May Have A Touch Of OCD - Challenge Post #1

This is the first challenge for Rachael Harrie's Writer's Platform-Building Crusade. Shout out to Group #21! Ladies of Romantic Suspense - woo hoo! 

We are supposed to introduce ourselves and reveal a few things others may not know...

  • I am a die-hard comic book fan and flock to every single movie from the Marvel Universe.  Counting down the days until THOR...yes! I love the Blade movies. In fact took a clay class to create fugiline figures of my favorite heroes.

  • I'm terrified of flying, but do it anyway because I'm so competitive I cannot let anything beat me...including a fear.

  • I like things to be symmetrical, which is why anything I draw seems slightly a computer made it. It's probably good that I chose writing instead.

  • My husband says its annoying that I separate my M&M's by color and then eat the pile with the least amount first.  I'm beginning to think I have a touch of OCD. I tend to bloviate about literature and movies.

  • One of my best character traits is my tenacity. I don't give up. On people, projects, or dreams.

  • I love to hang out with my kids and husband. We have lots of pets, a cat, two dogs, and at one time, rabbit named Hopper.

As part of the challenge,  I have included something about me that isn’t true, can you guess what it is?

Here is the trailer for Thor. Psss! Fast forward to 1:45 for the best part. Squeeeee!

Photograph by Khairil Zhafri.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Have An Online Launch Party - Marketing Mondays

Have you heard of a book launch party? The author invites everyone she knows to a bookstore or a place that has to do with the theme of the book. All the guests buy an autographed copy while eating, drinking and celebrating a job well done. But these days authors are having launch or release parties online. Why the change of venue and is it worth the time, effort and money to have one?

The most obvious reason to have a launch party online is that it's accessible for anyone with a computer. In How to Publish and Promote Online, co-author MJ Rose discusses why she chose to have a cyber launch party for her e-book Lip Service.  Not only was celebrating online the best way to get her e-book in front of potential readers, but Rose also found it a great way to gain local and Internet press coverage.

While many writers and readers are familiar with online chats, an online party has some significant differences.  Lucy Monroe had an online launch party for her first Harlequin Presents, The Greek Tycoon's Ultimatum. "We had a real party atmosphere with Ally posting reviews of my books every so often, Marilyn posting the book cover and my photo to the chat board, etc. It was a really different feel…oh, and no chat type protocol. Just me typing really fast."

Another important element is the bookseller working with the event. The event coordinator can post periodic reminders about the books being for sale. If it's an e-book, directing guests to buy from a major online bookseller or e-publisher works well, but if it's a print book, look into working with an independent or local bookseller who can take book orders online. You can supply the bookseller with signed copies or signed bookplates for the launch attendees.

MJ Rose suggests offering prizes related to the book that can be given during the party. Also consider giving door prizes. To do this, have the guest register before the event. They will give their e-mail and mailing addresses and you can mail the door prizes. Try to get it to them by the day of the event! Let them know that you will subscribe them to your e-newsletter and mailing list, which they can opt-out at any time. This way, if the guest can't make it to the launch party, you still have more opportunities to connect with them.

There are some disadvantages in the online launch party. Unlike a traditional launch party, the books available can't be personalized. The lack of face-to-face contact is also a disadvantage. Try posting your picture on the chat board, or offer a personalized bookplate if they e-mail you with a request.

Promoting the event is essential for success, but you also need to find a venue that knows how to advertise and work an online event. MJ Rose suggests finding a site that has chat capabilities and a tie-in to your book, but she also recommends using a site that you haven't received a lot of exposure from.

If writers are considering adding online launch or release parties to their marketing plans, Lucy Monroe advises to have fun. "This is not about making or breaking your career, but about celebrating the joy of launching a new book or as a new author.  The psychological benefits are more important in my opinion than the career benefits, although I believe I picked up readers and established the fact that I'm an approachable author."

Here's a list of essentials for a successful online launch party:

Promotion. MJ Rose says to send out email invitations, preferably with advance reviews. "Tell your friends to pass on the invitation. Mention the party on the discussion boards you frequent or the listservs you belong to. You want to over-invite."

The ability to type and think quickly. At Monroe's online launch party, she found herself typing fast and furious for four hours. "I really think if these skills are not an author's strong suit this type of launch party will end up being more daunting than beneficial."

A host or hostess. "You can't brag about your own book, but your host can," MJ Rose says in How to Publish and Promote Online. "Work with the host to make sure he has questions to ask you if the party hits a snag."

Enthusiasm. "Go into it wanting to have fun," Monroe suggests. "Don't try to sell your books. Just be happy to be with the readers. They will respond to that and in the end you'll all have a great time!"

