Puzzling Promotion Possibilities

If you’re an author, you’ve probably received numerous emails from people who want to sell their services for social media blasts, blog tours, press releases, and other things. Reviewers, jacket designers, and proofreaders have also invited me to purchase their services for a wide range of prices.

These aren’t all scams, but it does take some digging to determine which ones are legitimate and/or useful and which are not. The Writers Beware website is helpful, but it doesn’t cover everything, so I often do my own research.

Lately, I’ve been inundated with emails inviting me to list my books on promotion sites. Some of these offers are free listings while others come with a price tag. A few sites give you an option for free or paid listings, depending on how much visibility you want.

Here’s what I’ve found with a quick search. All of the sites below want me to set up an account, which I’m not prepared to do right now. The emails I’ve received suggest that these are the best book promotion sites in 2020, which is likely subject to opinion. I have started a basic search and most of these sites list featured, standard, or basic listings, likely dependent on the price.

Giobooks.com – offers different levels of visibility, so assuming it provides both free and paid

Bmibooks.com – has a startup fee starting at $10.00

Olto.App – has a free and paid options

BookswiFi.com – again offers a varying price range.

Bestreads.app – invites you to share your amazon purchase link for free

Reactbooks.com  – little info is given about this site without registering

Wordlikes – charges $15.00 for one year

I’m sure that several of you have also received similar emails. Have any of you tried these book promotion sites or do you think it’s a waste of time? Do you use any specific sites for your books? Honestly, you could join a new site every day for a month and still not have covered them all. If I get enough responses, I’ll share them with you, plus other searches I plan to do over the next couple of weeks.

Guest Appearing on J.P. McLean’s blog

I’m delighted to appear on J.P. McLean’s blog today. The topic is Writing Before and After the Pandemic, which turned out to be a more complex issue than I envisioned.

As I considered ramifications for contemporary fiction writers, issues kept cropping up, so it seemed more straightforward to use The Blade Man as a reference point. You can find the piece HERE, and please have a look at J.P.’s wonderful urban fantasy novels. She’s another terrific British Columbia author. Thanks!

6th in Casey Holland mystery series.

Amazon: mybook.to/TheBladeMan

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-blade-man

Apple books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1495092401

Guest Blog-Debra Purdy Kong-Part 2

Today, I’m very pleased to present Part II of my piece, It’s All About Relationships, on David’s Life and Random Thinking blog. Thanks again to David for hosting me twice in one week!

Life and Random Thinking

One of the bonuses you don’t expect when you begin blogging is the friends you make. That has certainly been my experience leading to my guest blog today. 

Today one of my blog friends, Debra Purdy Kong, is my special guest for a second time. In her first guest post Debra shared about the importance of relationships when writing a book and today she is sharing the importance of continuing to build relationships after a book is published.

I love to read, and now I know more about what it takes to write and publish your own book. 

Enjoy the insights from Debra.Have a wonderful day!  – David

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It’s All About Relationships, Part 2 –

By Debra Purdy Kong

After publishing a book, Photo of Debra Pudy Kongan author is faced with numerous promoting and marketing tasks.

Long gone are the days when an author signed a contract, held a launch arranged…

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Special Guest Blog- Debra Purdy Kong

I’m delighted to appear on David’s blog, Life and Random Thinking, today. This is the 1st of a two part series about building relationships in a writer’s life. David is a BC blogger I met through the blogging community and I really enjoy his photos and descriptions of life in Penticton, BC.

Life and Random Thinking

One of the bonuses you don’t expect when you begin blogging is the friends you make. That has certainly been my experience. Today one of my blog friends, Debra Purdy Kong, is my special guest.

She is a fellow Canadian and a published author and I have offered to have her as my guest for two posts, first post today. –

Thank you for taking the time to meet my special guest today.  – David

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It’s All About Relationships, Part I

By Debra Purdy Kong

Debra’s Bio:  Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her Casey Hollandtransit security novels.

Photo of Debra Pudy KongAs a self-published mystery author of ten books, it’s become clear to me that the success I’ve enjoyed over the years…

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Handling Secondary Characters in a Series

WordDreams...

I haven’t written about secondary characters in a long time, maybe never! Thankfully, Debra Purdy Kong, author of the exciting Casey Holland Mysteries series and webmaster for Mystery Deb, has some great ideas on them.  In this article, she covers how to sketch them out (with an Excel spreadsheet), how to make them memorable, and how to keep them relevant.

