writer pillow

One of the common questions a writer gets is: why do you write?

It’s not just a valid question– it’s one every writer has to work out. The fact is, writing is time consuming. If you write short, nonfiction pieces, you can probably make a decent living off of doing that. “For the money” is definitely a good answer for someone doing that.

But a novelist? Unless you are famous already, your chances of making good money from it is very low. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at writing. What really matters is being good at marketing. In fact, if you’re doing it for money, people will tell you to research the markets before you even start writing, because you have to decide not what story to tell but what story will sell. Fame is at least as long a shot as money. If you want fame, you might do better creating a YouTube show because it asks people to invest less time to consume your product.

Other people will tell you it’s a compulsion. They need to put down the words to get it out of their system. It sounds good. It suggests the story is semi-autobiographical, something that has deep meaning to them and may reveal their soul. But a lot of people say it. I don’t know how common a real sense of compulsion is, and it sounds pretty awful to experience. While I am regularly drawn to write, I can easily opt to keep my ideas to myself, and, in fact, it takes discipline for me to keep up the daily effort. I can daydream in my head without anything like the time cost  of putting it into words.

So what motivates me? I want to make readers happy. Yes, they may experience some fear or have their heartstrings pulled, but overall, my novels will make you laugh, have a vicarious experience of friendship, the satisfaction of resolutions… I want people to feel good and have a chance to recover from a world that is plenty stressful.

That’s all. I’m donating books to libraries. I’m willing to give free copies to get reviews. But it’s frustrating because it is very, very hard to reach a larger audience. What would you recommend for getting the word out about my books?

NewCoverForeverHauntedFinal28129

Amazon Link: Forever Haunted Amazon

Ultimate Final Cover Forevers Too Long GIMP

Amazon Link: Forevers Too Long Amazon

Sneak Peek Saturday – Sample of book #2 “Forever Haunted” by Helen Krummenacker

Okay, so a friend told me he was really excited about the sample and then disappointed to see it was just from the first book, which he’d already read. So for those eager to find out about book 2, here’s a snippet:

Sing Sing was at a pretty nice location on the Hudson River, 30 miles up from New York City. The cells inside were tiny– I had been there before on a couple of occasions as a cop– but the buildings were made of white local stone and the long rows of small windows made the complex look charming from a distance. There was a nearby train station. All in all, if it weren’t famous for its prison, you could think you were passing a resort. And that gave me an idea.

I drove to Ossining alone, parking my car blocks away and strolling along the streets until I was starting to pass the outer wall. I looked curiously at it, as if I’d never seen the place before. I stuck my hands in my pockets, backing out into the street to take in the massive barrier properly. I pulled my hands back out, empty, and pulled my hat off so the brim didn’t block my view as I gaped up at the guard tower. “Hey, buddy!” I called out cheerfully to the guard. “Is this Sing Sing?”

“Yeah. What do you want here?”

“We don’t have anything like this back in Montana. Do you guys have tours?”

“No!”

“Well, can I come in?”

That did it.

“Sure you can come in here. We’d be absolutely delighted. You want to know how to get in here? You break the law, get arrested, and get sent up the river like all the other inmates!” He sneered the first part and yelled the rest, while I grinned at him with genuine pleasure. The nice thing about New Yorkers is it’s pretty easy to tip them over into sarcasm… and magic doesn’t care if you’re being sarcastic or not.

“FOREVER HAUNTED” will be coming this November/December to your favorite online book store. So stay tuned…

How can I support authors I like, you ask?

Well, maybe you don’t ask. But now you want to know, because once you fall in love with a book, you want more like it.

Review it! Many online stores and book sites allow readers to post reviews. A person is more likely to take a chance on a book that 50 people say they loved than 5 people say they do.

Recommend it! Readers have friends who read, and you likely have an idea of their tastes. A recommendation makes a person more likely to find out more about an unknown book. Some authors, such as J.K. Rowling, got further by word of mouth recommendations and kids buying it for their friends, than by traditional marketing methods.

Gift it! I’ve been running a special– the book retails at $12 each, but I’ve been running a 2 for $20 special via direct sales. It encourages people to either buy an extra as a present for a friend or talk them into buying one too and splitting the savings. And I’d never ask this, but two of my buyers spontaneously paid extra, so that someone who wanted it but couldn’t afford it could have a copy.

Speaking of buying direct– when I purchase a crate of books and sell them directly to people at list price, I get more of a share than the royalties if you buy from retailers. I imagine it works the same way for other authors. So don’t think you’re shorting us if you want a signed copy.

You’re also not wasting our time if you contact us with questions or wanting to share your thoughts. Art is about communication, and as FUN as it is for me to write Rafael Jones, I’m not just doing it for myself. Hearing from readers is very motivational. There’s a button to send me an email, or just use the comment area. I love you so much just for being interested enough in my work to come here.