Bio: National bestselling author Susanna Carr writes sexy contemporary romances. To find out more about her or her award-winning work,

Photograph by Chris P. Photograph by Shashi Bellamkonda

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Just Take A Breath...And Go!

I always encourage people to go to writer's conferences because I believe they are the best way to gain the interest of an agent or an editor. There's nothing like sitting face to face with a person to really show how passionate and excited you are about a project.

Its also a time for you to judge whether or not this is the type of person you want to work with. Book Ends Literary Blog has a great post on what you need to know about an agent before signing with them.

Ask them questions about how hands on they are, what level of communication with clients they maintain, if there is a specific genre they feel they have strong contacts in...all these are important for you, the client, to know before pursuing a working relationship with the agent.

That being need to GO in order to actually meet anyone. It amazes me how many writers don't go to conferences at all.  Not only is it a great place to learn -- they have wonderful workshops by agents, editors, and other authors -- it helps you to learn the business side of writing.

That's right...the BUSINESS side of writing. Because there is one.  You need to understand that although its an art, a craft, and something dear to your heart, it is also an industry.

A good conference will publish updates of what's going on in the publishing world, have keynote speakers that address the changes and upcoming trends, and a faculty that is knowledgeable and professional.

I encourage you to sign up for a pitch session with an agent. It is, spit less, sweaty-hands, scary...but so worth it in terms of growth as a writer.  

They have always had great advice, direction, and encouragement for me at those sessions.

A good conference has a submission process like the one for OC Christian Writer's conference to get you ready for meeting with those agents. 

The San Diego Christian Writer's Guild conference has you submit your intended proposal before the conference. This is really helpful because you get valuable feedback on how to fine tune your pitch. Something that will help long after the conference.

Shaw Guides has a list of conferences for every state and every focus. From horror to inspirational to non-fiction there's a place for you to learn, network, and maybe an agent. 

I hope you take a chance and take trip to one of them. Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Chispita . Photograph by Beneath Blue Skies. Photograph by Bill Kuffrey.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How To Create A Twitter Following - Guest Post

If you go back in time just a decade ago, you'll see people going to college to learn marketing skills that have absolutely nothing to do with the reality of the modern media. 

Today, being able to waste a bunch of time on Twitter is really more useful from a marketing standpoint than any college learning regarding demographics and market trends. 

In other words, having a strong Twitter following is really one of the most important aspects of running any kind of successful business on the web today. Here are ten tips on creating that following.

Follow Everyone Back
If someone follows you, follow them back. No exceptions. Even following back a spam bot can be helpful if a dozen other people followed them back, too.

Design a Great Avatar
Your userpic is the reader's first impression of you. If it looks dull, people are less likely to read that tiny little snippet of text sitting next to it.

Follow the Big Names
Even if you don't care what they have to say, follow the big social media people, the "opinion leaders" you can find listed at Twittercounter and other social media ranking sites. Even if you could care less, Twitter is all about big numbers.

Send @Messages to the Big Names
Ninety nine percent of the time, they're not going to answer you, but that doesn't matter, because here's the trick: people will see that you're sending those messages to some famous person and think "This person must be big, they know (insert celebrity name here)." It's total baloney, of course, but it works.

Link, Link, Link
Don't just say "this a hilarious video", link to it. Link to interesting articles, pictures, videos, songs, everything. If sixty percent of your Tweets are just links, you're doing something right.

Be an Expert
People are a lot more likely to look for Twitter accounts focused on a subject they take an interest in than a Twitter account simply dedicated to your own personal thoughts and ramblings. If you know a lot about video games, movie news, antique furniture, whatever, milk that knowledge, and once you've made a name for yourself, don't be afraid to have controversial opinions. Nothing doubles your followers like a controversial 

Tweet and Tweet Again
Most people who use Twitter check their accounts at the same time every day. If they're following a hundred other accounts, then there's a good chance that your Tweets will be pushed off their page by the time they sign on. Post your best Tweets a couple extra times throughout the day to push them back to the top for those who haven't seen them yet.

Use Multimedia
The more pictures, videos and mixed media you link, the better.

Use Easy Tools
There are all kinds of apps you can get for your phone and your web browser to make Tweeting incredibly easy, keeping you in the loop and letting you text tweets in half the time.

Be a Twitter Junkie
Don't be afraid to be one of those people with their nose constantly buried in the phone, it helps.

We can say what we will about Twitter, but the bottom line is that it's one of the most effective marketing tools ever created, and if you're looking to develop an audience or get your piece of the market share, you'd be crazy not to take advantage.