I am so excited to host Debra here on WordDreams!

Handling Secondary Characters in a Series

My Casey Holland mystery series is set at Casey’s workplace, Mainland Public Transport. This fictional bus company has about 100 employees which provides opportunities to introduce a wide range of characters. Casey is a transit security officer, who often rides the buses dealing with harassment and smaller types of crime that either turn into or merge with more serious crimes. The company’s security department has only five staff plus Casey’s supervisor, Stan. Her…

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Guest Blog for Debra’s 6th Mystery Novel

I’m delighted to appear on Darlene Foster’s blog today, where I’m discussing the inspiration for Casey Holland mystery #6, The Blade Man.

Darlene Foster's Blog

I am pleased to have as a guest on my blog, Debra Purdy Kong, who has just launched her 6th mystery novel. Debra has been a guest on my blog, here where she talked about how she gets her ideas and gives some great advice to anyone thinking of writing. Today she talks about her inspiration for the latest Casey Holland mystery, The Blade Man.

So, This Bus Driver Approached Me…
By Debra Purdy Kong

After my third Casey Holland mystery, Beneath the Bleak New Moon, was published, a local bus driver contacted me through Twitter to ask about my books. My series is set in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, which is where the driver and I live.

My protagonist, Casey, is a 33-year-old transit security officer who’s employed by a private bus company. She rides the buses, usually after a customer complaint, to deal with smaller types…

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A Wedding Celebration!

Cutting the CakeFollowers of this blog know that my family’s experienced a fair bit of grief and sadness this year, but today’s blog is to celebrate something quite wonderful, my daughter’s wedding last Saturday.

Held inside a beautiful room at Vancouver’s Van Dusen Gardens, it was truly a spectacular day. I won’t have copies of the photographer’s photos for a few weeks, but my sister snapped a few on her phone, showcasing a couple of moments, which you’ll see here.

It was simply breathtaking to see Elida and her dad walk down the aisle and enjoy their father-daughter dance. To hear all of the amazing, and often funny speeches, to see family and friends come together and enjoy a fabulous meal, conversation, laughter, cake cutting, and dancing was simply amazing.

Elida & Brandon, DinnerThe sparkling backdrop behind the bride and groom’s table was a last-minute decision we added just before the wedding. The vendor didn’t supply backdrops or decorations, so I phoned the It’s My Party shop near my home and found that they could accommodate us, despite it only being a day or two before the wedding. My son, husband, and brother-in-law assembled and erected the 24- foot long structure, finishing about an hour before the guests arrived. Sometimes, flying by the seat of one’s pants pays off .

The most important thing, though is that everyone left that night happy and smiling. So now, after fifteen months of discussions, shopping, decision making, growing anxiety and stress, this event is in family’s history books. The bride and groom will be moving into their brand new home in two weeks and there will be more celebration over the coming months, and for that I’m very grateful.

Elida & Bark dancing

Luck and the Writer

Four_Leaf_Clover_03[1]Back in February, I discussed the concept of success, after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success. Today, I want to focus on the concept of luck.

I read an interesting blog about a month ago by thriller writer Joe Konrath. He writes an excellent blog about the writing biz, and as a hybrid author with a substantial backlist, he has a lot to say about publishing, promoting, and marketing. You can find his blog HERE. He also has an interesting take on why most authors’ marketing plans won’t work. What it comes to, in his view, is luck. But the question then becomes, how does one become luckier?

Some people call luck a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. I don’t disagree. I remember reading an article about a Canadian woman who’d been incredibly lucky at winning contests. She had a room filled with prizes. When asked what made her so lucky, she said it was because she probably entered more contests than most people. In fact, she had turned contest-entering into a full time job.

Yesterday, I came across a similar article about folks who constantly win sweepstake prizes. In fact, there’s a whole group of them who take this so seriously that they’re referred to as sweepers. You can read more about them HERE. I was struck by the comment from one of the frequent contest winners, who stated that luck had nothing to do with her large haul. It was about effort and persistence.

Sometimes luck truly does seem to come out of the blue. Maybe a horrific car crash you managed to avoid by just one minute has nothing to do with persistence and effort. Maybe carrying a four-leaf clover or talisman does help some people, who knows?

