Friday, July 28, 2017

Writing: Book Release

Today is the "official" release date of my latest novel of medical suspense, Cardiac Event.  You've heard the expression, "This isn't my first rodeo?" Well, this isn't my first book release--actually, it's my eleventh published novel, along with the three novellas, one non-fiction book, and numerous medical textbooks I've authored along the way. And I thought it would be interesting to note how things have changed over the past decade or so.

When my first novel, Code Blue, was released. I was thrilled, of course, and I arranged a book launch and reading at a local bookstore. There was a cake, I read from the book, tried to act like an author, and enjoyed every minute of it. I'd worked hard to get people to attend, and ended up with something like twenty in attendance. Then one of the bookstore employees mentioned that they'd had a signing there about a month before that featuried a well-known author, and had an even smaller crowd.

Did I have a cake for this new one one? Or a book signing? No,  I  did this one a bit differently. I put together a group of ten people as "influencers" to whom I sent print copies of Cardiac Event. I included a listing of things an influencer could do (borrowed from a similar list put together by author Jody Hedlund). Since I was self-publishing this one, I could arrange the price a bit--at least, of the ebook format--so I did as I'd done with my most recent novella and arranged a pre-publication price that was much lower then the regular one. Did it help? We'll see.

I've arranged a number of interviews and guest blogs, such as this one on Fresh Fiction. Also, in many of these instances I'll offer a copy of Cardiac Event to a randomly selected winner. Two of these are on the blogs of Lena Dooley and Carrie Schmidt. I encourage you to visit them both. By the way, if you purchase a copy and then win one, just send me proof of your purchase and I'll send you an Amazon gift card.

The best marketing tool, according to my friend, James Scott Bell, is to write the best book you can. I hope that's what I did with this one, but my readers will let me know if that's true. Meanwhile, as I generally sign my fiction, "Enjoy." And thanks.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Keeping The Watch

I heard an expression the other day that fascinated me: "Keep the watch." The words were said at the commissioning of a ship, and I thought perhaps they were part of a naval tradition, sort of like the typical parting words to a sailor: "Fair winds and a following sea." But what I found was this. "Watchstanding, or watchkeeping, in nautical terms concerns the division of qualified personnel to operate a ship continuously. On a typical sea-faring vessel, be it naval or merchant, personnel keep watch on the bridge and over the running machinery."

It seems to me that those words are applicable to all of us, not just those who keep watch over the course of the vessel and the mechanism that drives it. Each of us has a responsibility to maintain the course of our lives, to guard against events or entities that would threaten us, because others look to us. Did you ever really that there was someone--spouse, parent, child, friend, acquaintance--who was looking at the course you steered for your life? And if you deviate from it, they might follow you--even if it was in the wrong direction.

So, after reading those words the other day, I made a determined resolution to "keep the watch" in my own life...because others might be following. How about you? Is it important that you keep the watch? I'd like to hear.

Tweet with a single click. "Is it important that we 'keep the watch' in our lives?" 

Note: This is the week for the official release of my next novel, Cardiac Event, and I promised to let you know where you might win a signed copy. Yesterday I was interviewed on the blog of colleague Lena Nelson Dooley. If you click here and leave a comment, you'll have a chance to win my book. And if you've already ordered your copy, show me the receipt and I'll send you an Amazon gift card instead. What could be fairer than that?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Writing: Juggling All The Balls

When a writer completes a book, he/she feels like throwing their hat in the air and shouting, "I've finished." But in actuality, the fun's not over by any means. At this point, depending on whether the book is published by a traditional company or self-published, the author must assist with (or take charge of) making sure others read what they've produced.

I've self-published three novellas, so I already knew what was involved for the author in the continuing process. Not only had I been  responsible for cover design and manuscript editing, but I also had to be in charge of marketing the book. Otherwise, it was sort of like yelling in the forest with no one around to hear.

So, with the publication of my novel, Cardiac Event, I had to get the word out about it. I've arranged a number of appearances on other blogs, and since a chance to win a free book seems to draw people, I'll be giving away a copy of the book with each appearance. I'll try to mention each of these interviews or guest appearances on this blog before they take place. And, if you have already bought the book yet win one from me, I'll send you an Amazon gift card instead. How's that?

Fortunately, I've already had one review by Romantic Times Book Reviews, and I was thrilled at their remarks and their calling the novel a Top Pick. Other reviews will come from readers after the book is released. I hope they like it.

And, of course, during all this I'm working on more writing. I have two novellas and a novel almost ready for release, so stay tuned.

For those who haven't yet taken advantage of the pre-publication price of Cardiac Event, you have one more week to do so before it goes up to the regular price. For those who like to read a physical book, a print version will also be available. (Just click the Cardiac Event cover in the sidebar to order now). Oh, and the Kindle format of Doctor's Dilemma will be marked down to $2.99 until July 28 as well.

