Book Launch Prep: It’s a Journey

Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, promotion and marketing is your responsibility. This means preparing for a book launch far in advance. For me, the task includes writing blogs, newsletters, and making social media announcements. It also involves updating my website along with other platforms like BookBub and mt Amazon’s Author Central page.

Planning in-person and online events is also part of the process. Book signings, readings, and podcast interviews are the norm these days. For some authors, social media ads are a must, although I won’t use them until I better understand how they work, as they can cost inexperienced authors a lot of money with little results. Then comes the launch date itself, plus post-launch date events such as blog tours and book promotion sites.

To keep track of all this, I prepare a publication checklist, which is now two pages long. I use a template that came from The Creative Academy, as I recall, but a quick google search undoubtedly provides many other sources, if you wish to use one. As many of you already know, book launches take a great deal of effort to gain any attention among the millions of published titles out there.

A Gold Satin Murder which will be launched two weeks from today. I’m very fortunate to have been invited to share a launch/reading evening with a colleague who’s releasing his third mystery. I’m doing a couple of other shared events this fall, which is far more fun than going it alone.

Aside from sending out my newsletter, staying on top of social media and updating my website, I’m also faced with the task of updating the front and back matter in the previous six books. When I first started posting ebooks in 2016, no one seemed too concerned that a work of fiction lacked a list of chapter links, but that’s a thing now. I also need to add a link to book #7 at the back of each book. As marketing gurus also suggest, I should also add a sample chapter of the next installment at the end of each book.

As you can see, there’s still work to be done, but the key is to pace myself and enjoy the process as much as I can. Given that I’ve gone through this before, I feel a little more confident, yet something unexpected can crop up and inevitably there’s something I missed. But I’m also learning not to worry about it as much.

To pre-order A Gold Satin Murder:

Amazon: https://mybook.to/AGoldSatinMurder

Kobo Canada: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-gold-satin-murder

Kobo U.S. https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-gold-satin-murder

Apple books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6443255297

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-gold-satin-murder-debra-purdy-kong/1141951058?ean=2940166433930

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Debra_Purdy_Kong_A_Gold_Satin_Murder?id=FxF_EAAAQBAJ

A Gold Satin Murder Pre-Order and Upcoming Conference

LAUNCH DATE – SEPT 8

After last week’s blog and supportive comments, I took the plunge and uploaded A Gold Satin Murder onto Draft2Digital and Amazon. So, I’m thrilled to announce that the ebook versions of A Gold Satin Murder are ready for pre-order.

D2D’s universal link includes, Kobo and Apple Books. As I write this Barnes & Noble (Nook) is still processing the submission. You can find D2D’s link HERE.

Amazon’s universal link is HERE:

I’ll be preparing the print version over the next few days.

Back in the early spring I was invited to take part in a panel at the annual When Words Collide Conference. I was reluctant at first because I knew my daughter’s baby was due within two days of that date, but they persuaded me. I’ll be taking part in a panel called Badges? What Badges?, on Saturday Aug. 13 at 8:00 a.m. PST. We’ll be discussing amateur sleuth mysteries, among other things.

This virtual conference, from Aug. 12 – 14, is free and has a great roster of panelists. The conference isn’t just for mystery writers but for other genres. Fantasy author Terry Brooks is one of the Guests of Honour! Master classes will also be offered plus podcasts of all sorts that you can listen to. If you’re interested, check out the link HERE.

Last but not least, two nights ago I became a grandma for the second time. More on that next week. What a summer!

Seeking Host Bloggers

Life’s been a whirlwind of activity since my last post, but happily the sunny summer weather gives my energy gets a boost. Here in Vancouver, we’re enjoying normal seasonal temperatures which is much better than last year’s heat dome, although things could heat up. I feel for the people in Europe and the U.K. and parts of the U.S. Unpredictability seems to be the new norm, so onward we go. Speaking of which,

In a few days I’ll be uploading A Gold Satin Murder on KDP and Draft2Digital, and sending the book off to the printer. I find myself still going over the manuscript, tweaking words here and there. By the end of this month, I’m cutting myself off because launch day is September 8th.

