Monday, July 27, 2015

Fifty Ways to Show Readers Some Love (Part 2)



This is the second of three blog posts that highlight ways writers can show their readers some love.  Check out the first twenty at last month's postEnjoy, share, and add to the list in the comments.  I hope it sparks some creative ideas!

Day 21: Be approachable.  I know of a writer who wears jeans to all of her signings, because it makes readers more comfortable.  How can you be more approachable to readers?  Smiles?   A “please join me?” A welcome message pinned to the top of your author page? A sign saying I write about vampires but rarely suck blood?  Approaching a stranger is uncomfortable at best.  Do whatever you can to make it easier for them. 

Day 22: Donate your time—and help raise money!  Donate an hour of your time with an aspiring author at local charity auctions or via Skype for the charity auctions of some of your loyal readers.  (Could also be a book club meeting, a character naming, a reading or ????)  Doesn’t cost a dime, earns you good karma, and helps the worthy causes your readers love!

Day 23: Offer them autographed book plates.  Who says you need to be in the same area to get an autograph?  Order book plates, sign them, and send them to your most loyal readers! The next best thing to having the actual book autographed.  And you can even personalize them!

Day 24: Hold a Facebook launch party!  Launch parties are great fun, but they only reach people within a few miles of the event.  How about a Facebook launch party?  It takes a little bit of time to plan, but the reach is huge.  You can double your extra-credit karma points by inviting other authors they might like to join in the fun.  I like to give away books at my launch parties—especially those written by other authors my readers might enjoy!

Day 25:  “Like” their comments on social media.  If a person comments on a post but no one likes it, does it really exist? If a reader goes to the trouble of posting on your page, hitting “like” seems like a small request.  It takes less time than reading the comment! 
 
Day 26:  Share your “deleted scenes”  My husband loves watching the deleted scenes when we rent DVDs.  How about sharing a deleted scene from one of your books?  You  (or your editor) may not have let it make it to the final cut, but that doesn’t mean you readers won’t enjoy it. 

Day 27: Be positive.  No one’s day is improved when they are bombarded by posts from a Debbie Downer.  When in doubt, celebrate the great things readers do for you versus bemoaning the bestseller list you didn’t hit.  There’s a balance in there somewhere.

Day 28: Link your social media accounts.  Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts so it’s easier for readers to find you.  I have to admit, this is one I haven’t implemented yet.  But that’s because I’m a Twidiot!  Many of my writer friends are much more Twitter savvy than I am.

Day 29: Engage with readers when they ask for your autograph.  I always make it a point to thank readers when they ask for my autograph as well as ask them to let me know what they thought of the book after they’ve read it.,  A few do.  Most of them don’t.  But they seem surprised and happy to be asked.  One flat out told me that no author had ever asked for her opinion before. If someone takes the time to approach you, make it worth their while!

Day 30: Post unique content to their blogs.  Many of your most loyal fans are also book bloggers who are trying to build visibility, just like we writers are.  If you agree to post on a book blogger’s blog, make the content unique.  That will help them increase visibility in the search engines.  At the very least, warn them if the content is duplicate so they have the option to say “no” if it doesn’t fit with their goals and guidelines.

Day 31:  Let them name a character in your next book! I just ran a contest to let readers choose the name for two characters in my fourth book. Not only did I get some GREAT character names to choose from, but a reader is getting her name in the acknowledgements section of the book.  How fun!  
 
Day 32: Hold a cover reveal contest!  I just finished my cover reveal contest, and it was tons of fun!  The cost of a few prizes was totally worth the chance I had to interact with some of my most loyal readers.  And I suspect I met a few new ones, too!

Day 33: Write Good Books!  This one seems obvious to me, but enough readers mentioned it that I thought I should share it.  Many readers like being connected with their favorite authors, but the thing they want most from them is to write good books—and more of them!  So be sure to spend enough time at that keyboard!

Day 34: Ask them to help choose your next author head shot!  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have my left arm chopped off than pose for a head shot. And my most likely response when I see them is to run to the phone to make an appointment for a die job and a face lift.  Your readers, on the other hand, see you as you are.  And they might enjoy helping you pick what I refer to as the “best of the worst.” 

