How to Host a Virtual Launch Party

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Impulse-Widows-Web-Novel-ebook/dp/B00UB2U7WS/When my first book, Denim & Diamonds, was released, I thought about hosting a virtual launch party, but wasn’t quite sure how to pull it off. For my second book, Fatal Impulse, I decided to do a little research and host a Facebook event. It was Saturday, and now that it’s over, I’m declaring it a success. Over 60 people attended, and the ebook surged to 53rd place on the Amazon bestseller list (for women’s fiction / detective mysteries). It may not be the NYT bestseller list, but it was enough to make me proud. So, how did I do it? And what am I going to do again?

  • Schedule. As soon as you have the release date for your book, schedule a Facebook event.
  • Open House. Instead of hosting a “party,” host an “open house.” I ran mine from 9 am – 9 pm. This allows you to cover lots of time zones, and allows folks to come and go as their schedules allow.
  • Public. You want the event to be public, so that anyone can attend. Check your settings in the event to be sure everyone is able to attend.
  • Invitations. Invite everyone on your friend list that you think might be interested. Post links on groups that you belong to. Share with non-reading groups that might have an interest in your topic. For instance, I’m a papercrafter and belong to a scrapbook organizing group. I used my crafting supplies to make gifts for my party, so I shared pics of my giveaways with that group and issued an open invite to any of them who wanted to attend. Notify your local library and local bookstores. Tell friends and family about it.
  • Countdown. Post links on your Facebook wall, your Twitter feed, and other social media outlets leading up to the event, reminding them of it.
  • Prizes. Everyone loves giveaways. Plan to have several small gifts and a couple of larger ones, plus a “grand prize.” I chose to give away a proof copy of the paperback as the “grand prize,” plus a “first prize” of a $10 gift card to an independent book store of the winner’s choosing.
  • Plan. Have a series of questions prepared ahead of time to keep things rolling the day of the party. Good questions include details about your book, but focus on your readers. For instance, something like, “In Fatal Impulse, Andi describes herself as round. What word would you use to describe yourself?”
  • First Post. Outline how the party will work, what you are going to do, what prizes will be given and when. “Pin” this post so that it appears at the top of the page.
  • Schedule. Post at least once an hour, something that will generate comments and interaction.
  • Interact. Comment on your guests’ comments and respond to any questions they have. This is a chance for them to get to know you – and for you to get to know them.
  • Links. Throughout the day, post links to your other social media profiles (Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) to encourage your readers to connect with you.
  • Your last post. Thank your attendees. Let them know you appreciate them.
  • Wrap up. Mail out all of your giveaways. Connect with your readers on social media. Evaluate your use of time: how many attendees, how many books were sold, sales ranking, etc.
  • Celebrate. You pulled it off. Everyone had a great time. Give yourself some time off social media to reflect on your success!

If you want to look at the posts at my Fatal Impulse launch, click HERE. And if you’ve hosted a successful launch party, please share your tips!

 

Happy Launch Day to Me! (#launchparty #amreading)

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Impulse-Widows-Web-Novel-ebook/dp/B00UB2U7WS/Today has been an absolute dream. My second book, Fatal Impulse, releases today as an ebook (Kindle). I’ve spent all day on Facebook chatting with friends and giving away prizes. It’s been so much fun to share this with old friends and new. A little bit ago I pulled up Amazon to see how the book is doing. To my surprise, there’s a nice little bit at the bottom of the description – the book is now at #53 on the Amazon bestseller list (for detective mysteries). I find that a bit funny, since this isn’t a detective novel, but I’ll take it!

Come on over to the Facebook page – we’ll be partying until 9 pm. The big prize is a proof copy of Fatal Impulse and the first prize is a $10 gift certificate to an independent bookstore of your choice. There are other prizes, too!

Building My Brand . . . Or Being Me?

One of the difficult things about being a writer is putting yourself “out there.” Shortly after I started going to writing conferences, I realized that I was hearing one word over and over. Branding. Agents. Editors. Publicists. Everyone talked about the importance of building your brand. I’ve struggled with that. I mean, what is my brand? What is it about my writing that appeals to people?

Then it occurred to me – I am my brand. My brand is me. If you’re struggling with capturing your brand, take a minute and write down who you are, what interests you, what you do. Here’s a partial list for me to get you started:

  • Animal lover (especially dogs, cats, horses, turtles . . . )
  • Drive a Jeep (lifted, big tires)
  • Paralegal
  • Empty nester
  • Crocheter
  • Papercrafter
  • Scrapbooker
  • Shoot guns (I prefer my Browning semi-automatic pistol)
  • Love watching old TV (especially Star Trek, Wonder Woman, Batman, and recently discovered Dean Martin movies)

The idea behind this is to recognize that you have lots of interests, and a lot of things in common with your readers. Chances are, your interests will come through in your writing. For example, I’ve always loved horses . . . and my first book, Denim & Diamonds, is set on a horse ranch. Your readers won’t connect with a single book you write – they will connect with you.

