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Showing posts from November, 2021

Revising and Republishing

  One of the perks of self-publishing is the option to revise either or both of the cover and interior and republish a book whenever you like. You can fix typos, improve a character arc, patch up plot holes, and even add illustrations. You can make a previously standalone book part of a new series by adding branding to the cover. You can even change the title. Just remember that you must use a new ISBN for any major changes. I first published Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin in 2014, and have been meaning to make some changes for years. Finally, with a book fair looming (which I unfortunately had to pull out of, after all that) I busied myself with updating the cover design and adding my Grounded series branding. I also revised the story to add some explanation to a few cryptic references that were originally only going play out in later books, and I fixed a characterisation inconsistency that was a hangover from the very first draft of what was originally a very different book.

Gratitude with Attitude

In the past, I have written about an attitude of gratitude. Because November is the month when Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated, at least in the U.S., that title played well into many people's  feelings about this time of year. However, in 2021, as it was in 2020, it can be difficult for a lot of folks to view November or even the year with gratitude — hence the slightly altered title of "Gratitude with Attitude." Way too many of us have lost family, friends, and much more to the pandemic that continues to rage worldwide. We may even have battled COVID-19 ourselves and might still be dealing with the aftermath that affects a significant number of its victims. Every time the news reports that it's finally waning, it raises its virulent head in a new wave of potentially deadly infections caused by a different variant. Its ability to reinvent itself again and again sparks fear as it travels without regard for borders or seas. In a seriously divided world, citize

The Anatomy of Raising Your Book’s Rankings

MY FAILURE: Last month I decided to run a sale on my latest release, a political thriller titled, we are but WARRIORS that debuted in October of 2020. We all realize how hard it is for an indie book to gain traction on a new release, and I must say I don’t do a whole lot to help myself. I’m terrible at promotion, don’t do book signings, don’t have release parties. I definitely failed Marketing 101. THE PROBLEM: Getting your book noticed in the marketplace takes a superhuman effort, and I’ve already explained how bad I am at that. Now, everyone with a computer, a love for words, and a good story idea can write a book, and they do. Some are terrific, some are not. It was easier back when I started. Self-publishing still had a negative vibe attached, so some of us made inroads where we can’t today, given the glut of books in the marketplace. Back then, a BookBub ad could generate anywhere from 30-60K downloads for a free book and half that for a $.99 book. Really! BookBub even gave

Andrea Penrose and the Art of the Cozy Mystery

I am always thrilled to discover a talented author with a series I haven't yet read. I buy the back list and settle down for hours of enjoyable reading. This year, I discovered Andrea Penrose and her two cozy mystery series set in Regency London. If you are fans of Tasha Alexander 's Lady Emily series, Deanna Raybourn 's Lady Julia Grey series and Veronica Speedwell series, and Anna Lee Huber 's Lady Darby series, you will love Andrea's books. I love the cast, the setting, and the plots. I forgive the few crutch words such as conundrum, dastard , and snick snick . Writers all have them. Mine changed with each book. The first book I read was Murder on Black Swan Lane from Penrose's Wrexford and Sloane series. The cast is unique. The lady sleuth, artist Charlotte Sloane, secretly skewers popular society with her pointed lampoons. The Earl of Wrexford is a gentleman scientist. A creative crime-solving posse makes or breaks a cozy series in my opinion and this seri

Writing a Cozy Mystery is HARD!

When I decided to follow my second frontier fiction (historical) novel with a cozy mystery, I had a sleuth, a sidekick, and a town in mind. And humor. My sleuth is funny. I started the novel during NaNoWriMo 2020, using the main character I’d tested in a short story. My critique group liked him, so, I thought, how hard could this be? My 50,000 words flowed as I jumped into a story, using my best pantser techniques. I went off track so many times, I can’t keep count. Here’s why I find the process hard: 1. Three people die in my novel, but only one of them is a resident of the town. Most cozies I’ve read keep the characters local. It’s too easy to have the villain be an outsider who shows up to knock off the victims. 2. When a character is killed by violence, it’s hard to avoid any graphic description of the body, especially when that body is lying out on the ground where everyone can see. “Oh, he’s dead,” seems like such an understatement. 3. Every single time I try to write a mystery

Getting to The Finish #Humor From Slim Randles

A few years ago we had guest posts from humorist, Slim Randles, who created this fictional group of guys who hang out at the Mule Barn Truck Stop and trade yarns - as in story not thread. One of those men, Dudley, has been writing a book for years now and never quite seems to get it right. Sharing Dud's attempts to finish, and maybe even get his book published, has always been a nice comedic relief, and goodness knows we all need some comedic relief now and then. Slim Randles has become a good friend through the years that he has shared his weekly columns with me. First when I was Managing Editor of, an online community magazine that ran for about seven years. After it ceased publication, Slim generously allowed me to continue to use his columns on my blog and here at BRP. The column is syndicated in several hundred newspapers across the United States, and a collection of the columns became his book Home Country . Now, here's the latest from Dud and his wr