Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Review of "Burden of Proof"

Here is a new review of "Burden of Proof" posted on Amazon!  I did not know the reviewer and her feedback was very helpful.  

"This book is not a "whodunit" it's a lot more a "will they get away with it" type of book. From the first page you are introduced to the conspirators and the conspiracy. It is more adventure than mystery. 

Ms. Lassiter pulls no punches, and those who get in the way of the conspiracy are killed ... so at no point are you certain that anyone will make it to the last page.

I appreciate the fact that this is a conversation-driven book, with an omnipotent overview, so the reader is able to see and understand the motivations of all of the characters.

And I appreciate the way the conspiracy is handled, including the focus on wanting democracy to succeed in spite of the conspiracy.

There are still some "rough edges" in the book, and some of the conversations are a bit awkward. However, the story alone puts this one above average.

I have had the privilege of reading BOTH the early edition of this book and the current addition ... Ms Lassiter forwarded me a PDF copy of the book. While 90+% of the errors were caught in the later edition, there are still a few misused words and typos hanging in there ... but the story is strong, leaving me between 3 and 4 stars - rounded up to 4."


I'm still trying to finish up the follow-up to "Burden of Proof," by will be active in blogging again by mid-May!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Good Bones"

I decided to take a much needed break from working on my new thriller today by going on an hour and a half walk.  The weather was a perfect sixty-degrees with sunshine.  As I maneuvered the quaint city sidewalks of Bozeman Montana, I admired many of the historic homes dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The architecture ranges from classic Victorian to well-kept bungalows.  Being from the southern part of the U.S. originally, I love older homes, especially ones that have been maintained well.  I'd take a well-built century old brick Georgian or bungalow over a mac-Mansion any day.  Why not go for the luxurious mansion - mainly because the older homes have good bones.

Good bones?  It's a term meaning that a house was well-built, with care and quality structure.  It is well-designed with quality materials that will stand the test of time architecturally and structurally.  The homes lining Willson Street in Bozeman have good bones.

What does this have to do with writing you may ask?  Well when I walk I'm always thinking of book ideas, and as I admired the architecture I started thinking about how to apply the 'good bones' structure to writing.  A well-built house and a well-written book aren't very different if you really think about it.  Both have strong structure, depth, and can withstand the test of time no matter how tastes may change.

If you want to write a good, or better yet a great book the story needs 'good bones' for it's foundation; a solid plot structure, universal themes, quality characters, and a depth in story telling, narrative and word usage.  Good structure and Solid story depth - lead to a well-told story.  So build your story like a well-built house: structure it well - plot out your plot goals, themes, and characters.  You as a writer are an architect,  a master draftsman - capable of composing a masterpiece (or a least a book that's structurally strong and enjoyable to read) or you can settle for a rushed writing job, and not so great structure - in the end good bones will prove the difference between memorable and forgettable writing...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Between Ink Posts

Sorry I haven't posting recently!  I'm on the brink of finishing the follow-up to "Burden of Proof" and haven't had much time to focus on The Ink Spot.  I will be back very soon with posts detailing more on the writing and publishing process.  Let me know some topics you're interested in.  I plan on focusing on Press Releases next week.  Thanks for reading!  Adele

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Review: Christian Encounters Winston Churchill

Thomas Nelson Publishers recently started a new series of biographies entitled "Christian Encounters." This series profiles a wide-range of historical figures from authors to scientists to church and world leaders. The books focus in on biographical history of the subjects lives and how they were influenced by their Christian faith.

Through the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze Program I was able to preview a new biography by John Perry on Winston Churchill, which offers a concise and well-thought history of the wartime Prime Minister. As a fan of Sir Winston Churchill's life, writings and leadership during World War II I would highly suggest reading this book. It is well-written and engaging.

The biography is sectioned off into twelve chapters highlighting key points in Churchill's life. Perry recounts Churchill's life from in a personable way from his childhood to his leadership during the tumultuous World War II. Despite the strength of the ever-rising Nazi army, bombing in London and uncertainty amidst the chaos, Churchill kept hope alive for the English and helped to lead the Allies to win the war. Along the way, Perry also focuses in on times in Churchill's life when his Christian faith stabilized him and offered insight into his life's purpose.

