Archive | June, 2016

A Case Study on Marketing

28 Jun

003The sun is shining, the heat is rising and my mind keeps drifting outside to the garden and critters.

It must be summer!

Let’s start with a quote and then I’ve got a surprise share for all of you.


“God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.” Billy Graham

Last week I asked all of you to share your ideas on marketing.  My buddy Mike Friedman, author of “The Carriage Driver,” took me up on that offer.  Here are his thoughts.

You’ve done it. You have written a book. Through sheer will power, a bunch of support, a few cheerleaders and yes talent, inspiration and tenacity you have a book. You got it written, edited, then went off in search of an agent. You stopped by the ‘Talent-Scout Store’ to show off your wares. You told your friends. Then you paid to have it printed.You know for a fact that the publishers are wrong. Those snooty New York advertising agents wouldn’t know a talented writer if they fell on them. And a stack of rejection letters is not going to get you down.

Besides you have reached the top of the mountain. Book held high in triumph celebrating your victory. Nothing stood in your way. You look up and what do you see another mountain. The name of the mountain is “Selling your Book.” There are cases of them in the garage.

Undaunted you proceed down the unfamiliar road of ‘getting the word out.” You note quickly all that you know about advertising and national marketing. You watched “Mad Men”, right? Have a drink; you are going to need it.


The very first thing you do is bore all your friends on Facebook. Hey, that is what they are there for. “Hey everyone, my book, my book. Gamble and use an exclamation mark.” Yes, tell them twice, it is obvious that they did not hear you the first time. Add pictures; add lots of pictures. Change the Timeline background, surely once they see your wonderful book they will be unable to resist your marketing Sauvé. And look your Mom and sister offer to buy a copy of your book, but you are obligated to give them copies.

Once you have Facebook in the palm of your hand. You say, “What Now?”

And you think “Free Classifieds”

AdLandPro, Backpage, Bestadposter, Classifiedads, Classifiedsforfree, epages, Exigoo, Freeadvertisingforum, Freeclassified, INetGiant, Highland classifieds, Localnexo, Locanto, oregonlive, Pennysaver, Sales Spider, SuperAds, TheRoadCode, Recycler, wes cosmo.

You write your award winning ad and post them to every site listed. Twice, just for starters. Most are completely free, some have upgrade options. Some of these upgrades sounded plausible, others did not.

You have now, printed out a list of states and the most populated cities. That is where you want your ad to run.

Some of you may have noted that I left out Craigslist. They discourage National ads. I selected Manhattan and have run the same ad there a couple of times.

Now your book title has been seen by dozens of people. Yes, that’s right dozens. This is fun right?

You know the answer lies in the Internet. Go online. Take a good look around, read a few blogs and how to articles. Some will recommend that you can drive traffic to your web page/ blog page. This is true. I’ll share an experience.



Did that sound familiar?  There’s more so you’ll just have to wait.  Bottom line is this: oh, heck, I’ll give you the bottom line next week.  LOL That’s known as a teaser!  Thanks to Mike for the guest post…the rest of his post will be shared next week.


I know I will because, well, I’m a writer, and any day I am able to write is a good day.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Is Relevance Terribly Important?

24 Jun

003I take a day off from writing and then I’m hopelessly behind in my writing. Go figure! Simple math, right?

The thing is, though, unlike when I was younger, today I just toss up my hands and shout “OH WELL” and be done with it, rather than weeping and grinding my teeth all week long.  There are some advantages to growing older and learning that “it just doesn’t matter,” to borrow a line from the movie “Meatballs.”

So, what shall we talk about today?

How about relevance?


“It used to be that we felt that when we went to a theater, a legitimate theater… that we were going to share an experience together. That when we walked away where there would be something to talk about in that movie that had some meaning and relevance in our lives. And I think that we have lost that.” Frank Pierson

This is an interesting quote with regards to writing.  If I understand Mr. Pierson’s quote correctly, he’s saying that there is no relevance in the theater today….but I’m not sure, from his quote, whether he thinks that’s a bad thing or not.  Maybe he’s ambivalent and that’s fine if he is.

What about in writing?  Is it necessary for a fiction writer to include relevance in his/her fiction, or is it enough to simply entertain and tell a good story?

As a former firebrand of the Sixties, I have changed regarding this topic.  Once I thought there had to be relevance in all of the Arts.  Today I feel entertainment has great value, and there are millions of people out there who simply need….some desperately….to be entertained.


You are the writer.  You know what motivates you to write, and you know your vision.  Do not be swayed from your chosen path because others think your vision should be different.  In the end, how you feel about your writing will be the determining factor whether you succeeded or not.


My new novella is out…..”The Billy the Kid Chronicles: Home is a Dangerous Place.”  It’s available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.  I priced it as low as possible, so I hope you take a chance on it.  You’ll find some pure entertainment in it as well as some social relevance if you dig deep enough.  Thank you!  And I’ve started the next in the series, “Breathing Fire on a Cold Winter’s Day.”  It is never-ending!


I thought I’d start a new segment to this blog and call it “Sharing Corner.’  My hope is that those who read this will then comment, and in the comments you’ll share new ideas for marketing with us all.  I think it is always helpful to hear from other writers who are paddling the same boat as the rest of us, so how about it? Do you have any marketing suggestions for us all?


I’m not pointing fingers at all. I’m just tossing out something to consider. I was on Facebook the other day and my buddy Mike Friedman was showcasing the books written by a number of his friends.  He must have posted ten of them before he ran out of steam, and I thought at the time how nice that was of him to do that.