Meanwhile, I’m looking for anyone who might be interesting in hosting me on their blog. Different topics are being prepared now, and I’m certainly open to a Q an A. If you’re interested in hosting a guest blog in Sept., Oct. or beyond, please email me at debra_kong@telus.net. A big thank you to Darlene Foster and Jacqui Murray who’ve already enthusiastically agreed to host me. I love this community of writers!

In case you were wondering, here’s the book blurb:

Transit cop Casey Holland has never met a bus passenger like the charming artist and exotic dancer, Eduardo. The bus driver Lily has certainly befriended him. But when Eduardo’s charged with murder, Lily’s caught in the middle of his legal trouble. Afraid of losing her job and custody of her son, she begs Casey for help in proving Eduardo’s innocence.

Casey’s search for answers takes her and her best friend Kendal to a troupe of strippers known as Man Cave. While the men are busy peeling off their clothes, Casey’s peeling back layers of secrets and betrayal. Nuttier than her usual adventures, the risk is just as deadly in this seventh installment of the Casey Holland transit mysteries.

I can almost hear the questions now, and if you have any topics you’d like me to address, go for it! 😊

This and That, and a Cover Reveal!

Rather than fill your inbox with multiple blogs, this one’s a catchup on events over the past two weeks. First, the Art on the Vine was great fun and a highly successful fundraiser for the Osteoporosis Society. Although it had rained most of June, the 26th was unusually hot and dry, so I wore a summer dress for the first time this year. Townhip7 Winery will be hosting another event on Aug. 28th and I can’t wait. On July 14th, I’m also sharing a table with Western Sky Books at a local farmer’s market, so that should be enjoyable, too. Farmers markets have generally been good places to sell books for me in the past, although the last time took part was in the summer of 2019.

I like that wine is the focus of this photo

If you’re looking for more summer reads, I’ve lined up two more BookFunnel events. The first is a newsletter signup that offers free crime fiction ebooks, including my first Casey Holland mystery. This provocative event is is called Mysteries, Suspense, Thrillers. The Unexplained, which is available HERE.

The second event is offering discounted ebooks with no signup required. My second Casey Holland mystery, Deadly Accusations, is part of an event called Murders, Mysteries and the Paranormal, and will be on sale for $.99 all July. You can find the link HERE:

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve been working on my 7th Casey Holland mystery, and I’m thrilled to say it’ll be released on Thursday, September 8th. This novella is a quick read that’s much lighter in tone than the previous books, and it’s a real change from the typical characters Casey encounters. Stay tuned for more info in a couple of weeks, but for now, here’s the cover!

My daughter starts maternity leave at the end of this month, so my babysitting schedule will be less frequent and more spontaneous. Hubby and I have also decided to downsize our house over the next 12 months, but first up are renos to a couple of rooms in our home. My retirement seems to be picking up the pace, at least for now. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m only publishing shorter works these days 🙂

CWC Winners Announced and Planning for Summer

Last week, the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence winners were announced. It’s always exciting to see the short list of nominees in April and the announcement of winners in late May. I know a number of the nominees from the Vancouver area, including this year’s best crime novel winner, and am delighted to see their work recognized. You can find the full list of nominees and winners HERE.

As you all know, a lot’s gone on in the world since I last blogged a couple of weeks ago, and little of it’s good. It’s a tough time for creators on many levels, but I forge ahead because writing and editing have always given me a safe space to ease my mind from horrific news stories. So, I’ve been editing steadily, and working on a pre-release plan for my Casey Holland novella. I’ll launch the book on September 8th, which seems both far away and all too soon, depending on my state of mind.

I have a to-do list of pre-publication work to help me stay organized. I also want to take one more look at the novella before it’s ready for uploading on Amazon and other sites. It won’t be a quiet, slow-paced summer, but it will be an eventful one.

