Tell us a bit about your books. What are they about?
Safe Harbor and Black Water are the first two books in my Pat Tierney mystery series. Pat is a fortysomething financial advisor, and her creation was inspired by my work as a journalist. For the past 15 or so years, I’ve written about personal finance. I interview financial advisors and investment managers. I attend their conferences. I know the issues they face and the concerns they have, and I admire their dedication. So when I was looking for a central character for my mystery series, Pat Tierney appeared full-blown in my mind. She cares about her clients. She’s a champion of small investors. She has sleepless nights when markets are down.
Safe Harbor got off to a roaring start when it was released on March 7, 2012. The e-book was offered free to readers for five days out of every 90 on Amazon’s KDP Select program. And I did everything I could to promote it. Check out the question below for some of the things I did.
Pat returned in Black Water the spring of 2013. She leaves her home base in Toronto, and heads out to Ontario lake country where an elderly man has been brutally murdered. Her daughter Tracy’s friend Jamie is a suspect in murder, and when Tracy asks her mother for help…well, Pat is a softie when it comes to her family.
The fact that the books are part of a series contributed to their success. When Black Water was released, e-book sales of Safe Harbor soared even though my promotion efforts at that time focused exclusively on Black Water. The synergy created in cross-marketing books in a series is a huge bonus, especially for newly published writers whose names are not yet synonymous with a good read.
But I believe the character of Pat Tierney is the major reason for the books’ success. Pat is a character every reader can relate to, an ordinary woman battling the forces of evil in her world. Because the financial industry in which she works revolves around money, it provides opportunities for those who are clever and greedy enough to challenge the system. Pat doesn’t want to see people taken by these bad apples. She has integrity, a strong set of ethics and the courage to stand up for what she believes is right. That’s probably why The Toronto Star has called her “a hugely attractive sleuth figure.”
“I can’t wait for the next Pat Tierney instalment,” one Amazon reviewer wrote about Safe Harbor. “I look forward to seeing what trouble Pat Tierney gets herself into next,” another added.
And they still want more of Pat and her world. “I hope there is a third book in the series,” a reader said in a review of Black Water, “because I would like to know what happens to some of the secondary characters…All the more reason to suspect a third book may be on the way.”
I’m a big believer in taking every opportunity that comes my way to promote my books – both digitally and in person. I spent considerable time writing them, so why wouldn’t I want to give my all to promote them? Most days, I post tweets on two small tweet teams. When I have a big promotion or some other major event, I’ll post on more teams and try to secure guest spots on other authors’ blogs. I may purchase a digital advertisement.
But I also get out and talk to people at libraries, book clubs, bookstores – wherever I can meet readers. I was at Bouchercon, the big U.S. mystery conference that was held in Albany, N.Y., last fall. And I’ll attend Bloody Words, its Canadian counterpart, in June. At some of the smaller events, I may only be able to introduce myself to a handful of readers, but those readers will spread the word.
Networking with other authors is also instrumental in book promotion. It is part and parcel of digital promotion – tweet teams and blog tours are built on the team concept. Authors today also banding together to take their books out to readers. I am fortunate that Toronto, where I live, is the home of dozens of crime fiction writers. Crime Writers of Canada organizes regular talks at public libraries for its members. I also belong to a crime fiction collective, The Mesdames of Mayhem, that recently published Thirteen, an anthology of members’ short stories. We regularly visit venues in southwestern Ontario to promote Thirteen and our own novels.
What advice would you give to writers who are considering Imajin Books for their works?
Check out Imajin Books’ submission page at http://www.imajinbooks.com/submissions/. Find out if your manuscript fits what Imajin is looking for. If it does, follow the submission guidelines to the letter.
It will be well worth your while if your manuscript is accepted. Imajin is a dynamic, independent publishing company that considers its writers an essential part of its team. Authors have input on their books’ titles, editing and cover images. Imajin markets its books online, and helps its authors to do the same.