Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What Building Business Lunches Have to do With Virtual Book Tours

I usually hate thunderstorms. Thunderstorms means computer goes off and I'm stuck here, twirling around in my computer chair and staring off into space.

While staring off into space, I thought I'd clean off the file cabinet I have here beside me that acts like a desk and in which held an odd assortment of clutter, papers and whatnot, and it is where I spied a friend's book that I had been meaning to read so that I could give her a review.

The book is called THE ART OF THE BUSINESS LUNCH and my friend's name is Robin Jay. Fantastic woman, witty and really a pleasure to know. I had procrastinated reading this book simply because reading meant no working on tours or anything else computer-related, so it sat on my filing cabinet for weeks. It stared at me, called my name of which I turned a deaf ear, but tonight, I heard my name called so I opened the book and started reading.

The book is about how to build better relationships with clients through business lunches. Something I really didn't think would pertain to an over the hill chick who does all her business transactions online. I have to admit, I've never even had a business lunch but I always wondered what those guys and gals in suits were talking about as there was obviously a business lunch going on.

As I have gotten to the second chapter, I realized what a gold mine of information is in this book. Robin's philosophies of how to build better business lunches can pertain to tour coordinators as well!

As every paragraph was devoured, I found myself relating her words to my own life and I have to admit, she's a real smart chick. But the real eye-opener was a paragraph in the first chapter which dealt with businesses in general and what business owners can do to find out what their customers want so that they can expand their business to suit them. Happy customers mean repeat customers and customers who will tell other customers.

I often wonder how small businesses did it. I hear there are services out there for small businesses - or any type of business - that will help you learn what your customers want so that you can provide it for them.

I then started wondering...what do my customers want? What do the authors want out of these virtual book tours? The first thing that came to mind was that they wanted sales. I had someone email me about my tours recently and he asked me how do my virtual book tours relate to sales?

I told him that my mission is not to sell books. My mission is to make the author available to make those sales. I hope he understood the meaning. It's like a machine. If all the parts are in tip-top shape, the machine works. If any of its parts do not work, that machine may not perform 100% or at all. By teaching these authors what it takes to keep that machine working, and they do what I tell them to do, that machine is going to perform 100%.

Ask any of them. These tours involve a lot of interviews and writing guest posts. They barely have time to work on their books with the tour preparations, but once they have done their part and the show begins, they are in a better position to make those sales because of it.

Robin's book is an eye-opener. I was thinking it was going to be on a subject that didn't apply to me. Oh, was I wrong. I will be giving it an official review when I'm done, but so far, this book is a perfect must for even small business entrepreneurs! If you want to visit Robin's website to learn more about this dynamic woman, visit http://www.robinjay.com/. Tell her her mean nasty tour coordinator sent ya!
BTW, Robin will be touring again in November. If you'd like to host her for an interview on your blog, email me at thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com.

Dang, here come the thunderstorms again! Back to reading!

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Virtual Book Tour CEO Interviewed at Blogcritics

This time the tables are turned and I'm being interviewed! Mayra Calvani interviewed me a few days ago and asked me what goes on in the life of a busy virtual book tour coordinator and I think some of the answers just might surprise you.

Read it at Blogcritics at http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/08/18/122441.php!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Author Marilyn Meredith Chats with the Boomer Chick

I am honored to host Marilyn Meredith, author of JUDGMENT FIRE, on her virtual book tour here at Boomer Chick! Marilyn is the author of award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest, JUDGMENT FIRE, from Mundania Press, FRINGE BENEFITS, the third in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, with SMELL OF DEATH soon to follow. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC and Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in a small foothill community much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com/!

Boomer Chick: Welcome to Boomer Chick, Marilyn! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book, JUDMENT FIRE?

Marilyn: I'm the author of twenty published books and several that are waiting publication. I've been at this crazy business for nearly forty years--in the beginning I was the queen of rejections. Judgment Fire is the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Tempe investigates the murder of a battered wife, tries to help her disturbed teenaged son, participates in a starlight ceremony, repressed memories of her own troubled teen years come back, and she almost dies in a fire.

Boomer Chick: I love series! Can you tell us why you write series instead of single titles?

Marilyn: Once I started writing about Deputy Tempe Crabtree, her husband and her family, they became so real to me, I wanted to know what was going to happen to them next.

Boomer Chick: What did you teach at Writer’s Digest School?

Marilyn: I taught fiction writing which of course encompassed everything, grammar, plot, dialogue, setting, characters etc. I loved doing it. When Writers Digest switched to on-line classes I decided to put my energy into my own writing.

Boomer Chick: Can you tell us why mysteries are your preferred genre to write?

Marilyn: I love to read mysteries. I like them because the problems get resolved and usually the bad person gets caught in the end--something that doesn't always happen in real life. Since that's what I read mostly, writing them seems to come naturally.

Boomer Chick: Do you have any mystery writers who were your mentors?

Marilyn: No, though I have many that I greatly admire. I did have a writing mentor though who taught me so much. Willma Gore who is now in her 80s and still writing strong.

Boomer Chick: Have you ever thought about writing books outside of your genre and would you recommend it or not?

Marilyn: Actually my first two published books were family historical sagas. From there I went to a supernatural mystery, The Astral Gift. I've written Christian horror and psychological horror--Wishing Makes It So which has won several awards. I have another series too, The Rocky Bluff PD mystery series--the latest is Fringe Benefits.

Boomer Chick: What’s the story behind choosing Mundania Press to publish your book?

Marilyn: My series was first published by a small independent one woman house--sadly, she died. I wanted to find a publisher who was savvy about the publishing business and didn't worry about word count as much as whether or not the story was good. I tend to write short and most of the bigger publishers want more words than what most of novels tend to have. Mundania fit the bill. I'd met one of the publishers at a writers conference and he is very knowledgeable.

Boomer Chick: And, lastly, where can people buy your book?

Marilyn: It's available in the usual places, but if you go to my website: http://fictionforyou.com/ and click on the Buy Now button you can get an automatic 10% discount from the publisher if you buy there.

Boomer Chick: Thank you for coming, Marilyn, and good luck on the rest of your virtual book tour!

Marilyn: Thank you so much for having me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Interview with CJ Maxx, Author of IN THE ARMS OF A WARRIOR

I have special guest author, CJ Maxx, here with us today at Boomer Chick! CJ is the author of the sensuous romance IN THE ARMS OF A WARRIOR and will be here to talk about his book and give us insight into what it’s like to be a published author. If you would like to find out all about CJ and his book, IN THE ARMS OF A WARRIOR, visit http://www.cjmaxx.com/.

Boomer Chick: Welcome to Boomer Chick, CJ! Will you tell us a little about your book, IN THE ARMS OF A WARRIOR?

CJ: This book is about technical writer Susan Ambrose. Her grandfather wore a Green Beret, her father wore a Green Beret, her brother's a Ranger. She knows warriors. She's seen her father and brother go off to war. She's listened to war stories her whole life. She knows what it's like to be married to a soldier. She wants no part of it.

When she falls in love with engineer David Wilson it seems to be the answer to her prayers. They both work on the same program for a defense contractor. David, although attractive, is shy and inexperienced. Their romance hits several bumps before things smooth out. But, will their romance survive the cultural clash between this strong-willed Army brat and the domineering anti-war mother of her lover? What happens when the project has to field tested in a war zone? Can Susan deal with that? Has she fallen in love with a warrior? All this takes place against the background of our war with Radical Islam.

Boomer Chick: Did you find your publishing journey easy or hard in relation to getting your book published?

CJ: It was hard. I guess I have to admit this upfront. I'm a man. I used my very male name on the submission packages to the major romance publishing houses. The ones that did answer came back quick--no way, Jose. I think Ellora's Cave had the Canadian Air Force intercept it on the border and escort it back. If I had to do it again, I would have used my wife's name.

Boomer Chick: You’re published by one of the newer publishers, Mardi Gras Publishing. Why did you decide on Mardi Gras?

CJ: I knew that Mardi Gras was a start-up. I took a chance that they might take a chance on me. They did.

Boomer Chick: I’m always interested in why authors go with certain publishers. Did you try for a NY publisher first and find it almost difficult for a new author to get a contract with them or did you just prefer a small press to begin with?

CJ: I definitely tried New York first. I tried agents to no avail and then went directly to the publishers that accepted unagented manuscripts. I went to the smaller press after I gave up on the larger houses.

Boomer Chick: Can you tell us ways in which you’ve tried to get the word out about your book?

CJ: I've tried the recommended routes: Posting on the various groups to get the word out. Setting up a website. Setting up a myspace page. Joining Authorsden. Now I'm with Dorothy Thompson's Pump Up Your Book program.

Boomer Chick: What would you say is the hardest thing about being a published author?

CJ: It's not the end, you're not finished. You haven't made it yet. The hardest part is getting the word out about your book. I'm still learning about that.

Boomer Chick: What are the perks? What have you enjoyed about being a published author?

CJ: The satisfaction of finally being published is soul satisfying. Holding your book in your hand, drinking a toast to it. Being recognized as a published author.

Boomer Chick: If a writer who desired to be published walked up to you and said, “I want to be an author because I want to get rich,” what would you tell them?

CJ: I'm laughing right now. There are authors who do make a good living at writing. Everyone should have that goal but needs to be realistic about their chances. It's tough, you need to have that breakout novel. I've got one in my head. I need to get busy and put it down on paper.

Boomer Chick: What’s next for CJ Maxx?

CJ:I have an action/thriller war novel coming out on April 1st, '08 from Whiskey Creek Press. It's titled The Red Dragon. I have two erotic novellas out with a third being released on September 1st. I'm also near completion on another. These can also be seen on my website: http://www.cjmaxx.net/.

Boomer Chick: Thank you for coming, CJ, and happy sales to you!

CJ: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about publishing and my book.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

South Beach Chicas Catch Their Man Virtual Book Tour Promotional Video

I have got to show off a promotional video I just made for one of my clients, Caridad Pineiro, who is going out on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours in September. This is her promotional virtual book tour video I made to promote her tour next month and which will be an added feature to anyone who signs up for the gold package plan! I'm so excited...



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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

WAITING FOR THE BIG ONE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '07

I am privileged and honored to have PG Forte, author of WAITING FOR THE BIG ONE, here with us today at Boomer Chick! Waaahoo! Listen, this girl is the bomb, okay? Buy her book. Buy lots of her books!

Now, I've got to tell you her books aren't Mary Poppins! PG is...ahem...an erotic romance author which means she writes books with more racier themes, but even if you have to hide'em from your grandkids, don't miss out! Even boomer chicks need a little fun and excitement, don't they? Well, don't they?

Okay, so I've got PG here with us today and we're all about to find out what goes on in an erotic romance writer's life. I mean, do they hang out in men's locker rooms? Do they have wild sexual encounters like they write about? I won't tell...read my interview with the world reknown, Ms. PG Forte!

Boomer Chick: Welcome to Boomer Chick, PG! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book, Waiting for the Big One?

PG: Hi! And thanks for the welcome. It's great to be here. By the way, I love the header on your site. That's gotta be California, right? With all the lupines and poppies.

BOOMER CHICK: How'd you guess? Yeah, had to...I've got California in my blood! Where are you from, PG?

PG: I'm a transplanted Jersey girl but I've really made my home here on the West Coast. So far, all my books have been set here and Waiting for the Big One is no exception in that respect. It's set in Los Angeles, where I lived for about eight years. In fact, I 'gave' my heroine, Gabby, the apartment I first lived in when I moved out from the East Coast. That was such a magical time for me and I hope I've managed to incorporate a little of that feeling into the story.

BOOMER CHICK: I lived in LA, too! Well, actually, Burbank, but Burbank is a subdivision of LA, or something they told me like that when I was a kid. But, your background is simply fascinating, and that cover...PG, that cover is one of the best covers I've seen in a long time. How much input did you have into that?

PG: Oh, isn't it great? I'd love to take some of the credit for that but I can't. April Martinez is a genius and very wisely ignored anything I had to say.

No, actually, I'm kidding about that...not the genius part, but the rest of it. I was no help whatsoever. I had no idea what I wanted for the cover, other than I think I did suggest that maybe Gabby should strike a Yoga pose.

That was pretty much the extent of my contribution.

Boomer Chick: Well, it's simply beautiful. The book...how long did it take for you to write it?

PG: Well, it's a very short book. I wrote the bulk of it in less than a month. All except for the last big love scene, I think that took a whole month just by itself.

Boomer Chick: Why did you choose to write an erotic romance? Did it come easy or hard for you?

PG: Choose? No such thing. I got Shanghaied. My critique partners all got together and pushed. lol! I think they were counting on (in my daughter's words) my 'freakish compulsion to write books in series'. Once I wrote one I simply had to write another and another...now I'm hooked. And very grateful too because, despite my initial resistance, I love it.

However, I do find it works better for me to write shorter pieces in this genre. Too long and I think I'd start to bore myself. I try very hard to make sure the love scenes aren't repetitive. Which is one of the reasons I love writing for e-pubs, btw. For the most part, they don't place a lot of restrictions on their authors in terms of length or content and they don't force them to add more scenes or hotter scenes. Or, at least, they haven't done so with me.

Boomer Chick: Can you tell us a little bit about your publisher, Liquid Silver Books? Are they strictly ebooks or do they offer their authors print books, too?

PG: I really, really enjoy working with them. Everyone there is great to work with--fun, friendly, professional, consistently good at what they do. Also I think their books (including their covers) really live up to their promise of being 'distinctive, classy and hot'.

Liquid Silver is primarily an e-publisher. Although they do put some books into print, I really haven't explored that possibility yet. However, I certainly wouldn't object to having the LA Love Lessons released as a print anthology. *hint, hint*

Boomer Chick: One of the reasons why I buy ebooks is to get information. In other words, the ones I have bought have been strictly how to. What can you say to me to convince me to go outside of my box and purchase a book that isn’t a how to book?

PG: lol! I'm assuming you're not asking me why you should read fiction? I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to be swept away into someone else's world for a little while for a vicarious adventure. Is anyone's life so fantastically exciting that they don't ever wonder what it would be like if...(fill in the blanks).

Story-telling is right up there with singing and cave painting in terms of ancient creative arts. What child hasn't asked to hear a story before bedtime? I see no reason any of us should ever outgrow that!

As for why you'd want to read fiction in e-book format--there are so many reasons. First of all, they're so much more convenient. You can carry or store an entire library on your thumb drive. And if you don't want people to know that you're reading erotic romance while you're waiting on line at the post office, or seated at your desk at work--then e-books are definitely the way to go. Although, if your reaction to the content doesn't give you away, I'm probably not doing my job right!

As an author, the thing I like best about writing for e-pubs is that you can push the envelope in terms of creativity. It's still a new industry so there's more variety, less rules, less restrictions. It's very vibrant. What that means to the reader is that you have more choice.

Also, it's quicker. You write a book and, in most cases, you can see it released in a matter of months. Print books are contracted years in advance. And the time it takes to get your proposal accepted or rejected--that's also longer for print. If you're a reader who's caught up in a particular author's series, that means less lag-time for you.

Boomer Chick: Do you think it’s harder to promote an ebook?

PG: It shouldn't be, should it? I honestly do not understand why there's so much resistance to the format. My daughter just came into my office not more than five minutes ago to borrow my credit card because she was bored and had nothing to read. Five minutes--and now she has a new novel to entertain herself with and neither of us even had to leave the house.

However, one of the realities of being e-pubbed is that the market is smaller. So yes, I think it is harder in that respect.

We're still re-inventing the wheel. If your book's in print, it's easy for readers to browse by genre. They can go to the store, pick up a dozen books, read from the beginning, the end, somewhere in the middle (rather than being restricted to a single, selected excerpt) before they make their decision.

Of course, it's axiomatic that fiction is harder to promote than non-fiction anyway. So, it's doubly hard for e-pubbed fiction authors!

I think the answer is for us to be more personal in our approach to promotion. For example, I have my own Yahoo group: http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/pgforte/ where I keep in touch with my readers. It's great. I love it. I've 'met' readers and reviewers from all over the world.

I host impromptu contests on my group, give away prizes, answer questions. I even ask for input from my readers occasionally too, on things like which of my WIPs they think I should work on next or their opinions on various ideas or directions I might be contemplating.

So, wow, really long answers, huh?

Boomer Chick: LOL, I love it! I'm always interested in ways ebook authors promote since they don't have a "physical" book to do it with and that's all the more reason for ebook authors to learn how to promote online such as what you are doing with your virtual book tour. Tell me, do you plan to write strictly erotic romance of do you plan on venturing into other genres?

PG: For me, genre is really dictated by the story idea. I have lots of ideas currently in the works. Stop by my website http://www.pgforte.com/ and you'll see what I mean! I have paranormal erotic romance, historical paranormal erotic romance and contemporary erotic romances planned as well as several books that will probably turn out to be women's fiction or chick lit.

I also have an entire paranormal romantic suspense series that I'm hoping to re-release by the end of the year.

Boomer Chick: Interesting, really interesting! Well, time's run out but I really thank you for coming by Boomer Chick's abode on the net and good luck with the rest of your tour!

PG: Thank you . It's been fun chatting with you. Great questions!

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PG's virtual book tour is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a full-service online touring agency. You can visit their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Divine Caroline

I have found the neatest place to send your articles to. It's called Divine Caroline...very attractive website. If you'd like to read my article, visit http://www.divinecaroline.com/article/22198/32876.