Nancy's Notes From Florida

Backlist Book Updates

January 24, 2020

You may have noticed that I’ve been subtly rolling out cover changes for my earlier mystery titles. It’s important for author branding that series covers have the same overall look in terms of fonts, text placement, color palette, series logo and image style. My cover artist, the talented Patty G. Henderson, has been working diligently on these updates. So far we’ve completed the ebook covers. The paperbacks are more complicated because these also involve the book’s spine.

Some of the cover changes are subtle and some are drastic. Here’s the most dramatic one. Permed to Death really needed a makeover from the cartoony cover to a more modern image. Old covers are on the left, new covers are on the right. Don’t you just love this new one?

Permed to Death          Permed to Death

For Hair Raiser, we changed out the old logo for the new one and straightened the title. Murder by Manicure, however, has a partial new look with a spa pool on the image.

          Murder by Manicure

We removed the nurse on Body Wave. She served her purpose at the time but now she looked too cartoony to me, so we took her out along with swapping logos and straightening the title. We added my RONE Award badge to this one.

          Body Wave

Highlights to Heaven didn’t get much done except ditto to above. The only other change was on Hair Brained, where my author name had been in all caps. It’s not that way on the other books so we changed this one to make things more cohesive.

Hair Brained          Hair Brained

The paperbacks are taking longer because the series and publisher logos need to be made consistent on the back covers and the spines. And I need them to be compatible with Ingram as well as KDP. That’s so booksellers and librarians will have access to order them. Alongside with the cover updates, I’m revising the back matter in the interior files. This is a book-by-book project to see what needs to be done. It’s also forcing me to clean out my files, getting rid of old versions and material that’s no longer useful.

I’ll be adding my four Five Star books to this repertoire when all the updates are finished. Since I’ve just received rights reversions, I need to get them back for sale online so readers can access the complete series. They will all be needing new covers and reformatting.

This is what I’ve been working on, with the help of my cover designer and formatter. What’s next? I still have six romance titles to do but those will be ebook only. And then there’s the audiobooks… But some day, I will finish all these updates and the entire series will have a fresh look. Yay! Then we can celebrate before moving on to box sets…

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Easter Hair Hunt Cover Reveal

January 17, 2020

COVER REVEAL! Easter Hair Hunt, #16 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available for pre-order.

 

Easter Hair Hunt

 

Cover Design by Patty G. Henderson from Boulevard Photografica

 

Hare today, dead tomorrow… Can a stylish sleuth pull a rabbit out of her hat to solve an Easter murder in this to-dye-for cozy mystery?

When hairstylist Marla Vail attends an Easter egg hunt at historic Tremayne Manor, she’s only there to fix hair for a client, Bonnie “Blinky” Morris. But when she’s asked to comb the grounds for leftover goodies, Marla discovers more than just a few dyed eggs. The dead body in the bunny costume is definitely not having a good hare day. And Blinky seems to have disappeared down a rabbit hole.

When trying to solve a murder, everyone needs a friend who’s all ears. For Marla, that’s her husband, homicide detective Dalton Vail. They make an eggcellent team. Dalton isn’t the kind to leap to conclusions, but with his wife seven months pregnant, and knowing Marla finds crime-solving to be irresistible, he worries about her running off on another hare-raising adventure.

Marla’s peeps are hoping for a happy ending, but she may have found a basketful of trouble this time. Can she crack the case before Blinky becomes the next victim?

Recipes Included!

“Marla is drawn into an investigation that involves a missing friend who is possibly a victim and a stolen Fabergé egg… As Marla and husband Dalton proceed, she finds her family life and pregnancy challenged in more ways than one, with everything overshadowed by Easter and a mystery steeped in South Florida history and culture. Nancy Cohen excels at capturing this atmosphere, injecting it into Marla’s life and choices with a series of seasonal egg-related revelations and surprises that keep readers immersed in both town affairs, personalities and politics and an Easter egg hunt like no other.” Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

Release Date: March 10, 2020

Ebook: ISBN 978-0-9997932-6-8, Orange Grove Press, $4.99
Print: ISBN 978-0-9997932-7-5, Orange Grove Press, $14.99
Publisher: Orange Grove Press
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Print Pages: 302

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Website
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Print editions coming soon including Ingram

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7 Tips for Goodreads Authors

January 16, 2020

Goodreads is where readers go to share their reviews and to discover new books. As an author, you want readers to add your book to their TBR (to-be-read) shelf. Shelvings can lead to Sales that can lead to Reads and hopefully Reviews. Your goal is to raise awareness of your book and entice readers to buy it. Goodreads should be a part of your book promotion campaign.

Goodreads Authors

 

1. Sign in as a Goodreads Author or Librarian, so you can click the Edit Details button on your books and make changes. You can combine editions, choose a default edition, add a book cover, link your series books, or manually enter a new title if it’s available on Amazon. With an author page, you can list your books, link to your blog post feed, create events, and more.

2. Search for Goodreads author promotions so you can take advantage of them. Or run a Goodreads Giveaway. These cost money but can be effective to raise awareness of your upcoming release.

3. Followers, and not friends, get notified when you have a new book launch. So ask people to follow you on Goodreads. If you’re doing a Rafflecopter contest, add Follow Me on Goodreads as an option. Add this link to all your social media posts and sites.

4. Since Goodreads is primarily for readers, contribute reviews for each book you read so that other readers accept you as one of their own. It’ll also help get your name out there when it shows on your update feed.

5. Join special interest groups and participate in discussions, but be careful to promote your book only in the sections allowed. Read the guidelines before you post about your own books.

6. Utilize the Ask-the-Author feature. It allows readers to ask you questions in a Q&A format.

7. On the Home page, click on General Update and add your contest news, book release info, or anything else you wish to promote.

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Goodreads is another site to have an author presence. Use your author dashboard and manage your book editions and author page. This site can be a valuable tool in your promotional arsenal.

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Knickknacks Reveal Character

January 13, 2020

You can learn a lot about your story characters from the knickknacks in their house. Consider this topic when enhancing characterization in fiction writing.

Knickknacks Reveal Character

As we are attempting to declutter our shelves, I’m wondering why I collected so many souvenir drinking glasses, paperweights, candles and rocks. Yes, rocks. There’s also my wonky pen collection, a box full of troll dolls that I am loathe to give away, and letter openers. What do these things say about my personality? You tell me.

  trolls2

What can they say about your main character? Perhaps your heroine presents a tough exterior but has a collection of hair ornaments. Or your bookish hero hides a fascination with antique hunting knives. Maybe a sidekick is a cat fan and has decorated her house with cat-themed throw pillows and handmade ceramics depicting cats. For inspiration, check out those unsolicited catalogs you get in the mail.

hair ornament   ceramic cats

Be specific about what type of reading material your character keeps around. Does the heroine read steamy romances but pretends to disdain romance? Does your hero stick to instructional manuals because fiction isn’t real? What if the woman he’s interested in collects unicorn figurines? Will there be a clash in their interests? How about the pages of the magazines or books? Are the corners folded in, the spines bent, or is there a bookmark inside?

What secret longing do these objects represent? How about art? What does your heroine hang on her walls? Does your hero prefer sports memorabilia or does he have an interest in wall clocks? Maybe he hasn’t an eye for design and mismatches colors, while your heroine reads interior design magazines and believes everything should be coordinated.

pens   

It’s fascinating to view the items inside another person’s house. You can see what they enjoy collecting and learn more about them. It also gives you an idea what to get them for a gift. So next time you visit a friend or relative, take a stroll around and see what’s inside their curio cabinet, adorning their walls, or standing poised on a bookshelf.

Even owning nothing of a personal nature makes a statement in itself. Have fun delving into the intricacies of your protagonists’ hobbies so you can describe the collection through their eyes. It will give an added dimension to your story.

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Setting Goals for 2020

January 2, 2020

For writers, it’s important to set concrete career goals. These should be as specific as possible and ideally attainable. It helps to divide these objectives into creative and business aspects. As a professional author, you need to pay attention to both. So let’s see where I stand at the beginning of this new year.

Setting Goals for 2020

 

CREATIVE GOALS

1. Publish Easter Hair Hunt, #16 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

This book is written but needs a final proofread before going into production. My cover artist is polishing the cover. The next step will be formatting, another inspection for conversion errors, and then upload for pre-orders. Sending out the book to reviewers, doing a cover reveal, planning the launch party and preparing for a blog tour are all part of the marketing for a new book release. The date is slated for March 10, so I have to get these tasks done.

2. Reissue mystery backlist titles and update earlier covers.

For purposes of author branding, my cover artist is tweaking my earlier covers to make them all consistent in terms of font, text placement, imagery, etc. One early cover has a total makeover and another one has a partial. The other tweaks are relatively minor. Adding to this task might be my four Five Star titles but they’re not on the horizon yet.

3. Revise and reissue romance backlist titles.

I still have six romance titles that need to be made available online. These early books require editing since my writing has vastly improved over time. I need about two months per book for this process as it requires one round of line editing and two rounds of read-throughs for polishing.

4. Do another audiobook.

I’d eventually like to put Writing the Cozy Mystery into audio. Or I could do the next Bad Hair Day mystery instead. It might depend on number 3 below.

BUSINESS GOALS

1. Bundle books into box sets.

Once my backlist titles are all updated, I can begin packaging them into box sets.

2. Participate in sales and giveaways.

Again, once my entire backlist is online, I’ll have more leeway to offer pricing incentives.

3. Experiment with going wide for audiobooks.

My audiobooks are currently available only on Audible, iTunes and Amazon. I’d like to see how they would do if more readily available to libraries and other resources.

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After Easter Hair Hunt, my next priority is getting all my backlist titles available online. Then it will be time for something new. But these books have been preying on my mind for some time now, so I have to get them done. It will be immensely satisfying to have all 27 books (8 romances, 16 mysteries, 1 novella, and 2 nonfiction titles) the best they can be and available to readers everywhere. At that point, I will face what to do next. What do you think it should be?

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