Sunday, November 29, 2015

Strategies for Promoting Your Book Using Social Networking (part I) by Uvi Poznansky

copyright Uvi Poznansky, 2015

We, Indie writers, are an enthusiastic bunch, promoting with over-zealous vigor everywhere you turn: on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, KBoards, and just about anywhere else. This vigor is a double-edged sword, because some readers are turned off by the sheer amount of mind-numbing spam.

So, what’s a writer to do? Ask yourself: How do I stand out of the crowd? How do I reach out to readers and connect with them in a way that does not turn them off, a way that surpasses the competition?

Think of promotion as a way to build relationships with potential readers rather than a simply an advertising platform. Spamming your followers repeatedly with product page links gets boring in a big hurry, yet to my surprise, most writers do nothing else but that. In this article, I aim to give you some additional ideas, so you can find new ways to sing praise to your work, and add them into your repertoire. 

Add a Personal Touch: Your Author Bio and Author Interviews 

Writing your author bio can be a daunting task. Perhaps you are a shy person, one who values his privacy. Or else you may find it a challenge to gain perspective over your entire life and literary achievements, and do so without sounding a bit self- serving. 

Even so, you are a writer, aren’t you? So put pen to paper and come up with a compelling life story that will help readers learn more about you, and about what makes you and your books so interesting. 

Once they love and adore you, buying your books will come with greater ease. Post your bio on your Amazon Author Page and on your Goodreads Author Page. Also, think of crystallizing the entire thing into one signature sentence, a sentence that defines who you are. 

For example, being an artist, author, and poet, my signature sentence is, “I paint with my pen, and write with my paintbrush.” I came up with it quite spontaneously, in an answer to a radio host asking me a question in a radio interview, and sensed that it had an impact, because it is true about me. Since then I use it as a way to introduce myself. So, what are you all about? How would you introduce yourself in a single sentence?

In addition, you can expand the scope of letting your readers know you through blog interviews. Seek out bloggers whose main focus is books, especially books in your genre. How do you find them? 

Easy: note when other authors you see on Facebook are posting an interview. Go to that interview site. Check out its reach, so you know it has a good following. After all, you don’t want to spend all the effort of writing an interview for a very limited reach. How do you check this? Two ways: Plug the site url in Google page rank checker. Plug it in Alexa. 

Then, find out how to contact these bloggers, and ask them to interview you. Once your interview is posted, be sure to drive traffic to the interview site by posting a link to it, with a teaser that thanks the blogger and sings her praises, all over town.  

Add Quality to Your Daily Posts 

The most important tool to bring attention to your books is something that to my surprise, not many authors do, and it is quite simple and readily available to you: excerpts from your writing.

So let’s assume you are a gifted writer. Here is one way to test it: open your book at a random page and throw a dart at it. Quote an excerpt, starting at the paragraph before the place you have hit, and ending at the paragraph following it. If you read this excerpt out loud, will readers be moved? Will they be intrigued?

If so, create a post with this paragraph, and at the end of it add the title of your book, and buy links to it. When readers on Facebook like the post, thank them for it. When they comment, engage with them. It’s as simple as that.

Wish to take it one step further? Having quoted it, do you recall what inspired you to write this passage? Was it a childhood memory? Was it an old photograph, or perhaps a famous painting by your favorite artist? Tell the readers about your inspiration. Add an image of that art that stirred you into writing. 

Your readers will love you for it.


Uvi Poznansky is a California-based author, poet and artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.” She received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. Uvi writes across a variety of genres: romance, literary fiction, historical fiction, biblical fiction, poetry, horror and children’s books. Among other work she penned two series: The David Chronicles and Still Life with Memories.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Special - FIVE 'FIRSTS' FREE!

Hi, folks!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are still enjoying the leftovers, too!

We had a good crowd at our house, and I cooked up a storm, like I do every year. I love it.

