Blog: In Real Life

Book reviews, marketing observations and advice, and general commentary…

Video, Please

Posted by on Feb 13, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

Me: I’d like you to make a short video. Author: Huh? Video? Why? Me: Because videos are fantastic online content. Author: Really?   I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had the above conversation. I mean, I get it…you’re authors. Most of you (with some notable exceptions) aren’t accustomed to being in front of a camera. You might not even own a video camera other than your smartphone. But this doesn’t change the fact that people like watching video. According to Pew Research, 63% of online adults and 82% of...

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Survey Says

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

It’s an age-old question: What makes a reader choose one book over another? These days, the potential answers often feel endless, and that’s before we even get to how different answers are connected to each other. But knowing that whatever the answer, it will provide fodder for discussion and consideration rather than a clear-cut game plan shouldn’t stop us asking the question! So I did. Before I share the results, some notes on the survey pool: 442 people answered, and each could only pick one answer. So statistically...

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THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Books, Marketing, Reviews | 1 comment

Unless you’ve been locked in the drum of your drying machine lately, you’ve heard about THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. You know that it’s about a woman, Rachel, who rides the same train each workday (and some weekends), and when she sees something shocking from the windows of said train, her world quickly (further) unravels. I was torn about reading this book (because it’s had so much hype that I figured it didn’t need me) and even more so about reviewing it. I hated every single character in the story. I found the plot devices contrived and often...

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By the Numbers

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

This week, International Thriller Writers (ITW) sent out the (59-page) results of a (well intentioned) survey entitled, “Thriller Author Audience Expansion Roadmap.” Click here to have a look (if you dare—it really is 59 pages). If you don’t want to read 59 pages, here’s the summary (since the survey didn’t have one, this is mine): It’s important for authors to build their audience. The most effective ways to do this are, and will remain, unclear because it is impossible to have conclusive or comprehensive data about readers. Marketing...

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Welcome to 2015

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in Books | 0 comments

Happy Birthday! Oh wait…that’s not you…that’s me. Today is my birthday. I make a point of telling as many people as possible every year because I’m still smarting from all those “Christmas and birthday” presents I got as a kid. So here I am, halfway through my fifth decade on the planet. As you read this, I’m off doing something fun. I hope you’re having a good day too. Because I failed miserably at cards this year, I decided to get ahead of the Best of game by publishing my Best Books of...

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Letter to My Tribe

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Commentary | 0 comments

Way back at the beginning of the year a mystery novel by a certain Literary Fiction Author was published, and said author proceeded to make a number of derogatory comments about crime fiction and those who read it. I had the opportunity to respond in an editorial in Crimespree Magazine, and that response is below. As we celebrate the season, I wish you joy, happiness, and light. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a part of this community.   I’m an only child, but I didn’t grow up alone. I solved crimes with my buddy Nancy Drew. I...

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On Books and Knickers

Posted by on Nov 28, 2014 in Books | 0 comments

Many Americans are out among the zombie hordes of shoppers today, and as we become consumed by what to get for whom, I’m sure some—if not all—of you are going to be giving people books. My confession: I’ve always found it difficult to gift books. Reading is a supremely personal experience, and as such, giving someone a book is a bit like giving them underwear. Especially for people you don’t know super-well…you have an idea of what you think might be comfortable for them to read, but what if you’re wrong? What if under that calm, cool, and...

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Bloody Murder at Bouchercon

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Books, Marketing | 0 comments

My trip to Bouchercon was shorter than I had planned because of a death in the family, but despite missing the first couple of days, it included more than a few memorable moments. I’m going to limit myself here to talking about just two favorites. On Saturday morning, I was honored to be part of the Bloody Murder: Voices from the Margin event. I’m calling it an “event” rather than a “panel” because it included 46 authors (plus me and Terri Bischoff) in a format that, to the best of my knowledge, was entirely new to Bouchercon. I’m going to...

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The Vices of Bouchercon

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

As we gear up for Bouchercon in a couple of weeks, I’ve read a bunch of great “advice” posts. Alex Segura’s guide for cons at Do Some Damage is terrific. Kristopher at BOLO Books has a series of Countdown to Bouchercon posts that is invaluable. The Bouchercon 2014 blog is running posts from people on all different aspects of the event. Except one, which I’m going to address today. Forgive me if I sound a little like the “you’ll shoot your eye out” mom in A Christmas Story—it’s not my intention to suggest you dampen your fun! So here goes:...

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Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

Some weeks back a new social network leapt onto the scene: Ello. I did what I always do in these situations. I went over and grabbed my user name (I like it to be the same everywhere) and had a look around. Much like when Google+ launched to far more fanfare, it was…quiet. Nobody could quite figure out what to say or do. The search wasn’t working, so finding friends was difficult. But I was intrigued, primarily because Ello’s shtick seems to be that they are not now accepting nor will they ever accept advertising. I’ve been spending less time...

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