Monday, May 30, 2016


As I'm nearing the deadline for finishing Book 5 (still untitled, but I'm getting there!), I also have to start working on what my publisher calls LRMP, or Long Range Marketing Plan. This helps her understand what I'm willing to do to help insure sales and to find outlets for my books.

Of course, there are the usual places to sell books--indie bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. Those are quite obvious places to sell books. But sometimes they aren't the best places for an indie author to sell books. For one thing, they sell a LOT of books, many of them by authors who are far better known. It's easy for a first-time author (or even one with a track record, but not a lot of exposure) to get lost in the numbers. One of the best things an author can do is try to find other outlets to sell their books.

I discovered Mike Orenduff's "Pot Thief" series while visiting Gruet Winery in Albuquerque, NM. He had taken a specific detail in his series--namely, that his protagonist, Hubert, had an affinity for Gruet wines--and used it as a marketing point. To that end, when I decided to make Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, NM the place of employment for one of my secondary characters (and gave my protagonist a taste for their wines!), I told the owner, who also happened to be my boss, that I had just had a book published. Before he even knew what it was about or that his winery was mentioned, he offered to carry it in his store. Four books later, Noisy Water has hosted every launch party since then and carries the entire series in their store and on their website.

An author needs to take their book out of the box labeled "book" and see where else it will fit. Does it deal with a specific period of time or a particular place? Contact historical museums or chambers of commerce (some have gift shops) to see if they are interested in carrying them. Think about your story's setting. Mine is an RV campground. Many have gift shops. I carry promotional bookmarks to leave and have donated a few books (with purchase information tucked inside) to their libraries. Is there a gift shop in your area that is all about "local" stuff? They might want to carry a local author's work. Hospital gift shops might be interested in carrying books, especially non-fiction work about hope and inspiration or light reads for patients to pass the time.

And there are non-traditional places to sell books, too. Once a month, during the summer, I set up a table at our local Art Walk. This takes place every third Friday night in our city's downtown area. Food vendors, live music, and artists (writers are artists, you know!) set up booth's to sell their wares. It only costs me $10 for a three-hour spot and I meet a lot of people and sell quite a few books. What about local festivals, farmers markets, church events?

Keep an eye out for local author events where you can give a talk and sign and sell books. Is your library celebrating a milestone or promoting a cause or event that ties in with your book's topic? Strike up a friendship with librarians, Friends of the Library organizations, bookstore owners, and employees. They can clue you in to author and book events or festivals in the area and suggest other venues.

In this day and age, it makes sense to make a book stand out. It's hard to make it stand out when there are many other books around it, so an author needs to look for venues where a book will draw attention.
My own table at the Celebrate Authors event last year at the Picacho Hills Country Club in Las Cruces, NM. The manager at Barnes and Noble introduced me to the president of the local Friends of the Library organization which hosted the event. I have a standing invitation!

Monday, May 16, 2016

On the Radio (again!)

Today's Back Deck Blog is a re-run from last November. I will be making a "return appearance" on Barbara Hodges' radio show tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17, to discuss my latest Black Horse Campground mystery, "At the Crossroad". My co-guests tomorrow will be fellow OTP authors, Lorna and Larry Collins. Here is the link to tomorrow's show:


This coming Tuesday, November 17 at 4 p.m. (Mountain time), I'll be a guest on Barbara M. Hodges blogtalk radio show, Red River Radio's No Limits with Barbara M. Hodges. This is not a local radio show following the farm to market report. This is a nationwide broadcast. Most of the listeners will be complete strangers who have never heard of me or my books. Am I nervous? No. Not at all.

Petrified? Oh, yeah!

It helps to know I'll be sharing the airwaves with fellow Oak Tree Press author, Virgil Alexander, author of "Saints and Sinners" and "The Baleful Owl", mysteries both set in Virgil's home state of Arizona. With my Black Horse Campground series set in New Mexico, the Southwest will be well-represented on the show!

I blame my jitters on the fact that this event is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone. A nationwide audience is a bit more intimidating than a local one. Locals, by their very nature, embrace their counterparts. They're always out to support "our local gal". And I am very grateful for that! It's given me to courage to pursue my writing career. Knowing there are people who like my books motivates me to keep writing. And while I know that there are those who don't care for my stories, that's okay... I know not everyone will like them. But the "locals", like family, still love you anyway. Kind of like Grandma's tapioca pudding... it might have a few fans, but even the ones that wouldn't eat it if they were starving still love Grandma! Tomorrow, I face an audience who's never met Grandma and hope they like her... even if not her pudding!

So tomorrow, I take a deep breath and present myself and my Black Horse Campground series to what will hopefully turn into a larger readership. The link to the radio show is below. Feel free to call in if you're so inclined!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Critique Groups--a guest post from fellow OTP author, Marilyn Meredith

Today, as I recover from Mother's Day weekend at the bakery, I turn the Back Deck Blog over to fellow OTP author, Marilyn Meredith, who writes not one, but TWO, mystery series: The Rocky Bluff P.D. series and the Tempe Crabtree series. Let's see what she has to say about the value of critique groups and learn more about the latest book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series, "A Crushing Death":

When people ask where I learned how to write, my honest answer is “from my critique group.” I’ve belonged to the same group for nearly 35 years. The members have come and gone as time passed, though the originator is still with us.

I’ve learned more about all aspects of writing than I ever did from any class, book or magazine from the members of this group. They’ve always been my main resource.

Now, I consider the group as my first editor. Our leader, now retired, taught Honors English. She’s taught me more about grammar than I ever learned in school, and always catches those kinds of mistakes. The other members are great for letting me know if what I’ve written makes sense, catching errors in continuity and supplying me with many ideas.

What I’ve learned about critique groups and the people who are in them:

To be in a critique group you need to be able to take criticism and not get your feelings hurt or argue with someone about their critique. As I’ve told those in our group, I wouldn’t come if they didn’t tell me what was wrong. I don’t attend to be told how wonderful everything I write is, because I know it’s not. Even if I don’t agree with what someone has said, I make sure to go over what bothered the person. I might not make the exact change he or she suggested, but I’ll probably do some rewriting to make clearer whatever they didn’t like.

Those who critique shouldn’t make comments like, “I don’t like that kind of fiction.” Each person should pay attention to the person reading and make suggestions that would make the writing better.
Some groups only take people writing in same genre and who are all published. Because I learned so much from the critique group, I’m happy to share what I know with new writers. It might take a new person a while to catch onto how to give a critique, but he or she can always let you know if they understood what you read and if it conveyed what you were trying to get across.

What you want in your group are people who are serious about writing--preferably writers who bring something to read to most meetings.

Anyone had good or bad experiences with critique groups you’d like to share?

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

A Crushing Death
A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for attacking women, and Detective Milligan’s teenage daughter is has a big problem.

F. M. Meredith who is also known as Marilyn Meredith is nearing the number of 40 published books. Besides being an author she is a wife, mother, grandma and great-grandmother. Though the Rocky Bluff she writes about is fictional, she lived for over twenty-years in a similar small beach town. Besides having many law enforcement officers in her family she is counts many as friends. She teaches writing, loves to give presentations to writing and other groups, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Public Safety Writers Association.

Facebook: Marilyn Meredith
Twitter: MarilynMeredith
Tomorrow you can find me here: