Friday, May 27, 2016

Publishing is Personal - by Manning Wolfe

Hello, folks! 

Today I'm pleased to welcome author Manning Wolfe, who will talk to us about book launches. Ms. Wolfe is the author of DOLLAR SIGNS: TEXAS LADY LAWYER VS. BOOTS KING.

"Dollar Signs" is the first installment in a new female-driven legal thriller/suspense series, and while Manning's stories are fiction, they are largely inspired by her work as an attorney in Texas. She describes her book as a cross between John Grisham and Janet Evanovich with a salting of Candace Bushnell.
Amazon -'s a bit about it! 
Merit Bridges, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas, works hard, drinks too much wine, and sleeps with younger men. When Merit goes after a shady corporation threatening her client, she encounters hired gun Boots King. His charge is simple, “Stop her!” Merit and her team – including Betty, a mothering office manager with a bad-ass attitude – struggle to stay alive, while they navigate a labyrinth of legal issues, and prove once again that you don’t mess with a Texas lady lawyer.
And now, without further ado, please welcome Ms. Wolfe to MB4. We love to spark discussions from writers and readers, so please feel free to comment on this piece in the section below. Enjoy!

Aaron Paul Lazar

Publishing is Personal - by Manning Wolfe

I was recently at a conference where one of the other speakers, an author with her first book out, said she doesn’t blog. She said she put out a monthly newsletter, but she didn’t like blogging so she doesn’t do it.  OMG, radical rebellion – she doesn’t blog! What happened to the rules? One must blog, one must run Facebook ads, one must Tweet!

I am well into the process of launching my first legal thriller, and as any newly published author knows, there is more to do than can be done. No matter how large the staff or how many contract vendors one engages, every opportunity cannot be mined. There is also more available than most can pay for. How does a newbie in the publishing world decide which avenues to explore and which to leave for the next author or the next book? How does a writer new or experienced select the marketing items where they can wisely spend their time and money?

I went through my process by trial and error, at first slinging mud to see what would stick. Early on, I realized that I was going to drop from exhaustion and never have time to finish the next book. Two major things came to the fore that helped me to narrow my focus and discover my personal path to publishing.

First, I hired an expert who kept up with the latest trends, and second, I started paying attention to what I enjoyed in the process. This sounds simplistic, just hire an expert and do what you like – but it’s not that easy.

With regard to the expert, I began my pre-launch process with an enthusiastic, but inexperienced advisor who cost a third as much as my current advisors, but who thought that every idea was a great idea. I followed this enthusiasm for a time, ordering promotional items, buying advertising, and wasting time on things that sold no books, got me little exposure, and drained my energy and my bank account. When I began working with a new publicist, I found that just by nature of the contract process, we explored what was important to me, what would be emphasized, and the strengths that both the advisor and I had that supported my launch. When we executed the contract, we followed a plan we had laid out in advance, without adding new tasks every time we saw a shiny new distraction.

Ok, you may say, “I’m on a budget or I’ve decided to do everything myself.” Same here for part of my campaign. Next, I evaluated each of my virtual staff members and re-assessed my ability to monitor and manage them.  For the things I was keeping in house, I broke the plan into parts and looked at each one individually. I had a mental talk with the part of me that wears the publicist hat, then put on the social media hat, etc. until I went through each member of my internal and virtual team to assess what was working and what was not. I thought about what I or the consultant was good at in each department and set limits based on my honest response to that assessment.

Second, I looked at the tasks I hated doing and either delegated them to someone else or eliminated them from the publishing plan. My personal process brought me to a few conclusions. For example, I love to cook and have a recipe included as part of the story in each of the Texas Lady Lawyer novels, so I did a free Cookbook of Southern Recipes that I give to readers in exchange for subscribing to my mailing list. I also included wine in DOLLAR SIGNS as a part of the plot, so I partnered with wineries for book signings and paired books and wine in my newsletter to promote other authors. These items might be time consuming and feel like work to others, for me it’s play. Next, I looked at social media. I originally thought that Twitter was the place for me, but through the process, I realized I could make a more personal connection on Facebook and chose that method to interact. I designed memes of the best quotes about my book and put those up in a rotation so that I always had someone else praising my novel.

These realizations led me to the point of doing the things that fit my personality best. I began to make genuine connections with winery owners, other authors, and readers with similar interests. I found that when I signed books in another town, I found readers through these mutual interests in addition to reading.

I prepared a presentation entitled Legal Issues For Authors that I use to give a free talk to any writer’s groups that request it. (A similar talk could be given on lighthouses, childcare, ghosts, etc.) The presentation allows me to talk about a subject in which I specialize – law, and combine it with an area that I love – writing. It allows me to make a personal connection with other authors who are also readers, and allows me to feel I am giving something to my community.

All of these time consuming activities, and many others too numerous to mention here, feel less like chores and more like play because they suit my personality and allow me to show my strengths. They also eliminate the black box syndrome where all the information goes in mixes around and comes out the other end in a mysterious fashion. I can actually see the target with this new method and assess whether I hit the bullseye or fall short.

