Friday, August 30, 2013

Working the Marketing Plan – Local Independent Book Stores, by Scott Eder

copyright 2013, Scott Eder

With Knight of Flame coming out on October 15th, I turned the crank on my great wheel of marketing to the notch labeled—Local Independent Book Stores (LIBS). While a tremendous amount of work can be done online, there is no substitute for, or a peripheral device yet invented that replaces, a firm handshake, and that personal touch.

Building relationships is still important, still relevant, and a great way to garner support at your local independent book seller. It's not a one visit, wham, bam, buy my book, kind of deal. It can be, if your end goal is to see your book on their shelves; but, if you actually want the store personnel to keep you in mind and recommend your books to their customers, it takes a little more time and attention. I learned a lot during my first visit, and would like to share it with you.

The LIBS I targeted is touted as one of the biggest new and used book stores in Florida. They host quite a few author events, as evidenced by the huge array of signed book cover posters along the walls. These guys have been around a long, long time, founded in 1933 to be exact. I haven't been in a store like that in years. The arid smell—of old paper, dust, adventure, and wisdom—filled the place. I loved it.

Now, I've been in tons of bookstores before, but as a reader. This was my first sojourn with more on my mind than picking up the latest release from Brooks, Farland, Anderson, Owen, or several of my other favorites. So, my expectations were low. I wanted to go in, look around, introduce myself, ask how they made stocking decisions, buy a book (I didn't want to take up their time without giving something in return), and call it a successful recon mission with a plan to come back in a few weeks.

It didn't quite work out that way.

I struck up a conversation with one of the guys behind the desk. It only lasted a few minutes, but I got the chance to introduce myself, handed him my business card, and mentioned that I had a book coming out soon. He gave me the owner's card in return and suggested I give him a call. Done. Nothing major, but I was nice, made the initial contact, and gained the information I needed. Mission accomplished.

Free to peruse the shelves, I found the Fantasy section. Being an avid Fantasy guy, most of the other shelves, and there were shelves everywhere, appear grayed out to me anyway. While perusing the new releases, the gentleman I had spoken to, Roger (name changed to protect the innocent), walked over and picked up the conversation where we left off. We talked about some of the different authors, and then changed topics to cover art.

Roger appeared to be roughly my age, give or take, and he'd worked in the store since he was three, THREE, said he started in the comic book room. Based on his confident demeanor, and the comfortable, familiar way he talked about the authors that had held signings over the years, I got the impression he'd seen just about every book that had come out in the last thirty years worth seeing.

We discussed some of the old Frank Frazetta and Boris Valejo covers from the '80s, among other things. Then, in the midst of Roger bemoaning the trend of some Sci-Fi covers being too abstract, I offered to show him my cover art. I mean, what could it hurt? We were in the midst of the cover conversation and he seemed to know a lot about the topic. He said, "Uh, sure." Not overly enthused, but willing to take a peek. (He mentioned earlier that the owner of the store gets at least twenty calls a day from authors asking for him to stock their books. I bet he sees all kinds of covers, all the time. By his demeanor I assume that most aren't all that spectacular.)

So, I pulled my cover up on my cell phone. Did I mention that I love technology?  

Roger's eyes widened. His stance changed. He stared at the cover. "That's a really good cover." His voice sounded deeper, different than it was before the reveal. "You know, every book is judged by its cover. I don't care what anyone says. And yours is really good."

His demeanor changed. I felt he took me more seriously. That great conversation we were having before just took on a new level of subtext.

Still on the topic of cover art, he pulled me to another section in the store, explaining how one particular cover sold well. It was a serious military series with a rifle on the cover. Nothing else. It left no question as to what the story was about. He related that the publisher was concerned that the cover was too serious, and rebuffed some readers who were looking for an element of romance. But there was decidedly no romance in the series. At all. None. Still, they changed that cover, depicting an abstract human torso dressed in a nebulous uniform. It gave no clues as to what the story was about, and the artwork sucked (his words). Sales for that entire series tanked. Roger said that he practically had to force people to check it out. Once they did, though, the story sold the rest of the series. 

Since our relationship had evolved, and we were talking about a series of cover, I boldly took another step forward. I explained the plan for the changing covers in my four-book series. There are three consistent POV characters throughout my series to ground the reader. In each book, there is an additional POV character, typically one of the other members of the Knights Elementalis. I explained that each cover would showcase the face of that new POV character in the same style as my Knight of Flame cover. The next book features the Knight of Air.

Again, he paused for a moment, taking in the new information. Eyes wide, assessing, mulling over the possibilities, he said, "That sounds really cool. That could work well. Very distinctive."

I got the same impression as before, could even see it on his face.   

We talked about a few other things, moseying about the store. He kept track of the work going on around him, making sure the guys behind the counter could handle the steady flow of customers. When we got to the subject of local writers using recognizable settings in their work, I couldn't resist. I mean, he lobbed a big juicy pitch over the center of the plate, I had to swing for the fence.

"Hmm," I said. "Knight of Flame takes place here in the Tampa/St. Pete area. There's an epic battle atop the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and major events take place on the top floor of the Regions Bank building in downtown Tampa. I've got a strong mix of real and fantasy settings in the story."

He waited for me to continue.

"While the first book in the series is primarily local, the next book expands to the west coast, Canada, and Europe as the influence of the Gray Lord is felt on a more global scale. It escalates further from there until things wrap up in book four. My plan was to build a large story that would draw in readers all over the world."

He smiled and nodded as I spoke. "Sounds really good." That's when he told me the process to win over LIBS. I'll paraphrase.

1.     When you go into an independent book store, don't talk about the big retailers like Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It really doesn't matter to them how much you've sold through the other guys. Focus on the store at hand.
2.     Be nice. Roger called out a number of the authors on the wall, all exceedingly nice people. He mentioned a few others, no posters marking their presence, giving examples of how not to behave.

That's it. The key is to be nice. Got it. Roger that, er…uhm, Roger.
Business picked up in the store, so he excused himself. Not to belabor the issues, or to push my luck, I paid for my selections and left, exhilarated.

I've had a few days to mull this phenomenal adventure over, and I think there are more steps for a successful visit than Roger let on. I lucked out to some degree. I always try to be nice on general principal, and I have no past history with the big book dogs, so there was no way for me to cross the line there. Here's the process I came up with:

1.     Be Professional
a.     Plan the trip – Don't go in on a whim. Set the date and treat it like a business meeting.
b.     Look decent – Look the part. Be the protagonist in your own author success story.
c.     Leave a business card - A good looking, professional business card will enhance their perception of you, and leave a souvenir of your visit.
2.     Be Nice
a.     Courteous
b.     Respectful
c.     Watch language – treat the encounter like it's a professional business meeting.
d.     Get to the point – don't waste their time.

3.     Be Prepared – if you follow the first two points, especially number two, be prepared to take it to the next level. Create the opportunity to sell yourself and your work.
a.     Cover art – my awesome cover art was done by Brad Fraunfelter –
b.     Back cover copy
c.     Story pitch – you're not selling to an agent or editor, but you are trying to interest someone in your work.
d.     Anything else you might be able to use to tell your story

4.     If you have the means, buy a book – the LIBS guys and gals need to eat too, and your to-be-read pile can never be too large.

That's it. Simple, right? Now, go out and win over your LIBS.


Since he was a kid, Scott Eder wanted to be an author. Through the years, fantastic tales of nobility and strife, honor and chaos dominated his thoughts. After twenty years mired in the corporate machine, he broke free to bring those stories to life.

Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.

Knight of Flame Blurb

Fire. The most chaotic of the primal elements. When wielded properly by the Knight of Flame, it burns like the sun. Otherwise, it slowly consumes the Knight, burning away his control, driving him towards dark deeds.

Stationed in Tampa, FL, Develore Quinteele, sixth Knight of Flame, waits impatiently for the predicted emergence of the last Gray Lord, his Order's ancient enemy. Hampered by a centuries-old tragedy, Dev knows of only one way to control his elemental power—rage. It broils just below his surface, waiting for the slightest provocation to set it alight.

After a brutal attack by the Gray Lord's minions for which Dev is blamed, he's stripped of his freedom until he learns to control his violent impulses. With the help of his fellow Knights, can he balance his rage and unlock his true elemental potential to prevent Tampa's devastation?

Contact Info

Website –
Blog -
Twitter - @scotteder





Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cover reveal

I have a shiny new cover to show you too! It's for my latest romance short story, with Red Rose Publishing. It should be out soon.

Summer Sequel

It's under my pen name, but I have to promote it so, might as well be here!

Happy Thursday, Murderers!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A quick note - great sale today!

Hi, folks.

I promise this is the last of the promos for my new mystery - but I wanted to let you know that we are offering a special today at 99 cents.

My recent release, DON'T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU,  is consistantly being compared by reviewers to "Stand by Me" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." 

Talk about being humbled and honored! Wow! 

Today only: 99 cents! 

Consider gifting the book to a teen or young adult in your family, or buy it for yourself for the delicious chance to return to childhood. (Suitable for all ages teen - adult).

