Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Author: J. Carson Black

J. Carson Black is not only a woman with infinite writing talent, she's also a woman I'm glad to call my friend. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, she's written over seventeen books spanning three different series

Her latest novel, Hard Return, is part of her widely popular Cyril Lander series, and picks up with Cyril, a former NAVY Seal, having lived off the grid for three years in an effort to protect his wife and teenage daughter. Wondering what happens next? Find out ...


J. Carson Black has been in the book business long enough to know what it takes to achieve lasting success, and on top of it all, she's been a class act every step of the way. 

Here's her advice for aspiring writers: 


Back in Michelangelo’s day, artists were apprenticed to the masters. They spent years copying the paintings of the great artists.  
By doing so, they learned. They learned where to put which kind of detail, they learned color, brushstrokes, composition, perspective. They absorbed it all by doing—until it came naturally. They developed a sure hand.  
The best teachers are the finest writers in your genre—the ones who resonate with you. You can learn from them for the price of a hardcover or even a paperback book. The only other thing you need is a pen.  
I would buy the hardcover books of the great authors in my genre—the four or five I could relate to. I didn’t want to sound like any one of them, I just wanted to learn what they did and how they did it. What I learned was the rhythm of the type of book I most wanted to write. A book covers a lot of ground. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end, with many other points in between. You read and study enough great writers in your genre, and you start to catch on to that rhythm: what goes where, when. You absorb it so that it comes naturally. And you learn to give little gifts to your reader along the way.  
My teachers have been numerous. Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Robert Crais, James W. Hall, T. Jefferson Parker, Stephen King, John Lescroart, and C.J. Box. All different from one another, but great teachers.  
My advice to you: buy the books written by the masters in your genre. Get out your pen, write in the margins (sorry, Mom!), and figure out what they’re doing and why. 
Teach yourself. Learn from the very best. 
It only costs the price of a book and a pen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

For Writers: A Place to Promote Your .99 Promotions

As part of my Author Advice section on this blog, I've put together an alphabetical list of websites where you can promote your sale books at a discount price. I've geared this list toward .99 to $2.99 sale days rather than free days. I recommend contacting the sites below at least two to three weeks prior to your book sale. 

Where I can, I've included site stats (updated 3/15) so you know just how far your dollar is going. While browsing, if you notice a site I've left off the list, feel free to EMAIL ME and I'll get it added. 

One last thing, sites with the word BEST next to the site name are my preferred sites, meaning they're the ones I feel offer the biggest bang for your buck and what has worked out well for me in the mystery/thriller genre.


Amy Brantley is extremely easy to work with, quick to reply to emails, and is always mixing things up and offering new/different specials. Most promos cost between $5 and $25. She has over 10K followers.

Addicted to eBooks

This site has about 3K Facebook subscribers. For $15 they'll put an ad on the sidebar of their page, and for $5 they'll put your listing on their Facebook page. 

To list your books on this site, you have to purchase a "supporter pack" for $15. Once this is done, you fill out a form and submit your books. To be honest, I've haven't tried their services yet.

You can list your book as the book of the day for $50, and they offer a few other options as well. They have 18K members. 

The price to advertise depends on the genre your book is in. The cost ranges from $25 to $50. At the $50 price point on a .99 sale book, you should just about break even, but don't expect to do much more than that at this time. 

On this site, they only feature one author each day. The cost is $22 and you'll need to book at least a month in advance. I was just on their site and the next opening isn't for five weeks. A bit of advice here. They allow you to run up to five books for the same price, so take advantage of that. Running just one may not give you a big ROI. Books must be on sale for $2.99 or less. 


BookBub is, of course, the crown jewel of all advertising sites. And it may be difficult to get accepted, but if you don't, keep trying. The cost is expensive, but I've always made much more than what I paid initially, even when paying $800 for a .99 mystery ad. They do have specific requirements which must be met. Pricing depends on genre. 

