Friday, October 28, 2011

Use the Calendar to Sell Your Books!

All of us who are involved in the world of writing and publishing have explored ways to expand our marketing efforts. Many times, as a little guy, it has seemed like getting the word out about my books to the large audience that I desire is an insurmountable task. However, with my fourth release, Opur’s Blade, we tried something different and I wanted to share the exciting results.

Do you know how those bestseller lists that you see with online distributors such as Amazon are determined?  If you want to succeed at the game, you need to know the process.  We set out to do just that.

With several sites, one of the requirements is a large number of sales in a very short, concentrated time frame. We found that is the case with Amazon. With this knowledge, the gears were set in motion.

Opur’s Blade was categorized as a sports/fiction book on that global online bookseller. We told the world, through social media and traditional outlets, that we hoped people would purchase this new release on 10/10/10 and asked those who were considering buying the book to hold off until this date.

Bingo! Our efforts succeeded. With those sales, Opur’s Blade rose to at least #17 on the best-seller list at Amazon in the sports/fiction grouping and stood next to authors with names like Patterson, Grisham, and other notable literary figures. For a short while it was gratifying but alas, it didn’t last forever. At the end of the day, though, I can say that Opur’s Blade rose to lofty heights on the bestseller list at Amazon.  And, I know that this campaign exposed my work to many people who may not have discovered it otherwise.

We’ll certainly use this strategy with Pabby’s Score when it is released. You should try it, too!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Short Jockeys and Big Winnings!

Readers of my stories are aware that I try to take the principles of golf like honesty, integrity and dedication to improvement and apply them to situations in life outside of the putting green.  But I try not to limit those lessons strictly to golf; I believe that the lessons learned from sports in general are valuable as we all go forward in life.  There are lessons in leadership and teamwork to be learned from football and soccer . . . and even horse racing.

One of the settings I’ve developed in my already published novels is Hoof and Bridle Park, which is the local thoroughbred race track. This venue will take on a role of great prominence in my upcoming 2011 release, Pabby’s Score. The regular golfers at Prairie Winds have an opportunity to take their friendships beyond the familiar clubhouse and become well-known figures at this racing establishment and their good fortune plays an integral part in the plot that unfolds.

The reader will have an opportunity to live in the bowels of the track, in the pit and under the grandstand. The bleachers will provide an open air view of the home stretch and finish line. The paddock area comes alive with the smells of the stables. I hope that readers will feel like they have been transplanted to the upscale environment in the Turf Club, where pampering is the standard.

“And down the stretch they come….”

Any horse racing fans out there?  What do you enjoy most about an afternoon at the track?  The atmosphere, the beauty of the animals, the thrill of gambling?  Let us know if you have your own connection to this sport that would help us better understand the passion and emotional investment of those involved.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Music and Writing

One of the most important factors in my writing has been the influence of music in my creative mood. When I surround my environment with great artistic expression coming through my speakers, it encourages my work as well.

When the first story came to me, the people in my inner circle suggested that I continue with writing but to stay in the same setting and have reoccurring characters. They said that it would help the reader get more involved.  Since, my idea focused on people who hang out at a golf course, my devotion to this idea would not be too difficult.  And, I have found that staying with the same concept has allowed me to quickly get into the minds of my characters. I'm returning to old friends every time.  After penning five novels it’s almost like throwing a light switch now. But it probably wouldn’t be as easy without the influence of music.

As any writer knows, whether consciously or subconsciously, when you’re working on a story the plot and characters occupy your mind constantly. The actions and conversations and ideas come to an author at every conceivable time. At least for me, those are noted right when they happen. However when it comes time to put it down on paper the mind needs to be freed up.

Thank goodness I discovered Not only do I get an opportunity to tweet links to songs to my friends on Twitter but I get to listen to what I’d like to hear. After accumulating an extensive playlist I can now find hours of tunes that fit my mood and fuel my creativeness.

If you’re a writer and feel the same then join me there as golfnovels or AuthorJamesRoss. Hopefully some of the songs I like will find their way to your inner self.

What are some songs or pieces of music that get your creative juices going?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Continuing Vaccination-Autism Debate

Another school year is now underway in classrooms all around our country, as our kids resume their studies of math, science, English, history, and hopefully much more.  If you have children in a public school, you know that one of the many pieces of paper you had to submit in order to get them registered was an immunization form.  School administrators want to know that the kids walking their hallways are not going to be harboring measles, rubella, chicken pox, or other diseases that medicine has largely eradicated.  But, there are an increasing number of children who reach school age and whose parents have opted out of having them vaccinated.  They are placed right in the middle of a debate that extends way beyond simply whether or not they should be allowed in a classroom.

Many parents worry about the publicized link between vaccines and autism, even though the scientific community has repeatedly come out against there being any evidence of a connection.  Others don't like the idea of their infants being inoculated at such a young age and choose to develop their own vaccination schedule.  The topic even has earned some attention among the current contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, as Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke out about her concerns that the HPV vaccine may cause mental retardation

In my upcoming book, Pabby's Score, I look at the serious issue of autism and the stigma it receives in our country.  I am hoping that my writing on this topic will inspire some conversations among readers about the causes behind this affliction and how best to help families who are dealing with this special need in their homes.

If you have some thoughts about the great debate over the vaccination-autism connection, or if you have experience with autism in your own circle of family and friends, I would love to hear your story.  I know that I can learn a great deal from what you have to share.