Cover Reveal – Border Pieces

The new cover has been revealed for the first book in the Morgan Winfeld series, from author Pam Robertson. The book was released in October 2018 and ranked in the top 50 for mysteries on Amazon (not an easy feat)! Now with a hot new cover, people browsing the bookshelves (virtual and otherwise) will be swept to the inside pages.

BORDER PIECES – A MORGAN WINFELD NOVELLA is available on Amazon, and part of the Amazon Prime program, plus it’s been released as a part of the Kindle Unlimited package for a limited time. A limited supply is available from the author, too.

Cover of Border Pieces

About the book:

Morgan Winfeld continues to work as a spy in her 40s even though she could retire and write a book all about her adventures. She likes the work, especially since it helps her escape her past while paying enough to keep her in Scotch in her expensive Halifax apartment.

She’s not one of those movie style spies in tight pants and four inch heels. She’s smart, an expert shooter, and has great intuition. She also has no intention of getting killed, despite how hard it is to be a spy who crosses borders and pushes boundaries these days.

When Morgan picks Jake up at the airport the sparks fly, and bullets soon follow. There’s little downtime for the pair as they head to Alberta’s oilfields, but there is some serious trouble. Morgan is unprepared for some of it, from doing rehab in a small clinic in Ireland, to figuring out what’s behind her weird dreams, and trying to save the world, one adventure at a time.

To keep up with Morgan’s adventures and this dynamite blog, be sure and sign up for Pam’s newsletters or follow her author page on Amazon.

About Pam:

Pam Robertson has worked as a teacher, soldier, and celebrity chutney chef. She gets her kicks writing about fearless characters, some with supernatural tendencies, despite her own trepidation about walking through the woods in the dark. Pam has had short stories, several chapters in best-selling self help books, magazine articles, and a series of three journals published. If she disappears from the internet occasionally, it’s probably because she is making a mess of the kitchen, or working on a large number of partially completed quilting projects. She still likes to eat popcorn for supper once in a while.

Cover design created by Let’s Get Booked.

Sponsorship for Writers

Think about sponsorship before you finish your book. Lots of companies are willing and able to sponsor authors, though many of them never get asked. Before you invite someone to sponsor you, get clear on what you can offer them in return, and include that in your request. When narrowing down potential sponsors, make sure you can demonstrate how your target audience matches theirs.

Sponsorship is about gathering support to lead to greater sales than you could achieve on your own, and it can be a great way for authors to get their book or information product out to the public. By accepting to sponsorship, you the author become a marketing tool for the sponsoring organization. Look at all the ways you can advance their efforts and not just your own. Know their problem, and then solve it.

If you are not sure who to approach, here are a few starters:

  • Make a list of the things about the writing business you don’t know (accounting, website design, computer backups, cover design, etc.).
  • Make a list of businesses you are currently doing business with (all of them).
  • Make a list of your dream sponsors.
  • Research brands and businesses that already sponsor others. Approach them, or their competitors.

You won’t know if someone will sponsor you unless you ask them first, and the worst thing they can do is say no. Remember, they are more likely to say yes if you have a great value proposition for them. Make sure your presentation is clear on how you help resolve their pain, and be realistic about it. A new author promising to bring more foot traffic into a store just because they have a good book isn’t realistic. But, an author who can also sing or play guitar could commit to hosting interactive events at the local library. A military writer could host Q & As at the local military museum or legion. Writers of pet stories can host launches and events alongside with training experts at pet stores. There are lots of options.

Look at the success stories – and sob stories – of crowdsourcing. There are really creative ways of acknowledging sponsors, and you’ll probably get some great ideas. You might consider crowdsourcing for your book, as it has been successfully done, but again, you’ll want to build a marketing plan around it and see what the best approach is for your particular book.

When you’re planning to work with sponsors, you’re approaching your book as a business, and that’s the way to effectively monetize it.

Although I haven’t got anyone sponsoring me at the moment, I have had several businesses do so in the past, and currently I am sponsoring Quilts of Valour – Canada Society through my book, Border Pieces. Are you ready to start asking for sponsorships? Let me know how it goes, and reach out if you are looking for help on how to set them up.

Expert Advice for Writers Who Want to Publish

What does it take to get your book to high levels of success? How do you know what marketing activities to jump into, and what could just be draining your time and emptying your bank account? The book business keeps changing and astute writers know they have to change along with it if they are going to sell more than the average – which is somewhere between 40 and 200 books. 

I have had my work published traditionally in fiction and non-fiction, in magazines, and I worked for 15 years as an instructional designer and technical writer. I’ve seen publishing from several different angles, and have had varying measures of success that are a direct result of my own efforts. Whatever route you take you’ll need to get published you need become a master at marketing. Most authors love to write but many of them admit they cannot sell or don’t like marketing. If you want your book to be successful, my suggestion to you is to embrace marketing. If you do, you’ll get ahead of 90 percent of the writers out there. 

Today, you absolutely must create a platform. It doesn’t matter that James Patterson and Stephen King and got popular without the things we now say are a necessary part of a platform. They were traditionally published and able to leverage old fashioned book promotions, but even they are on board with the newer methods. They speak on stages (sometimes together), they teach master classes online (which is just a series of recorded presentations), and they keep themselves in the public eye by continuing to publish great books. 

Your platform has to include social media, and a website. Before you start building your online presence, you’ll need to invest some time in learning how these things work and if you’ve blown it, you won’t have impact and you could but you can still go back and fix things up. Learn how to use the platforms effectively, how to engage your followers, and try to ignore the trolls. If you can find creative ways that work for you to become a champion for others, you’ll avoid coming across as self serving, and have the added benefit of helping out a cause. This is another thing that doesn’t just feel good, but helps you get  ahead of the others. 

One final piece of advice (though I could go on for ages here), is to make sure you have a good book cover. (My cover for Border Pieces was designed by Let’s Get Booked.) You don’t have to spend a million dollars on it, and you can learn to do them yourself, but whatever you do make sure the cover is something that will help sell your book. Usually, this equates to spending some money on it whether you’re looking at paying for pictures, a font, or help with layout. I’ve been known to produce a book and then change covers later to stir up new demand, or to help tie a book into a series, and you can do that too. Just make sure the cover works for you so people will be encouraged to pick up the book and flip it open, whether it’s a paper or digital copy.  

What’s the best advice you’ve heard?

Don’t Poke Your Own Eye Out

Three things you need to do to get better as a writer: 

1. Write more than you think you need to. Write a lot. Write in the mode you are most comfortable with (I write on a computer). 

2. Read. I have a hard time understanding writers who aren’t also readers. I’m sorry if that offends you. I’ve tried, and I just don’t get it. Words are your lifeblood and you need to experience them from every angle. I do get it that while you are in the intense parts of writing your own book you may not want to distract yourself with a new novel, but you MUST be a reader if you are going to be a successful writer. When you read you get a sense of how language works in the outside world, not just in your head. You experience different points of view, you feel importance of pacing, and you see the value of editing. 

You also get smarter about all kinds of things when you read. Hard concepts and simple things, like how to use point of view, what to do with a dangling participle, and how to use the word “seen”.

3. Be open to feedback. We usually say you shouldn’t ask your parents or anyone who loves you to critique your work because they won’t be honest. The people who love you want to shore you up, not knock you down and they may not be able to give you honest feedback. Think about who you ask for a critique – a member of a writing group, a coach, or editor. Don’t ask for feedback everyday, or you’ll stop wanting to get up in the morning, but seek feedback like an apprentice carpenter, or a piano student, or someone learning how to drive. 

A lot of people who will happily critique books are great at pointing out flaws. This is helpful because we don’t want weak points in our work, but those same people may not be able to tell you how to fix the problems you create. Deal with it. Though you are looking for someone with both skills, you may never find them. The first is an editor. The second is a teacher.

When you start writing you’re either going to be a writer who thinks everything you create is amazing, or the extreme opposite, you’ll feel like it’s all awful. At the beginning of your writing career, you can rest assured that it probably is pretty bad, especially if you’re not a big reader. Whether you are writing non-fiction, contemporary fiction, supernatural and paranormal, or a 900-page textbook it doesn’t matter. Read more, and you’ll write better. Don’t poke yourself in the eye: deal with this reality to get better. 

Do you agree about the importance of reading presented here? What about the others? 

Get Out from Under the Covers – Help Your Local Library

The sea is nothing but a library of all the tears in history.  Lemony Snicket 

There are lots of ways to work with your local library and help them while helping your books. Libraries are changing and becoming community hubs rather than strictly places to borrow books and music. Connect with libraries in your area, including all varieties that are a good fit for your book: public libraries, school libraries, universities, colleges, businesses…there are plenty of libraries around, and they need lots of support to continue to be viable in lots of cases. 

  • Gift your library with a copy of your books, audio files, etc. 
  • Submit a newsletter article to your local library to include in their newsletter. 
  • Provide bookmarks or printed bag stuffers about your book that can be slipped into books as they are being checked out. 
  • Pay for an ad on your library’s website. 
  • Work with the library to host a book signing or presentation about your book. 
  • Take pictures of your book at the library and share them on social media. 
  • Share events and announcements from the library that aren’t about your book on your social media to show your support for them.  
  • Ask if you can do a presentation for the Library’s book club, and offer to include your book in their book club as a reading choice. 

What other ideas do you have for supporting libraries? 

 

 

Border Pieces is Ready!

I’m excited to announce that the little novella that grew from an initial 10,000 word weekend into a 57,000 word proper story is ready! 

While not every story of worthy of publishing, Morgan Winfeld’s stories are written for people who want some adventure, a feisty spy to get to know, and of course plenty more! 

Here are a few excerpts from the book. It was published October 30 as an eBook and in paperback, via Amazon. 

“She had been well briefed about the agent she was picking up at the Halifax airport, though Morgan had met him two years previously at a conference. She remembered him because he stuck out like a sore thumb among the security professionals and former spies that were there. She was expecting a textbook tall, dark, handsome fellow in his early forties, with well defined features and stunning green eyes. Not that the briefing said his eyes were stunning specifically, but in her memory, they were sure notable. He was just off another assignment and his hair would be cropped short to complement his military uniform, which would make him easy to spot.”

And a little later…

“Over dessert and coffee, they worked out the details of their fake relationship and cover stories for work. Morgan found the intensity of much of the conversation awkward after the kissing at the airport. She had to remind herself to tend to the job more than once.”

On the job…

“There was no need for more conversation. They both knew what needed to be done. She was grateful for her boots in getting over the thin layer of ice and snow that was in the shade of the cabin. She attached the silencer onto her handgun as she moved, and stuck to the shadows.

The assassin wasn’t sneaking at all. He was headed right toward the row of cabins as if he belonged there. Jake adopted an equally bold approach as he stepped off the porch.

“Hey mate, don’t s’pose you’ve got a light? Me and the missus want to light a fire,” he said in a perfect Australian accent.

Morgan saw the assassin raise a medium length rifle under his coat, preparing to shoot from the hip to take Jake down.

“Hey, don’t be an asshole,” she heard from Jake, and then a thump…”

Get Ready to Meet the Media

It’s tough planning for news and breakfast television broadcasts today, especially if you happen to be outside of a major metropolitan area. The few programs available repeat stories from major networks, offer sports coverage, a few lifestyle spots, but you’ve probably seen how little local content there is. This is where you come in! Approaching smaller media outlets and local journalists can get you a lot further than going straight to the big guys. For a lot of writers, sales is scary but a news appearance is enough to make them change careers. Be open to learning instead of afraid, and you can be successful working with the media in no time, and leverage what you learn to help build your author platform.

Here are some do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t beg a producer or journalist for an interview. It lessens the value of what you are offering. Be enthusiastic and approach it with your practiced sales pitch. Make sure you anticipate the questions they may ask, and be ready to answer them in a way that furthers your cause while also helping them to do their job easily.
  • Don’t assume there will be hair and makeup artists on site. Many journalists look after that (or at least most of it) themselves. Be stage ready, and make sure you look your best when you arrive at the interview.
  • Ask a few questions about the set up and what you should wear ahead of time. If you will be involved in video recording for TV or YouTube, avoid stripes, loud prints, and don’t wear green if you’ll be appearing in front of a green screen backdrop.
  • Don’t be difficult or make it sound like you are too busy or popular to complete an interview. They could find someone else.

Do’s

  • Be flexible! Prepare to change your schedule to accommodate a high profile guest or an emergency.
  • Accept the reality that a news question cannot wait until the end of your day to ask you about a hot topic or breaking news item.
  • Be proactive. If you have expertise on a topic that’s pertinent, make sure you are prepared to speak about it. If you are an expert on career transitions, and there is a breaking news story about ageism in the news then you can quickly pitch the media to interview you about the topic. Make sure you share a specific perspective in your pitch and the interview to help with your credibility.
  • Take some media skills training, including videography. It’s a great way to see how you look on screen, and to make adjustments before it really counts to present yourself at your best.
  • Research the journalist that you will be speaking with so you can engage them. There’s lots of information online, and you may have been to the same school, have a shared interest, or be involved in related causes. This will help them connect with you and remember you. You could also use a well-connected publicist who will help with these elements.
  • Remember to look at the host or reporter, not at the camera.

A strong media and public relations strategy can boost your author platform to higher levels of success than you might think. Learn to be effective and make the most of it. In addition to understanding your local news cycle, stations, and papers, remember to include your local media members to attend (make sure you give them plenty of notice and also provide a courtesy reminder). They often love coming to interesting places, and supporting local causes and success stories (in addition to pie in the face moments, of course).

The location of your launch events matters, and interesting places will generate more interest by the media. If your book is about aircraft, ask to launch at an airplane museum. If it’s a war story, get hold of the local legion. Children’s books can have launches in all kinds of interesting places, including zoos, aquariums, or a local sports club. Travel books can be launched in related restaurants (travels across Mexico launched at a Mexican restaurant). Get creative! You don’t have to introduce the book and provide a reading. You can talk about your cause, raise awareness for something the venue is involved with, create a panel with other authors or experts, share insights or tips, sign books for the bookstore.

Best of luck to you!

Facebook
Twitter20
LinkedIn2k
Instagram1k