BookGorilla   BEST 

You won't get the same results as you do from a BookBub ad, but the ad is a fraction of the cost, so take that into consideration. The last ad I ran in the mystery category was $50 and had 200 downloads, so it was still well worth it for me personally. I have heard other authors say they didn't do as well.  

Booksends   BEST 
I absolutely love advertising on Booksends. They're fast, easy to work with, and accommodating. And the ROI has always been worth it for me. They even allow you to use your affiliate link if you have one (and you should have one). The number of subscribers in each genre is listed right on their page with mystery being the cream of the crop. Advertising is between $10 and $50. 

This site is a mere five bucks to advertise on. I've never used their services. The ad runs through Fiverr. According to the page, the reach is 15K. 

There are several advertising options on this site. Their email subscriber list is over 13K and they get about 22K visitors to the site each week. 

$10 to be the featured book of the day. 1K email subscribers, 6K Facebook fans, 500 Twitter followers. Requirements: 8 reviews, 3.5+ ranking, $4.99 or less.

eBook Booster  BEST

IMHO an absolute must when you're running a sale. This site is $25 to advertise your book deal on 25 of the free book deal sites. Trust me when I say the time you save is well worth the money.

eBook Deals for Nook & Kindle

For five bucks they'll promote your book on their Facebook page with almost 8k readers. Must have a minimum of 5 reviews, a 4* or higher rating, and more than 100 pages. 

58K Facebook fans, 4K visits to their site daily, 2K email subscribers. $20 to advertise a bargain book. Books must be $2.99 or less, have at least 10 reviews, and a 4.0+ average ranking.

eBook Soda

$10 to promote. 

Their visibility is 80K and the cost is $35 to be the featured book of the day. Books needs to be at least 100 pages, have a minimum of 3 reviews, and a 4.0+ average ranking. Right now they are two months out, so you need to book way in advance. 

9K Facebook followers, The Book of the Week feature is $49. I honestly don't know much more than this. Navigating their site was confusing. 

Books must be 125 pages or more, and you cannot promote the same book within a three month period. Pricing is based on the genre of the book and the price of the book, which seems to run between $15 and $100. I honestly have no idea what their reach is, but I've always done well on their site. 

This is a site I haven't used for a while, so I can't speak to its current effectiveness, but it is a good way to gain exposure. Prices run between $10 and $100. They feature your book and your bio, host a giveaway, etc. all depending on the package you choose.   

For books priced .99 or less. For an $8 donation, your book will be promoted to 1K eBook subscribers and 31K Twitter users. 

They start at $15 a day to promote your book, and $20 to add social media. Their social media outlets include Google+ (800), Facebook (3K), Pinterest (4.8K), and Twitter (16.8K), with the bulk of their reach coming from Twitter. 

One of my favorite places to advertise outside of BookBub. Up to now, I've always done their $25 ad for their regular book posting, but next month I have a featured book posting priced at $100. Each day's post goes out to approximately 750K people, and of that, he estimates 100K take a look at the the post that day (not purchase, just look at the post), but I am pleased with the ROI on this site and use them monthly. You need at least 8 reviews and a 4.0+ ranking to advertise.

Good Kindles
They have gold, silver, and bronze packages, starting at $8 and going to $20. With all three your listing is put into their daily newsletter. I'm not sure about their subscriber number. They also have banners for $50 and $100. They have 74K followers on Twitter, almost 3K on Facebook, 

Hot Zippy encompasses three different sites in one: Bargain eBook Hunter, Pixelscroll, and Romance eBook Deals. Each site is $15 to advertise on, and you can run them at the same time, one the same day. I have seen a good ROI on both Bargain eBook Hunter and Pixelscroll each time I use them. Pixelscroll alone has 43K Facebook fans. 

I Love Vampire Novels   BEST

If your book is not a vampire or paranormal novel, it won't be accepted. If it is, you're in luck. This is an excellent site to promote on with over 125K fans. You need at least five reviews. They have several different promo options.

