Friday, March 29, 2013

Write The Murder: Florist

Florist by Joseph Christian Leyendecker for Kuppenheimer Style Book, Spring 1920
Here's a little game.

The image to the right is entitled, "Florist".  Write a one-paragraph story or scene that explains what is happening in the photo.  Of course, we have to do this Murder Lab style - so your story MUST be something that belongs in the mystery/thriller genres.  And please, no porn.

Here's my example:
OK, dear, so the little white petal here is the one that squirts poison gas. I'll seat your boss on one side of you and his wife on the other. As soon as they sit down, just give the white petal a tickle, and they'll never complain about another bunt cake again. Ooh, this is going to be the best dinner party EVER!
I must disclose that I have blatantly ripped this idea off from my friend Sara McBride over at Novel Travelist.  She posted this game on her site, and I so loved it that I unapologetically stole her idea - because Sara and I are the kind of friends who don't sue each other (neither of us can afford it, so it all works out...)

The winning entry gets...nothing.  Except fame and notoriety in the Murder Lab Hall of Fame.

Your turn!  Ready, set, go...

Friday, March 22, 2013

What you can do to promote your book: right now, while writing and post-launch

A few weeks ago, a post entitled, "Where do your marketing dollars go?" spontaneously combusted into a brainstorming session for how we can all promote and market our own work.  Because I SO love bullet lists, here's the bullet list version of those ideas, along with a few of my own thrown in for good measure.  Please feel free to make additional suggestions, and I'll add them to the list (because I have omnipotent editing powers...MUAHAHAHAHA!)  And without further delay...

What you can do RIGHT NOW to promote a book that will someday be forthcoming:
  • Social media:
    • Define your target audience
    • Build a website/blog
    • Give your target audience reason to want to see your website and blog
    • Join Facebook, Twitter, Book Blogs, Goodreads, She Writes, Sisters in Crime...
    • Read and comment on other people's blogs
    • Write guest posts for other bloggers
    • Participate in blog hops and giveaways
    • Retweet!
    • Review books
  • Person-to-person:
    • Create a logo 
    • Plaster said logo on cheap promotional items
    • Join a book club 
    • Join a critique group
    • Attend local book signings and events
    • Attend conventions
    • Attend book fairs and festivals
    • Scope out the local bookstores and specialty shops that might carry your book
    • Obtain a professional headshot
    • Build a media kit
What you can do while writing your book and in the weeks leading up to launch:
  • All of the above
  • Release a teaser chapter
  • Blog excerpts 
  • Design your cover (or at least *a* cover that captures the concept)
  • Solicit reviews
  • Set up Amazon Author Central page
  • Become a Goodreads author
  • Set up Shelfari account

What you can do after launching your book:

  • All of the above
  • Solicit reviews
  • Hold signing events
  • Hold giveaways
  • Keep track of who bought the book (did you reach your target audience?)
  • Review your reviews (was the book well received by most?  Some?  None?  Why?)
  • Write your next book with these lessons under your belt


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The colors in the tapestry: Interweaving subplots, part I

We speak of "weaving" subplots together.  I cannot think of a better metaphor.  Each sub-plot is a thread of a different color.  The author's job is to choose a palate, and then weave and layer those threads together to create the final tapestry.  What colors are in your book?

Despite their diversity, mysteries and thrillers often have a similar basic structure - or, to follow this analogy, similar colors:

The main plot is usually a murder, series of murders, or series of threats of murder or some other form of major destruction.  I call this the black thread.  But what makes a powerful image is not the black thread in a vacuum, but the way it plays off of the palate of colors around it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Few Updates and Technical Difficulties

Hi all,

A few words from your Murder Lab Mistress.

1) I have just purchased www.murderlab.com and am in the process of moving this site to that address.  My current understanding, with my sadly meager webmistress skills, is that the move can take a few days.  So if you're having trouble accessing the site, or if some of its features aren't working properly, please be patient as I try to sort these things out ASAP.  I think I know how to fix the broken gadgets, but I don't want to do this until we have migrated to the new domain location.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An Interview With Author Lawrence Gold, M.D.

Lawrence Gold is a 23 year veteran of internal medicine and nephrology at U.C. Berkeley.  These days, he writes books based on all he saw in those 23 years.  The below interview introduces our readers to the author and his latest work, The Sixth Sense.

What genre do your books fall into?

Directly or indirectly, my novels involve medical themes. That includes thrillers, adventures, and murder mysteries. My novel, For the Love of God deals with the evils of faith healing by religious extremists and cults.