So that's where I am--busy, but not (yet) overwhelmed. I'll see you in a few days. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.

Tweet with a single click. "An author's job isn't over when the book is completed."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Using Your Head

I haven't practiced medicine for about a decade and a half (that's 15 years for those of you who are numbers-challenged), yet I continue to read the journals and maintain my CME. I don't do this because I plan to go back to work as a physician (although that avenue is always open, I guess), but rather I do it to keep my mind sharp. I enjoy using my head.

I may not know about every bit of the new technology, but I can still do what Sir William Osler said: "Listen to the patient. He's telling you the diagnosis." We have some wonderful tests (and I marvel as each new one is unveiled), but a great deal of any diagnosis depends on an accurate history.

I was reminded of this when I had my own annual physical recently. The doctor asked all the right questions, but I had to think to make sure my answers were truthful, not just pro forma. For my age, I seem to be doing fine, but she knew this before she ever laid a stethoscope on me. Because she listened to what I was saying.

Conversely, if a doctor--or mechanic or CPA plumber or anyone else--gets inaccurate information, their conclusion and subsequent actions are going to be skewed in the wrong direction. When your car is going chug-a, chug-a, chug-a, you don't tell the mechanic what's wrong or what to do. You describe the symptoms as accurately as possible, and depend on the professional to make a diagnosis.

And notice, I said "professional." I wouldn't take my car to a plumber for help with a problem, nor do I think it's appropriate to ask medical questions on Facebook. But that's a sermon for another day.

Tweet with a single click. "Inaccurate information may result in an erroneous diagnosis."

Note: My novel, Cardiac Event, will be released by Amazon in ten days. Until then, the Kindle version is available for a pre-publication price of $2.99--that's 60% of the regular price for the e-book.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Writing: Endorsements

A recent communication from a friend and fellow author about possible endorsement made me think it's time for me to talk a bit about those things. We've all seen them on the cover of a book or in conjunction with an advertisement, but did you ever think how they came about?

I've preached steadily about making connections and meeting people at writing conferences--not because they might be useful someday (although the friendship might), but because they're your colleagues. In my case, these are the people I approach first for "blurbs" (i.e., brief endorsements) if they either write in the same genre as me or if they're really big fans (and fortunately I have several of those--people who don't write in my genre but have followings of their own). And I never ask them for a blurb. I ask if they'd be willing to read "in view of an endorsement." Most say "yes," but if the answer is "no"--no matter the reason--that's okay. A few even say to ask them again, and I do. If they don't, I cross them off as potential endorsers, but the friendship remains intact.

What about if you're on the other end? What do I do if someone asks me to endorse a novel? I've formulated these rules from what other authors have suggested, and they've served me well over the years. I'll read in view of an endorsement (I never promise one) if: 1) I know the person or I've been recommended by a mutual friend, 2) the novel is in the genre in which I write, and 3) I either have read some of the individual's writing or I am pretty sure it will be good. After that, the book makes the decision. And, yes, I read the whole thing.

Are endorsements important for you, either as a writer or a reader? Let me know.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What's Your Opinion On Free Stuff?

The statue a left is from Waikiki, and depicts Duke Kahanamoku, virtually a legend in the Islands. Duke was an olympic surfer, as well as  a law enforcement officer, an actor, a beach volleyball player and businessman. I recall Arthur Godfrey (yes, I'm that old) quoting these words from Duke Kahanamoku: "For free, take. For buy, waste time." I

Do you think of this when you hear a voice on the phone or a person at the door telling you they're with such-and-such company, and they already have a crew working in your area? so they'd be happy to give you a free estimate/inspection/etc? Right after a hail-storm in our area, the offers come pouring in from roofing companies, ready to offer their services with a "free estimate." And today's mail just brought a booklet full of coupons offering discounts and deals from a variety of vendors, from restaurants to car repair shops. Do you use these or toss them?

As a participant in the writing world, I note more and more of my colleagues offering their work at discounted prices, some even at no charge, in order to get more sales for their work . Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What's your feeling about free estimates, no-obligation evaluations, and free or low cost e-books? Does all this come under Duke's rule? Or is it something that ends up saving you money and introducing you to a company (or author) you eventually stick with?

That having been said, I'll remind you that I've chosen to offer the ebook version of my next novel, Cardiac Event, for a discounted pre-publication price. I'll await your comments as to what you think of this offer and all the others.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Writing: Announcement

I'd already written the post for today, but had to postpone that until next week to share this with readers of this blog. My novel, Cardiac Event, is now available in Kindle format from Amazon, at a discounted price. The pre-order price is $2.99, which goes up to $4.99 when the book officially releases on July 18. The print version should be out by then or shortly thereafter.

Thanks for your patience. I hope it was worth the wait.

Be sure to post your reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites after you've read it. Enjoy

PS--Almost forgot. Happy birthday to me.