Have a wonderful weekend!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Tooting my own horn

I don't do this very often, but today I wanted to let everyone know *who didn't already!* that I have gotten a short story accepted into an anthology.

It will be in A Chimerical World: Tale of the Unseelie Court and my short story is The Treehouse. Should be out later this year from Seventh Star Press, edited by Scott M Sandridge.

I feel a little bit like a turncoat you guys, because for the last few pubs I have written nothing but fantasy. I know this is a suspense/thriller group, but if it helps, the fantasy is dark and has tense moments *Smile*.

Anyhow, I am very excited about this pub and looking forward to everyone's review once you get it!

Happy Thursday, all you Murderers.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't Let the Wind Catch You by Aaron P. Lazar

It is my very proud honor to present Aaron Lazar and his latest work. Please share this with your friends and do enter the giveaway at the bottom!!!


Please Join the facebook event and Promote it on your blogs

Release Day Facebook Event  8/15

Celebrating the Release of Don't Let The Wind Catch by Aaron Paul Lazar

Talk with Aaron and ask him questions about his book.

Aaron will be doing contests and giveaways throughout the event of free E-Books and Print Books Amazon of Don't Let The Wind Catch.


When young Gus LeGarde befriends a cranky old hermit in the woods who speaks to an Indian spirit, he wonders if the man is nuts. But when the ghostly Penni rattles tin cups, draws on dusty mirrors, and flips book pages, pestering him to find evidence to avenge her past, things change.

What Gus doesn’t understand is why his mother hates Tully, until his relentless investigation uncovers a hint of scandal about Tully and Gus’s grandfather, Marlowe Wright.

On horseback, Gus and his friends ride through woods overlooking Conesus Lake to Tully’s abandoned house, reportedly still infected with the Genesee Valley Fever from the 1700s. Unafraid, they enter and find shocking evidence that could rewrite history.

Can Gus convince his mother to forgive Tully? And will the proof he found free Penni’s spirit?

Gus summons courage beyond his years in this poignant and powerful telling of the summer of 1965.

  • Bridges the gap between YA and adult ala Harry Potter
  • “Suspenseful, satisfying, well-crafted, mood-capturing, for both adults and children.”
  • Will appeal to readers who crave adventure, who love horses, the sea, or the outdoors, and who may be curious/nostalgic about children’s lives in 1965.
  • Will appeal to teachers and parents who want to impart anti-bullying, anti-bigotry behavior; including compassion and acceptance in a thoughtful, sensitive manner.
  • Will appeal to mystery buffs who loved the award-winning Tremolo: cry of the loon featuring Gus LeGarde in a prequel to the series in 1964.
  • Showcases goodness, morality, understanding, acceptance, courage, persistence, and love.
  • Readers can forget today’s furious Internet-driven scene and maybe evoke a few of their own comforting childhood memories and adventures


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of three award-winning mystery series and more, Lazar enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming release from Twilight Times Books, SANCTUARY (2013).


·         Website

·         Blog  

·         Facebook Name:  AaronPaulLazar

·         Twitter Name   :  @aplazar

Giveaway code


·         Amazon   

·         Barnes and Noble  

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Choose a Virtual Tour Service Provider: My Reading Addiction by Christine Amsden

Hello, folks!

In our continuing series from award-winning author Christine Amsden, today we feature another review of an online book tour company. Thanks again to Christine for providing us with this valuable information! Please be sure to share your support for Christine's candid and open reporting here by checking out her website and commenting below.

Aaron Paul Lazar
copyright Christine Amsden, 2013


If there was one thing I learned during this book release it’s that persistence pays off. If you’re looking to put your book on the Internet, then there are thousands of bloggers you can reach. A few hundred here, a few hundred there, sooner or later it makes a real impact. That’s what I was thinking when I rehired Reading Addiction Book Tours to do a one-month tour of Cassie Scot in July 2013.

I hired this company for The Immortality Virus last summer and I have to confess, it didn’t do much at all. I scraped together a handful of sales over the course of the entire month, and that was after drastically (and temporarily) reducing the price to $0.99. But there were a lot of factors working against that tour, especially the fact that it took place more than a year after the release of the book. (Some reviewers were even confused by this fact and listed the release date as June 2012 instead of June 2011.) I thought that I could revive interest in the title because it had recently won awards, but that didn’t seem to be the case. (I should write an article about awards and what they do/don’t do for you sometime.)

Books are made or broken in the first few months after release. 

I’m not saying there’s nothing you can do to sell a book a year later. There is something — release another book. A better book. And do a better job of marketing it. I’ve sold more copies of The Immortality Virus this summer than I did the summer it was released!

There was one other problem with my Reading Addiction Tour of The Immortality Virus — wrong genre wrong audience. The Immortality Virus is pure scifi. I switched course dramatically to write the Cassie Scot series, which is urban fantasy/paranormal, mystery, and romance. I didn’t write it to play the market, but I think I managed to do just that. This is a story the market wants right now, and it is what Reading Addiction Book Tours does best.

If you go to My Reading Addiction’s packages page, you may notice something that struck me as important when I used them last month. Their biggest tours have a caveat:

*Available to Young Adult/New Adult and Paranormal Genres

Since I’ve used their services twice and one of those times I toured a science fiction novel, I feel comfortable saying that this is an important caveat. I got some nice reviews of The Immortality Virus from their bloggers, but I felt like most of them (and their readers) were more into the paranormal, especially with a romantic spin. To this day I’m not sure what the best source for scifi reviews is because I never found it. I happened to write a scifi book that got a lot of  ”I don’t normally read this genre but this was very good” comments. At the time I thought that would mean something to the people reading the reviews, but I’ve lost some of that naivete. I now believe that the people reading the reviews were more likely to go, “Hm. Well, if I’m ever in the mood for something different…” then put it on a to-read list that never gets read. To support that statement, I note that I have more “to reads” for The Immortality Virus on Goodreads than I do for Cassie Scot, but far, far more people have bought Cassie Scot.


Reading Addiction Book Tours are low cost. Their biggest tour with 40 stops and plenty of bells and whistles is only $200. I ended up using their standard tour — 20 stops, half reviews, which is $90. Since I was a repeat customer, I got a 10% discount. They have great repeat customer specials, special pricing for publishers touring multiple books, and they often have sales or coupons going on so keep an eye on that. Even without the discounts, though, they are inexpensive.


I believe Reading Addiction is a value if your book is in their blogger’s target reading interest. That is to say paranormal, romance, young adult, or new adult. I do not believe it is a value if you are writing science fiction. I’m not sure about other genres. But for their target genres you will get your book reviewed by engaging, enthusiastic bloggers.

Look and Feel

The only truly negative thing I have to say about Reading Addiction Book Tours is that their banner was blah.

They did make me a nice static page that remains active (click on the banner to see it). They also updated the blogger links so that after a blogger posted my review or spotlight, the link went directly to that post rather than the home page. This was a nice touch. 

Professionalism and Communication

Wonderful! Friendly, responsive, and on their game.

**It is worth noting that Reading Addiction Book Tours does not allow negative reviews during their tour. If a host really does not care for a book (i.e. would give it less than 3 stars), the host has the option of switching to promo only. They may post the review on their own after the tour is over.

Bottom Line

I recommend a Reading Addiction tour for paranormal, romance, young adult, or new adult book tours. I recommend them as part of a bigger effort, if your budget can handle it.

Check out Christine's newest book, here.


Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories.

Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lazar Summer Newsletter 2013

Hi, folks!

From the wonder of early morning summer walks in the Genesee Valley and an abundance of vegetables and fruits in the garden this year, it's been a very good summer. The grandkids have been over to swim in our little pool, we took a trip to Cape Cod for the first time in nine years, and everyone's been relatively healthy at home. In addition, I was honored to meet Mr. Warren Adler in NYC last month. (see below for details!)

As far as books go, I'm almost done with my twenty-first book. This one is a new style for me. It's a love story, a romantic suspense set on Cape Cod. If you enjoyed the romantic elements in the Tall Pines Mysteries, you might like THE SEACREST, coming this fall. I'll reveal the cover in the next newsletter. ;o)

I also finished the fourth book in the Tall Pines Mysteries, MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA. It won't be out for a little while, since we have to release book three first! SANCTUARY will be out next spring.

All of my books are now in audio book format, including the new writing books. You can listen to samples from all of them here. You might especially enjoy hearing my newest narrator, Mr. George Kuch. I've been told his voice is pure velvet!

If you have any questions about getting the books in any format, don't hesitate to ask.




Meeting Mr. Warren Adler - What an Honor!

I was astounded when I learned I'd won a contest entitled "What Reading Means to Me," sponsored by none other than the well-renowned Mr. Warren Adler, author of War of the Roses and many other best sellers. The prize was a two-day trip to NYC and lunch with Mr. Adler at the Century Association, a historical literary club. I had the most delightful time with Mr. Adler, and we connected on many levels, chatting for hours about books, life, and the industry. What made my day, literally, was when he called me a "real writer," not once, but twice. Talk about feeling validated... Aside from my lunch with Mr. Adler, I walked around Central Park (7 miles!) one morning, and saw "Newsies" with daughter Melanie, who came down from Boston to meet me. Although it was close to 100 degrees during the day, we had a lovely time and even enjoyed some special tempura at a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan. I'll never forget the trip, or the incredible joy of meeting this generous and delightful author.


Book Signing 8-17-13

If you are free on Saturday, August 17th, consider coming down to Heron Hill Winery on Keuka Lake to join me for a glass of Riesling and some good conversation. I'll have most of my books there to sign and sell, plus free bookmarks and chocolate! Hope to see you there.

Let's Stay Connected!

Friend on Facebook

The list of literary awards is growing. We just earned our 16th award, and there are more awards to be announced this year.

Double Forté  - 2012 ForeWord BOTYA, Mystery, FINALIST

Tremolo: cry of the loon
  • 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Grand Prize Short List
  • 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction
  • 2011 Global eBook Award Finalist in Historical Fiction Contemporary
  • 2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place Mystery
  • 2008 Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books
  • 2008 MYSHELF Top Ten Reads

For the Birds
  • 2011 ForeWord Book Awards, FINALIST in Mystery
  • 2012 Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads

Essentially Yours
  • 2013 EPIC Book Awards, FINALIST in Suspense
  • 2013 Eric Hoffer Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist

Healey’s Cave
  • 2012 EPIC Book Awards WINNER Best Paranormal
  • 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, WINNER Best Book in Commercial Fiction
  • 2011 Finalist for Allbooks Review Editor's Choice
  • 2011 Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnson's 9th Annual Noble (not Noble!) Prize for Literature
  • 2011 Finalists for Global EBook Awards

For Keeps
  • 2013 Semi Finalist in Kindle Book Review Book Awards, Mystery Category


Hi, folks!

Just a heads up. If you might be interested in purchasing (or winning) Don't Let the Wind Catch You , please consider downloading the Kindle version on August 15th or 16th, when my publisher will be discounting the price from $4.99 to $2.99. We're trying to use this time for what is known in industry as a "book blast" or "book bomb" to help drive the Amazon numbers to number 1.

If you comment on the post here on August 15th, you will automatically be eligible for a free Kindle download of the newest LeGarde Mystery.

Here's a bit about it:

When young Gus LeGarde befriends a cranky old hermit in the woods who speaks to an Oneida Indian spirit named Penaki, he wonders if the man is nuts. But when Penni rattles tin cups, draws on dusty mirrors, and flips book pages, pestering them to find evidence to avenge her past and free her from earthly bondage, things change.

What Gus doesn’t understand is why his mother hates Tully. His relentless digging reveals a hint of scandal about Tully and Gus’s maternal grandfather, Marlowe Wright. Can his natural compassion help him accept the not-so-normal facts about Tully and Marlowe?

On horseback, Gus and his friends ride through woods overlooking Conesus Lake, following Penni’s trail to an abandoned house reportedly infected with the deadly Genesee Valley Fever from the 1700s. Unafraid, they enter and make an astounding find that could rewrite history.

Gus summons courage beyond his years in this poignant and powerful telling of the sultry summer of 1965.

Here's the Amazon link so you can take a look in advance!

Thanks so much and stay tuned for more mystery and adventure!


Aaron Paul Lazar


8/8  Review Life in an Island Paradise 
8/8 Guest Post Marilyn's Musings
8/9 Review Julie Arduini
8/10 Promo Writing Space 
8/12 Review Mommasez...
8/13 Review Books,Books, and MoreBooks
8/13 Interview, Guest Post Lorne Oliver, Author 
8/15 Review The Mystery Lady 
8/15 Review Pure Jonel
8/15 Review My Kindle Fever
8/15 Review T B R 
8/15 Review Annelise Ianthe
8/15 Review Sher A. Hart: Written Art
8/15 Review Wolf Majick Reviews
8/16 Review and interview  Connie's Book Reviews
8/16 Guest Post My Devotional Thoughts
8/19 Guest Post The Pen and Muse
8/19 Guest Post A. F. Stewart's Blog
8/19 Review My Cozie Corner
8/20 Guest Post T B R 
8/22 Guest Post My Kindle Fever
8/26 Review The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
8/27 Review & Guest Post Sharing Links and Wisdom
8/27 Guest Post Magdalena Ball
8/27 Review  The compulsive Reader
8/28  Interview The Cover
8/28  Review Sheila Deeth
8/29 Blogtalkradio interview
Amazon Reviewer Michelle N. Downing


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming releases THE SEACREST (2013), SANCTUARY (2013), and VIRTUOSO (2014).