Share with us in the comments below – what are 5 words/phrases that describe you?

How to Research Locations for Writing

Courtesy of Photo Morgue

Courtesy of Photo Morgue

We’ve all heard the old adage to write what you know, but seriously, how boring would that be? I want to learn just as much from writing as I do from reading. Although my first book, Denim & Diamonds, is set in Missouri, my second book is set in Maine. I’ve never been to Maine. Now, before anyone writes to me and points out every error in any of my books, let me point out that I write fiction. Sometimes I take creative license with exactly where things are or how they look. That said, I want the feel of my settings to come across to my readers, and I do research to be as accurate as possible.

For instance, here’s an excerpt from Fatal Impulse:

They drove down Main Street, rounded a curve and the harbor appeared before them. Tall masts sprung up from the boats like a forest of toothpicks, and white sails billowed in the salty breeze. As they turned into the parking lot, Andi was blown away by the number of cars already there. Parking would be at a premium after the tourists arrived after Memorial Day, but early May was still quiet. She drove down three aisles before she found a parking space.

Not lots of detail, but I used the senses of sight and smell, and incorporated the mention of tourists to give the idea of it being a touristy-area.

If you are writing about an area that you have not personally visited, there are lots of resources to draw upon.

  • People. Let folks know what you’re writing about and likely someone you know knows someone who is from there, or has visited there. Talk to them.
  • Books. Tourism books are great, but also pick up fictional books set in that area.
  • Google Earth. This is invaluable. You can actually “drive” the route you are talking about to see what the area is like.
  • Reviews. To include authentic details, read reviews of restaurants and shops in the area. You’ll pick up on all sorts of little details, like local specialties.

Word of warning: do your research, don’t wing it.

(as an aside: I read a book years ago by a woman from New Hampshire. Her book was set in Missouri. Her character stepped out of her motel room and looked “south at the Ozark Mountains.” This was mentioned several times in the book, about looking south at the mountains. I was acquainted with the writer, so I emailed with what I hoped was a helpful note about not being able to see the Ozarks from Kansas City, in case she decided to write another book set in Missouri. She sent back a snippy email that she was entirely capable of looking at a map and that the mountains should be clearly visible from Kansas City. Um, okay. I haven’t emailed her again, nor have I bothered to see if she wrote another book.)

Fatal Impulse: Facebook Party

Lori L. Robinett

Lori L. Robinett

Have you ever attended a Facebook party? I’m hosting one Saturday, so I thought I’d share a little info for those who aren’t sure what it’s all about.

What IS a Facebook party?

Also called an “event,” which takes place on its own page/wall. On the day of the event, during the event, you’ll actually click on the event link on the upper right page of your wall. There’ll usually be a message there that says something like “1 event today.”

What do we DO at the Facebook party?

The person coordinating the party will periodically post. Often he/she will ask questions to get everyone involved. All you have to do is read the posts and comment, if you are so inclined. Or you can just read and enjoy.

Why do we do this?

It’s often a way for folks to get involved who are in lots of different places. For example, I’ll have a few local events for Fatal Impulse, but not everyone will be able to attend. This way, people can participate from their own homes. Plus, there are presents. And we all like presents!

Can I invite other people?

YES! Please do! I appreciate everyone who shares my posts and helps spread the word about my new book.

If you want to attend the party on Saturday, March 28, drop by Facebook for more info.

How to Survive When You Lose Your Job

http://lorilrobinett.comWhen I was writing Fatal Impulse, I wanted to throw rocks at Andi Adams, really make things difficult for her. Like most writers, I draw upon my own experiences and emotions to make my characters fully fleshed out and dimensional. Andi is newly widowed, trying to make it on her own, trying to find her footing with her new life. She has to get a job, because her husband, who hadn’t let her work, is dead. She gets a job at a local tourism center. It’s not a high-paying job, but it’s a paycheck and it is experience to use as a stepping stone to a better job later. I’ve been in that position. When I was in college, I took a job at a University office. It wasn’t exactly glamorous (20 hours a week, plus evenings typing – yes, you read that right – the job openings newsletter that went out to alumni), but it was a paycheck and I knew it would look good on my resume after I graduated. But that isn’t enough stress for Andi. I needed to make things more difficult for her. So, I did to her what happened to me in real life. I fired her.

When you get let go, your heart drops into your stomach, and then all the way to the floor. If, like Andi, your independence hangs in the balance, what do you do?

Know this:

  • You found one job, you’ll find another.
  • That job wasn’t your dream job.
  • Realize that this is an opportunity: an opportunity to move, to try a different job, to take a step up on the ladder to your dream life.
  • Network and research and start applying for jobs that you do want.
  • Finally, be willing to settle. You may get a job offer that isn’t your dream job, but that position will pay the bills, add experience to your resume, and get you one step closer to seeing your dreams come true.

