Book Trailer #2

When I woke up this morning, a second book trailer was the furthest thing from my mind, but I had some free time and — like the first book trailer — was able to put this together really quickly, in less than a half hour (with a little help from my tech guru, my oldest son). As I often discuss in this blog and in my classes, indie authors need to take advantage of whatever tools they have at their disposal to market their books. A little creativity goes a long way in social media circles. So put on your thinking caps! This video was put together using Microsoft PowerPoint and YouTube and cost me nothing but a few minutes of time. Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Time to Stick my Sequel in a Drawer

Well, it took a year and a half (the same amount of time it took me to write the first book, coincidentally) but I’ve finally finished writing the sequel to Baby Grand. Woo hoo! Cue confetti!

What’s the next step? Stick the manuscript in a drawer (yes, I’m showing my age), or, perhaps, on the back burner of my life, and refrain from looking at it for at least a month. Why? It’s important to get some distance from your work, and that’s something that only time can achieve. Even when I write feature articles, I can go an hour or even an overnight between reads. Time has a way of revealing all kinds of typos and issues. My students at Hofstra University always hear me say that just because you can write “The End” on a manuscript and upload it to Amazon the same day doesn’t mean that you should. Like my mother-in-law’s chili, manuscripts need to marinate a bit for maximum flavor.

So, a month from now, I’ll go through a round of editing, and I’ll have a better idea of where things stand, because I’m sure there will be more to work through (there always is), but for the moment I am breathing a sigh of relief and giving myself a little pat on the back. My book may not yet be ready for prime time, but the first step of the publishing process is completed, and that certainly is worth celebrating. Yay, me! :)

Writing Tip #109

Make your chapter endings count. A book club member recently commented that she enjoyed the ending of each chapter in Baby Grand: “They made me want to keep reading.” Yay, I thought, I’ve done my job. The way I see it, chapter endings should serve two functions:

  1. To end whatever scene is going on in the book at a logical place that feels satisfying to the reader — the plot has moved forward and the reader had learned something new.
  2. To keep the reader engaged enough to want to turn to the next chapter.

I’ve read books, particularly thrillers, with chapters that just seem to end willy nilly, as if the author took a knife and just randomly cut one big chapter into two. Perhaps the author thought some of his chapters were getting a bit too lengthy or unruly and needed to be shortened — thriller readers seem to like brief, tidy chapters. Still, to me it just seemed like a waste of a new chapter heading.

Chapter endings need to make sense, need to bring a scene to a close. They should make readers stick in their bookmarks and wonder, Hmmm, what will happen next? And if they’re really good, the reader will reopen the book to find out.

My Book Revue Author Event

Last night, I had my first book signing for Baby Grand at Book Revue in Huntington, N.Y. — the go-to place for book signings on Long Island (Nelson DeMille will be there tonight, Valerie Bertinelli tomorrow night). More than 100 people came out to support me, braving the rain and the parking. I was completely overwhelmed. A truly great evening. For photos from the event, you can visit the Making ‘Baby Grand’ Facebook page. And here is a video snippet of my presentation where I talk about the inspiration behind Don Bailino, the villain of Baby Grand.

Thriller Book Cover Fonts: Go Big or Go Home?

Yesterday, after reading my post about eBook covers, author Elizabeth Kirke stopped by my Facebook page to mention she had blogged about the importance of titles and fonts, something I’ve actually been thinking about for a few days.

As a thriller writer, I’m not a big fan of the way thriller book covers are presented to readers, with those gigantic fonts that scream at you the moment you walk through the doors of Barnes & Noble. Like this (actually I kind of like this one, but you get the point):

But I guess what these kinds of covers have going for them is that they connote immediacy and danger and, yes, screaming, so readers readily identify the books behind them as thrillers. And that’s a good thing — readers know what they’re getting and can march right to that book at the bookstore, or online, if that’s what they’re after. But I’ve always pictured the cover of Baby Grand a certain way, not necessarily with tiny type, but with more of an airy feel to it. I’m wondering if it would be a mistake to veer from what is obviously a successful formula for the genre.

What do you think?

Meet Author Sherry Foley

Today’s featured author is Sherry Foley, a fellow thriller writer. Welcome, Sherry!

Name: Sherry Foley

Name of book: Switched in Death

Book genre: Psychological thriller

Date published: February 17, 2012

Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing

What is your day job? Writer

What is your book about? The power of the mind. Any one of us can convince ourselves we are right in our own minds. The serial killer in Switched in Death has done this and takes the detective on quite a twisted journey at the expense of many innocent women’s lives.

Why did you want to write this book? I love reading mysteries/thrillers and trying to solve the case before the truth is revealed.

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? What I call getting off the Ferris wheel. I can write a book and edit it to death, often times cutting out my voice, realizing it and then having to write things back into the story. I have to make myself get off the wheel and let go. Luckily, I have some terrific critique partners who help me with that.

Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book (visit certain locales, etc.)? I took to the Internet to research serial killers, but the most help was interviewing someone who had quite happily killed a woman and saw nothing wrong with taking a life. I hope I captured on paper the crazed look in this guy’s eyes when he told me his story. Way creepy!

Continue reading

Long Island’s Jeb Ladouceur at Book Revue

I attended a reading and book signing on Wednesday by Long Island thriller writer Jeb Ladouceur, who appeared at the Book Revue in Huntington. Jeb spoke about the writing process, read an except from his forthcoming book, Inked!, which will be published in 2012, and also signed copies of his latest book, The Oba Project.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeb earlier this year when he appeared on my show, The Writer’s Dream, during which we had a lovely and informative chat about the writer’s life:

It was nice to see a sizable group of people turn out for Jeb’s reading. I’ve gone to quite a few of these things over the years, and I’m sad to say that attendance is typically low — with the exception of readings by celebrities or other high-profile folks which usually draw a crowd (my library recently had one of the “real housewives” come chat about her new cookbook and from what I hear it was standing room only).

As a writer, I think it’s important not only to support fellow writers, but to learn about other writers’ processes — sometimes what you hear can jumpstart or help you work through a particular block you may have in your writing or perhaps just broaden your understanding of writing in general. For instance, I found it interesting that Jeb never visited the towns or cities he wrote about in his books. He didn’t want the realities of those places to stifle his creativity in any way. I, on the other hand, took a road trip to Albany, New York, the setting for much of Baby Grand, while in I was in the throes of writing my first draft in order to get a feel for the place and make my descriptions more authentic.

Congratulations to Jeb for a successful event. I look forward to attending many, many more.

Jeb Ladouceur and me at Book Revue/Photo by Debbie Lange Fifer