Thursday, October 11, 2018

Series vs. Standalone Novels

I have a six book series, The Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, and nine other published books. I have under contract two books to come out next year that will be sequels to two of these other books (The Back Wing and Court Trouble). In the future I may add additional books to the Paul Jacobson series or sequels to other books I’ve written.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of series or standalones?

Many mystery readers enjoy series because they like following a particular protagonist. But series also run the risk of going stale. I’ve heard readers comment on how they followed a series for a while but then became disenchanted. Some authors have also said they became tired of their protagonist.

I have written a variety of books because I’m interested in exploring different situations with unique characters. Paul Jacobson and I spent many happy years together, but I also wanted to try my hand at a non-fiction book (The Best Chicken Thief in All of Europe), a paranormal mystery (The V V Agency), a historical mystery (Murder on the Switzerland Trail), a theater mystery (Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse), a thriller (The Tesla Legacy), and most recently a professional organizer mystery (Unstuff Your Stuff).

When I started the first book in the Paul Jacobson series (Retirement Homes Are Murder) I wasn’t thinking about a series but only telling a specific story. But as I got into it, I discovered that it could bridge into additional stories. All of my other novels lend themselves to becoming series, but I also want to continue to pursue different characters and writing challenges.

That’s the beauty of writing. There’s no one way to do it.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Promotional Activity for Book Launch of Unstuff Your Stuff

My latest mystery novel, Unstuff Your Stuff, is now officially available. I have speaking events planned including six Rotary Clubs, an Optimist Club, a men’s group, my bookstore launch at Gatsby Books in Long Beach, CA, on Oct. 21 and the Men of Mystery Conference in Long Beach, CA, in November.

I have sent over 200 postcards to my mailing list and several thousand emails to my email list. The email list is always interesting because I get bounce backs for a number of email addresses that are no longer valid. This particularly happens for bookstores and library contacts.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Professional Organizer Jokes

My upcoming mystery, Unstuff Your Stuff, features a protagonist, 68-year-old Millicent Hargrove, who becomes a professional organizer and amateur sleuth. She develops a mantra called GRR: group, reduce and reorganize. This caused me to find some professional organizer jokes. Here are two:
For people who dislike chores, you can organize them into three categories: 1. Things you won’t do now, 2. Things you won’t do later, and 3. Things you’ll never do.
You know you need a professional organizer when you say, “I know it’s good for nothing, but I’m keeping it until it’s good for something.”


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Does Size of Audience Matter When Giving a Presentation

As a speaker and author, I give presentations to libraries, service organizations (Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimist), retirement communities, book clubs and other groups. Does size of audience matter when giving a talk?

My objective is to give the best speech I can no matter what the size of the audience, It’s always good to have a large audience, but some of the best groups I’ve spoken to have had a small number of attendees.
So what do I get out of giving presentations? Some organizations pay an honorarium but most service organizations don’t have a budget for speakers. My only condition is that I’m allowed to sell books at the end of the presentation. The number of books sold may vary wildly. I recently sold 24 books to an audience of 11 people. I have also sold only a handful of books to large audiences. But there are secondary results as well. Some people later order e-book editions. I’ve also had numerous follow on requests for presentations from people who heard my talk. And by building readership through presentations, word-of-mouth about my books gets around. Another important aspect for me is that I meet wonderful people and give them a chance to have a good laugh with my humorous and entertaining talk.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Preparing for a Book Launch

With my next mystery novel, Unstuff Your Stuff, about a professional organizer being released in October, I’m preparing for my book launch. This includes lining up speaking and signing engagements at bookstores and service organizations such as Rotary Clubs and Kiwanis Clubs. I also have information to be sent to my email list of readers and a postcard produced to be sent to my regular mailing list of readers. I will also be putting out social media messages about the new book.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Upcoming Mystery Novel

My next mystery novel, Unstuff Your Stuff, will be released by Encircle Publications in October, 2018. It’s always an exciting time when a new book comes out. Along with the release of this novel, I will develop a new presentation to give at book stores, service organizations and libraries.

This mystery features a female protagonist. Here’s a snapshot: In Unstuff Your Stuff, 68-year-old Millicent Hargrove must deal with the murder of her husband as she begins her new life as a widow and professional organizer. She escapes attempts on her own life and figures out the mystery of the cryptic messages left by her husband. She discovers how to organize people’s stuff while sorting through the clutter from the secret life her husband led.

This book takes place in Boulder, CO, where my wife and I used to live. In doing research for the book, I had an opportunity to tag along with two professional organizers and experience the needed service they provided.  

Friday, August 31, 2018

A New School Year

Some kids hate going back to school and others look forward to it. I remember it being an exciting time to see school friends again, meet new teachers and have an opportunity to learn new things. I also had a feeling of trepidation on entering the unknown.

For us this is a milestone year. Our first grandchild is going off to college.