Saturday, June 22, 2013

Confusion or Chaos? (Checklist)

I'm a control freak, I admit it. In my business, being in charge works well. I gather information, assess options, make decisions and move on. Decision-making is probably my strong suit, and my 35 years in a successful business attests to this winning formula. But, my "ways" are failing me as a writer.

Here's my new book, Ghost of Lost Eagle. I'm proud of it and looking forward to the big release on Amazon, July 11.

What's my problem?

I don't know what to do next. The book is ready to go, but now begins the marketing, promotions and advertising. Like I've done for 35 years, I turned to professionals for the next phase. Writing the book turns out to be the easy part. I find myself lost now. The marketing company gave me a list of things they will do but no instructions on the timing. I asked them which things we should do and when. They said, "It's up to you, the author."

Uh, hang on a second. I am confused, a bit intimidated and uncertain how to decide on the timing of activities. For example, how do I go on a "blog tour?" I called my travel agent to book one, and she asked what country they are in. What kind of explosives do I need for a Twitter "blast?"

Seriously, I need a timeline. I have their list, but I don't understand what needs to be done in what order. I was told to send out ARC (Advance Review Copies free ebooks) to people who are willing to read my story and make reviews on Amazon. In fact, they said these ARC reviews are very important to my ultimate success. Great, let's do it!

Wait a minute. They want me to solicit a bunch of reviews but the official book release is not for another three weeks. How will my readers post their reviews before the book goes "live" on Amazon? I don't get it.

They talk about blog tours that they will schedule, but how can I post links to the book on blogs when it's not even on line yet? How am I supposed to make decisions on matters I don't fully understand?

Fortunately, my coordinator with Fostering Success talked me down from the ledge this week. When I originally asked for the timing of everything, I was told "It's up to you." Huh? I had no idea what kind of timing should exist between events. I am completely new at internet marketing. What should I do first? And second? And third? I needed a timeline, not a generalized comment about everything being up to me.

Why am I writing about this for you, my readers?

My experience points out the importance of good communications with your marketing company for a smooth campaign. My PR coach had no idea how na├»ve I was. When she said in the beginning that everything was up to the author, she was trying to be respectful and let the author/client know they are there to serve at the writer's convenience. With one simple telephone conversation, we outlined a marketing plan, complete with timing for the ARC requests, a release date, things I need to accomplish along the way and a systematic order for getting everything done. Twitter blasts, blog tours and regular promotional releases are on my list now that I have an idea what they are and how they fit into the overall timing. Professional reviews will have to wait until I have ISBN numbers and some will not agree to review until I have a physical book.

I feel much better now.

The point of this blog is to share my own learning curve so my readers avoid making the same mistakes. I can move mountains as long as someone gives me a place to pile the rubble. Things will be accomplished very quickly and in the order provided by my marketing company . . . now that I HAVE a checklist! I feel much better and hope you benefit from my angst.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pick My Book Cover

This is getting exciting. I'm down to the last steps before releasing my new novel, Ghost of Lost Eagle. Problem! I'm struggling with cover choices. How about giving me some feedback?

Which cover is best?  Or, is neither cover good enough?

Here are the two covers I am thinking about:

What do you think?  Please let me know in the comment sections below, or you can message me privately at:

Thank you for your help!

ARC (Advance Review Copies)

Ghost of Lost Eagle will be published soon. I need Advanced Review Copy (ARC) readers who will receive a free pre-release copy of this western romance paranormal story in exchange for an honest review on Amazon.

Here is the story summary:

     Mason "Tuck" Tucker meets Sass Thornton when she saves him from death in a flash flood. She dubs him "dumb-ass" for foolishly entering a box canyon during a rain storm. He will hear this label many times as she fights against her own unwanted attraction to him.
     Sass's father, Phil, owns the cattle ranch that she runs and has been keeping two secrets from his daughter. Despite her contempt for Tuck, the father hires him to manage the bunkhouse where growing racial tension between white cowhands and Mexican vaqueros threatens the ranch. Tuck surprises Phil with his tough and effective management skill. The old man takes Tuck into his confidence, revealing that the troublemaker in the bunkhouse is a deadly gunfighter and terrorizing the other ranch hands.
     Throughout the book, Tuck is haunted by howls of a lone wolf that nobody else hears. Recurring dreams of an old Indian medicine man trouble him until the ghost wakes Tuck in time to save him from an assassination attempt. The ghost warns the young man about a destiny he must soon face.
     How do the ghost of Lost Eagle, the lone wolf and Tuck's new found love, Sass, come together in a life and death struggle?  What happens when the murderer in the bunkhouse seeks revenge?  Will Tuck leave the woman he comes to love to save the aunt who raised him?

If you would like to be one of my ARC reader/reviewers, please contact me through my website or author email:

Thank you for your consideration.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Opinions and Advance Reader Copies

Issue #1:   I need your help. Ghost of Lost Eagle is being prepared for release. That's a good thing. However, my book cover received strong support from everyone except my marketing and PR company. They don't like it. I'm torn. I like the cover, but the pros feel it would be better to have just the cowboy or just the woman. Before I select another cover, I need opinions from potential readers about the issues of concern for my marketing team.

Title:  Ghost of Lost Eagle
Genre - western/romance/paranormal

1)  Do the black areas detract from the cover's appeal?
2)  Would you prefer just to see a lone cowboy?
3)  Is the cowboy's facial expression good or bad?
4)  Does this style look old-fashioned?
5)  If so, is old-fashioned a good or a bad thing?
You can answer in the comment section, or send me a private note at the email address listed in the next issue.

Issue # 2:   My promotion company wants me to release 75 ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) for reviews. These free ebook copies only carry one request. ARC reviewers are asked to post an honest review of the book on Amazon. Let me repeat the important part..."honest review."  If the ARC reviewer doesn't like the story or something about it, those valid concerns are both appreciated and valuable for future buyers who are thinking about purchasing the book.

If you are interested in receiving an ARC and you will give me an honest opinion about the story, then please leave your name and contact information in the comments section, or you can send me a direct request for the ARC copy at:

Thank you so much for your feedback.