Day 35: Meet up with them on your travels!  When traveling on tour or speaking, let your fans know, and make an effort to meet up with someone either en route or upon arrival.  One writer I know has made friends across the US by doing this. So much better than being just an online persona!

Day 36. Provide them with book group questions! This is still on my to-do list, but I plan to do it someday soon.  Readers who belong to book clubs love to have questions to help guide their discussions.  It doesn’t take long to do and may help them explore your work at a deeper, more meaningful level.  This one is from Lea Wait.

Day 37:  Tell them where to get your books at low cost or free!  One author I know dedicates her newsletters to helping find her books as cheaply as possible. That way they can enjoy her work without busting their budgets!

Day 38: Name a character after them!  While I was at Malice, a reader told me a delightful story about her aging mother and the challenges she had choosing presents for her.  She contacted her mother’s favorite author and convinced her to write her mother into the story.  How cool is that? 

Day 39:  Write them a letter!  Several readers mentioned to me that their favorite authors sent them a card or a note and it meant the world to them.  Letter writing seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs, but we writers should at least be doing our part!

Day 40:  Ask them to give input on your next book cover.  Who knows better than your readers what kinds of covers interest them!  And it shows how much you value their opinion!  Many authors have no input to their covers, but if you’re self published, you have total control.  Why not get your readers involved?

Thanks for reading.  The final ten ideas (with a few bonuses) will post next month.

Tracy Weber

A Killer Retreat
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel. The second book in her series, A Killer Retreat, was released January, 2015 by Midnight Ink. Book three in the series, Karma's A Killer, will be released January 2016.

Visit her at TracyWeberAuthor.com, friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracywe, or e-mail her at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It's Raining Books (And That's Okay)


By Mark Stevens


What I believe and a few other random thoughts:
  1. It’s raining books. 
  2. And the forecast is a breeze; it’s going to rain harder. 
  3. I believe not all books are for all readers. Can you imagine if they were?
  4. I believe there are way too many books being published. And that’s not a bad thing. 
  5. I believe that if you are a voracious reader, you read about two books a week. (My mother did.) 
  6. That’s 104 books a year. If there were 300,000 titles published last year, you read .03 percent of all books published.
  7. Nice job. 
  8. Congrats!
  9. Feel good! 
  10. Just don’t think about what you might have missed. (I know I can’t.)
  11. I believe a sharp, updated cover will make me want to re-read a classic.
  12. I believe Patricia Highsmith is finally getting her due through film. “Carol” with Cate Blanchett, for instance, and “The Blunderer” with Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel are two movies coming out soon. I can’t wait. 
  13. But no movie will ever quite capture the edgy darkness of Patricia Highsmith’s words on the page.
  14. Ever.
  15. I believe that if every book was a best-seller, it would be a better world. 
  16. I mean, just think of all the reading that would be going on.
  17. I believe that if every high school diploma meant you were a voracious reader—and, say, that’s all it meant—it would be a better world. 
  18. I mean, just think of all the reading that would be going on.
  19. I believe there is no guaranteed marketing strategy for a writer that will lead to a big jump in sales.
  20. If there was a guaranteed formula, every book would be a best-seller. 
  21. And that ain’t possible. The physics of it. And the math. And the ink supply.
  22. I believe it’s possible to walk into a good independent bookstore and feel overwhelmed. And yeah, happy, sure.  
  23. I believe that if the book isn’t as good as your platform, you got no platform.
  24. I believe that one day the late Gary Reilly will be known as major talent. 
  25. The record so far: 8 posthumous published titles since 2012 and all Denver Post best-sellers (two number 1’s); two titles named Colorado Book Award finalists; one major rave review on National Public Radio.
  26. And a woman who was the academic selector/bibliographer for Princeton Libraries (who only found Gary Reilly’s works because it was her job to keep up with new titles) called Gary Reilly one of her all-time favorite writers.
  27. Okay, since you asked, here is exactly what Karen Haverkamp wrote in an email to me: “He (Gary Reilly) is one of my all-time favorite authors— honest, completely unpretentious, and such a master of his craft that the reader experiences only apparently effortless prose (without that annoying feeling that the writer is trying too hard).”
  28. More about the late Gary Reilly: www.theasphaltwarrior.com
  29. So even the writers who have left us are adding to the fact that it’s raining books out there.
  30. I say, let it rain.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Welcome to Me! My First InkSpot Blog Post

by Lisa Alber

This is my inaugural InkSpot blog post, and I'm so happy to be here. I became a member of the Midnight Ink author clan last month, which means I get to blog right here along with a crew of fabulous authors. Yay!