This biography helped me form an even greater opinion of Churchill. Perry shows Churchill to be a man with both flaws and quality traits. He learned through many trials and experiences early in his life, which would have caused many to give up, but he kept faith that those trials were simply lessons for his future fate. Churchill was first introduced to his faith as a Christian by Elizabeth Everest, or "Woomy," Winston's nurse and constant in his early life. Although Churchill did not attend church regularly in critical times in his life he turned to his faith in God and it was this faith, which gave him that fighting spirit and hope, which made him the leader we know and recognize today.

This book offers lots of documentation, well-written fact and Christian nuances to make this a must-read for those looking for an introduction on Sir Winston Churchill. It is short and highlights aspects of his life and faith, an excellent introduction before reading more detailed works on Churchill's life.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Frustrating writing day

Do you ever have days when writing makes you crazy.  You have writers block or can't see clearly to read through a manuscript you are editing?  I'm there today! 

So what are some good ways to clear your head and refocus on writing?

Sometimes I have to take a break and either work on another project unrelated to my writing project(s) and/or just get out of the house.

On the other hand it could be helpful to try to write through the writers block, which can get your brain going.

I make lots of brainstorming lists, which sometimes helps.  What works for you?  Think of ways that you can refocus after a frustrating day (or week) of writing and editing....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Writing Resources for Authors

Every few weeks I will try to profile books and websites, which I believe to be useful to becoming a better author and/or expanding one's knowledge of publishing.  Here are three books, which are musts for any writer:

Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White: It's the book you hated in high school and college English, but it is a must have for any writer.  This book explains the fundamentals of the English language in a clear and precise way.  A resource for even the most astute and knowledgeable writers.

Eat Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss: I received this book as a Christmas book several years ago and it has greatly helped me better my technical writing.

The Writer's Market: A must have for anyone looking to break into publishing.  It gives you a list of Agents, How to Write a Query Letter, Publishers, and Magazines to sell short stories or feature articles.

I'll post more books and add in websites to our discussion every few weeks!  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book Signing Tips

Book Signings and Book Readings are excellent ways to entice new readers to pick up a copy of your book, and interact with those who have already read it!   In order for your signing to be a success I've enclosed a list of tips I've learned, which will help your signing become a success.

Planning the Event:  Many times Authors want to coincide a Book Tour with the release of their book.  This is excellent if you are able to afford the time off from work and family life to do so.  However for many Independent Authors embarking on a multi-city tour might not be feasible.  If this is the case,  what I suggest is starting small and working your way up to larger book events, venues and extended touring.  

First pull out a calendar and a map of the region you'd first like to tackle. For instance, I live in Bozeman Montana and I know my book is being released on February 1st.  There are five major and independent bookstores in Bozeman, which I hope will carry my book.  I know I'd like to have one to three book signings in the area between February and March.  I look at the calendar and figure out a list of possible signing book event dates and possible locations to have the event.  I then politely phone the store or library to inquire about the possibility of having a signing and list possible dates in which to schedule the event.  

Once a book event date is settled upon it will then be up to the bookseller whether or not they prefer that books are sold on consignment (I.E. It's your responsibility to order the copies from the printer, and bring them to the book signing.  The Book Store will then take a 40-55% commission off the retail price, and you receive the wholesale price, minus printing costs as a profit).  If you are listed with Ingram or Baker and Taylor and allow returns, the bookstore may opt to order books into the store.  The copies, which don't sell are sent back to your printer/distributor and you pay the refund to the store.  

For "Burden of Proof" I opted to schedule several small events in the Bozeman area, first at the town library and then at a local bookstore.  I learned a lot from both experiences about what to do and what not to do at a booksigning.

So Tip #1: Start off on a regional basis, scheduling events in your hometown at a local library, book or grocery store (yes believe it or not many grocery stores host book signings) and depending on your genre you can also work to schedule book events at schools, book clubs/rotary clubs, the local Y, Church, etc...get creative and constantly be conscious of your key demographic and genre of book.