Ellie likes to sit on her bike & ring the bell

Ellie will have a little brother or sister in August. My son-in-law and hubby will be taking vacations to help out on the home front, but we won’t be traveling this summer, which is probably for the best this year, especially since gas is $2.22 a liter as I write this.

It’s a bit strange to plan my publishing schedule around a little person who isn’t here yet, but my writing life has always been planned around kids’ and employers’ schedules. Somehow it always works out.

How about you? What are your plans this summer? Will it be creative? Relaxing? Busy? Or slow and relaxed?

Title Chosen, and Knock Knock on Sale!

I want to thank those who provided feedback on the pending title for my upcoming Casey novella. Your comments were invaluable! I cut and pasted all of them on one page, along with the potential titles, so I could carefully review everything, and I made a decision.

The title will be A Gold Satin Murder. The title is shorter than the original, eliminates the controversial ‘thong’ word, offers intrigue, and fits with the type of titles already in the series. Won’t it be interesting to see what the jacket designer comes up with?

To help on that end, the designer always asks me to share examples of covers I really like in my genre, so I’ll start researching that soon. The cover will need the transit theme that appears on each book in the series, but I want the colors to be lighter than they are in the last two books to reflect the lighter tone of the story.

I’ve just wrapped up the changes suggested by my beta readers, and the book’s off to the editor shortly. It’s hard to believe I’ve finally reached this point, but there is still work to be done before a launch date is set.

Meanwhile, in my ongoing experiment with BookFunnel promotions this year, I have a new $.99 promotion, this time for my fifth Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock at $.99 for the month of March. This is a big event, with nearly 100 authors offering ebooks for sale. Based on the promo organizer’s description, authors need not offer their books at a special price. I have, but that’s just me.

Note that this event is for mysteries, suspense, and thriller stories, although I did notice a couple of cozy titles thrown in. This organizer is also offering other perks, which you’ll see when you click the link HERE. One of them is a chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card!

Here’s the book blurb for Knock Knock:

When a home invasion kills senior Elsie Englehart, security officer Casey Holland is devastated. Part of her latest assignment is to watch over elderly bus riders in an area frequently targeted by a group of thugs. Determined to keep others safe, Casey escorts an elderly man right to his home, only to come under attack by an armed intruder.

Hospitalized and angry, Casey struggles to regain control of her life, despite interference from family and colleagues, and the postponement of her wedding. Yet another home invasion compels Casey to take action, but at what cost to her health and her relationships?

Seeking Input on a Title

Before I start today’s topic, just a reminder that two BookFunnel promos are still live until February 27. One is an offer for free ebook excerpts, samples, and books that are primarily suspense and thriller mysteries. The link’s HERE.

The other is a collection of mystery authors offering full ebooks at discounted prices. Casey Holland mystery #4, The Deep End, is included in this group for $.99. The link can be found HERE.

Pixabay Image by Gerd Altmann

As mentioned in an earlier blog, thanks to great feedback from beta readers I’ve diligently been working on another round of edits these past couple of weeks. My only dilemma is the mixed opinions about the book’s title, which I’ve tentatively titled Man in a Gold Satin Thong (trust me, this piece of clothing is part the story 😊). So, I’m seeking your feedback on the title that most grabs your interest. This novella has a lighter tone than the previous books. To help you decide, here’s the blurb I’ve come up with so far:

Transit cop Casey Holland has never met a bus passenger like the charming artist and exotic dancer, Eduardo. When he’s charged with murder, his friendship with bus driver Lily erupts into a legal mess that could cost Lily her job and custody of her son. Convinced of his innocence, Lily begs Casey to help find the real killer before her life implodes.

Lily’s not only a coworker but a friend, so Casey agrees ask a few questions. Those questions lead Casey and her best friend Kendal to a troupe of strippers calling themselves Man Cave. While the men are busy peeling off their clothes, Casey’s peeling back layers of secrets and betrayal. Nuttier and more raucous than her usual investigations, the risk is just as deadly.