I don't have much to tell you yet. The process is just beginning. Midnight Ink has my next novel within its editorial grip, and pretty soon I'm going to receive an editorial letter. Over the next year I'll revise and revise some more; I'll see my cover art; I'll gear up for marketing and publicity -- and all while writing the NEXT novel.

Waahoo, let the games begin!

Here's what I can tell you right now. I named the novel GREY MAN, but that might change. It's my first novel with Midnight Ink, but not my first published novel. My debut novel, KILMOON, came out last year. It's set in Ireland and features Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern and Merrit Chase.

GREY MAN continues their stories, and I'll have waaay more to tell you about that in the upcoming months. Meanwhile, let me tell you about another Grey Man, a predatory faery of Irish folklore and one of the inspirations for the novel.

Grey Man is said to ooze onto land with the fog, disappearing hapless innocents into its damp grip. Ireland is a land of myth and folklore. Even today, there's something vaguely otherworldly about the land--as if you might look under a hedgerow and see a sprite. It's not about believing or not believing in these things; it's more like the feel of Ireland (at least to me) allows for their possibility.

I loved the imagery of the dark faery when I first read about it. I don't write paranormal mysteries, but I like a little magical realism, and I love symbols. I love that creating a grey and obscured atmosphere could incite locals in my fictional town of Lisfenora to start thinking about the faery while a real Grey Man lurks within their midst.

I welcome comments and conversation. Please visit me every third Wednesday of the month!

What would you like to know about me? Ask away!

Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY, which has been called "utterly poetic" and "a stirring debut." Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging round out her distractions. Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Q&A with Author, Cynithia Hickey

Cynithia Hickey

By Maegan Beaumont

I sat down with my friend and fellow author, Cynthia Hickey, to ask her a few questions about what's she been up to...



1. When did you discover your love for the written word?
My mother said that, not having a Kindergarten close enough for me to attend as a child, that she taught me to read. I took to it easily and have always read above my level. Once I discovered the many worlds between the pages of a book, I was hooked.

2. When did you begin your writing career?
I've made up stories for as long as I can remember, but it isn't until a few years ago that I actually began to take the writing process seriously. My first novel, Fudge-Laced Felonies, was released through Barbour in 2007.

3. Tell us something that people may not know about you?
 I've been on television twice. Once on the backdrop of a weather report filmed on Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas and another time when a documentary was being filmed at the Pickle Plant where I worked.

4. Do you have a secret desire that may not ever come true?
I've always thought it would be a blast to be in a movie. Not a walk on character, but an actual main character. An insane person would be fun.

5. Do you have a favorite book?
 The one book I own that has stood the test of time is Gone With the Wind and Little Women. I still love them.

6. A favorite author?
I'd have to say that in today's market, I love Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander characters are so rich, I feel as if I know them.

7. Do you have a favorite book that you've written?
No, I can't say that I do. I guess Fudge would be it if I had to pick, it being my first and all.

8. Any suggestions for pre-pubbed authors?
Never, ever, give up. If you're meant to be an author, you need to write as much as you need to breathe.
While I'm promoting book 5 in the Nosy Neighbor series, Jogging is Bad for Your Health, it helps if readers discover the first four books first. Anything for a Mystery is book 1. It is a single release and is also included in this tremendous collection by some of the Christian industries best cozy mystery authors. I hope you check it out. You may discover a new favorite mystery writer. Writing cozies is great fun! There will be two more in this series, then I have a new one planned for 2016. I hope you will join me on this adventure.