Indie Book of the Day

There are seven different package options. Their Bargain Bookshelf option is the most popular at $50.00. Your book stays on their site for a month. They have 10K monthly visitors and a Google PageRank of 3.

Kindle Nation Daily

KND is actually linked to BookGorilla, and you can choose the free slide-over to get your book listed on both for an additional fee. They connect with about 170K readers each day. Prices range from $100 to $160.

More For Less Online

Your book must be at least 40% off regular price. 5 review minimum and 4+ stars. No weekend advertising. It's $15/$25 for a week of exposure. I don't know what their reach is.


All the site stats are listed on their page. Their silver package is $75 and their gold package is $100.


They have several inexpensive options ranging from $8 to $30. I'm not sure what the reach is.

Read Cheaply

Right now they're after cross promotion, I expect while they're building a fan base, and I believe you can advertise for free.

Robin Reads   BEST

An up-and-coming site that's excellent to advertise on considering it only costs $10 to be included in an email that goes out to 30K subscribers.


All of their sites stats are on their advertising page, including their email blast which goes out to over 5.6K subscribers. Several different advertising options including theme weeks, most under $50.

Sweeties Picks

$5 or $10 to advertise.

The Books Machine

Fairly new site. I believe it's for kindle daily deals. The cost is $20.

The Daily Bookworm

Different options here starting at $20 to be included in their email blast, on their website, and posted to Facebook, Twitter, etc. They have 3K on Facebook, Not sure about their email subscriber number.

The Fussy Librarian 

Their email list is 115K and cost depends on the genre you select. The price list also gives you the number of subscribers, which is nice. Requirements: 10 reviews, 4.0+ ranking, book priced at $5.99 or less.

The Kindle Book Review

The Kindle Book Review has a lot of different options for advertising which you can see HERE. They have a newsletter, but I'm not sure of the size.

The Midlist

A few different featured option on this site. They have a current acceptance rate of 30% for their paid, $100 ads, and in my opinion are pickier than BookBub. Requirements: 20+ reviews, at least 4.0 rating, and the same book cannot have been promoted on their site in the last four months. They like a 3-4 week notice for discount books. I have not heard anyone say they are getting a great ROI with their $100 purchase.

Wanton Reads

I don't know much about their site stats. The offer a few different options between $15 and $45.

World Literary Cafe

Partnered with Author Marketing Club, they will promote your book on .99 Fridays.


Amazon Author Forum


Best eBooks Free

Book Goodies

Books on the Knob


eBook Lister

eMystery Bargains

eReader Utopia

Kobo Book Hub

Korner Konnection


Reading Deals 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Featured Author: Diane Capri

Diane Capri is a spectacular woman, a New York Times bestselling author, and a good friend. She's been in the book industry for decades and has received much acclaim for her novels. Diane joined the International Thriller Writers at its onset, becoming a member of the board along with her friend, Lee Child. 

At a cocktail party in 2009, Diane and Lee were discussing the whereabouts of Jack Reacher. They mutually agreed to develop a series to answer that burning question. Don't Know Jack is the first in that series. 

Diane is an advocate for aspiring writers and someone who understands the business better than most. She also knows what it's like to get discouraged as a writer and offers some wonderful tips on never giving up on your dreams: 

Many aspiring writers become discouraged because they feel there is too much competition, everyone wants to write a book, and they'll never make it. I get laughs every time when I say they're forgetting the millions of people who don't desire to write a book — and millions more who have no desire to read one. 

I believe that when we have a desire to write, and that desire sticks with us, we've been given at least a modicum of talent. 

We might not have the quantity or quality of innate talent the great writers were born with, but few people do. Still, the talent we have can be nurtured and developed until we succeed. I've seen it happen. Many times.

It happened to me. Keep at it and you'll get there, too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Go Six Feet Under for only .99!

Introducing a new boxed set, including six of today's bestselling mystery and thriller authors. This limited-edition set is being offered exclusively through Amazon and at an introductory price of .99!


