I’m Not Dead

Seriously, I’ve been busy.

However, things are happening. Sabertooth is coming along and I’ve got a sale coming up for A Spark of Justice.

Just in time for May Day! Look for a .99 sale from 28 April to 2 May.

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Christmas and all that jazz

Christmas is coming! Books make great presents, need I say more?

Well, yes. All the commercialism and sales gets to me every year and having just finished spending far too much time promoting over Black Friday and CyberMonday, I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. It’s all very well promoting a book, but what a writer really enjoys doing is writing the next book, and I’m very pleased with how this one has been coming along! It does happen far too slowly though. Wouldn’t it be great if all a writer had to do was write?

A single book does not a career make. Writers who make a living from writing have to work around day jobs to get a few books out before sales can justify doing it full time. I’m not complaining. I’ll pay my dues like the rest. However, having indulged the market over the big sale weekend, I’m now going to ignore all the hype and get some work done while everyone else competes for your Christmas dollars. I’ll do a Winter sale in February maybe, when everyone else has exhausted their KDP sale days over the holidays.

sabertooth150I’m far enough along now to start talking about my next release a little. It’s called Sabertooth. It would make a great Christmas book in the same way that Gremlins makes a great Christmas movie, but it won’t be out this Christmas. Quality over speed. By Christmas 2017, it will hopefully be in all formats including audiobook, but the release should be well before then. I’m not speculating dates yet. The process of editing and rewrites takes time.

In the meantime, I’ve just agreed to have a few copies of A Spark of Justice released on the LibraryThing early reviewer program. If you’re signed up on LibraryThing, get your request in! Who doesn’t love a trip to the circus?

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November is upon us and all the holiday sales are approaching quickly!

So, in getting with the spirit of things, A Spark of Justice will be on sale for just .99 through the weekend of 25 November to 28 November.

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If you haven’t read it yet, grab it now! I’ll have something new for you in the new year.

The Marketing Monster

One thing that is pretty universal among writers is that we despise marketing.

As if it weren’t challenging enough to find time to write while holding a day job, taking care of a family and carving out some sort of writing routine, we are faced with the prospect of total obscurity if we can’t also make time to push our creative ideas onto an already jaded and glutted public who get bombarded with marketing messages at every turn.

Like my writing, my marketing comes in spurts. I’ve just added a header to my Twitter account after receiving some very good advice from a reviewer and I’ve started ticking other things off a list of suggestions she very generously gave to me.

However, like many other writers, I cringe at the prospect of foisting my scribbles onto a oversubscribed and sometimes hostile public. I’ve been fortunate to find my first book generally well received and I have confidence that the next one will be a vast improvement, but to stand up and shout my praises is not something that sits naturally.

I’d love to sit back and let the books speak for themselves, but if I do that, no one will ever know of them. So, I will take this good advice and make an effort to polish up my ‘author platform’ and do my best to participate more on social media.

It could be a long road.

Guest Posting

I’ve just finished a first draft of a guest post for a Mysteries Monday feature on someone else’s blog. This will be coming out on 6th June and I’ll link to it then.

So why write guest posts when my own blog is getting infrequent attention? Well, to be honest, I haven’t developed the blogging habit yet. Finding time to write is difficult enough, adding blogging and social media to an already busy schedule can be daunting to those of us who haven’t yet achieved full time writer status.

However, I’m starting to make an effort. By agreeing to guest posts, I set myself a deadline and someone relying on me to deliver. I’m big on keeping promises.

I’m told that I should try to privide new posts for my own blog at least once a month. I’m going to try to attain this. It doesn’t sound like a lot of commitment when you put it that way.

In the meantime, the occasional guest post will help keep me aware of this aspect of the writer’s journey when it’s so easy to forget. This will be my second guest post. I’m purposely not committing to more than one at a time so I don’t over pressure myself.

Meanwhile, just in case I forget, A Spark of Justice will next be on sale for May Day weekend. If you haven’t got it yet, now is your chance to grab it at rock bottom price!

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A Christmas Sale!

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Reviews have been progressing, albeit slowly. The 5 star reviews now outnumber the 3 star ones and I’ve just received a 4 star from someone who I hope will copy it to Amazon!

Most importantly, people are enjoying the story. That is its purpose after all.

The next story, which promises to be much more dramatic, is progressing slowly. I refuse to rush it and the holiday madness is taking its toll. So, no predictions yet about when it will be released as there is still a long way to go.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read A Spark of Justice yet, it will only cost 99¢ during the week 11-17 December so now is the time to grab a copy!