Today and tomorrow I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm giving away FIVE of my Kindle eBooks at the same time. These are the first books in each of my series. Each series has won numerous literary awards, which is amazing, since I guess maybe I don't stink too badly at this job. ;o)

Here's a bit about them:
Double Forté - from the ten-book LeGarde Mystery series set in the beautiful Genesee Valley, this is a family-centric, wholesome, old-fashioned mystery series full of great characters, music, nature, food, and of course, the obligatory nasty villains.  Double Forté is a satisfyingly riveting tale with an appealing hero, whose love of music and gourmet food is as fundamental as his courage.” Laurel Wemett, Finger Lakes Magazine
Gus LeGarde’s life essentially ended four years ago, when his beloved wife leapt to her death. Today, Gus lavishes love on his family, trying to bury the pain. But trouble arrives when his arrogant son-in-law’s business partner goes missing, and Gus’s innocent friend is set up to take the fall.
The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly Healey's Cave) - from the Green Marble Mystery series, a three-book time travel series featuring Sam and Rachel Moore. Wholesome, family-centric, featuring flashbacks to the fifties and even a ghost, this series is told from the point of view of a garden-loving, retired family doctor who can't seem to avoid trouble. "Beautifully descriptive, the characters were real, the dialog totally believable, the action exciting. At the same time, the story was insightful and thought-provoking. Highly recommended." Joan Hall Hovey, bestselling author

When Sam Moore discovers a peculiar green marble in his garden, it links him to his vanished little brother and thrusts him back in time, where he battles a faceless serial killer to untangle the maddening mystery and stop the murder of his beloved grandson.
For the Birds - from the four-book Tall Pines Mysteries series set in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, this series is a contemporary, sexy set of mysteries with a touch of the paranormal. Told from a woman's point of view, these books take the "heat level" up a notch from LeGarde Mysteries and the Green Marble Mysteries.  

For the Birds, by Aaron Paul Lazar was one of the most unique and refreshing mysteries I’ve read in a long time—with a huge surprise ending.” - Marilyn Meredith, the author of Angel Lost.

When Marcella Hollister’s prize parakeet gets zapped by a wayward power line in the same pool as her mother, the ensuing psychic link helps Marcella chase her mother’s kidnappers through the Adirondack Mountains, where she unearths a fifty-year-old secret about her dear father with shocking links to a hidden treasure.
Devil's Lake - from the Bittersweet Hollow romantic suspense series, these books are set in Vermont and were inspired by true events. "Loved this book! DEVIL'S LAKE is a riveting read, and It could have been ripped from today's headlines." Joan Hall Hovey, Canada's best selling, award-winning Mistress of Suspense. (Spice level: high)

Two years ago, Portia Lamont disappeared from a small town in Vermont, devastating her parents and sister, who spent every waking hour searching for her. When she suddenly shows up on their horse farm in a stolen truck with a little mutt on her lap, they want to know what happened. Was she taken? Or did she run away?
The Seacrest - from the new love story series, Paines Creek Beach, this sensual story set on beautiful Cape Cod will capture your heart while maybe even adding some sizzle to your love life. (Spice level: high) The Seacrest is a poignant love story that will have you reaching for the tissues. Every woman needs a Finn McGraw!” – Victoria Howard, bestselling romantic suspense author of RING OF LIES and more.

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Finn McGraw disagrees. 

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.


Well, there you have it! Five Firsts Free. I don't know if I'll ever do this again, so I hope you can take advantage of it and enjoy yourself with plenty of choices of genre and style. Either way, happy reading!

Take care, and enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend,

Aaron Lazar


Mystery, suspense, adventure, romance, thrillers, and a few paranormal thrills propel readers through the Genesee Valley, Adirondack Mountains, Cape Cod, and even Paris, the city of lights...You'll fall in love with the characters and love to hate the villains. Check out the eBooks, paperbacks, and audio books available everywhere books are sold. 

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.” 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Creating “Back Matter” in your eBook and Print Book

Hello, Writers.

Today I'd like to talk about an important but often overlooked topic: Back matter.

One of the administrative things you should work on if you’re not already doing it is to create what is called “back matter” in your books. This means adding excerpts from another book with links to buy, providing contact links for your social media and email, asking readers to sign up for your newsletter, listing your books, awards, and of course, your website. As you add new books, this can be an endless task, because if you write book number ten, for example, you need to add it to all the back matter for all of your previous nine books.

You need to know right up front that when you add “links” to your eBook, it’s easy. But when you add “links” to your print book, you need to spell the whole address out, because no matter how many times people “click” with their finger on a print page, nothing’s gonna happen. ;o)

Here’s how I do it.

After I type “The End,” I add the following segments.

· What’s Next? A brief description of the other books in the series, if this is a series book, or a description of my next book to be released.

· Excerpt from the “next relevant” book (several chapters that end in a "buy link" for the eBook and a web address for the print book.)

· " Author’s Note" – This could be an “afterword” that you specifically want your readers to hear, just from you. You might like to comment on why you wrote the book, where your characters came from, why you set your first scene in Paris, etc.