ANYTHING FOR A MYSTERY: What follows is a frolicking good time as Stormi finds herself the nosiest neighbor of them all. Can she find the killer before she becomes the next victim? (Christian)


THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT


GUNFIGHT AT GRACE GULCH: Cici and Audie take a dangerous gamble to nail the killer - and lay their lives on the line. (Christian)


ANOTHER STAB AT LIFE: In order to honor her grandmother's wishes and stay at Volstead Manor Bailey must unravel a string of mysteries and secrets, which all seem determined to stay happily ever buried. (Christian)

TROUBLE UP FINNY'S NOSE:A crazy kaleidoscope of characters such as the uptight gallery owner, Napoleon Prinn; half-baked Dimple Dent, writer of fortune-cookie wisdom; Alva Hernandez, octogenarian newspaper boy; and Monk, the amorous town caterer, add to the chaos in the shadow of Finny’s nose until Ruth finds herself in the ultimate do or die situation. (Christian)

MURDER IN THE MILKCASE:Sleuthing to exonerate herself from murder charges, she shakes up a murderer who has nothing to lose by killing any one in the way - including Trish. (Christian)

THE WEDDING CAPER: Join Annie Peterson, mother of the bride, as she solve crimes on her way to the wedding. In book one (The Wedding Caper) a $25,000 night deposit mysteriously disappears from the Clark County Savings and Loan, and Annie Peterson takes on the role of amateur sleuth to solve the mystery. Only one problem. . .she knows nothing about crime solving! (Christian)
MURDER UNDER THE MISTLETOE: What she'd hoped would be a relaxing holiday between jobs turns into a stressful and often frustrating

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Writing the Past

I'm delighted to join the Midnight Ink blog today. And I'm even more delighted to be writing a
mystery set in 1888 with a Quaker midwife as the protagonist. The Quaker Midwife Mysteries are set in the northeastern Massachusetts mill town of Amesbury (where I happen to live), which was also the carriage capital of the world.

I used to teach childbirth education in my living room and worked as a doula, providing labor support to women and their partners in birth centers or hospitals, so I have some knowledge of the birth process. And since normal labor and delivery hasn't changed for women in thousands of years, I don't have to do much research about that part.

The life of a midwife in 1888, though, has been interesting to set up, to say the least. Rose Carroll lives in my house - which was built in 1880 for mill workers, so it's a modest three bedroom. They have a pump in the kitchen sink but no running water otherwise.

She rides one of the new safety bicycles, the kind with two even-sized wheels, to get to her clients'  homes for births. Midwifery hadn't yet been taken over by male physicians and hospitals.

Life in town was on the cusp of change, too. The town might have had electric lights, and the big fancy (think Victorian, although of course they wouldn't have called them that then) homes of the carriage factory or mill owners might have had electric lights, too, but not the smaller homes. The electric trolley didn't go in until 1890, so it was still horse drawn.

I love including John Greenleaf Whittier as a secondary character. He lived a few blocks away from Rose and worshipped at the same Friends Meetinghouse as her (and the same one I attend every Sunday morning).

Life for an unmarried independent unconventional midwife like Rose is both difficult and fulfilling. She loses a baby once in a while, and that was life back then. She hadn't expected to have to solve murders too, but I'm almost finished writing the second book, and she's realizing she has a bit of a gift for detecting.

Look for Delivering the Truth in early April, 2015!

Readers: Do you like to read historical fiction? Got a favorite historical mystery series? Or do you prefer your intrigues set squarely in the present?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Running Late

--by Linda O. Johnston

Sorry I'm late posting this.

My excuse is that my weekend was busy. 

On Saturday night, my husband and I attended a fantastic fireworks display for the Fourth of July.  It was in Marina del Rey, where some good friends live.  Because we didn't intend to stay overnight--not with our dogs at home--we went down there early in the day to try to find a parking space that would allow us to leave without getting into the worst of the departing traffic and were only partially successful.  That meant it took us a long time to leave the parking lot we did find. But we eventually did get out and home and into the loving licks of our dogs.

Cut to the next day, which I largely spent killing someone.  Okay, you know what I mean.  I'm a mystery writer, so I'd reached the part of the manuscript I'm working on where I had to plan for the murder of the victim whose killing needs to be solved in the story.  I'm working on Superstition Mystery #3.  It won't be released for a while but my deadline isn't extremely far away.  You won't get to read it for a while, though.  The first Superstition Mystery, Lost  Under a Ladder, came out last October, and the second, Knock on Wood, will be released this October.  You see the pattern?  The one I'm working on now should be out in October of 2016.

And in between are my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries.  The first of those, Bite the Biscuit, came out in May.  I'm not writing a manuscript in that series at the moment, but I am testing dog treat recipes for inclusion in one of them--and boy, are my pups happy about that!