Early Reviews

I’ve had my first reviews! Only one on Amazon so far and that one was only a three star, though the reviewer says she enjoyed the book. There’s a second one on Goodreads with five stars who liked my character better and one on Booklikes who got the real heart of the story, the issue with the big cats! That one also gave me five stars, but how to convince reviewers to copy these to Amazon? I don’t have an account on Booklikes and I’m not going to become a stalker author. I only found it because I did a Google search.

I’ve sent review copies to another five or six people so fingers crossed, hopefully some good ones will get posted to Amazon! That’s where it matters most for sales. I’m tempted to link to the other good reviews, but I’m not sure of the protocol on that so I hesitate.

In the meantime, I have a start on my next novel. This, too, will be a Crime Mystery and there is a big cat involved, but I’m going to push further into the Thriller category with this one.

What’s that? You want hints?

A scientist doing genetic experiments searches the streets of Los Angeles when one of her subjects escapes. The feline predator is potentially dangerous and the experiments were unsanctioned. She fights a race against time to recapture the animal whose existence could end her career and possibly earn her a long prison sentence when all of the truth comes out.

An L.A. Homocide Department cop is called to the site of a killing that might have been committed by a large, feral animal, but a human slayer hasn’t been ruled out. A brief encounter with a black woman wearing a lab coat raises her suspicions that something more than an ordinary predator could be at large.

I haven’t ‘officially’ written my blurb yet, but I might cannibalize the above. Notice that both main characters are women, one is African American and the cop is Hispanic. I plan to get plenty of diversity into my novels in general but a strong dynamic between two female professionals features in this one.

Title? Yes it has a title, but I’m not giving it away yet. That would be telling too much! I also don’t know how long it will be until release but I have a wild fantasy about finishing it for Christmas. There’s a reason for that, the subtitle is: It’s not just for Christmas.

So I’ll leave you guessing for now. I’ve got lots of writing to do!

Paperback and Identity Sorting

At last, the paperback version of A Spark of Justice is available on Amazon. Like the ebook version, it was first attributed to a different author who shares my name. I got that sorted out easily enough, but the recommendations still show books by the other author. Hopefully that will change as more people buy my book in conjunction with other books of a similar genre.

So, the pages were listed separately instead of having the toggle on one book page for prefered medium. I sent a request and that’s being sorted out too. As of today, if you click on the ebook page you only get the paperback option. I’ve been assured that it will all be right within three days. Fingers crossed, because I have a Countdown Deal scheduled from 23rd September.

I will be very patient and watch the page for those three days, then I panic because today, no one can order the ebook! It should be fixed in plenty of time, but fingers crossed!

Meanwhile the next book is in progress. It would be really cool to have it out for Christmas, but I’m not making any promises. Rushing writing leads to mistakes and lightweight stories. I want this one to have intricate subplots and a lot of suspense. It takes how long it takes. I promise it will be good!

Those First Reviews

While I’m new at this chasing reviews business, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about what to do or not do and how to solicit reviews in various places. Book bloggers appear to be the way to go, but it takes patience and a lot of work to approach a lot of them in hopes that a few will take an interest when their tbr pile is miles high.

I have one advantage in that by book is relatively short. If they have an interest in circus settings, there’s some chance that a shorter novel might appeal.

So, I’m going down a list and picking out those who list Mystery as one of their genres. I’m looking at some who say they read all genres as well, as readers with a broad range of tastes will probably like Mystery among their choices. There’s no point in trying to push a book on someone who lists other genres and doesn’t include mine on the off chance that they might read a little Mystery or might like mine. If they didn’t think of it when they were making their list, it’s not going to be a priority.

So, I’ve been looking through lots of websites, dismissing those that state charges or use the phrase, “Author services” and websites that have no navigation or don’t post review guidelines or at least contact information for making a request. I assume those are not open to having the barrage of requests that book bloggers undoubtedly receive.

When they do state their requirements, I’m following them to the letter. However, I’m very much aware that I won’t hear back from most of them. I’m not keeping a list to obsess over. Those who get back to me will be the ones who are interested in reading my book.

In other news, I’ve managed to get my author profile straightened out on both Amazon and Goodreads. There are about six authors called JU.D. Hawkins and my innocent little Mystery book kept getting listed under an author who writes Erotica! I felt that needed addressing and contacted the powers that be in both of these places. I still wonder how many of the followers on my Facebook page have mistaken me for that author, though I made some posts to mention that A Spark of Justice is my first book and that there are other authors with the same name.

Back to the grindstone for me now. I’m up to ‘K’ on the list I’m perusing. I have a second directory of bloggers to check as well. I’m looking forward to reading those first reviews. I understand that they may have criticism and not everyone likes the same books, but I just want to know whether people like the book. Hi Ho.