So Long Starving Artist − Part 1

The Hot Sheet

Digital Media Strategist Jane Friedman

Writers love what they do. But when it comes to making a living, how can they get paid?

Digital marketing expert Jane Friedman addressed this head-on in a fascinating talk Nov. 12 with the Toronto Romance Writers.

Friedman used examples from history and her own career to tackle the ‘starving artist’ myth from a refreshingly informed perspective. She quoted Alan Watts saying ‘A myth helps us make sense of the world.’ Writers need a new ‘myth’ to govern their careers.

For too long creatives have been sandbagged with the expectation that  musicians, writers, painters and other creatives should be grateful they have talent and willing to display it for free. Friedman prefers her own myth. Art and Business can live together. The trick is using the tools available and analyzing all the factors that help people to find and want your work.

Traditional publishers may be losing market share but there is opportunity for self-publishers and small publishers. Since major publishers as well as other creative talents all use the web, what should small publishers or self-publishers do to stand out?

Distribution versus Discoverability

Friedman notes that big information companies Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, are dukeing it out for dominance. The biggies have a lot of reach. Authors must harness the information these four have on each of us in order to be ‘discoverable.’ Distribution has been solved. Everyone has access to the internet. Now the important thing is discoverability.

Savvy small publishers or self-publishers can learn how to control what she calls ‘distribution amplification’ in order to be discoverable.

1. Use your web site to its fullest capacity  

For example, when someone googles you they should get your web site first not someone with a similar name. They should see a one hundred word description that you craft about you. Your site platform can allow you to craft that description for your main page making it easier to get your message across. You can also have separate pages for each book release and use different hundred word descriptions for each of them. These can increase your reach and help drive readers to your site.

2. Re-purpose content for multiple channels 

To be visible, authors should be present on different social media sites, email, blog sites etc. How to do that and not go crazy? Re-use your content, versions of the same material can be on a tweet, a Facebook post and audio podcast, a webinar, a blog tour. Bonus: You reach different audiences while reinforcing your own messaging.
NEXT:  So Long Starving Artist – Part 2. Why authors should talk about money.

See You at Word on the Street!

So excited. For the second year in a row, torontosistersincrime.ca will be at Word on The Street one of Toronto’s signature literary events thewordonthestreet.ca, http://thewordonthestreet.ca/toronto/

There will be hundreds of author readings, discussions and activities for all ages. Our Sisters in Crime chapter will feature local authors including Karen Blake-Hall and me, Linda Cahill as well as Sylvia Warsh, A.B. Funkhauser, Lisa de Nikolits, J.A. Menzies, Sharon A. Crawford and Rosemary McCracken.

Join us at Booth WB11 at the Harbourfront Centre, Queen’s Quay West (right on the streetcar line!).

From 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 25th, we will have authors signing their books, both of The Toronto  Sisters in Crime antholgies for sale including  The Whole She-Bang, and The Whole She-Bang 2. There will also be some surprise goodies and a Super Special to all who visit our booth!!

 The Writer’s Bloc   Booth WB 11, Queen’s Quay West Harbourfront Centre.
11:00 AM Linda Cahill & Karen Blake-Hall
12:00 PM Sylvia Warsh
1:00 PM A. B. Funkhauser
2:00 PM Lisa de Nikolits
3:00 PM J. A. Menzies
4:00 PM Sharon A. Crawford
5:00 PM Rosemary McCracken

It’s free, it’s outdoors and this is the Word on The street’s 26th year. Bring the kids. There is a Children’s Literature Tent and CBC will present the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award 2016 Shortlist from 1:20 – 2:20 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Procedurals, Cozies, Who do You Love?

5th Birthday

Celebrating Light Mysteries

 

At the national award for light mysteries, the Bony Blithe Awards, a few weeks ago mystery authors considered the differences between traditional or light mystery fare and police procedurals. The Bony Blithe Award is five years old this year so there were congratulations all round including cake and applause for winner Victoria Abbott for The Marsh Madness, Berkley Prime Crime. Two panels discussed the evolving mystery genre.