Anyway, enough of my apologies.  I'm late, but I'm here.  Happy July, everyone!


 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dying On The Road ...

Tj O'Connor, author of Dying to Know, Dying for the Past, and Dying to Tell
 
Ah, summertime. Warm days sitting in a hammock with my feet up with a nice drink in my hand. Nothing to do but … oh, hell no. That’s not right at all. This summer I’m taking Dying on the Road! It’s me, Dying to Know, Dying for the Past, and the highway …

Right now, you’re saying “Huh?” Easy. Since Book II—Dying for the Past—of the Gumshoe Ghost series launched in January, I’ve been everywhere trying to build an audience and cultivate more fans. I’ve had a great time doing that and met some amazing authors, great fans, and even a few celebrities along the way. Thus far, my travels have included:

·       February: Farpoint Fan Convention, Timonium, Maryland—It was subzero weather but still had some fans come out and enjoy the Sci-Fi convention.
 

·       February: Winchester Book Gallery, Winchester, Virginia—a major snow storm dumped more than a foot of snow and chilled my book launch in my home town… alas, I still sold a few!
 
·       March: Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, Virginia—a rather disappointing turnout at this great event. Not many folks attended, but I still managed to meet some great folks and sign a dozen books or so.
 
·       April: Children’s Specialized Hospital Charity, Summit, New Jersey—Probably the event of the year. What a great cause! I was one of the guest speakers and got to meet some wonderful philanthropists and sign a bunch of books. What a wonderful event!

·       May: Malice Domestic, Bethesda, Maryland—The annual fan conference where I spoke on a panel with some amazing authors like Toni LP Kelner, Charlaine Harris, Judy Hogan (moderator), and Tonya Kappes. I was honored to be in their company.

·       May: Gaithersburg Book Festival, Gaithersburg, Maryland—no snow, thank God … but a massive thunderstorm sent us shelter! Met some great folks and got to finally meet my childhood author-hero, James Grady.

·       May: Millbrook Book Festival, Millbrook, New York—one of my fav events. Not a lot of turnout this year (I think they competed with a county-wide yard sale and some high school graduations) but I was a speaker at the event and got to hang with my pals Louis Romano and Jim Holmgren! Always a pleasure!

·       June: Iroquois Public Library Book Club, Erie, Pennsylvania—What a fun gathering! I met a dozen or more avid readers who I hope are all fans now. Had a great talk and spent a couple hours chatting and answering questions. Can’t wait for next year! Thanks, ladies!!!!!

·       June: Great Escapes Book/Blog Tour—What a great experience! Ten blog and review sites gave me a guest spot via the Great Escapes Blog Tour and I did interviews and had Dying for the Past Reviewed … and what a fabulous bunch of reviews I got! These sites included The Community Bookstop, Fuonly Knew, Sapphyria’s Book Reviews, View from the Bird House, Deal Sharing Aunt, Griperang’s Bookmarks, A Chick Who Reads, Back Porchervations, and Writers and Readers of Paranormal Mystery. I’m giving away a bunch of signed books and sent out the grand prize winner a Kindle Reader with both my current books loaded on it. This tour was fabulous for reaching new fans and adding some wonderful reviews to the list. Thanks to all who participated!

And I took a breather …

Now for the charge into fall… I’ll be visiting and speaking at a host of new venues. Please come on out and say hi!

·       July 9-12: Thriller Fest, Manhattan, New York—I’m a spectator for this one. Since I’m working on a new thriller and mystery, I’m attending this fabulous event to get some insight. I’m hoping to rope some time with my agent, Kimberley Cameron, and plan to conquer the literary world!

·       July 24-26: Scares that Care, Children’s charity in Williamsburg, Virginia—This is a charity event in historic Williamsburg. I’m so looking forward to this one. I’ll be meeting readers and fans, signing some books, and visiting with some old and new pals I’ve met on the circuit!

·       August 8: Comic Con, Dover, Delaware—This is a first for me. I’m looking forward to spending the day speaking on my books and meeting the folks in Dover. I may have a panel speaking gig so come on down and support this great event.

·       August 22: Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival, Suffolk, Virginia—Another first! But wow, am I ready for this one. I was invited down to be a guest author to speak and meet mystery fans. This is in historic Suffolk, Virginia, and from the list of attendees, I’m again honored to be part of this group! A lot of friends will be there!