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging about online marketing for 3 years, she blogs about a variety of topics such as ways to heat map a website to how businesses can utilize a budget worksheet.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bernard Pivot Blogfest

Go To Blogfest Site

Nicole over at One Significant Moment At A Time is having a very cool blogfest. Its the Bernard Pivot Blogfest. If you like the Actor's Studio on Bravo, then you're familiar with the final set of questions James Lipton always asks his guest.  Originally created by French journalist, Bernard Pivot, they are quite fun.

Okay, here's Bernard Pivot's famous questionnaire:

  1. What is your favorite word?  That would be kerfluffle. I tend to cause them.
  2. What is your least favorite word? Mine. Things are rarely the result of one person's effort from start to finish. As a writer I know how much support and help I get from others.
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Okay, this is gonna sound weird, but movie trailers almost always pull me out of a slump.  They're just so perfectly delivered; music, images, narration --I love them.
  4. What turns you off? Idiots. People that know better and don't behave like it. When you could understand someone's position with a little effort and grace and refuse to do it. That makes me frustrated.
  5. What is your favorite curse word? I don't play favorites.
  6. What sound or noise do you love? I really like the sound of heralding trumpets. The kind you hear when princesses walk in a room or when a hero charges headlong into battle.  Love them. Stirring.
  7. What sound or noise do you hate? Incessant yammering. I tend to do it when I'm nervous and can't stand it. When its hard to follow what you're saying because you keep changing subjects. I'm sure if I were ever interviewed live it would be like watching a slow hot mess of a train-wreck.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I'd like to work for NASA. No, really! I love the idea of pushing toward an unknown frontier. Of discovery still possible out there...amazing.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? In the words of the fake Drew Barrymore on SNL's skit on the Actor's Studio..."I wouldn't want to burn monkeys."
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "I've been waiting for you, Raquel, want to see something amazing?"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Kiss Already! - A Blogfest

Today is the best blogfest EVER! You get to post the scene where your main characters finally, FINALLY, kiss. It is the genius idea of Christina Lee over at Write Brained.
This excerpt is from Bayou Blue, the third book in my Shades of Hope Series coming out this year from White Rose Publishing.  
A romantic suspense, Riley and Jake,  have been trying to find out what happened to Riley's brother after a terrible accident rocks a small Louisiana parish. As the sheriff, Jake is caught between love and loyalty to the people of his parish as he begins to both suspect and fall for Riley. 
This scene takes place after a sudden downpour breaks up the harvest festival and their dance together...

We walked down the hall, past meeting rooms and offices, to a small room with white wicker couches lining the walls. A waiting room of some sort.
Jake grabbed a towel off a stack near a tray with water bottles and a bowl of mints. He wrapped it around my shoulders, pulling it together at my neck. I slipped my hands over his, looking at him, my mind going a million miles a minute.
What had he meant to say to me on the dance floor? Had he changed his mind? Did he not want me to go? I pushed the spark of hope down deep. I couldn’t handle another rip at my heart.
Static from his radio punctuated the silence, back and forth comments from the deputies echoing in the small room.
“I should get out there; make sure everyone gets home safe.” He didn’t move, kept his grip on the towel. “They need me.”
“Yeah,” I breathed, unable to think with him this close.
His eyes flit over my mouth and back to my eyes and I felt him tug on the towel gently, drawing me nearer. I went with him, letting myself go off balance, leaning into his space.
“This is a bad idea, Riley,” he whispered. “You shouldn’t stay.”
His lips brushed my eyelids, the tip of my nose, and sent a tremor of want ripping over me. Tilting his head lower, he ran the bridge of his nose against my cheek, back and forth like he was telling himself, ‘No’…to stop.
My heart fluttered with his touch. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave him.
I let go of his hands, spiked my fingers through his hair, pulling him to me.
A low growl sounded in his throat and then he clutched me to his body, his lips finding mine with a heat so intense I gasped in a ragged breath. He ran his hand down my back, grabbed my blouse in his fisted fingers, crushing me to him. A soft moan escaped my lips, the feel of him making my head spin.
And then he was pulling away, whispering that he was sorry, and pulling my arms from around his neck. Confused, I could barely catch my breath.
“What’s wrong?”
He put his forehead to mine, his eyes squeezed shut, struggling for breath. “I shouldn’t have done that, Riley.”

Thats all of Jake and Riley for now...Please take a moment to check out the other amazing entries into the blogfest at Christina Lee's Write Brained Blog.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Business Cards or Book Marks...Postcards?

Did you know that there are chocolate business cards?  I did not know this. Apparently you can get your name carved on almost anything.