· Author’s Bio (with links to webpage) Try to make this interesting, and not too full of dates when you graduated from where, etc.

· List of Current Books (with embedded links)

· List of Book Awards

· Connections – links for Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, etc.

· Contact Page – how to contact you directly 

How to Add Links:

On my MacBook Pro, when I add the above items to my Word document, and if I want to add a link, I simply highlight the word, such as “Facebook,” and right click on it. Or, you can go to “Insert/Hyperlink” from your menu above. Choose “Hyperlink” which will open up with a page including a window that says, “Link to:” Go to your Facebook page and copy the website address that is in your browser, then paste that address into the “Link to:” field. Click OK. 

Now the link is embedded and only the word “Facebook” will show up in your document, not the address. If you are doing this for your print book, you need to spell it all out. Be sure to actually click on it and make sure it works. If not, then go back to the Hyperlink and "edit" the address.

Well, I hope this helps you organize your titles and stay vigilant! Have a wonderful weekend, all. And don't forget, if you love to write, write like the wind!

(from Write Like the Wind series)

Aaron Paul Lazar


Aaron Paul Lazar is obsessed with writing. He's completed twenty-four books to date, and has earned nineteen literary book awards. He writes mysteries, suspense, love stories, and more. You'll usually find him writing his heart out in the early hours of the day - preferably in the dark, quiet hours when no one else is awake in his bustling household.         

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.” 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Write Like the Wind, volume 1 - Just released! 
Love to write? Always wanted to try? Check out this updated writing guide, just released. Now available on Amazon, with 30% more articles, updated links, and guest essays by best selling authors. 

Ever wish you could peer into the brain of a published author and learn what tips he’s absorbed over the years? How did he get where he is? How many times did he submit manuscripts before he sold his books?

Or maybe you’d like to delve into the psychology of writing, and learn what motivates him. How does he balance life with writing? How can regular tweeting help? 

In volume 1 of Write Like the Wind, Lazar offers advice on “forbidden words”, “hooking your reader”, and “writing like you talk.” These hard skills are complemented by recommendations for promotion, such as “writing reviews to build your platform” and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for a radio show. 

Join award-winning mystery author Aaron Paul Lazar as he shares the cream of the crop from seven years of writing blogs in this fresh and unique offering of advice for fellow scribes. 

Thanks to Michael Prescott, Uvi Poznansky, Christine Amsden, and Mayra Calvani for their wonderful guest essays in this first volume. Stay tuned for articles by Stephanie Osborn, Polly Iyer, Dora Machado, Joan H. Young, and more in the next two volumes. ;o)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Literary Gem: The Music of Us by Uvi Poznansky

Review for The Music of Us, Still Life With Memories, book 3 by Aaron Paul Lazar

When I write a book review, I don’t like to rehash the plot—that information is easily accessible in the book description. What I prefer is to share how the book made me feel, and what I valued between its covers.

Uvi Poznansky is a literary tour de force in a contemporary age when the quality of writing often takes a back seat to the quick thrill, or to be more precise, the quick buck. She writes as she paints, with careful, vibrant strokes of amazing clarity and color. Whether you are a reader or writer, teacher or student, you owe it to yourself read her work. You will be transported to a world where life is examined from a poet’s point of view, where you live in vignettes so real that you can’t help but love and care for the characters.

I have read all of Poznansky’s work, but this book resonated more deeply with me than all the previous titles, which I truly enjoyed. I suppose it is because I am an inveterate romantic. I ached for the young, “flashback” characters to come together. I shouted at them to wake up and smell the coffee when they missed opportunities to get together, and I reveled in the sweet endings when they finally connected.

The atmosphere of the 1940s is beautifully portrayed, and on a secondary level only to the (mostly) unrequited love story, it was my next treasured experience while reading this book. I loved the sounds and sights of the era, the music, the cars, and the lifestyles so well depicted. It was a fascinating dip into the life of those dynamic times.

If you are aching for a lyrical read, for something above and beyond the usual offerings in the field of fiction, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Uvi Poznansky’s The Music of Us.

--Aaron Paul Lazar

P.S. And don't you just love that cover art? Uvi is an amazing artist, as well. Check out her website at:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Character Interviews as a Promotional Tool, by Aaron Lazar

copyright 2015, aplazar  

Hello, fellow writers and book lovers.