·       September 26: Murder As You Like It Mystery Conference, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania—This fun conference is sponsored by some wonderful folks at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop. They’ve invited me to be a panelist, a panel moderator, and the Key Note speaker … what a day that’ll be!

·       October 2-4: Monster Mania Horror Fan Convention, Hunt Valley, Maryland—For the second year, I’ll attend this wild and crazy show to talk to fans and sign books. Last year I met some fabulous people like Han Solo, Princess Leia, a few wookies, some bizarre cosplay folks, and many others. It’s a ton of laughs, great fans, and always some celebrities to smooze with!

·       October 8-11: Bouchercon Authors Convention, Raleigh, North Carolina—I’m looking forward to this one. These conventions are great for meeting fans, seeking out new fans, and spending some great times with fellow authors everywhere. Very much looking forward to it!

As I take Dying on the Road, I’ll be out talking about my books and meeting readers and fans and generally selling my soul to build an audience. If you’re near any of these events, come on by and say hello. If you do and you mention this blog, I’ll drop a book in your hands pro bono!
 

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE 2015 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS FOR MYSTERIES. He is the author of Dying to Know and Dying for the Past, available in bookstores and e-books from Midnight Ink. His third paranormal mystery, DYING TO TELL, will be released January 2016. He is currently working on a traditional mystery and a new thriller. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York's Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also a Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award finalist.

Learn about Tj’s world at:

Web Site:  www.tjoconnor.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tjoconnor.author
Blog: http://tjoconnorbooks.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7148441.T_J_O_Connor

 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fifty Ways to Show Readers Some Love (Part 1)


My favorite part of writing (by far) is getting to know my readers.  But how can I show them how important they are to me?  That was a question I asked my Facebook community, and (with a little help from my friends) I came up with more than 50 ways!   This is the first of three blog posts that highlight ways writers can show their readers some love.  Enjoy, share, and add to the list in the commetns.  I hope it sparks some creative ideas!

Day 1: Thank them!  This one seems like a no brainer, but we often forget.  Mom always said, when  someone does something nice for you, say thank you!  From writing reviews, to retweeting our tweets, to sending us e-mails.  The varieties of kindnesses bestowed upon us by readers are impressive.  And I’m always surprised by how delighted readers are to hear from me.  So, my author friends:  Have you thanked your readers lately?

Day 2: Send them an Authorgraph! Many readers love autographs, but they can’t necessarily meet their favorite authors in person.  How about an Authorgraph!  This fun app allows authors to send autographs to fans whether they read the old fashioned paper way or on their favorite electronic screen.  Better yet, it’s free to both parties!

Day 3: Wish them a happy birthday on Facebook! Maybe it’s just me, but I love it when people contact me to wish me a happy birthday.  And Facebook makes it so easy!  Sign up to get an e-mail stating which of your friends has a birthday each day. Before you know it, you’ll have a daily e-mail reminder.  Your quick Happy-B-day might make one of your reader’s day!

Day 4: Create a fan page for your books:  I have both a personal page on Facebook and an author page.  I prefer my personal page, because “friending” my readers lets me learn more about them and their lives.  But there’s an entirely different page readers might enjoy:  A Fan page for their favorite series!  I haven’t done this yet, but it seems like a fab way to connect readers with their favorite series.  This page by fellow Inker Sheila Boneham is a great example.

Day 5: Share information about other books they might like.  Chances are you also read the genre in which you write, and you may know great authors that your readers haven’t heard of—yet. If you love a book or an author, why not post about them on your author page or fan groups? You’ll help a fellow author and your readers at the same time!

Day 6: Chat them up at conferences. As authors, it’s really easy to hang out with your clan when you travel to a conference.  How about hanging out with readers?  Invite your readers to have a drink, a coffee, or even just take a few minutes to introduce yourself.  Some of my favorite people are readers I’ve meet at conferences!

Day 7:  Friend them! Author pages are great—I have one myself.  But personal walls are more, well, personal. When readers become friends, instead of just fans, the dialogue changes.  It’s less about promoting your work and more about building connection.  Once you’re a rock star, you’ll reach the 5000 limit for your friends, but until then, why not reach out to your readers, or accept their requests when they reach out to you? If you want to friend me, I'm at this link.