The first panel involved four authors (Alexis Koetting, Janet Bolin, Eva Gates/Vicki Delany, and Victoria Abbott/Mary Jane Maffini speculating on how they would re-imagine a cozy into a police procedural. Outgoing Crime Writers of Canada president Vicky Delany author of the Lighthouse Library series noted one change would be a change of style. In a cozy there is only one point of view character, in a police procedural the tone would change, there would be more point of view characters hiding a secret and a more explosive ending. For Mary-Jane Maffini, the mother half of the Victoria Abbott mother-daughter writing team, television also has an impact on the approach to writing. In Britain, lots of television series, including Midsomer Murders are based on dark books that have been “cozified” for television, she said. What was interesting to consider was that Agatha Christie was not cozy in her time.

The second panel featured Cathy Ace, Elizabeth J. Duncan, Vicki Delany, and Catherine Astolfo on what aspects of a mystery make it dark. Also, is it easier to write a light or comic mystery than a mystery that explores the darker or more serious side of life? The panelists agreed that both sides of the genre have their conventions. The split between more ‘hard-boiled’ mysteries and lighter fare seems to have accelerated in the past few years.

The Bony Blithe Mini-con organized by Elaine Freedman, 2016 Bony Blithe Chair, and fellow mini-con organizers Caro Soles and Jane Burfield was a great opportunity to consider and celebrate the whole light mystery genre.  Panelists agreed: Readers like the light mystery, they develop affinities for the series characters and they want to follow them in book after book. And that’s gratifying for any author.

 

 

A Hunter’s Destiny

 

V VcoverEbookMEDKaren Blake-Hall creates memorable personalities in her novels, short stories and novellas. Feisty Molly Jackson’s appealing strength kicks the romantic suspense novel genre up a notch in You Are Mine while ‘the scary guy’ in Your Number is Up imparts a delicious paranormal tinge to her short story in the Nefarious North anthology.

Today I am interviewing one of her most exciting characters yet, Hunter, from the short story Destiny in Villainous Vacations, A Collection of Crime Stories. Hunter is at a holiday celebration.

“Tell me why you went to the party?”

“Ted and I were in the forces together. He’d never get off my back if I didn’t show up, but the truth is I didn’t want to go. Never liked celebrating the holidays. Too much family drama.

“Your family has a lot of drama?”

‘No.” Shaking his head, he continued. “I don’t have a family. Right now I’m a lone wolf kind of guy.”

“What did you think of Destiny when you first met?”

“Wow. She smart, funny and great looking. She gets me. You know, on my most basic level. On a scale from one to ten she’s definitely a fifteen.”

“Do you believe in love at first sight?”

“I do now.”

“What do you like most about her?”

Hunter smiles, as he looks me in the eye. “She has an Irish Wolfhound. What’s not to like?”

“Describe her in one word?”

“I can do it in two words. My Destiny.”

“Now for our fast round of questions. Say the first word that comes into your head.”

“Fruit or Chocolate?”

“Chocolate.”

“Coffee or Tea?”

“Coffee.”

“Go to the movies or watch TV?”

“Snuggle at home and watch TV or movies. Destiny and Barker the dog will love to do that.”

“Thanks for being here today Hunter.”

“You’re welcome.”

 

BLURB:

MYSTERY, MURDER AND MAYHEM. Why settle for one nefarious crime when you can have eleven?

If you like spine-chilling tales of felony, villainy and scandal, with shocking twists and thrilling turns, then you will love this new collection of edge-of-your-seat crime stories guaranteed to make you flinch.

You will not be able to put “Villainous Vacations” down. Or fall asleep after reading these gripping stories.

Re-connect with familiar authors and find new favourites in this delicious collection.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OTHgcB

KOBO: http://bit.ly/1X3qujK

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/25skeH0

iTunes: https://itun.es/us/FTiKcb.l

Karen Blake-Hall bio

Karen’s sharp-bladed fiction cuts to the heart of the emotions driving her characters in desperate situations. When she’s not crafting thrilling romantic suspense stories, she can be found drinking tea with friends, crocheting or making jewelry.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Toronto Romance Writers, Crime Writers of Canada, and Writing Community of Durham Region.