If you want to see how Andi handles being fired, reserve your copy of Fatal Impulse today!

 

To Do Lists

http://lorilrobinett.com

Lori L. Robinett, writer

I start off every morning with a yellow pad, divided into two columns. On the left is my Daily To Do, on the right is my Ongoing To Do.

I try to put no more than five things on my Daily list, largely because I know that more things will be added throughout the day and, well, I simply know that I won’t be able to accomplish more than that. If by some miracle I do get through all five tasks, I can move over to my Ongoing list and work through it.

How do you keep track of what you need to do?

Review: Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem

http://lorilrobinett.comMurder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem is the most recent book by D. E. Haggerty. The story is told from Izzy Archer’s perspective. We quickly meet her best friend, Jack, a delightfully gay sidekick. I knew I was going to like Izzy as soon as we went on a speed dating night with her –
“Excuse me,” I say as I try to catch the bartender’s attention. The bartender, however, is more interested in the young girls prancing around than in me. I sigh and lean onto the bar ensuring that the girls are visible. “Excuse me,” I say again, but this time I use a sultry voice – or at least that’s what I’m going for.

When Izzy’s grandmother, a spunky old lady, dies, her knitting group is convinced she was murdered. Izzy goes to the police with her concerns, only to come face to face with a man she met at speed dating. Unfortunately, she went on a real date with him with disastrous results. Not surprisingly, the police don’t take her concerns seriously. After all, women in their eighties die of natural causes. It happens. With the urging of the knitting group, Izzy pokes around on her own, determined to find her grandmother’s murderer. Along the way, she learns that her grandmother kept a big secret . . . and the good-looking cop is there to help her put the pieces together.

This book is a light-hearted mystery with a little romance. If you’re looking for a quick, fun read, pick up a copy!

#BookTour: Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem

http://lorilrobinett.comI’m happy to be hosting D. E. Haggerty today. Join me in offering her congratulations on the release of her new novel, Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem. As you know, my books generally include second chances, so I asked D.E. about her second chance. Grab a cup of java and let’s chat with her . . . (and don’t forget to enter for a chance to win an Amazon gift card below!)

Secˑond chance Definition (n.) opportunity to try something again

Self-publishing is my second chance at a writing career. Despite the fact that I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, whether it be short stories, novels, poems, or songs, I never thought about writing as a career. A writing career was for someone that came from an educated and wealthy household not the daughter of a factory worker. I settled on law as my career choice. From the age of five, I was determined to do anything necessary to become a lawyer. And I did. I even joined the military to profit from the GI Bill.

Although I love the law and I absolutely loved law school, being a lawyer was not for me. Not even close. I tried everything I could think of to keep in the field. I worked at a large law firm, as a company lawyer, for the public sector, and finally for a specialized law firm. It just wasn’t for me.

During one of my numerous job changes, I took a six-month break and wrote Unforeseen Consequences. I thought that this manuscript was my chance to escape from the law. I was wrong. I tried to find an agent, a publisher, anything. No dice. I ended up going back to the law, albeit in yet another position, but I just couldn’t keep at it.

Desperate for a change, I convinced my husband to move to Germany where we bought an old pension and renovated it into a Bed & Breakfast. At first, the change was good. Renovating the house and getting everything set up for the business was fun. Running the B&B on a day-in and day-out basis, however, was not. I was naïve and didn’t realize running a B&B is mostly about cleaning and making breakfast. It turns out I’m allergic to most cleaning liquids. Who knew? To be honest I hated the constant cleaning even before my hands broke out into hives.

During one of our never-ending discussions about how unhappy I was with my career, my very patient husband suggested I pull the manuscript for Unforeseen Consequences out of the attic and self-publish it. Although self-publishing has always been around to a certain extent, e-books hadn’t existed when I first wrote the book. Now it turned out I could publish my manuscript as an e-book with almost no cost. I might have pushed my hubby out of the way as I ran to the attic to get the manuscript.

Self-publishing turned into my second chance at a writing career (although to be fair giving ‘traditional’ publishing a chance for only six months wasn’t really giving it much of a chance). To be completely honest I was also incredibly lucky in that I no longer need to make a lawyer’s salary like I did when I initially wrote Unforeseen Consequences. I have the luxury of being able to spend my days writing, marketing and researching without worrying (too much) about royalties. It was thus a combination of factors that lead to my second chance. E-book self-publishing plus a great career opportunity for my husband in Istanbul meant that I could forego (at least for now) the legal salary and concentrate on writing.

Hapˑpy Definition (adj.) feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.

Thanks, D.E.! Now that you’ve heard her story, are you interested in buying her new book? Here’s where to go:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned for my review later today!

Blessings,

Lori