I'm currently reading a lot about book marketing. One of the things that keeps coming up is the book promotion paraphernalia.  I'm talking about bookmarks, postcards, business cards...things you can give to bookstores as bag stuffers or hand out at libraries.

There seems to be a lot of  talk in the blog-o-sphere about what is old news and what is hot in terms of marketing tools right now.

For instance, there is the business card.  It can come in all sorts of forms from weird origami contraptions to thin sticky notes. The possibilities are endless...just look at one of the sites I found.  Pretty, yes, but are they effective?   I have no idea.  

Then there is the postcard.  A bigger space for your book cover and blurb...but I'm worried people will just toss these.  And they're more expensive than business cards, yet are ideal for mailing to prospective bookstores.  So there's that.

Bookmarks are the tried and true go-to marketing tool for writers. I used to work in a bookstore and we were constantly stuffing bags with bookmarks of the latest release. They're useful and practical. People do use them for their own books and they're inexpensive.

My question is which is more effective?  Have you bought a book based on a postcard or a bookmark?  Let me know what you think.

Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Googlisti.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Got My Book Cover!

My publisher just sent me the cover of my first book!  I am beside myself with happiness! Wanted to share it with all of you!  Thank you guys for all your encouragement and support!

Conference Jitters - Survival Wednesday

You're standing in the the main hall, your welcome packet clutched in your sweaty palms as you scan the tables and booths for a glimpse of your prey...the agent.

Finding a seat at one of the round tables, you pull out your name tag and affix it to your your, uh, your lapel - yeah.  

You pour out the contents of your manila packet and hunt for your consultation sheet.  Scanning the time slots your eyes dart to the name of the faculty member you've selected.

Yes! You got an appointment despite your late registration!  Agent Reed Moore of the Serious Authors Literary Agency is in your 10am slot.

Immediately your stomach rifle through your folder to make sure you've brought your one-sheet.  Sighing with relief, you hold in your hands; the result of hours of shaping and trimming and refining...its your pitch.   

Microphone feedback pulls your eyes to the podium in front. Its time to finish up breakfast and head to your first 15 minute meeting.  You gulp...your pulse races...this is your ONE and ONLY chance at becoming a "real" writer... 

What if it goes terribly wrong? What if you get flop sweat and stutter like you did during your 8th grade oral report?  What if they're mean and cut you off mid-sentence with a bored sigh and shake of their head?  What if... What if....?


First of all, agents are usually super nice people who patiently listen to you as you explain your project. They WANT to find something good out there. They WANT to listen to you.  Relax...and slow down. And start your pitch with confidence.

You are passionate about what you've written. That will show through. And this is NOT your one and only chance. Publication is a survival process...not just selection...keep at it and you'll find success.

Some things to keep in mind while preparing for the conference and your meeting with an agent....RESEARCH!

Meet with an agent that actually represents your genre.  Go on their website and find out their submission guidelines and have a proposal and query with you just in case they ask for it.  Always...ALWAYS, have one chapter with you.   

I was at a group meeting and a woman pitched a project, got the interest of the agent, and was asked for a sample of her writing.  She didn't have one. Yikes!  They may not ask for it, but for Pete's sake, have it if they do.

Also do some research into the type of books releasing this year under the agent or the publishing house.  Tell them where your book would go on the shelf. Would it go next to their  newest Amish title?  How about next to their latest CIA thriller? Show how you fit into a genre...not that you're a copy. There's a difference.

Let them know you're aware of the business side of writing. Look professional. Shake their hand. Have a pitch-sheet or a one-sheet for them to take with them.

And don't forget why you're really at the conference. To learn and grow in your craft. Take the classes and workshops. Listen to the keynote speaker and RELAX!   You'll get there.

Until next time...Go Write!

Photography by Magnetbox. Photograph by Matt Grover.

Monday, February 7, 2011

8 Tips for Online Book Marketing - Marketing Mondays

When I first started promoting my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT online in April of 2008 I was pretty clueless what to do.  The novel had been a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and through this competition I had inadvertently learned what a blog was.

From that moment I was on a quest to learn as much as possible about marketing online.  After learning things the hard way, I co-founded a social media marketing company to help others benefit from my knowledge.

Here are eight tips for information that can help you be less clueless than I was:
1.     If you are a fiction author and want ideas on blogging, see the free report at

2.      If you are on LinkedIn, join the Book Marketing group, which is now an open group. (Search under groups for “Book Marketing”)

3.      If you are on Facebook, “like” the Facebook Page Queens of Book Marketing at

4.      Learn about book marketing opportunities at sister sites and

5.      Read several book marketing articles at

6.      Explore Aggie Villanueva’s book promotion site and be sure to check out her reports on Amazon.  (She has uncovered some amazing information.)

