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Author Newsletter vs. Author Blog: Five Reasons I Prefer a Blog, and Six Reasons You Might Not

“The one with the biggest email list wins” is the current mantra of pretty much every book marketer on the planet. The author newsletter is supposed to be the most important weapon in your book marketing arsenal. Marketing experts tell authors their #1 goal should be to collect as many email addresses as possible for the purpose of sending our victims fans weekly or even daily doses of our spam news. This week Kristine Katherine Rusch wrote a great in-depth post on newsletters. She pointed out there are two types of newsletters that authors are using today: the old school, chatty  letter that reads like the newsy Christmas letter you get from Aunt Susie. Those newsletters appeal to your established fans who know your characters, and want to know what’s coming up and what’s going on with you personally. Then there’s the newer type of newsletter which is like an advertising circular that aims at getting new customers. It’s all about marketing. It’s the latter I have the most trouble with. (So does KKR) but if you’ve got a lot of marketing savvy, it may work for you. Unfortunately I personally have negative reaction aggressive marketing, so I’m not comfortable with doing it myself. Should You…

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Another Tasty Idea and a Great Book!

Kitchen Brigade by Laurie Boris Dystopian novels have a long and popular history, from classics such as The Time Machine, Brave New World and 1984 to the more modern Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale and Divergent.  Some take place in a specific time and place and some are vague or fantasies. Some dystopian novels use unknown tyrants while others use current US rivals, such as the Chinese, Cubans or Russians. That is the route of The Kitchen Rivals by Laurie Boris, which uses a specific enemy, the Russians and their allies, the Cubans, as the tyrannical rulers who have taken over the eastern part of the US. Its setting is also specific, taking place in the Hudson Valley, where the author lives. Laurie skillfully places the main scenes in the kitchen, where main character Valerie, now called Three, with her fellow chefs, including Chef Svetlana, under whom she had previously studied at the Culinary Institute of America create meals for the general, his staff and visitors. Food is an important focus in the novel.  While the kitchen chefs are prisoners, food still provides joy, love and artistry. It is used as payment, as for chef Four, and used horribly, as when the child Tomàs is forced to taste food in case…

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It’s a Tough Market for Authors

When it dawned on me last year that I was making less money but spending more time promoting and marketing my books than I did three years earlier when I had fewer to offer, I decided to take a break from writing and focus on what I was doing wrong. Since my marketing strategy hadn’t changed during these years, I was pretty sure it was the industry that had changed around me, and I had to understand this in order to turn things around. First, I looked at some statistics. According to Bowker (U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers—ISBNs) and Amazon (who controls the retail book market and e-book publishing market), the number of new books published has risen in double digits each year for the past several years, meaning our competition keeps getting increasingly stiffer with time. The influx of self-published books in particular has driven these numbers up with an increase of more than 70% since 2013 (according to the Authors Guild 2018 Income Survey). Book promotion sites have changed too—many of them have gone to the wayside; new ones pop up all the time; and others have grown in size with the rest of the industry,…

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A Thriller & a Burger (Vegan) – Perfect!

Of Half a Mind                                                                                                                                                                                                                            by Bruce M. Perrin Stanley Milgrom’s famous studies on obedience, prodded by bullying and authority, comes to life in Bruce Perrin’s Of Half a Mind. While both are ostensibly about memory and learning, they are in fact about submission and subservience to authority. Milgrom’s studies, of course, were at Yale with students who went home, disturbed after what they thought they had done. [No one was actually electrically shocked or hurt in any way.] Bruce commented, “Stanley Milgram’s studies in the 1960’s and 1970’s revealed an unexpected dark…

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A Wonderful Book, A Lovely Playground and a Snack- what could be more Fun!

Dana Deserves a Playground Too by Yael Manor Sometimes you just fall in love with a book, the illustrations, the characters and the story.  And that is what has happened here. Yael Manor has written a story for children that needs telling.  Dana is a young girl with a loving family and friends. She goes to the playground where her friends are playing happily. Dana is in a wheelchair and there is nothing there that she can do.  Not the swings, not the carousel, not the slide or the climbing equipment. Yael’s point is that Dana is not alone. Most community or school playgrounds simply do not welcome children who are physically challenged. Children like Dana are excluded from playing with friends. She told me how she was inspired to write this story.  “One day, I came across a story on Facebook about a woman who met a father and daughter at the playground. Due to a disability, the girl was confined to a wheelchair and unable to enjoy any of the playground facilities. All she could do was put her doll in the swing and push it, which caused great sorrow for her and her father. This story gave me the inspiration to write…

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Make a Cosmo, put up your feet and enjoy Been Searching for You!