Personally, I believe that luck often emerges from a series of decisions, opportunities, and right-time, right-place circumstances. But even that’s not the whole picture. Maybe there’s no rhyme nor reason why someone’s thriller gains fabulous attention and mega sales while an equally well-crafted thriller with a gorgeous cover and an amazing back cover blurb doesn’t. We could speculate that if the “unlucky” author had targeted his market differently or tried a different promotion strategy, then maybe it would have made a difference. On the other hand, maybe it wouldn’t have. We can drive ourselves crazy wondering over stuff like that.

Joe’s answer to making one’s luck is to keep writing books. He doesn’t discount using ads, blogs, social media, etc, for promotion, but he makes it clear that those efforts won’t guarantee any sales. Writing is the only thing you can really control, he says, and if you keep doing it and getting better at it, you just might get lucky enough to have a bestseller on your hands. For many of us, isn’t that the dream which lets our imaginations run wild, that gets us out of the bed every morning and open to all possibilities?

We Have Flowers!

I’m on a mini-holiday with my family this week, so if I don’t respond to your comments right away, please forgive me. I might be on the net, but I’m not sure.

I want this week’s blog to be about something cheerful, so I’m sharing snapshots of the beautiful plants and flowers that flourished in our front yard this spring.

Front Yard Flowers-3, 2019.jpg

Until last summer, we had so many trees on our property that most of the yard was in shade, which wasn’t helping anything bloom. Our neighbors asked that we remove a couple of them bordering their property, and given that they could well be safety hazards in a storm, we did so (they shared the cost).

Front Yard Flowers-1, 2019

The result will attract bees which are also in dire need of help. In 31 years, our yard has never been this colorful, and I’ve never appreciated flowers more than I do now.

Front Yard Flowers

The rose bush in my mom’s memory will also be planted here in a prominent place with plant of sunlight.

Rodos, front of house

Coping With a Difficult June

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted, and sadly this one isn’t writing-related. Those who’ve been reading my blog know that my mother suffered from dementia and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer one year ago. By March the cancer had spread to her liver and our family doctor estimated that she had only two or three months left. My mom’s dementia made her oblivious to her dire situation. Even when told the truth, her emotional response seemed dim, and within minutes the diagnosis was forgotten.

My mother passed away in hospice care on June 23rd . Neither my sister nor I were there. I’d seen her the day before and had been out all day at an event that Sunday. My sister had planned to visit, but her significant other suffered a heart attack on June 12th and she was exhausted from the worry and daily commutes to the hospital. (It was touch-and-go for a while, but it looks like he’ll be okay. A medical procedure is required but rehab is underway).

It sounds strange to write this, but we were stunned by the call from the hospice nurse. We truly believed we’d have a little more time with her. We’d met with the doctor on Wed., the 19th, who thought she was doing well under the circumstances, and might have four to six weeks left. We understood that this was a guess, and our family doctor cautioned me that pancreatic cancer is wildly unpredictable. She was in hospice three weeks and two days before she passed.

I should have picked up on the signs that the end was near. When I took my son and daughter to visit her on the 16th, she’d been unusually alert and conversational She blew us kisses the last time my sister and I saw her—something she’s never done in her life. She apparently had the nurse help her call her sister in Toronto that Sunday afternoon. For weeks she’d not felt well enough to talk on the phone at all, let alone make a phone call.

Also on June 23rd, my daughter’s good friend, and matron of honor at her upcoming wedding, lost her grandmother that same day.

Flowers for MimoFive days earlier on the 18th, I had to have our twenty-year-old cat Mimo euthanized, as he became too ill to go on. The beautiful flowers in the photo were sent by our vet’s staff who’d been overseeing his care since we brought him in for his first shots back in August 1999. Also on the 18th , my future son-in-law’s family lost their beloved dog to cancer.

I took time off from the day job to reflect, to rest—or try to—but I’m now back at work, which is fine. I like the routine, to focus on other things for part of the day.

Memories swim through my head. I have a room full of her furniture and some belongings that I’d moved out her assisted living apartment two days before her death. There are things to sort through, legal things to take care of.

But there are also things to look forward to, such as my daughter’s September wedding, quickly followed by a move into their new home. My son also began an exciting new career the last week of June. I’m getting back to writing. My lovely coworkers are giving me a rose bush to plant in Mom’s memory. It’s perfect. She wouldn’t want any fuss and mourning or feeling sorry for ourselves.

I’ve learned a lot this past year about life and death, and many things. I’ve said goodbye far more than I wanted to last month, but I’ll cope and move one step and one day at a time. And I’ll remember.