We, as writers, are going nowhere if we do not foster “word of mouth” sales and marketing.  A friend tells a friend tells a friend, and slowly our sales increase.

So my question for you is what have you done lately to support a fellow writer through word of mouth?

Just something to think about!  This is not an easy business, and anytime we can help a fellow writer we really should…don’t you think?


Thanks so much for stopping by.  Remember to check out Mike Friedman and his fine book “The Carriage Driver.”


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”





Beginning the Writing Process

16 Jun


I just started a new novel, “Shadows Over a Hangman’s Noose”

I just started a new novella, “The Billy the Kid Chronicles: Breathing Fire on a Cold Winter’s Day”

I love the beginning of the process.


“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” Vincent Van Gogh

That quote by Van Gogh may be a little too close to the truth for me.

But God help me, I understand it and love it.

The novel is the third in the “Shadows” series of mysteries.  The novella is the fifth in the “Billy the Kid Chronicles”  In other words, I know these characters well and for me it’s like having dinner with old friends and catching up on old times.

They all talked to me this morning, told me where they wanted to go and then gave me the keys to the literary car, and I am so looking forward to the road trip.


Go online and do a Google search for “how to write a novel.”  You’ll find quite a few tips on the “proper” way to go about it, and so I offer up my tip as well……ignore all the tips and do it your own way!

The longer I am a writer the more I realize there is no one way to write a novel.  Some people outline.  I can’t stand that restraint.  Some people know the entire story when they start.  I have no clue.  Some edit as they go along.  I finish the first draft and don’t do any editing until the third draft.  My way works for me but most likely would not work for others, and their way would definitely not work for me.

The best tip I can give is to just write.  The story will emerge in its own time as the characters allow it to happen.  You can’t force a story.  You can’t will it to happen.

You may never write a novel and that’s fine as well.  It may be true that there is a bestseller in every writer, but not every writer can write a bestseller.  That truth you can take to the bank.


My disgust with the forums at the writer’s site HubPages is well-known and well-documented.  I see no reason for me to stop by a place where nasty trolls linger waiting for their chance to attack the unsuspecting.

But not all writers’ forums are like that.

Someone asked me the other day in my Mailbag series if I could steer them towards a good writing forum, so I gave them a couple suggestions.  Here’s the thing about forums: you are under no obligation to stay in them if you find them disgusting or rude or just not helpful.  Bounce around the various forums until you find one that works for you.  There are some good ones out there but you’ll have to find the one that matches your needs.


Another shout out to John Hansen and his new site The Creative Exiles.  If you are a creative writer, prose or poetry, then take a few minutes and check out this great new site.


To Mike Friedman and his extraordinary book The Carriage Driver.  If you haven’t read it you are shortchanging yourself.


That’s it for today…short and sweet!

The new novella is up and available in paperback and Kindle…”The Billy the Kid Chronicles: Home is a Dangerous Place

Have a great week of living!  Embrace life… often…sing often…hug and kiss more often…and in your spare time…..



“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Quit Making Excuses!

7 Jun

003Let’s start with a quote.


“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. “ Muhammad Ali


I could ramble on for quite some time about Ali, my childhood hero, and what he meant to me, but this blog is about writing, so let’s look at this quote with writing in mind.

Is writing a novel a daunting task to you?  Are you finding it hard to write each day?  Do you suffer from a lack of confidence? Do you have self-doubts regarding your writing abilities?

Nothing will change if nothing changes!

And you can quote me on that!


Quit making excuses!


I just finished my fourth novella in the Billy the Kid Chronicles…..”Home is a Dangerous Place.”  This one is brand new, never before seen online or on HubPages.

And that leaves me at a crossroads. What do I do next?  I could keep writing about Billy the Kid for the next five years.  He’s easy to write about, and I can do a novella in about a month…but…

I feel like taking on another novel, which leads me to the next quandary….a new novel in my “Shadows” series, or a coming of age novel set in the 60’s, or the sequel to the “12/59 Shuttle?”  So many choices!

So right now I’m taking a break.  I think I’ll take a break for the entire month of June….a break from book-writing, that is…and when my muse speaks to me, I’ll start up again.


Someone asked me the other day in the Mailbag where they could look for high-paying freelance gigs.  I hesitated on my answer…there are quite a few sites where you can get paid crap or you can get paid good money, depending on your writing ability….if any of you have any suggestions I’ll pass them along to the person who asked that question.

But the bottom line for all of you is this: if you don’t have the skills then you aren’t going to get paid top dollar. Work on your craft first before you worry about making money.  This is my number one pet peeve in today’s world with regards to writers.  The internet has made it possible for everyone to proclaim that they are a writer!!!  After all, they’ve published their swill online, so that must mean they are writers, correct?  They’ve even gotten paid $5 for 400 words of rubbish, so they must be writers, correct?

No, it is not correct, and never will be in my mind.

Work on your craft until it holds up under scrutiny. Climb the ladder from awful to sub-standard to merely okay, and then work your butt off and become good, and then very good and then, maybe, excellent.

Then come back to me and tell me you’re a writer and you deserve top dollar for what you’ve written.


Who ya going to call? Call Mike Friedman and tell him what you need.  Mike does a great job and he’s a good man.  What more could you ask for?


I’ll give you a break and stop here.  Thanks, as always, for taking the time to stop by.  Have a great week of writing and remember, “impossible” is just a word used by people looking for an excuse.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”