7.      Tony Eldridge’s book marketing site at has an abundance of good information.  See especially his product on creating effective Twitter contests.

8.      Publicity Hound Joan Stewart has a terrific weekly free ezine that I read faithfully ever week.  Sign up for it at

Just don’t feel you have to do everything – and especially not all at one time.  Find the marketing ideas that work with your style and time commitments.

But do start somewhere with at least one new marketing activity.  If you have poured your heart and soul into writing a book, you do want others to know about your book and hopefully read it. 

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic,  and she blogs at  Her Amazon author page is at

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What If It Had Gone THIS Way?

Dear : Agents A-Z

I don’t know what kind of books you handle but I though if I just emailed everyone in the Writer’s Market I’m bound to get a few nibbles.  My book FrightLight is almost halfway done and I thought I’d get a jump on the whole ‘representing’ thing.

My story is about a girl named Pretty, whose mom is a total flake and ships her to a rainy little town filled with woods and sheriffs and stuff.  Pretty is sad and goes around being sad, and beautiful in a high school filled with people who instantly like her despite the fact that she is kind of unpleasant and a bummer.  She crushes on this guy who treats her really bad, says she’s smelly, and stares at her menacingly in the parking lot.

The guy’s name is Eugene and is actually an old guy trapped in a kid’s body…a friend of his gave him a virus called Vampire that makes him not age. He hangs out in high schools and stalks the new girls.  He lives with other old people who have this virus. They all hate that they permanently look like hot teenagers because it’s a curse to be gorgeous for all eternity…plus if they go out into the sunlight they flash like strobe lights.

Everyone stays away from Eugene and his gang except Pretty, who thinks that boys sneaking into her room at night to watch her sleep is not stalker behavior, but kinda sweet.  Although Eugene constantly tells Pretty that she is unable to survive her own clumsiness, repeatedly tells her they can’t be friends, and disappears for days, she decides that he’s a catch and falls in love with him.

Eugene takes Pretty to his favorite secluded forest area and announces that she is so well…pretty, that he finds it hard not to kill her on the spot.  Pretty thinks it is so noble that Eugene resists this murderous urge just for her and proceeds to tempt him by getting really close to his mouth.  Meanwhile there’s another gang of virus-old-people-in-hot-bodies, these have different colored eyes so you can tell the difference, that decide if Eugene isn’t going to devour Pretty, then they call dibs.  This is a total party foul in the virus society. Eugene’s family whisks Pretty away to safety, tell her horrible news, and then lose track of her.

Pretty falls for a bait-and-switch ploy and is lured to be dinner by one of the opposing virus dudes.  He and Eugene fight and then Eugene’s family tear him apart and set him on fire while dancing about in a rain-dance like fashion because that is what sophisticated virus people do.  Pretty almost gets the virus, but Eugene saves her by sucking it out of her arm.  He does NOT empty her like a juice pouch and since this is very challenging for him, it proves he’s totally in love with her and really strong.

Eugene’s family takes Pretty to the hospital, lies to her mother about how she got hurt, and then leaves Eugene there to watch her sleep some more.  Pretty’s mom buys the entire story hook-line-and-sinker, leaving Pretty and Eugene to be together. I have another book in mind about Pretty and a guy named Jason Gray who has anger issues and gets involved with a dog cult.

Thank you for your time. Get back to me quick for first dibs when I finish the book!
Sincerely, VampLuver2010

It's all in the way you say you probably guessed. This isn't the real query letter for this book.

But I wrote an example of how a terrible query could knock a book out of the running simply by not being the best it can be.

Not addressing the query to a specific agent is one of the first mistakes.  And there's no mention of genre or target audience.

There's no drama, no hook, no reason to read the actual book. This example is also WAY too long. There's no information about the writer either. 

Also the heroine doesn't come off as sympathetic and her behavior is without an explanation. This makes her hard to relate to which is the opposite of how she comes off in the real book.  The love interest seems like a psychopath, again without explanations, this book doesn't fit into the age category it was written for.

The fact that the manuscript isn't finished is also not great.  The language is unprofessional and no research was done to make sure that the agent even represents the type of fiction in the query.

You could have the best manuscript, the most original take on a genre, but if you don't put the effort into the query process it won't go anywhere.

Find out the agents that represent your stuff. What are they looking for? Have you checked their website's submission guidelines?  How about having a colleague read for punctuation and grammar errors?

You put so much of yourself into your story...take some of that passion and apply it to the business part of writing.

Do you have any tips on making your query the best it can be?  Let me know if I missed anything. Until next time...Go Write!