Archive for the ‘Book Promotion’ Category

Feeling Productive?

January 5, 2019

If you’re a writer anything like me, you probably have lots of story ideas floating around in the wrinkled old gray matter under your cap. I know I sure do. There’s a lot waiting to bloom.

As I mentioned last month, 2018 was a productive time for me. I’ve completed several chapters of three entirely different books. A couple of them are sequels to my current novels, and I’m pretty comfortable with where they’re going. I expect them to be done by summer.

But the entirely new one has me in something of a quandary.

I’ve always heard it said you have to hook your reader within the first three hundred words, or you’ll never get them to turn the page, let alone finish reading. I’ve repeated that mantra often.

Part of me believes that conventional wisdom to be true … not because “conventional wisdom” says so, but because I often decide on a book purchase myself after scanning the first couple of pages.

So, I must be ahead of the game. I’ve actually got several thousand words down on the new book. It’s just … none of them seem quite right as the start of the story. I’ve changed the beginning several times already.

So, I need some feedback, and I decided, as I’ve done before, to put the (current) beginning of it here:

* * * * *

Harkau
Electricity came to the village of Harkäu in the year 1937. That doesn’t sound like much to the children of today, because they don’t realize what a blessing it was not to live by candlelight.

Once people got over the big, wooden poles stringing unsightly wire alongside all the roads, many of the old farmers, at least those few who could scrape together enough money, put an electric light bulb in a room or two, usually hanging it bare from the center of the ceiling.

Those lights, all by themselves, were a fabulous invention that changed our lives, but some in the village who could afford them also had an outlet installed and bought a radio to plug into it, and those radios brought the rest of the world into our homes.

My brother-in-law, the baker, ordered one for himself and another for his brother. In no time at all, the neighbors would gather in the evenings at one of those radios. It made us all feel so very worldly to listen to those broadcasts.

A lot of the local broadcasts were performances by some of Germany’s top orchestras and opera singers, which were marvelous, but the messages were also heavily laced with National Socialist German Workers’ Party ideals.

I wasn’t sure I agreed with all the rhetoric contained in the broadcasts we were allowed to hear, but I have to admit Hitler’s fiery speeches were raising German spirits, which had been down since the end of the World War.

Germany’s economic environment, still plagued with enormous war-related reparations, supported the rise of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party Chancellor.

He took advantage of the brewing economic discontent to find himself at the forefront of a political ideology. National pride, patriotism, Aryan pride, and things like that.

“I don’t think some of that is true,” I said one night after listening to one of his more vitriolic speeches.

“Auch der lieber!” my brother-in-law’s neighbor sneered when he heard me, “Oh, my God! What would a woman know about things like that?” If I had expected to receive any support, the idea quickly vanished as I surveyed the open stares of others in the room.

© Ron Herron

* * * * *

What Do You Think?
Is this something likely to grab your interest and make you want to know what happens next?

Leave a comment.

Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Decades ago, long before the digital age, I once sold encyclopedias door-to-door. What can you possibly say to me I haven’t already heard?

* * * * *

My novel “Blood Lake”, a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner and a ForeWord Indie Finalist, was also named a 2018 Book-of-the-Year Finalist by TopShelf Magazine. At the end of December I learned they named it Number One in the horror category!

* * * * *

Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Are You a Dedicated Storyteller?

October 27, 2018


I recently attended the 2018 Fall Rochester Writers’ Conference at Oakland University and, after a day of interesting presentations, plus conversations with a significant number of the other attendees, one resounding thought from it stays with me.

Everyone enjoys a good story.

Telling one, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. It takes a willingness not only to learn, but to understand, the different elements and techniques of the craft, and it involves a heck of a lot of practice.

In other words, dedication.

However, regardless of genre or style, all good stories have common elements. When developing your next narrative work, make sure you’re paying careful attention to all of them.

Setting
The setting is the time and location in which your story takes place. Settings can be very specific, such as the one that begins my novel REICHOLD STREET:

It was late August, 1962, when I first saw Albert Parker. After all this time, I still remember the year quite distinctly. It was my second teenage summer and, like discovering I had a sexual identity, it was a part of life’s first great transition. I had been waiting months for something special to happen, something magical. Something like having Marilyn Monroe show up on my doorstep….”

But they can also be broad and descriptive, such as “…a tired little cottage on a lonely night….”

Either way you choose to go, a good, well-established setting creates the intended mood, while providing the backdrop and environment for your story.

Characters
A story often includes a number of central characters, each with a different role or purpose. Central characters are vital because the plot revolves around them.

However, regardless of how many characters a story ultimately has, there is almost always a protagonist and antagonist.

The protagonist is the main character, with a clear goal to accomplish or a conflict to overcome. They don’t always need to be admirable, but they must command an emotional involvement from the reader.

