Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Word of Thanks and Free Books

by Holly West

After my mini-breakdown about marketing and promotion last week, I pulled up my big girl panties, which, incidentally, have become a whole lot bigger since I started writing full-time, and got to work. That's usually the answer for me when I get bogged down by annoying details. Head down, chonies up, and figure out what my next step forward is.

In this case, I started with blurb requests. I made a list of authors that might consider offering blurbs for Mistress of Lies and began crafting my emails. By the way, fellow DSDer Alex Segura wrote a post about blurb etiquette awhile back and it's a good one.

My first request was met not only with an affirmative response, but a whole lot of other valuable information as well. Here's where I need to acknowledge Jeri Westerson, whose latest Crispin Guest novel, Cup of Blood, drops on July 25, 2014. I love the Crispin Guest series because, like my Mistress of Fortune series, it's hardboiled historical fiction. It's called "medieval noir" for a reason.

Having benefitted from the kindness of authors numerous times since I started on this path, I'm still sometimes bowled over by their generosity, and such is the case with Jeri.

Suddenly, asking for blurbs (and reviews) didn't seem like such a terrible task. My fear, you see, was that if I asked my author friends for blurbs and they said no, it would somehow change our relationship, make it awkward in some way. Now I understand that it's an accepted part of the business. Sure, I already knew that on some level, but it never quite sunk in. Now I'm asking for blurbs right and left, so watch out. You might be next.

Really, what Jeri did for me was unravel the puzzle a little bit. Sometimes, that's all I need, just a little push in the right direction.

My next step will be asking for reviews from book bloggers and websites across the Internet. My biggest mistake when Mistress of Fortune came out was relying too heavily on the relationships I'd established on social media to sell the book. Sure, social media is a valuable asset, but it's only a piece of the puzzle (and boy, this all puzzles me much of the time).

And now for the free books.

With beach reading season upon us, Dana King is making four of his books available for free on the Kindle from June 25-29. Here's the rundown:

A Small Sacrifice
Nominated for a Shamus Award for Best Indie PI Novel, it's the story of Chicago investigator Nick Forte, who is asked to clear the name of a man who has been publicly vilified as the murderer of his young son. Forte learns, while Doug Mitchell might not be guilty, he's no innocent, and the circumstances place Forte and his family in jeopardy.

Grind Joint
Named by the LA Review of Books as one of the fifteen best reads of 2013, Grind Joint is the story of what happens in a small, economically depressed Pennsylvania town when someone gets the bright idea of solving their financial woes by building a low-roller casino. The local cops find themselves up against more than they bargained for when the Russian mob takes an interest.

Worst Enemies
The first of the Penns River books, the story of what can happen when someone takes the scenario of Strangers on a Train way too seriously. Detectives Ben Dougherty and Willie Grabek have to solve two murders organized by a person who is close to both victims, yet operates at some distance.

Wild Bill
A standalone tale of FBI Special Agent Willard "Wild Bill" Hickox, who's ready to retire but wants to put the cherry on his career by bringing down Chicago's Number One crime boss. When a gan war re-arranges all the players, Will must choose between duty, experience, and a combination of the two if he is to ride off into the sunset as planned.

That's me out. Have a good week, everyone.


Jeri Westerson said...

The business is so much about networking. When I started out I didn't believe it. But it soon dawned on me--like the sun just knocking me upside the head--that you have to get to know your fellow authors. In the mystery community, we really do know each other and everyone has always been so friendly and helpful to me. I like to pay it forward. Good luck on your books, Holly. And I am immersed in your new book and I can tell right now how great it is.

Dana King said...

Clearly, Holly is among those kind authors she mentions. Thanks for the generous shout-out.