Guest Post

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Want more bang for your marketing buck? Try a freebie

Something to think about:

cj Sez: Marketing . . . the incredibly important bane of authors. How much to spend, where to spend it, how to get the most bang for your buck, and the time. Egads, the time involved that takes a writer away from the writing itself. Vicki Turner Goodwin, of Mystery Thriller Week fame, posted a wonderful piece on her blog that I want to share with you. It’s a how-to on using Facebook to do some free marketing.

Vicki writes: “I wanted to share with you a few options for marketing on Facebook even if you do not want to have an active Facebook account for yourself.

Facebook is a huge opportunity for authors that are looking for just one more book sale, one more reader and that elusive one more fan. Many people do not trust Facebook as a platform where they want to spend their time and do not enjoy sharing their personal information with the powers that be like Zuckerburg and other corporate entities. I have the perfect solution for you as an author.

Read her post here:  

I decided to try it but had a problem uploading my cover jpeg because it’s portrait-oriented and the place to drop it is landscape. Vicki responded to my whining with this helpful note:

“Go into (free ) put in the dimensions you need and upload your image. It will place it centered in the exact specifications you need.” And she included the url address below

Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics,…    CANVA.COM

I haven’t done Canva yet as my garden was calling me all Saturday afternoon, but I’ll be at the keyboard soon to see if I can work through it.  I absolutely KNOW that a lot of you readers have already done this, but I’m a bit of a troglodyte when it comes to technology, especially Facebook’s. But I’ll get there, one way or the other.
cj’s “to-do” list:
The Alabama Writers' Conclave has an upcoming conference that I’m attending . . . 

On the writing front, I’m thinking up another challenge for the protagonist/sleuth in my work in progress, and it is Work. Writing a mystery presents a huge learning curve to me. Thriller and suspense genres I have managed to some small degree, but a mystery is a whole ’nother story. Here’s what I know so far:

What is the same among the genres is that my protagonist detective/sleuth must be likeable, have some personality quirks, and a bit of backstory baggage to be dropped intermittently into the story (no info dumps, please). My sleuth has a confidant, which is another recommended device. My setting is rather unique as non-cozy mysteries go in it’s not in a big city, and there’s a love interest to add a little jazz. Each of the major characters, including the bad guy, will have a piece of history or secret that affects how they react, andI hopegenerate some degree of sympathy.

Jeffery Deaver: “I like the way words go together and I like the gamesmanship of poetry. It is such a challenge.”  (cj Sez: Works the same way for me with novels.)

The clues and red herrings are struggles for me. Where and how do I place them so they invite the reader to try to solve the mystery but don’t reveal so much that they can do that too soon? I am a pantser or, more accurately, a pathfinder. I find my way through the story by throwing roadblocks in the path of my characters then figuring out how to have them escape. For a mystery, I’m going to have to do a bit of ::gasp:: plotting. Before I can hide the clues and weave in the red herrings, I probably should know how my protagonist will be solving the crime. Then again, not knowing ahead of time is kind of exciting.

I read that Hallie Ephron struggles with these same problems, so that makes me feel better. I guess this struggle might be problem for many mystery writers. I do know that, like all manuscripts, my characters, clues, and red herrings will change and be rearranged with each future edit cycle.

Diablo Cody: “I don’t have a formal rewrite process. I just compulsively groom and re-groom scenes like a cat with OCD.”  (cj Sez: My method exactly.)

What I really like is that I’m learning new things. My personal goal has long been to learn something new every day, and this (really long) project is certainly helping me reach my goal. How about you? Do you have a personal goal?

Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


PS: Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Posse while it’s still 99 cents on Amazon….and please leave a review. Good, bad, indifferent, authors crave the feedback, and publishers just about demand it. Goodreads and Amazon would love to know what you think, too. Thanks.

Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo
California Kisses—10 book publisher’s bundle 99 cents 
“Bad Day at Round Rock” a short story in The Posse, a Western anthology.  Available at


  1. Canva is great! I create loads of jpegs with it and FB covers, uploads for WordPress press site, etc. Easy to use.

    1. The thing that's confusing to me is the bit about "put in the dimensions you need." I'm wondering if that's a real measurement. Thanks for stopping by.


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