Please visit her at:
Website: http://www.karenblake-hall.com
Blog: https://karenblakehall.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenBlakeHall.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenblakehall
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7203856.Karen_Blake_Hall

Vacations with a Twist

Villainous Vacations is that rare beach read, one that makes you laugh and shiver almost at the same time.  From lonely werewolves finding love to high school hellions wreaking havoc on each other, plus a fillip of time travel, there is something for everyone in this riveting collection.

I’m super proud to be part of this very shady summer collection with such talented authors. Join us  for our book launch, at Sleuth of Baker Street,  907 Millwood Rd. ,  Toronto’s premiere mystery and suspense store,  Sunday, June 12 between 2 and 4 p.m.

We hope to see you all on Sunday, June 12  but if you can’t wait for a taste of  Villainous Vacations it is  available for pre-order right now at:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OTHgcB

KOBO: http://bit.ly/1X3qujK

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/25skeH0

iTunes: https://itun.es/us/FTiKcb.l

V VcoverEbookMED

Police Procedurals 3 – Investigative Techniques

RCMP Sgt. Patrice Poitevin likes some television police shows − Law and Order Special Victims Unit − for example. But he especially like to help writers get things straight.
It is important to describe the right procedures in order to create believable stories, he says, and it is the intersection between science and “the human factor” that gives writers the opportunity to build suspense. “The Science factor is accurate, the problem is with the human factor, pressure from bosses or the public to find the culprit.”
And by the way nothing moves as fast as it does on television. “To get tax records you need a warrant, a production order etc. You can’t get it automatically. Warrants that took one page years ago now take fifty pages.”
If an officer happens on a crime in commission, the suspect can be secured and the police can get a warrant to search the place. “You can seize what is in plain sight” but not search drawers etc. without a warrant.
Police chases make good TV but are not that common, he said at the AD Astra Conference in Toronto in April. Strict rules govern the police’s treatment of suspects. Suspects have a right to a lawyer and must be treated fairly. Violating a person’s rights can result in evidence being thrown out at trial as fruit of the poisoned tree. During interrogations, interviewers try first to build rapport with their suspect. All interrogations are videotaped.

From Cop Stories to Holiday Mayhem

V VcoverEbookMEDHoliday Mayhem? Make that Villainous Vacations the new anthology I am proud to be in. Publisher Karen Dryden (2012’s Nefarious North) is back with a 2016 collection sure to please everyone. From horror to horses, shape-shifting to high school madness,  romantic frissons and thrilling suspense, these tale will delight and intrigue.  For this fun collection I abandoned my Police Procedural hat for a nail-biting tale about a girl on beach. Psst.  Book Launch Sunday, June 12 at 2 p. m. at Sleuth of Baker Street, Toronto. Everyone welcome.

sleuthofbakerstreet.ca/

Tomorrow  I will be back with my third article on police procedurals.

 

 

 

 

Great Lake Great Character

Lake Huron

Beach Moods

20150913_124015_resized 20150913_124224_resized_1 20150913_124252_resizedMy new novel The Meal Ticket features two important characters: a rower accused of a crime he didn’t commit and the lake where he strengthens himself for the coming court battle for his freedom. Hero and villains meet for a final confrontation on the water and the lake is as moody and chancy as any of them. I like the idea of contrasting the beautiful, dangerous lake and the man who seeks comfort battling the waves. Hidden enemies are wrecking his life. To defeat them he needs to compete, to go deep inside and pull out  strengths he didn’t know he had.

Editing the Kitchen 2

The kitchen is tidy. Dishwasher and new cupboards are in, 1930s sink is out. Now, what about the novel? Amazed and dismayed to see it is over a year since I touched it. Thirteen months, 25 days and 15 hours to be precise. Fellow procrastinators look no further. This has to be the worst case. Almost done, I thought, 13 months, 25 days and 15 hours ago. But family situations interrupted…

That’s my excuse. What’s your excuse for:
– tanking the novel,

Kitchen renovation

Winter white kitchen works in summer too


– ‘forgetting’ to go to the gym,

– or to change your diet, your hair, your home

– or to mend fences with family and friends

– or look for a better job?

13 months, 25 days, 15 hours and thirty minutes. I’m done with excuses. What about you?