Once you've done a few signings I recommend setting a goal of how many signings you want to do in a month or six month period.  Be realistic - if you work all the time or can't leave the kids, think small, but efficient.  Maybe aim for one event a month in a nearby town that the kids enjoy going to or a place you are going on vacation...If you have the time (and yes money - for gas and hotel, which you are responsible for while on tour) then think on a larger regional basis.  For example, I'm aiming for a multi-city tour in Montana and Washington State for two weeks in June...I look for locations that are on a certain path to make getting from one event to the other stress-free and easy.

Tip #2: Promotion - Book Signings at a busy book store often get unexpected foot traffic, but I can guarantee that the more you promote your book and publicize the event the better, especially in your hometown.  Send out email or postal invitations to friends and family to attend your event.  Send a Press Release regarding your book and linking it to the event in a local paper.  Supply the bookstore or library hosting the event with ample promotional supplies such as posters, postcards, bookmarks, etc...It doesn't have to be expensive ads, just a catchy flyer printed and copied from your home printer will be effective.  Print out synopsis sheets and book information to hand out around town...anything to help get the word out about the Book Signing event.

Tip #3: Just before a Book Signing:  Be sure to call the event venue several days before the signing to double check to make sure everything is set for your event.  As them what time you need to be there, what you should bring, and any other questions you might have about set-up.  I learned too that if you are supplying the books directly to the store on consignment versus a distributor - ask them about pricing and make sure the book is in their system  I ran across this problem at my book signing today, where I have an Ingram book, but it wasn't priced in the system and it caused a delay in the signing.  

Make sure you know where the venue is, if it's in a new city or part of town you aren't familiar with.  Print out Map Quest directions and double check to ensure you have the correct address with the venue manager.

Tip # 4: Personal Prep for a book signing can include figuring out how you want to display your books, getting all of your on-site promotional items (i.e. posters, business cards, etc...) organized.  Think about what you want to wear.  You want to look professional and I recommend a dress or suit, either casual or more formal depending on event venue.  

Tip # 5: Arrive early and be courteous to the venue employees. I know this is common sense, but just something that will help your signing/event go smoother.  If you rush to make the event you might come across as abrupt in attitude to potential readers or feel anxious about the event.  

Tip # 6: Setting up your signing table: Usually the venue will have the table set up and possibly a rack to display books.  When setting up your table think of ways to attract customers to your book.  It doesn't have to be fancy - just figure out ways to appropriately set-up your table, whether it's a poster board, cut-out, etc... Also don't forget to bring a couple of Sharpie pens - so you can in fact sign your books.

Things that really draw a reader to your book at a signing:

- Books - Display your books so that the title is easily read and books are easily available for customers to pick up and browse...

- Postcards, pamphlets, bookmarks:  I printed out 4 X 6 postcards with Next Day Fliers and keep them at my table.  They have a book description, ISBN #, ordering and contact information.  That way if Customers aren't sure if they want the book right now, they can opt to purchase it later.  You can also sign these postcards in lieu of books if someone wishes.  

- Promotion: This isn't a must, but I often have a small prize, such as a bookstore gift card for $20 or a copy of a book or DVD, which consumers who purchase the book at the signing can enter to win. It's a perk for them and a way I can thank my readers for purchasing the novel.  

- Email sign-up: Keep a Guest Log at your table, where readers can sign up for email updates regarding your book and also post a comment about your book.

- Don't have so much at the table, that you detract from the book itself, just enough to add to the reader's enjoyment of the book signing and invite curious customers to investigate what your book is all about.

Tip # 7: Always be friendly and outgoing to those who stop by your table.  Be informed about your book, you wrote it after all - so confidently tell the potential reader what it's about and why they might like it!  Greet passerby and smile at other store customers.  You don't want to nag someone to come over to hear about your book, but when you sense someone might be interested start up a conversation about your novel....Also if someone brushes you off or is rude don't worry about it- many people are in a hurry or just don't have social skills, don't let it make you mad, especially sense the person who was rude hasn't even thought about it or how it affected you - why let it bother you when it doesn't bother them?

I'll post more tips later on...those are just a few on my head today after hosting a book signing in town!