Day 8:  Share more with them than “buy my book!” Believe me, I know that finding readers is hard, and that most of us well outspend what we make on our books trying to market them.   But who wants to have a friend who only reaches out when they need  something?  What information would interest your readers?  Think of how you can serve them, and then when you do post an occasional “buy my book,” they might be more interested in supporting you.

Day 9: Post a video of you reading from your newest work!  OK—I’m going to admit—this is not one I’m likely to do, because I HATE to see myself on video.  But how about creating a quick and easy youtube video of you reading a scene from your work?  Readers who can never see you do a reading in person may love the opportunity to do so in video.  Plus, it can double for one of your blog entries!  Everyone wins!

Day 10: “Like” the reviews they write for you on Goodreads or mark them as helpful on Amazon.  Most readers don’t have a review blog, and even posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads is adding one more to-do item to their busy schedule.  A simple click lets them know that you noticed, and that you appreciated it! 

Day 11: Speak at their book clubs.  You may not be able to be there in person, by Skype is a wonderful thing!  You’ll get to see the happy face of your reader and meet a few more at the same time.  I’ve only done this a handful of times myself, but it’s been a blast!

Day 12:  Send them an autographed bookmark!  Not every reader can get your autograph in person, and Authorgraph (see day 2) isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  But many readers love autographed bookmarks.  For the price of a postage stamp and a minute of your time, you can make a reader’s day.

Day 13:  Host a discussion of one of your books on Facebook! On Day 11 I suggested speaking at your readers’ book clubs. What if they don’t belong to one?  Why not create a discussion event of your own? An hour-long Facebook event at which readers  are invited to discuss your book, learn more about its background, and ask you questions about you, your work, your writing process—maybe even the meaning of life!  Sounds like fun to me!  This is definitely on my to-do list for the future.

Day 14:  Write a short story involving your series’ characters.  This one isn’t accessible to all writers, depending on contract stipulations you may have with your publisher. But if you’re free to write about your characters, why not write a short story for readers to help tide them over between books?  Your readers might really love it!

Day 15:  Write about them in a blog article!  Got some favorite fans that have supported you?  Give them their own 5 minutes of fame.  Picture them or write about them in a blog article.  (With permission, of course.) My fabulous street team sent me some great photos before my last launch, as well as distributing bookmarks and sharing my news. A thank you blog article about them was the least I could do!

Day 16: Pose for a photo! I’m photo-phobic, unless I’m posing with friends.  And every reader is a friend!  Cuddle up close with your fans and smile pretty. If you want a photo with me, a hug is the price of admission! (Consider yourself forewarned!)

Day 17:  Have a birthday group!  Author Kathi Daley has a special birthdaygroup set up for her readers in which they receive something special on their birthdays.  How cool is that?  What a great way for readers to feel (and be) acknowledged!

Day 18:  Be real. We all want to show our best face in public, but no one has a perfect life all of the time.  Share your struggles as well as well as your successes. By sharing your own humanness, you might make your readers feel less alone in theirs.

Day 19:  Make them feel (en)titled!  Believe me, we writers aren’t the only ones who are creative.  Show your readers that you value their opinion by asking them to help choose your next book title.  Even though I say this helps show you love them (and it does) it helps us even more.  Who knows what titles will reach out and grab readers better than the readers themselves! 

Day 20: Comment on their posts.  I post on Facebook pretty regularly, but I hold no illusions that people want to talk only about me.  Connect with your readers by sharing in their joys and sorrows.  It takes a second (at most) to like another post and a few more seconds to hit a reply.  (Readers, please know that with my lovely (and growing) collection of friends, I don’t see much more than 1% of my friends’ posts. So if you wonder why I don’t comment on something, I likely didn’t see it.)  If you want to see something, be sure to tag me.  Then it will go to my e-mail inbox!

That’s the first 20 in at least 50 ideas.  More to come next month.  How about you?  Authors, how do you show your readers some love?  And readers, what other ideas do you have?

Tracy

          A Killer Retreat

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel. The second book in her series, A Killer Retreat, was released January, 2015 by Midnight Ink.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. 
Visit her at TracyWeberAuthor.com, friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracywe, or e-mail her at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com.