  Nicole Evelina's Been Searching for You One might subtitle this book, “Searching for Romance in the Cold, Single World.” Each of Nicole Evelina’s characters handles being a singleton in individual ways. Annabeth Coe, the main character is a romantic, searching for “the head-over-heels heart-melting love,” while still recovering from a years ago disastrous boyfriend, Nick. Mia, her sexy good friend has no loyalties to her boyfriend or anyone else, we find. Miles, Annabeth’s best friend and work colleague, is Mia’s beleaguered boyfriend. Laine, Annabeth’s boss, is a career woman. Victor, a painter on the way to being discovered, seems to be a good fit until his career proves to need a more “perfect” partner. Alex, a literature professor, is still mourning his last girlfriend. Annabeth has a birthday tradition: she writes to her dream man and refuses to accept anything but her vision of a romantic partner. She’s pushed by friends and family to open herself to dating. “Where’s your boyfriend?” “You aren’t getting any younger.” “Tick-tock.” Like her main character, Annabeth, the author is in public relations and an historic fiction writer. Annabeth would rather stay at home with a good book and glass of wine rather than…

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Helen Hollick visits with Dr. Daniel M. Walker

NanoMorphosis by Marla L. Anderson In the year 2183, climate change ravages Earth, a man-made plague has forced millions into segregated camps, and the hope of expanding to a new world has withered from fear of another alien attack. At the age of ten, Daniel Walker witnessed first contact. The event left him orphaned, traumatized and reluctantly famous as the sole survivor. Driven to carry on the work of his parents, he puts his fame to use with the help of the woman he loves, and gains the financial and political support needed to colonize a new world. Unfortunately, in the process, he turns a potential ally, Cadmon Dhyre, into a determined foe. You can find Helen Hollicks interview with Daniel M. Walker at @ Novel Conversations Author Marla L. Anderson Learn more about author Marla Anderson at her website

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A Novel conversation with Gwenna – From Wales to New Zealand!

  A Novel Conversation with Vicky Adin's Gwenna Against all odds, the plucky sweet maker refuses to relinquish her dreams. Amid the bustling vibrancy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Gwenna Price’s passion is making sweets. Her pa had great plans for the family confectionery business when they emigrated from the valleys of Wales looking for a new life, but he died all too soon. Gwenna promised she would bring his dreams to life instead – and she would, if it wasn’t for her domineering stepbrother, Elias. With him in charge, it would be a matter of time before the business collapsed. Falling in love with the cheeky and charming Johnno opens up other opportunities, but every step of the way Gwenna is thwarted. If not by Elias, then by Johnno’s father and the restraints of a society with strict Victorian values, but Gwenna is irrepressible. Nothing will stand in her way. Throughout the twists and turns of love and tragedy, Gwenna is a young woman with uncommon courage, determination and ambition in an era when women were expected to stay at home. There are people who love her and those who are willing to help her achieve her goal but, blind…

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Sit down with Helen and Gina and a cup of tea

- A Novel Conversation with Bronwyn Elsmore’s Gina Gina, if that is her real name, wakes to an autumn morning and, against her better judgment, selects a light dress to wear to work. Deliberately, she misses the bus and walks into the city, then turns and walks back home. This is not a day for work. Tomorrow, in her navy pantsuit, she will be there. Today she will spend with a white dog and a remarkable man. Every Five Minutes is also about the color cornflower blue, beaches, parks, city streets, exotic places, coffee, flowers, polished stones, a unicorn and a swan, words, theatre, movies, music, and love. But most of all it’s about Gina, the dog, and the man. You can find Helen Hollicks interview with Gina at @ Novel Conversations   Bronwyn Elsmore Learn more about Author Bronwyn Elsmore and her books on her website    

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An Irish Tale and Guinness Chili- ready for St. patrick’s Day!

Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern: The Making of an Irish Godfather (Irish Fires Book 1) by Mary Ellen Gavin   In The Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern, Mary Ellen Gavin writes movingly and deeply about the Irish in New York and in Dublin. Raised in an Irish family, she shared, “The joys and sorrows of family are taught to the Irish from birth. All good and all bad can only come from your Family. A brother who succeeds in life is your joy ... a sister who births a sickly baby is your sorrow. The Irish build strong family ties and know how to wield guilt. It is the way I was raised. I thrived from it and I cried from it ... more than some other families.” Life is seen through the eyes of Frances Fleming, an orphan of Irish immigrants during the Depression, then adopted by a tavern owner. Like the author, family becomes extremely important to him.  At a young age, he is put to work, gladly on his part for his new “family.”  His childhood is happy and his years filled with stories of Ireland and the “old ways.” So many of us are enchanted…

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