Antagonists oppose protagonists, standing between them and their ultimate goals. They can be presented as persons, places, things, or situations that represent a tremendous obstacle.

Plot
Hopefully you know the plot is the sequence of events that connect the audience to the protagonist and his or her ultimate goal.

Conflict
While they may sound similar, don’t confuse plot with conflict. While plot is the sequence of events, conflict drives the story and engages an audience. It keeps them white-knuckled on the edge of their seats, waiting to see if the protagonist will overcome the obstacle.

Conflict creates tension and builds suspense, and those are the elements that make the story interesting. Without conflict, you’ve done little more than write a statement.

Theme
The theme is what the story is really about. It’s the main idea or underlying meaning. A story may have both a major theme that is intertwined and repeated throughout the whole narrative, and minor themes that appear more subtly, and don’t necessarily repeat.

Often, it’s the storyteller’s personal opinion on the subject matter.

Narrative Arc
A strong story plot has a narrative arc that has four required elements of its own:

    Setup: The world in which the protagonist exists prior to the journey. The setup usually ends with the conflict being revealed.
    Rising Tension: The series of obstacles the protagonist must overcome. Each obstacle is usually more difficult and with higher stakes than the previous one.
    Climax: The point of highest tension, and the major decisive turning point for the protagonist.
    Resolution: The conflict’s conclusion. This is where the protagonist finally overcomes the conflict, learns to accept it, or is ultimately defeated by it. Regardless, this is where the journey ends.

While every story is different, a successful one captivates its audience and inspires an emotional response. If you have learned to craft a compelling story by engaging an active audience, you can truly call yourself a master of the art of storytelling.

* * * * *

My novel “Blood Lake” was a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner and a ForeWord Indie Finalist. It was just named a 2018 book-of-the-year finalist by TopShelf Magazine.

* * * * *

I’ll be signing books at the Books & Authors Event at Leon & Lulu in Clawson on Sunday, October 28.

**********

Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

What Do You Need for a Book Signing?

August 2, 2018

I just finished a book-signing event in Sterling Heights. I joined some good friends and authors from the Rochester Writers’ Group. It’s the second one for me this month, and it was a decent day all around. The weather cooperated and I sold six books in four hours.

Not exactly setting the world on fire, but that’s life as an indie. You take your sales wherever you can find them, usually a few at a time.

If other authors ask me for book-signing event advice, I encourage them to think about events like the one I just attended, where the target audience is already gathered.

It’s so much easier to attract people when there’s already a crowd.

Signing Event Tool Kit Ideas
There are a couple of things you should think about ahead of time to make the most of any opportunity to meet some of the people you had in mind when you wrote your book.

Several of Your Favorite Pens
Know what you like to use and make sure you have them. Personally, I like the Signo Uni-Ball pen, with black ink.

Treats in a Bowl
A romance author might have a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses; the author of a business book could offer wrapped chocolate coins. As a fiction author, I don’t worry about coming up with something that makes sense for my books. I just bring wrapped chocolates.

It’s usually the kids who stop but, guess what? When they do, so do their parents (be sure to ask if it’s okay for the kids to indulge).

A Catchphrase
Writing a short phrase before your signature helps personalize the experience for the book buyer. Make it short and relevant. For my books I often simply write, “Enjoy the Read!”

A Cash Box and Change
If you’re doing a signing after speaking at a group’s meeting, it’s likely you’re handling the sales yourself. When that’s the case, bring a cash box with change (fives and singles). A modest investment in a Square Reader will let you take credit cards, too.

Post-Its
Name spellings aren’t as predictable as they used to be (just ask any Caitlin/Katelyn or Brittany/Britney). Ask…and make sure you find out the correct spelling.

Backup Books
Even when your event is at a bookstore, bring an extra box of books from your own supply, in case you sell everything the store has for the event (I’m an optimist).

Business Cards
Hopefully, your presentation will be so impressive that someone attending will invite you to speak to their local readers group. Make it easy for them to contact you.

Add to Your Email Lists
Have visitors write down their contact information, too, so that you can follow up when you have new books available, or when you will be speaking somewhere else.

A Good Elevator Pitch
One reason so many people deliver completely ineffective elevator pitches is they don’t understand the purpose of one. The purpose is not to close the deal. In truth, it is just to interest the audience in looking at the books you have to sell.

Your Best TV-Self
It isn’t always possible, but if you can come up with an idea that’s newsworthy, TV coverage you don’t pay for is worth its weight in gold.

I know an author in Kentucky, Eddie Price, who comes dressed in the typical garb of the time in which his historical novels are set, and he’s lost count of the times he’s been interviewed.

It isn’t always possible, but go for it. With a little advance thought and planning, your event will have everything you need.

* * * * *

At 7:00 pm on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, I’ll be reading from ZEBULON, my collection of fantasy short stories, at Grey Wolfe Scriptorium in Clawson. Hope to see you there!

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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