I hope you are enjoying this gorgeous autumn and that if you live where leaves fall, that you aren't too tired of raking them into piles. I just mow my leaves up with my trusty old John Deere and let it go at that - but then again, I live in the country, and nobody really cares. ;o)

I like to share promotional tools with my friends, and today I thought I'd bring up the idea of character interviews. "Imaginary" interviews can be a fun way to promote your books and also a unique vehicle to help potential readers fall in love with the "personalities" in your novels. Following is an example to get you thinking about your own characters and how they might answer such questions. You can even invent the interviewer, such as I did below with "Mary Malone."

Let me know what you think of this idea in the comments, and if you want, please "comment" as your character!


Interview with Oscar Stone, family friend of Gus LeGarde, of the Gus LeGarde Mystery series. Mr. Stone was interviewed by Mary Malone, Genesee Valley news journalist. Transcribed from a video made at his house in Goodland Station.

MARY: Mr. Stone, I hope you don't mind being interviewed because of your connection with Gus LeGarde. It appears he's a bit busy with his large family and gardens right now. It's not that we aren't interested in you, Mr. Stone, but Professor LeGarde has been featured in quite a few mystery books lately that have been piquing the interest of local readers. 

OSCAR: I most certainly object to being interviewed for who I know, not for who I am (smiling). However, while my life as a historian and nature photographer is decidedly fascinating, it isn't newsworthy. And Gus has been through some hair-raising adventures over the past few years, which do warrant discussion. We are all rather proud of him, and we think of him as quite the hero, don't-you-know? 

MARY: I'll bet. Well, let's start at the beginning. How did you meet Gus? 

OSCAR: Gus LeGarde and I have been friends for the past few decades. When Gus's parents died within a few years of each other, he went through a serious depression. It was all my wife Millie and I could do to help him get through it. Just after Gus's mother died, our son, William, was killed in action in Viet Nam. Millie and I were distraught, and Gus and his wife, Elsbeth, kindly drew us into their lives. That's when we basically "adopted" each other. 

MARY: I'm sorry about your son, Mr. Stone. I'm sure my readers would join me in thanking him for his service to our country. Now, let's talk about Elsbeth. What's the story there? The author, Lazar, paints quite a picture of her murder. 

OSCAR: Ah, Elsbeth. I never knew a more fiery woman. She was beautiful, dark, wild. And, oh, what a pianist. She was about to begin a worldwide tour as a concert pianist when their daughter Freddie was born, and she gave it all up to stay home with the baby. Of course, that was almost thirty years before she was murdered.

MARY: What about the murder? 

OSCAR: It's an exceedingly unpleasant topic. Normally, I wouldn't discuss such private issues with you. However, since Gus has authorized the series to be published, I suppose it's acceptable, in this case.

The short version is that Elsbeth contracted cancer; it settled in her temporal lobe. Before the cancer diagnosis, we went years thinking she had a mood disorder, like bipolar. There was even a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She went through a number of neurologists. When the slow growing cancer was finally detected, it was too late. And the suicidal depression, caused by a tumor that affected the part of her brain that controls these things, overwhelmed her many a time.

We all thought she'd jumped off the cliffs of the Letchworth Gorge because of this misconception. Later, of course, we discovered that Harold, Gus's son-in-law, pushed her. He was trying to cover the embezzlement of her inheritance. He found her depression a convenience—especially since she'd tried suicide several times—and it was well-documented. I believe Mr. Lazar refers to this in his accounts of Gus's life throughout the series. It was awful. Just awful. We all thought she'd really jumped, until Harold was later revealed to be a monster. He's still in jail, of course. Thank God. 

MARY: What about Gus's house? Is it really as large and homey as Lazar paints it? 

OSCAR: (laughing): It is. We gather on Sundays for Gus's family feast. He's an amazing chef, with a talent for comfort food with a gourmet twist. He has a flare for it, that's for certain. One thing Lazar may misrepresent is the cleanliness of their home. Gus hates to do dishes. And the great room is often covered with toys and evidence of his grandchildren's forays into mischief. 

MARY: Who is "we?" Are all the people in Lazar's books really in Gus's life? 