Aside from the title mentioned above, here’s another list I’ve come up with.

The Gold Satin Murder

The Satin Thong Murder

A Gold Satin Killer

The Gold Satin Lover

As readers and book buyers, do any of the above grab your interest, or do you think my original title works best? Titles are so hard to come up with, aren’t they? And thanks for your help!

Blending What You Know with Research in Fiction

Author, Jacqui Murray, wrote a great blog recently called ‘How To Write What You Know’, which you can find HERE. Jacqui started writing stories based on things she knew, but her desire to write fiction set in prehistoric times made research essential, and even then some things had to be left to her imagination.

I’ve read many other articles about the value of research, as well as cautionary tales about overdoing it. Although I like research, I’ve never wanted to spend huge amounts of time embroiled in it. I chose, therefore, to set my mysteries where I live in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, which made detailing specific locations easy. The few scenes set in Europe in my first Casey Holland mystery, were all places I’d visited.

Some of my plots are inspired by actual events that have been well documented in local newspapers, such as street racing which appears in #3 Beneath the Bleak New Moon and attacks on bus drivers, which appears in #6 The Blade Man. Casey Holland mystery #4, The Deep End, however, is the one that draws most heavily on my own experience.

Back in the day, while studying criminology, I spent a year volunteering inside a youth detention center. I met all kinds of residents, some serving a sentence, others awaiting trial. The youngest was twelve years old, the oldest seventeen, including a boy who’d stabbed his mother over 40 times. I learned a lot about the juvenile justice system then, and about teenaged girls who only wanted their mother’s love and attention, and got neither. I learned about lockdowns and suicide attempts, and the importance of boundaries between residents, staff, and volunteers. I kept journals from those days and used snippets of those entries to incorporate in this book. I also spoke with a man who’d just retired as director of a newer detention center, to discuss changes over the previous twenty-five years.

The Deep End is part of this month’s BookFunnel event and is now on sale for $.99. Other great suspense and thriller novels are available through that site, which can be found HERE.

Here’s a short blurb:

MPT transit officer Casey Holland’s first volunteer shift at Fraserview Youth Custody Center turns deadly when the center’s director dies from heart failure. But all is not as it seems, and there are rumors that his death was no accident. Life soon becomes perilous for residents, Casey, and her best friend, Kendal. — “Well-crafted book with lots of teasers”-Night Reader”

How about you? Do you also blend what you know with research in your fiction? I’m curious, how much time do you spend on research, and is it before, during, or after you’ve written a couple of drafts?

Searching for Beta Readers

Things are moving along at a fast clip (finally) with edits on my 7th Casey Holland mystery, tentatively titled, Man in a Gold Satin Thong. If the title piques your curiosity or makes you smile, then I’m on the right track. Although there’s a murder in this story, this 24,000 word novella explores a lighter aspect of Casey’s security work than in the previous novels.

I’ve been fortunate to find two beta readers, but I’m looking for two more, especially those who are fans of amateur sleuth mysteries. It’s not necessary to be familiar with the series as each book works as a stand alone. Hopefully, the story says enough of Casey’s professional and personal life to not leave new readers confused.

For those of you who are uncertain about the role of a beta reader, it’s basically to read the manuscript to provide an overall impression of the book, and to point out where there might be some confusion, repetition, or a lag in the pace. In other words, it’s not a line by line edit, looking for typos, grammatical glitches, and so forth.

The book will be available in PDF format this week, and I’ll provide a short list of questions to use as a guide, but I’ll certainly welcome all comments. I’m hoping to have feedback back within three weeks, so I can get cracking on the changes. My goal is to publish the book this year, but that will depend on beta readers responses and later, my editor, plus the jacket designer’s schedule.

If you are interested reading the book this month, please email me directly at debra_kong@telus.net

Thank you!