Pondering a BookBub Promotion

Following up with last week’s blog about the Left Coast Crime Conference, I want to say that it was amazing. I was too busy catching up with fellow writers and meeting mystery fans from the U.S. to take pictures, but others took photos which have popped up on social media. Anyway, I totally recommend this conference for mystery writers and fans. Next year’s event will be in San Diego.

BookBub imageNow to current business. For some time, I’ve subscribed to BookBub’s book notification service. It’s a free site where subscribers can sign up and learn about great deals on free or discounted books. Authors can also submit their books for consideration and create their own profile, which I did a while back.

I’ve heard mixed reviews from authors about paying to feature their ebooks on the site. The main complaint is that BookBub’s fees are high–several hundred dollars, in fact. The more you want to charge for your book (the maximum is $3.99), the higher the fee is.

The approval process is also daunting. BookBub accepts only a fraction of the 100-300 daily submissions it receives. If you’re turned down you must wait another month to reapply. Also, they prefer books that have already obtained lots of reviews, although I’m told there are exceptions.

Still, BookBub sends daily emails to millions of subscribers and featured books can sell thousands of copies in a couple of days. A mystery writing colleague I met at LCC tried it with great results. So, I took a look at BookBub’s submission requirements and realized I have some prep work to do before even submitting my first Casey Holland mystery, The Opposite of Dark.

I’ll have to write a shorter book blurb, double check all my links and find a couple more, as well as the original price for my ebook, which is listed in five different countries. I also should be adding Amazon links in the back pages of The Opposite of Dark . Hmm.

I’m overwhelmed with busyness right now and, given the high fee, I’m still pondering if this is a good investment. Not everyone makes their money back, so if any of you have used BookBub to promote your books, I’d love to hear about your experience. Do you think that paying to feature your book on this site is worth your time and money?

Book Launch Memories

Speaking at Golden Ears, Oct 21, 2014This week, I had the pleasure of attending a book launch for a colleague who’s about to have her first children’s book published. It’s been a long haul for her, and I wanted to get my hot-off-the-press copy. Her name, by the way, is Eileen Holland and her book is Sophie Trophy (I hope to have her guest blog in the near future!). It’s a delightful story for the 8 to 10 age group.

Her event Monday night was held in the same room where I launched my second novel back in 2008. Seeing Eileen’s happiness and exuberance brought back great memories of other book launches I’ve attended and hosted, and I have to say there’ve been a few of them. Looking back, I’ve attended launches at arts centers, community halls, libraries, bookstores, a pub, a restaurant, a church, and of course, there’s been a few Facebook online launches.

My first launch back in 1995 is still one of my favorites, not just because this was my first published book but because it was a house party for friends, families, and writing colleagues. We served a lot of food and wine that night, I sold books, and everyone had a good time. Best of all, I didn’t have to worry about being out of the room by a certain time or cleaning up early. Honestly, if I hold another one, I might just do it again, which brings me to my second point. Will I ever do another launch? Even though, I’ll be bringing out book number ten over the next few months, it’s not a question I can answer right now.

While I didn’t hold a physical launch for my latest Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock, I did the usual launch-day announcements. It was the third week of November and I was in over my head with weekend craft fairs, the day job, and my publisher’s launch of one of my novellas a week after that.

While it’s still gratifying to see a new book in print, I’m not overly excited to be the center of attention again. The speech preparation, venue rental, RSVPs, and catering issues have always caused this introvert a fair bit of anxiety. Still, maybe another house party is the answer. We’ll see. The Blade Man is coming either later this year or early next…I’ll let you know when.

Left Coast Crime Conference In Vancouver Next Month!

Whale of a Crime, 2019I’m thrilled that the popular mystery writing conference Left Coast Crime will be held in Vancouver next month from March 28 to 31st. You can find more details about panels and other events HERE.

Due to time and financial restrictions, it’s been ten long years since I last attended LCC  and that one was on the big island of Hawaii. Hubby and I, along with my sister, turned that excursion into a week-long vacation with tons of sightseeing after the conference ended. I love that island!

LCC conferences choose a different host city, usually in a western state, every year. The conferences tend to be smaller than some of the other mystery conferences, which is why I love this one. There’s a friendly, informal feel to LCC that’s always welcoming.

The organizers have done a great job in providing ways for authors to interact with readers, so to that end I’ll be taking part in in a “Speed Dating” event on Thurs. the 28th from 9 – 11:00 a.m. I’ll be partnering with another author and moving from table to table, pitching my work.