In Six Feet Under, six bestselling authors -- including New York Times and USA Today bestselling writers -- present a collection of full-length novels packed with thrills, mystery, and murder. 


Raw Justice 
Diane Capri 

In her quest to retrieve a stolen formula worth millions, lawyer Jennifer Lane descends into an abyss of family secrets. Drawn deep into a maze of intrigue and betrayal, Jennifer's license to practice law is threatened. Next comes her heart—and her life. 


Grayson Manor Haunting 
Cheryl Bradshaw 

When Addison Lockhart inherits Grayson Manor, she discovers a secret that's been kept hidden for over fifty years—the unsolved murder of a Hollywood socialite. Who is Roxanne "Roxy" Rafferty? Why is she haunting Grayson Manor? And will Addison’s investigation lead to answers, or an early grave? 


Russell Blake 
When PI Artemus Black takes a case that's supposed to be easy money, he finds himself working for a celebrity whose colleagues are dropping like flies. As the cakewalk turns ugly, this Bogie-obsessed, perennially down-on-his-luck gumshoe finds himself in a web of deceit, betrayal, murder—and bad hair days. 


The Warren Omissions 
Jack Patterson 

First ex-CIA operative James Flynn unearths the mastermind of the JFK assassination. Then he discovers something even more sinister: a plot to assassinate the current President and trigger nuclear war. The clock is ticking, and only Flynn can stop it. 


The Cleaner 
Mark Dawson 

A master of killing, John Milton is the man the British government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst: enemies of the state not even MI5 can stop. But as riots flare and London burns, Milton must take on friend as well as foe. 


Ice Blue 
Emma Jameson 

When Chief Superintendent Hetheridge saves outspoken Kate, his world spins out of control. Summoned to Belgravia to investigate a brutal murder, Hetheridge must catch the killer despite the reappearance of an old flame, his growing attraction to Kate, and a secret from his own past.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Author: Catherine Coulter

I'd like to bottle the magical anti-aging liquid flowing from the faucet at Catherine Coulter's house. I don't think I've ever known a woman to age so gracefully. Reminds me of those old commercials by Oil of Olay. But enough about that.

Catherine is a talented writer who has the ability to cross genres and still keep you hooked. Her first hardcover was released in 1988, and since then, she's blazed a trail that includes over 70 novels. Her most recent release, Power Play, has stellar reviews on Amazon, as well as all of the online sites.

I previously wrote Catherine in 2011 and asked her to give me a bit of advice to pass along to first-time writers. Her advice was all about being disciplined, which is a must if any writer takes themselves seriously in this crazy business, but I'll let you read it in her own words: 

I will tell you the truth. I plugged along, was blessed, fortunately, with a single very good editor for a very long time, and my numbers grew until finally I hit the NYT bestseller list.

The real key in making a writing career work is discipline. In any endeavor, if you don't have discipline, you're in major trouble. Actually, you won't go anywhere at all without it.

I also strongly recommend Romance Writers of America. It is the largest most professional writing organization in the world. Chapters are all over the U.S. and Canada so it is easy to join your local chapter. And you can do it online. RWA is important because there are lots of beginning writers, so you're no longer alone, plus editors, published writers, agents -- and it's all there waiting for you. When you have a completed manuscript, you attend a regional conference, have an appointment with an editor --

But the very most important thing you can do? BE DISCIPLIINED.

Catherine Coulter

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Deadly Dozen 3 Limited Edition Set is HERE!

The exciting follow up to the New York Times and USA Today bestseller Deadly Dozen and Deadly Dozen 2 (both retired) is here. This limited edition thriller boxed set features 12 individual books from The Twelve and one guest bestselling author.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bed of Bones Makes USA Today Bestsellers List

I was thrilled to see my novel Bed of Bones (Sloane Monroe series #5) make the USA Today bestsellers list this week. This is the fourth book in two years to make the list. It's an absolute thrill each and every time, as well as an honor, and I'm appreciate to my fans for the overwhelming support they've shown to the series since it began four years ago.