And, to answer your inevitable question, yes, I do blog.  But, I blog about things that interest me – travel, photography, cooking, what’s going on in my real life. Not only does it follow my internal compass, but it provides a more organic and satisfying way to move through the publishing day.

Manning Wolfe is an author and attorney residing in Austin, Texas. She writes cinematic-style, smart, fast-paced thrillers with a salting of Texas bullshit. The first book in her series featuring Austin Lawyer Merit Bridges, is “Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer vs Boots King.” A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law, Manning’s experience has given her a voyeur’s peek into some shady characters’ lives and a front row seat to watch the good people who stand against them. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Writers blog and blogs of writers

Writers are still blogging. There is no question about it. Many other career-minded individuals have fled the blogosphere, but not writers.

So if the matter is not, are writers blogging, but rather, what are writers blogging, then let's look at that.

In my opinion, writers always have a lot to say about blogging. Here is a short list:

1. Writers write about writing
2. Writers write about their stories, books, poems, etc.
3. Writers write about what jazzes them (might be political, religious, etc.)
4. Writers write about books they are reading
5. Writers write about the places they travel to

I think that reading a writer's blog is the most fun of my entire day. (I am the WRITER GROUPIE, remember?) The reason? I always learn something from a writer's blog.

The thing is, so many writers use their blog to allow readers into their world. They blog like it is a big electronic diary. That's great, but sometimes, we do not want to know what you had for dinner and how many times your dog tried to bite the UPS guy.

Sometimes your readers WANT GOOD STUFF!!

Yes, we are selfish. We want food for our own life. Sorry, writers.

So here is a short list of some good food for writers to use on their blog to feed their readers.

1. When writing about craft, give us good titles. Sometimes we think we are getting one sort of post but end up getting another and if we are not writers-well, we usually hit the exit rather quickly.

2. Posts about your books need to be given warnings beforehand. Let us know in advance that you are going to be posting up the buy links, excerpts, etc. before you actually post them. Some of us want to BUY that book and so we don't want to miss any SALES!

3. Finally, if you are a writer, but you only have reviews of books, interviews with writers, and info about book blog tours for other writers, we may never find out the thing you want us to know--info about YOUR WORK. So mix it up. Give us a whole week once in a while of stuff about YOU instead of somebody else. (I do not follow book bloggers but I do visit them occasionally, so that should tell you something)

In conclusion, i.e. getting off my soapbox, I hope you will check out some exciting things coming to my blog in the near future...including some sort book tour stuff I am involved in. Fun June ahead!

Friday, May 13, 2016

New book birthday!

Hey everyone! A special post from me...I have a new book out! It's the second one in the Shannon Wallace Mysteries. It's called Yew to a Kill and you can get it on preorder here Up for pre-order! And the first book in the series is in a giveaway at my blog Kim Smith, Author

I hope you will come and play along with me!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What is the latest and happy May!

Good day Murderers! Welcome to another Thursday in May. Well, actually...the FIRST Thursday in May! Ha! And this month I will be releasing the second book in the Shannon Wallace Mystery series. I have Mother's Day, May 8 slated.

If you are not on my email list at Kim Smith, author you should be! You will be the first to know the NAME of the book and the first to get the COVER!

By the way...excerpt coming soon!

Before you get the 2nd book need to get the FIRST one!

DO that by clicking on the link cover below.

Happy Reading, yall!

What is on your summer reading list? I have just finished up three books and am almost finished with the fourth. I am right on track for my reading goal this year. You can see what I have been reading here

I hope you will consider reading something by our little troop her on MB4. We love you guys!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why Special Operators make Kickass Heroes

 Anna del Mar

 I’m a huge admirer of our special operation guys. I think they’re the best of the world. My years as a Navy wife taught me a lot about the professional and private sides of this breed of extraordinary warriors. In form and character, I find special operators perfectly suited to be the focal point and the primary halves of my romances. In my world, brawn + brain = sizzling sexy.
Special operators have the starring roles in my new Wounded Warrior series, a collection of hot, smart romances about strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, kickass, military heroes who challenge their limits to protect the women they love. In The Asset, the series’ first novel, we meet Ash Hunter, a Navy SEAL wounded in Afghanistan who’s struggling to overcome his injuries when he finds himself staring down the barrel of Lia Stuart’s loaded shotgun.
Lia is a fugitive, hiding, desperately trying to escape her terrifying past. She may not be a SEAL and she’s definitively keeping secrets, but Ash recognizes her for who she really is: a fighter and a survivor, the kind, caring, passionate woman he could love, if only she wasn’t so afraid to let him. When she risks her cover to help him, Ash’s committed to a new mission. He’s got the skills to help Lia defeat her enemies. He’s got the training. And he will lay down his life to save her.
Brawn, check. Brains + skills + loyalty + resilience + determination, double-check. Lust, passion and sex, Triple check. Caring? Done deal. This is the moment when we fall in love with Ash Hunter, the reason why special operators make kickass heroes.

 Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. She is the author of The Asset (Carina Press), the first novel of her Wounded Warrior series and three other novels scheduled for release during 2016.

A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida .