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Author Chris Grabenstein

Booknook.biz Client Chris Grabenstein nominated for a Watson at Left Coast Crime 2013

Will Chris Bring Home The Watson?  It's Elementary...

Boonook.biz client Chris Grabenstein's Fun House (Pegasus) is in a hot race against Robert Crais' Pike and Cole thriller, Taken, for the highly-coveted Watson award at the 2013 Left Coast Crime Awards.

The Watson is given for the mystery novel with the best sidekick (first awarded in 2011).  The nominees for this year's award are:

  • Chris Grabenstein, Fun House (Pegasus)
  • Juliet Blackwell, In a Witch’s Wardrobe (Obsidian)
  • Robert Crais, Taken (Putnam)
  • L.C. Hayden, When the Past Haunts You (CreateSpace)
  • Rochelle Staab, Bruja Brouhaha (Berkley Prime Crime)

Attendees at LCC in Colorado Springs will vote by secret ballot during the convention. The winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet.

Fun House features John Ceepak and (his nominated sidekick, Danny Boyle) trying to ride herd on a reality-TV show, ala "Jersey Shore," set up in their seaside resort town.  When a cast member is murdered, Ceepak and Danny have to try to prevent the rest of the cast from meeting the same fate.  Sound like fun?  Check out Fun House on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Books-A-Million, iBooks and Kobo.  

Discovered by no one less than James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein won the Anthony Award for "Best First Mystery" for his first Ceepak book, Tilt A Whirl.  Chris has produced and published 4 John Ceepak Mysteries (short story Ring Toss, Anthony-winner Tilt-A-Whirl, Mad Mouse and Whack-A-Mole) from his backlist, as well as the kids' novel, The Explorer's Gate with Booknook.biz in digital formats.

Check out Chris' terrific series on Amazon, by clicking here

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Cupcakes, Pies and Hot Guys makes it to next round for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award!

Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award--Cupcakes, Pies and Hot Guys makes it through the first round!

We're having a big month: first Nancy G. West's Fit To Be Dead is nominated for a Lefty, and now Booknook.biz client Pamela DuMond's Cupcakes, Pies and Hot Guys makes it through the first round of Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award. 

About the Book that we're rooting for, here at Booknook: "Annie Graceland's a baker with a pinch of psychic ability. She's empathic--can feel other people's lusts and desires in her own body. No biggie if she experiences someone else's cravings for dark chocolate or a foot massage. But Annie's recently acquired a spookier skill--she can see and talk to ghosts. Much to her dismay, they can also talk to her--nagging her incessantly to solve their murders.

Annie's happily dating hunky Detective Raphael Campillio in Los Angeles, when her mom signs her up to be a judge at Wisconsin's first annual Hot Guys Contest. Who cares if it's 4th of July weekend with scorching temperatures? It's a free trip home to Wisconsin. She can visit family and friends on someone else's dime. What could possibly go wrong? When hometown Hot Guy, Mr. Oconomowoc, is killed and doesn't pass to the Afterlife, he begs Annie to investigate his murder. Now she's not only a pageant judge, but also meddling with suspects that include her former high school rival, an old boyfriend, Hot Guy contestants, a supermodel and a mysterious illegal betting ring. It doesn't help that Detective Jamie Ryan, a boy from Annie's past, is all grown up, sexy as sin, and determined to make her fall for him. Annie's about to discover that going back home could be sweet as frosting or a cake wreck. The temperature's rising at the Hot Guys Contest..."

And it's rising at Amazon, too! Good luck, Pam! Sound good to you? Get the book by clicking here http://amzn.to/15dcebf!

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Cover of Fit to Be Dead

Fit to Be Dead, by Nancy West, Nominated for a Lefty!

Nancy G. West's Aggie Mundeen mystery, Fit to Be Dead, has been nominated for the Lefty Award,

...which has been given annually since 1996 for the best humorous mystery novel of the year.

Nancy G. West's Aggie Mundeen mystery was shortlisted along with five others for the prize, whose winner will be announced at the Left Coast Crime Conference in Colorado Springs in March. The conference is held annually in Western North American cities and on the west coast of England (Bristol) and Hawaii (Waikoloa).

The nomination is decided on by voting from approximately 1,200 conference attendees, which include some of the most enthusiastic readers of crime fiction in the US and UK.

"I'm thrilled to be a finalist for this award because it's voted on by mystery fans," said West, a resident of San Antonio and Seguin. 

West wrote the biography of San Antonio artist, Jose Vives-Atsara. Her suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, received the Blether Gold Award, and Friends of the San Antonio Public Library honored her with the 2012 Arts and Letters Award for her contribution to writing. The second Aggie Mundeen mystery, Dang Near Dead, has been recently released.

Past winners of the Lefty include Janet Evanovich and Elaine Viets.  If you want to see what all the fuss is about, check it out on Amazon.com:  Go to:  Fit To Be Dead

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How To Use Twitter

Steve explains how to compose an effective profile bio, what #hashtags are, why you should use links, and offers up examples of good, bad, and ugly self-promotional tweets.

1. Create an informative, concise, and unique bio.

You want potential followers to know who you are, what you do, and why you do it, without appearing arrogant, hasty, or a bore. Think like a (micro)journalist: answer the obligatory who? what? when? where? and why? as briefly as possible. Alternatively, think like you're filling out an online dating application. What kind of followers are you trying to attract? Bloggers? Reviewers? Agents? Readers? Ex-cons? Marine Biologists?

Example of a good profile bio:

Ellen Jones   @ellenjones
Oakland-based motorcycle rider and author of the Jane Smith YA mystery series. Read more about Jane's latest adventures: www.janegoestowashington.thebook.com

Why this bio is good:

It tells us that a woman (presumably) named Ellen lives in California, likes to do crazy things like ride motorcycles (without obnoxiously proclaiming "I'm wild! I ride motorcycles!"), and writes a mystery series of young adult novels about a girl named Jane who most recently took on Washington. If I'm curious, I can click on her link for more information. Short and sweet.

Example of a bad profile:

Joe Smith   @joesmithcool
My name is Joe Smith. I am an author. I have written 4 books. Two were published with Book Publishing, Inc. One is self-published because I'm trying to stick it to The Man! My books are, without a doubt, some of the bestest books in the whole wide world!!! Read more about "The Awesome Series" (including tons of 5-star reviews) on Amazon!!

Why this bio is bad:

It tells us that an author named Joe Smith has written 4 books, is bitter about the fact that only 2 of them were traditionally published, and is (likely unfoundedly) convinced that he's an extraordinary writer. The extraneous exclamation points take up unnecessary space and suggest he might secretly be a 6th grade girl. I know the title of his book series, but if I want to read it, I have to search for it on my own. This bio is long-winded, immature, and ineffectual.

2. Self-promotional tweets

When tweeting to promote to your followers, be it an event you're publicizing, a blog entry you'd like them to read, or a product you'd like them to buy, tread carefully. In a world ripe with bombarding advertisement, it's difficult to convince people that your self-promotion is any different from or better than everyone else's self-promotion. Make it your goal to pique interest. Promote creatively, humbly, and concisely. Come up with 140-character phrases that would make even the busiest, pickiest reader just have to know more.

And... Never underestimate the value of hyperlinks and hashtags.

For the uninitiated, a hashtag consists of a # sign followed by a word or words that categorize a tweet (no spaces in between). #books denotes a tweet about a book or books. #Obama2012 denotes a tweet about Obama's reelection campaign, including event listings, press coverage, and commentary. Anyone can employ any hashtag at any time. Hashtags that are trending as I write (you can find trends on the left hand side of your Twitter home page) include #MayWeather, denoting tweets about thunderstorms and sunshine, and #AJBurnett, denoting tweets about whatever sport that dude is playing right now.

Hashtags authors commonly use:

#books
#ebooks
#kindle
#nook
#amreading
#mustread
#read
#bookclub

Hashtags useful in promoting KDP free days:

#freekindlebook
#freebooks
#freeebook (that's "free ebook")
#free

Why these hashtags will help you:

If I'm searching for a new book to read, I can type "#books," for example, in the search field located in Twitter's upper right hand menu. Twitter will send me to a page listing all tweets including the hashtag #books, whether I'm following those users or not. If I'm looking for a replacement for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I've just finished reading, I can search for #thriller, #crimenovel, or #SteigLarsson.

This search feature works for promoters as well. If I've just written a crime novel I would compare to Larsson's series, I can run searches for those books in Twitter and use hashtags I find in my own future tweets, such as #MillenniumTrilogy.

Apart from using by the book (no pun intended) categorical hashtags, use your imagination in your tweets! Don't be afraid to be funny.

Bad self-promotional tweet:

Back to Basics is free today! Please Retweet you guys! I love you!

Why this tweet is bad:

It's lacking information. Remember that people use Twitter for various reasons, not just to find books they'd just like to buy and read and share with their friends. We have no idea what "Back to Basics" is. A book? A work-out video? Even if I were to assume Back to Basics is this author's book, there's no link to it, which means I'd have to search for it. Then he asks me to retweet to my followers with the additional qualifier that he loves me. Not only am I annoyed, I'm a little creeped out.

Good self-promotional tweet:

#freekindlebook: Back to Basics www.amazon.com/backtobasicsbook A case for resuscitating the electric #car. #books #nonfiction #amreading #green #energy #algore #hybrids #free

Why this tweet is good:

Right off the bat, it informs followers that the tweet is about a free kindle book. It gives the book's title, a direct link to where it can be purchased, and a phrase explaining what the book is about. Hashtags in the tweet explain that the product is a book, is nonfiction, and pertains to energy policy, green energy, that it is related to hybrid vehicles, and that it is a free product.

More examples of good self-promotional tweets:

Now out on #kindle: #Murder in #Miami, the 2nd #book in the Jan Austin #mystery series: www.amazon.com/janaustinbooks #chicklit #femalesleuth #romance #florida #mustread

Is #Twitter REALLY an effective tool for #selfpromotion? An interview with #selfpub #author @JackieJCollins www.interviewjackie.com

"Joe Jones does it again. Before There Was #Coffee is #hilarious & #moving. A page-turner to the last drop." www.link.com #books #satire #humor #capitalism #starbucks

Non-promotional tweets:

Don't use Twitter only to sell yourself! Think of it as a bar conversation with an acquaintance. Retweet (denoted by "RT") tweets you're interested in by large publications and individuals, ask your followers questions, find common ground with other Twitter users, start conversations with those you follow, make small talk about day-to-day happenings. You wouldn't talk incessantly about your job or divulge gory details about your recent divorce to the stranger sipping a beer on the bar stool to your right; don't do it on Twitter, either.

3. Quick Tips:

Twitter now has a built-in link shortener, which automatically codes your hyperlinks to take up no more than 20 characters. This means you can copy and paste links without having to worry about losing precious characters.


Running out of room in a tweet? Can't figure out how to shorten it any further? Replace "and"s with "&," and compound words w/ (hint!) contractions.

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Booknook.biz client and Indy Author L.J. Sellers signs 11-book deal with Amazon!

Although this is bittersweet news for us--as we'll be losing a client--it's amazing news for those of you out there toiling on your Indy- and self-published books.  L.J. Sellers, one of the very first Booknook.biz clients for conversion to Kindle and ePUB formats, has just been offered an 11-book contract with Amazon.  Amazon bought her entire backlist of nine novels, plus the next two she'll write.  Even more excitement--Amazon is planning to produce translations, hardbacks, etc., of LJ's bestselling Detective Jackson novels. 

L.J. left her small publisher over four years ago and struck out on her own--and it looks like she made the right choice.  She worked hard, wrote well, and sweated blood and tears marketing her series.  Now Amazon, as her publisher, will obviously take that series and her writing career to a whole new tier.  Our deepest (although sad) congratulations to you, L.J.!

You can read L.J.'s announcement here, on the Crime Fiction Collective Blog (to which we both contribute); if you want to read some of LJ's books on Amazon, you can start by clicking here to go to her Author page.  Want to try the book that started it all?  Give The Sex Club a whirl--and see if you're not caught up right away.

Well done, L.J.--The Crew and Oompa Loompas here at Booknook wish you the best--and I hope to see you at Bouchercon this year. 

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Remember our Fallen

Memorial Day, originally called "Decoration Day" was created
to honor those who have been slain in defense of the US.

  
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As many of our returning customers know, we close on the holidays to recharge our batteries, as we're normally open 6/days/week.  As a former servicemember, I feel strongly that Memorial Day should be observed--and remembered.  

We'll be closed, administratively, from 5:00 p.m, the night of May 24th 2019 through the morning of May 28th 2019.  Production will be full-tilt boogie while the office is closed, but in Admin, phones will not be answered and emails will only receive auto-replies until we're back on our regular schedule. Books that are in production will be shipped, fear not.  

Thanks, and have a happy and safe--and memorable--Memorial Day.
(image courtesy of William Zhang, Unsplash)