OSCAR: Oh, yes. All of them, and more. Well, let's see. Of course, Millie and I are always there. There's Gus's new wife, Camille, and her daughter, Shelby. She's going to be quite the vocalist, let me tell you. But I digress. Camille's mother, Madeleine, is Gus's secretary. She's romantically involved with Officer Joe Russell, who's a wonderful lawman with a very healthy appetite. They live in Camille's old Cape Cod house, just down the road. Gus's daughter Freddie, now divorced from Harold, lives with Gus and Camille with her three children: Johnny, Marion, and Celeste. They are all cared for by the most capable housekeeper and nanny, Mrs. Pierce, who stayed on after caring for Elsbeth in her final days. Of course, that was five years ago now, although it seems like just yesterday. 

MARY: What about the giant? 

OSCAR (chuckling): Oh my goodness! How could I forget about Siegfried? Of course, he is our gentle giant. Siegfried was Elsbeth's twin brother, Gus's brother-in-law. Dear Siegfried has suffered from great challenges in his life, not the least of which was a childhood boating accident that left him slightly impaired. But he's a veritable gem. He lives in the carriage house beside Gus's barn, works at Freddie's veterinary clinic, and helps out around the property by watching the children and chopping wood. Oh, and he also tends the barn animals: two horses, several dogs, chickens, and an irascible rooster. Siegfried has shown amazing courage on more than one occasion, and has saved Gus's life several times. To be fair, Gus has done the same for him. It's been rather crazy around here lately. Too many villains invading our peaceful little town. 

MARY: How accurate are Lazar's books? I mean, regarding the actual plots. Does he embellish? Or are they relatively factual? 

OSCAR: They're quite factual. I have read all of Lazar's books, including his rough drafts for the yet unpublished works. He honors me by including me in his "inner circle" of readers and critique partners. Actually, my wife Millie and I do this together, and we do find plenty of typos. He tends to get carried away in the stories, and often forgets important things. Like my camera. He almost called it a Nikon in the first book, and it's a Leica. (Oscar raises an eyebrow) I've had to correct him on a number of items. But for the most part, he and Gus spend a lot of time together going over the actual events and timelines. Occasionally he waxes a bit poetic, delving into the descriptions of our valley in flowery detail. I would be more to the point, don't-you-know? But I suppose it works. His readers seem to enjoy the books. 

MARY: I've read the first two books in the series, Double Forte' and Upstaged. But you've read all ten of them? What's your favorite, so far? And when can we expect to see it in print? 

OSCAR: Oh, my. That's a tough one. I have soft spots in my heart for all of Lazar's books. I love FireSong, because that has such lovely historical connections with the Underground Railroad. And Under the Ice gives a great account of our once-in-a-lifetime ice storm. Then again, Mazurka is a waltz through Europe, rather delightful. Of course, the ones that feature me are probably my favorites, but don't forget, He writes four other series as well. Three of these books introduce another set of characters. Sam and Rachel Moore, who live not far from us, agreed to let Lazar document their recent adventures. Rachel is very brave, a strong woman. She has MS, don't-you-know? And his third series, called Tall Pines Mysteries, is set up in the Adirondacks. Very woodsy. 

MARY: You didn't tell me your favorite book, Mr. Stone. 

OSCAR (laughing): You must forgive the aging brain of an octogenarian. I tend to ramble. All right then, if you are going to push, I suppose I would choose Tremolo: cry of the loon. I love the way Lazar pits the innocence of Gus's childhood against the evil of the thief and murderer he faced in Maine as a child. And the descriptions of the Maine lake are just invigorating. Quite pristine and makes me imagine the aroma of pines, don't-you-know?

Now, Lazar has had a devil of a time finding a Hollywood producer to make his books into films. If you have any connections with powerful Hollywood producers, you must certainly put in a good word for him. He's a good fellow with a large family of his own, you know. He needs a nice advance. 

MARY (laughing): I certainly will, Mr. Stone. And I understand how difficult it is to break into the movie business. I have a few novels of my own, and understand the predicament all too well.

Thank you for your time. Perhaps we'll talk again, and next time I'll ask all about your work as East Groveland historian. 

OSCAR: You're quite welcome, young lady. And I'd be happy to regale you with the tales of long lost precious documents and local grave robbers. But we'll save that for another time. I need to let Tinkerbell out to go potty. She's dancing at the door. Drive safely, now. And watch out for villains.


I hope you enjoyed a little insight into Oscar Stone's mind. Remember, if you love to write, write like the wind!


Aaron Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar is obsessed with writing. He's completed twenty-four books to date, and has earned nineteen literary book awards. He writes mysteries, suspense, love stories, and more. You'll usually find him writing his heart out in the early hours of the day - preferably in the dark, quiet hours when no one else is awake in his bustling household.