On the same day, I’ll be taking part in a panel from 3:45 to 4:30 called Technology in Crime Fiction. It should be an interesting discussion.

On Saturday, I’ll be reading from my latest Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock, for five short minutes (there are many authors lined up to read), but again, it’s an opportunity to let others know about my work.

Needless to say, it’ll be a fun, busy weekend. I hope to volunteer there as well. One of the best parts will be catching up with colleagues I haven’t seen in a long time and finally meeting those I’ve only chatted with online. Judging from the roster, BC writers will be well represented, so if you’re a crime fiction fan living in Metro Vancouver, then don’t miss out as LCC won’t be back to our city anytime soon. I believe the 2020 event will be in San Diego!

Easing Into a Book Production Mindset

selfpub[1]Every indie author knows that there are essentially three major components in a writers’ life. Writing, producing, and marketing a book. My last Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock, was released in November 2017.

I’m coming close to the final edit of the sixth installment, The Blade Man. An email to my editor last week marked the beginning of the production process, but truthfully, I’m in no hurry to publish yet. There’s a lot to think about regarding a book launch and other marketing plans.

Those who’ve published books, know all too well that there are a number of steps in the production process…hiring a jacket designer, acquiring ISBN numbers for electronic and print versions. Preparing the front and back matter, and of course, writing the all-important back cover blurb. As an increasing number of book reviewers require a synopsis, I’ll also spend a fair bit of time polishing a one-page version as well. There’s also the budget to work out.

It’s not all daunting, though. I use Draft2Digital and KDP to convert my documents into epub, Mobi versions, and so forth. The conversion is quick and simple for both, however, proofreading is still required as glitches occur. I haven’t quite decided what to do about preparing the print version, given that CreateSpace is no longer around. I could go the KDP route, but I want to do a little more research about the ups and downs to this approach.

If any Canadian colleagues out there, have production pros and cons regarding KDP, please let me know. Things change so rapidly in this business that I often feel that I’m starting out fresh with every published book. Sometimes the work ahead is overwhelming, but other times it’s exciting. Most of the time it’s both. Either way, I’m easing into production mode and looking forward to the future.

A Great Night of Author Readings

Western Sky Books-2Last evening I had the pleasure of taking part in a reading at Western Sky Books in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. With nine readers and an enthusiastic audience, All Hallows Story Night was an entertaining event. I loved the variety of stories the authors read. The horror, dark fantasy, and ghost stories for children and adults offered a wide selection of tales.

I read from the second chapter of my Alex Bellamy whodunit, Fatal Encryption, which opens on Halloween night and added a bit of humor to the mix. With settings near my home in Port Moody, BC, I have a special fondness for this book, and it was great fun to read from it again.

I should have arrived earlier to browse through the many titles Western Sky provides, but I’ll be back. Co-owner Tamara provided refreshments and cool decorations for the occasion, and if you ever have a chance to visit this new and used bookstore do so. The place is packed with bargain-priced books and is a huge supporter of local authors.

If you’re interested in Fatal Encryption, the ebook version is available at the following links.

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/z5sagyl

Amazon: myBook.to/FatalEncryption

Other links: https://www.books2read.com/u/brdqzm

Should I Choose Instagram?

Social network imagesChoosing social media platforms has always been hit and miss with me. Over the years, the two constants have been Twitter and Facebook. I still belong to Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Kindleboards, but no longer take part in group discussions. Frankly, the spamming and contentious attitudes among too many people make discussions less appealing than they once were.

Some writers insist that you need to be everywhere on social media and I can understand their viewpoint. But for me, it’s neither desirable nor practical. There is one I’m considering, though: Instagram. Indeed, I’ve been invited to join by several writers but I can’t make a decision until I’ve visited the site. I know the audience is generally younger, and I do know a gift shop owner who says that it’s really helped raise her store’s profile. People even offer her advice about improving her store window design, etc.

But does a site that focuses on photos really work for a writer? Before I spend a lot of time setting up and sending out photos of my book covers and events and other experiences, I’d like to know what you think. Do you writers out there use Instagram and is it worth your time?

Last week, I read a blog advising writers to stay away from social media period, as it’s become too negative and troll-infested. This person’s argument was that one’s time was better spent on building their business page rather than connecting with people through blogs and group discussions, and suffering abusive and offensive comments.

I’m not attracting enough attention to have that many negative experiences, and maybe never will. I still enjoy FB, Twitter up to a point, and now WordPress, but should I take a closer look at Instagram, or are there other new sites that are useful for writers? I’d be really interested in knowing your thoughts.

My August Events

aotfposter_2018Taking part in craft fairs and other events has been one of the highlights of my year so far. This month, I’ll take part in three more events, all of which I’ve done before, and I can’t wait to go back.

You can find all of them listed on my website’s News and Events page at http://www.debrapurdykong.com/news-and-events.html

The first one is on Aug. 18th and I invite anyone living in and around the Chilliwack area to visit this event. There will be live music, and the organizers are going out of their way to make it a fun, kid-friendly event with games and even a photo booth.

The week after, on Sun. the 26th, I’ll be at Art on the Vine in Langley. I love this event because vendors can drink wine if they want, though I don’t often do until late in the day.

Lastly, I’ll be out at the Haney Farmers Market on Sat. Sept. 1 at Memorial Peace Park on 224th Street, right in front of The ACT. Vendors are there from 10 – 2 pm, so it’s a fairly short event, but I like this one because of the wonderful produce and baked goods I can buy there. So, come join the summer fun if you can!

Arthur Ellis Award Winners & an Upcoming Event

Books, Craft fairLast Thursday, the winners of the Arthur Ellis Crime Writing Awards were announced at a gala in Toronto. You can see the list of winners HERE, and congratulations to all!

This week we’re driving up to Vernon, BC to take part in the 34th annual Creative Chaos summer craft fair. It’s been about three years since I last attended, so I’m looking forward to going back. Touted as the largest summer craft show in western Canada, there’s certainly a lot of cool stuff to purchase.

The fair has clear guidelines about handmade products, so I’ll be selling only my self-published mystery titles, which is fine. We always turn these out-of-town excursions into mini vacations and make sure to visit a winery or two while we’re up there. Lord knows, you can never have enough wine and cool crafts to buy. For more information about the fair, check out this link.

Write On, Vancouver 2018

On Saturday May 12, from 10:00 to 5:00, the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library (on Georgia Street) will host a day of day-long celebration of local writers and publishers.

I haven’t attended one before, but I’m happy to be volunteering at Crime Writers of Canada’s table this year from 2 to 4 pm.

The Write On website lists a number of different workshops and panel discussions that sound terrific. Check out the website HERE, and if you have a chance, take part at this free event, and come by and say hi!

VPL-Biblioevents-Special-Events-Default_760x230

 

Imajin Book’s Spring Sale!

April is here! If I can make it through the first three months of a cold, wet dreary Vancouver winter without disaster or perpetual moodiness, then the rest of the year is a bonus.

To that end, my publisher has launched a spring book sale on all Imajin Books titles. My two novellas, Dead Man Floating and A Toxic Craft are only $.99 US (which works out to about a $1.28 Cdn.) now until April 15th.

Here’s the blurb for Dead Man Floating:

One wrong decision… 

Security guard Evan Dunstan didn’t expect to find a body floating in a campus stream. An empty vodka bottle nearby suggests that the highly despised George Krenn, head of the plumbing department, had drunkenly fallen in. Refusing to let the death of a vile man ruin his romantic plans, Evan decides to leave the body for the next shift to find.

One friend in trouble…

When it’s discovered that Krenn was murdered, Evan has a lot of explaining to do. So does his friend Sully, Krenn’s least favourite student. Evan uses his hacking skills and campus knowledge to keep them both out of jail, but the investigation forces him to question Sully’s innocence.

One mystery to solve…

Uncovering the truth proves to be more than challenging. It may cost Evan his job, his friendship, and his woman. Will Evan find the killer, or will the killer find him first?

And for A Toxic Craft:

A crafty senior…

Evan Dunstan’s spunky grandmother is giving him major headaches. As organizer for the seniors’ Christmas craft fair, Gran faces warring vendors and acts of vandalism that threaten to ruin the event. When nasty knitter Cora Riddell is knocked unconscious and her water spiked with a hallucinogen, Gran begs Evan to find out who’s responsible before more harm is done—or someone dies.

A daunting task…

In charge of the fair’s security, Evan faces a challenge that grows more difficult by the hour. His boss expects him to find the culprit before police are called in and Southwest Trades & Technology’s reputation as a safe campus is destroyed.

A friend or foe?

A search for answers reveals the disturbing possibility that even friends and coworkers hope Evan will fail. Is the culprit closer to him than he thought? Whose startling secrets must be exposed to find the truth?

If you have any trouble with the links, please let me know, and thank you!

http://getbook.at/DeadManFloating

http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft