“What’s Your Book About?”

WoOChickFlic

If you’re published you will get multiple opportunities to present your book pitch. Be ready. It’s inevitable and something any author desiring sales should compose, practice, and be ready to recite in an instant.

During my book sales and signings, I have people walk up to my booth, pick up a copy of one of my works. They’ll turn it over, peruse the back cover, flip quickly through the pages before asking, “What’s the book about?”

I doubt L. Frank Baum ever mentioned his Wizard Of Oz in any form was about two women trying to kill each other over shoes, but I admit the short, humorous statement grabbed my attention. And that’s what your book pitch should do, albeit not quite so short. But it should hook your potential readers and book purchasers. But how to do that?

Joel Friedlander has some very helpful advice on this subject. I’ve re-posted a portion but I encourage anyone to visit Joel’s post for more on constructing your book pitch. Here’s just a portion of what Joel has to say on the subject:

Imagine for a moment that you’ve hopped into an elevator on your way somewhere. You’re carrying the proof of your book that just arrived from the printer. A gentleman sharing the elevator notices your book and says, “Hey, that looks interesting. What’s it about?”

What’s your response? Do you fumble, start in one direction then go in another? Do you find yourself just getting started when the elevator reaches the floor where this fellow has to get off? Have you made the most of this opportunity?

As an author, you will be asked many times what your book is about. Sometimes these inquiries are idle elevator chatter, but sometimes you’ll be asked the question by people crucial to your book’s success.

At a trade show, for example, you might get asked the same question and have about the same amount of time to answer. Talking to a bookstore buyer falls into the same category.

Those first 30 seconds are critical.

Will your pitch draw people in, make them curious about your book, and let them know right away whether or not it’s for them?

Your book pitch has to accomplish a number of things at the same time, and do them quickly and efficiently.

It has to give a good idea of the book’s genre, main hook or distinctive angle and why it’s different, exciting, or ground-breaking in some way.

Consider that all this information must be delivered in 40 to 60 seconds, and you can see why crafting a great pitch is a bit of an art form.

The sole purpose of a pitch is to create interest in your book. It has to make people want to know more.

 

Learn more by visiting Joel’s post “Why Your Book Pitch Matters (Even If You’re Self-Published)” 

 

Creative Blogger Award

creative-blogger

A writer whose work I greatly admire nominated me for this award. As readers of this blog know, my creative pursuits run the gamut from painting and sculpting to poetry, short stories, and novels. I tend to take my time and linger over the written word, which is just another way of saying I’m not the fastest reader or writer on the block. In contrast, milliethomthe blogger who nominated me, is a frequent contributor to Word of the Week and Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. I’d hardly call her “aspiring” as she’s published two seriously excellent books already. I reviewed her first book Shadow of the Raven in April (see that here)  and am currently reading her second book Pit Of Vipers. Her books are available on Amazon.

So, with thanks to milliethom for honoring me this way, I’ll share five facts about myself, and then nominate 15 bloggers whose blogs I enjoy.

1. Like the blogger who nominated me, I’m no fan of television shows, especially those of the American variety. On the other hand, I have a DVD collection of  British mysteries. At the light end of the scale there’s the Lovejoy Mysteries. When I want to study plot development, characterization, etc. I watch Poirot with David Suchet, Miss Marple (both Joan Hickson and Geraldine McEwan), and the Midsomer Murders time and again. I also enjoy Foyle’s War—exceptionally well written with characters you can love, villains you can loathe, and strong stories set against the backdrop of historical WWII Britain.

2. I grew up in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and spent a lot of time out in the woods—even when I didn’t want to be there. That was certainly the case one frigid December day while hunting deer with my father and grandfather. We’d had no luck despite being on the stand for a chance to make a kill; my grandfather’s dogs had already run past chasing deer—likely as far as Oklahoma and who knows where else, but it wasn’t anywhere near us. Wet, cold, and hungry (a common state of affairs), we tried to get a fire started as the snow fell. We managed a few sparks, a lot of smoke, and eventually a few flames. We’d resigned ourselves to making camp without fire when my grandfather took a long pull from a jug of moonshine, and spat it over the tiny fire, sending blue flames roaring up into the air. Moonshine. White lightning, some call it, and with good reason. Hot beans in a can cooked over that fire tasted better that day than any other I’ve had since.

3. One of my favorite places in the world is the library. From the tiniest community library I’ve visited (saluting St. Paul, Arkansas, population 163 at the last census) to the great libraries of the Smithsonian Institution (2 million volumes and counting), I could happily spend my days lost among the books. One of my more memorable library experiences came when I spent all my life (okay, twelve months) at a remote air base 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I kept a list: 365 days, 350 books.

4. I come from a long line of storytellers and stone carvers. Visit the cemeteries around my hometown and you’ll see their work—tombstones expertly crafted by generations. As a young boy I walked past Cotner Monuments on a near-daily basis, and perhaps it was that which set me on a path of stone carving in my own way as part of my art career. I took up hammer and chisel to create garden decorations, mixed-media sculptures, and even some museum work.

5. I’m passing along my passion for books. My granddaughter loves libraries as much as I do, and she reads a book at least once a week (and often more). She’s got talent, too, and is already creating stories of her own.

Now For My Nominees:

  1. http://mctuggle.com
  2. https://nancyhartney.wordpress.com/
  3. http://ozarkmountainhiker.com/
  4. http://suddenlytheyalldied.com/
  5. https://jeanreinhardt.wordpress.com/
  6. http://dogmysteries.com
  7. https://bobbushell.wordpress.com/
  8. http://daveastoronliterature.com/
  9. https://terriblywrite.wordpress.com/
  10. http://robertokaji.com/
  11. https://esmeraldamac.wordpress.com/
  12. https://jeanneowensauthor.wordpress.com/
  13. https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/
  14. http://leannecolephotography.com/
  15. http://mythsofthemirror.com/

For my fifteen nominees: If you wish to participate in this exercise (it is optional) here are the guidelines:

  1. Acknowledge and thank the blogger who nominated you with name and URL (that’s me)
  2. Disclose 5 facts about yourself
  3. Further nominate 15 bloggers

Visit milliethom’s post for additional information if needed. If I’ve nominated anyone whose blog is award-free, please accept my apologies in advance.

I enjoy each of the blogs I’ve nominated, and hope you have time to visit some or all of them!

Vikings! Run! (To Get Them Free This Week, That Is)

Author Millie Thom is offering her first book in the Sons of Kings trilogy Shadow of the Raven for free this week. I have read this book and really enjoyed it.

Here’s a book review I did of Shadow of the Raven.

Next week, she’ll offer her second in the Sons of Kings series, Pit of Vipers (which I am currently enjoying). Her books are a great read especially for those of us who enjoy historical fiction.

From Millie Thom’s website on the giveaways:

For anyone interested in getting free books on Amazon, today {June 11th, 2015} is the first of my five free days for ‘Shadow of the Raven‘, Book One of my Viking trilogy.

Shadow of the Raven (Medium)

Next week June 18 – 22 (Thursday – Monday) the second book of my trilogy, Pit of Vipers, will also be free. 

Pit of Vipers Final (Medium)

 

 

Pow! Onomatopoeia

Ding, ding, ding!

Get ready as we blow the lid off this latest blog post. Boom!

Here it comes: onomatopoeia.

It’s no secret I enjoy history, humor, and writing. The cartoon below encompasses some of each of those interests.

Have you sprinkled onomatopoeia in your writing lately?

Onomano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onomatopoeia  [on-uh-mat-uhpeeuh]

noun

  1. the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk, or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent.
  2. a word so formed.
  3. the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words for rhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect.

Origin of onomatopoeia:  Late Latin/Greek

< Greek onomatopoiía making of words = onomato- (combining form of ónoma name ) + poi- (stem of poieîn to make; see poet ) + -ia –ia>    (source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/onomatopoeia)

Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Bells is an interesting example of the use of onomatopoeia.

 

Book Review: Silent Faces, Painted Ghosts

silentfacespaintedghosts

“Silent Faces, Painted Ghosts” by author Kathy Shuker is her second novel (mystery suspense genre) and a wonderful read!

The protagonist is Terri, an art curator who leaves London and an old boyfriend-turned-stalker.

She takes a live-in job with a famous, difficult to work with portrait painter and his family in Provence, France. As she digs through paintings and journals to prepare for the retrospective art exhibit of her employer, she discovers there may be more to her current job, the portrait artist and his family than first thought. That’s an understatement! Secrets and rumors of secrets abound.

The setting is gorgeous, the descriptions vivid and memorable.

Shuker’s writing style is strong and the story is well constructed. She methodically weaves the intricate suspense slowly and deliciously, tantalizing the reader as the story unfolds, revealing clue after clue, mystery after mystery right up until the surprising, unexpected end.

I highly recommend “Silent Faces, Painted Ghosts” and am eager to read the rest of Kathy Shuker’s work.

You may learn more about Kathy and her writing by visiting her website at http://www.kathyshuker.co.uk/

One Year Blog Anniversary

Artie "Jack" Cotner, England, one week prior to D-Day Invasion of Normandy

Artie “Jack” Cotner, England, one week prior to D-Day Invasion of Normandy

It seems appropriate to use this date as the first post to my new blog.

On this date in 1944, my father, Artie C. “Jack” Cotner was a radio-gunner on the famous “Dee-Feater”, a B-26 Marauder and part of the Allied Invasion Force at Normandy.

I have written of his experience on that day in a chapter of my book Storytellin’: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas explaining how, according to his Group’s Historical Record, my father was the only known enlisted man in the U.S. Army Air Corps to make two bombing runs over France that day.

Here’s a picture of his plane with D-Day Invasion Stripes on the wings.

DeeFeaterB26BomberWW2

“Dee-Feater” B26 Bomber Over England

 

8 Tips for Editing a Manuscript

Cindy's Notebook

A writer/author should make the manuscript the best it can be before sending it to the publisher.  This goes for both traditional published authors and for Indie authors.

How can you make it the best possible?

  • Proofread.
  • Proofread backwards.  Start with the last word of the book to the front.  This will help catch typos that Spell Check does not catch, such as “there” vs. “their.”
  • Have someone else proofread.  Another set of eyes will help catch things you may not.
  • Ask Beta Readers to read your work and give you feedback.
  • Try “Grammarly” at grammarly dot com.  It is free and boast “Grammarly makes you a better writer by finding and correcting up to 10x more mistakes than your word processor.”  Give it a try.  It can’t hurt.
  • If you can financially afford to do so, hire an editor.

If you cannot afford to hire an editor, read your…

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