A Promotional Tool that Makes Sense

I was approached by a company called USB Memory Direct to sample their product and write a review. Lucky for me, they got my name from my partnership with Sisters in Crime. They were offering me a couple dozen customized USB drives--and all I had to do in exchange was write an honest review.

Well, here it is. The drives are of excellent quality. They came in and were a lot bigger than I thought they'd be from the pictures online. (That was a bonus!) I've used them personally, but I haven't handed any out yet. When I do, I believe they'll make a statement. And who wouldn't love the fact that they are shaped like a book?!

Let's face it: us authors are always looking for promotional items to give to our lovely readers, something just a little extra to stick in with that signed book in the mail. I'd say these USB drives would make an excellent option. Not only are they unique--and customized for you--they are useful!


CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bests…

Make the time to Play #AuthorTip

As writers, we have so much on our to-do lists, and as professional authors, we have even more. The last post touched on just twelve tips that lead to self-publishing success, but there are so many other things involved. And implementing those twelve tips are time-consuming. (See post: 12 Things You Need to Know for Self-Publishing Success.)
So how do you find time to take care of life’s other responsibilities as well as find time to play? You add it to your calendar!
That sounds easy, but it can be a lot trickier adhering to it! But just like you schedule time for writing, you should allocate time for other aspects of your life as well. And play is very important.
I think in today’s world where indie authors are encouraged to produce, produce, produce, it’s too easy to get caught up on the hamster wheel thinking that all sales will stop if we don’t have a new book out every two months. Isn’t it better to focus on producing high-quality product and marketing that product well than run y…

12 Things You Need to Know for Self-Publishing Success

Self-publishing is both rewarding and challenging—and has no guarantees of success. There are so many books flooding the market these days, and authors need to have a strong game plan more than ever before. The following tips, though not a comprehensive list, are some things to focus on to give yourself a better chance of self-publishing success.
1. Effective immediately: Eliminate the word hobby from your vocabulary. Successful authors view writing as a career. Before I made a single cent with my writing, I would take offense when anyone called my writing a hobby. It’s important you take your writing seriously and view publishing as a business because that’s what it truly is. Not only does this require the right mindset, it demands dedication and consistency.  
2. Schedule your time. We all have twenty-four hours in a day, and we have many roles we play, along with numerous responsibilities. That’s why it’s vital to schedule time for writing. Block it out on your calendar and respect …

Where Does the Time Go?

I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I wrote a piece for this blog! And before that, only one post in 2015. It seems like I was more active here leading up to 2014—before I started living every author’s dream and was able to quit my day job! It’s funny that when you’re dreaming of writing full-time, you imagine that when it happens you’ll have so much time. You tell yourself you’ll do this; you’ll do that. But reality has other plans.
If you’ve made it to the point that you’re a full-time author, you’ve already treated your craft as a business. But when you set out on your own, you know that you’re running a business. After all, if you don’t manage your time and produce product, work marketing into your schedule, allocate time to engage with readers, and the list goes on, you’ll find that sales may slow down. And if you’re not at the point where you can be serving your notice just yet, keep these things in mind for when that time comes. (Notice when, not if. I believe a posi…

5 Tips to Writing Strong Supporting Characters

A book would be nothing without characters, and with such an important role, it’s vital that we create ones that are strong and rememberable. These include our supporting characters.
When creating your main characters no doubt you put much time and effort into crafting their personality, their history, their relationships with others, their personal tastes in all areas of life, their physical appearance, their desires and needs, their background, education, occupation, and the list goes on. To sum this up, you know your main characters intimately. The same should be said of your supporting characters.
You might be wondering why as they don’t have the same on-the-page time as do main characters, but here’s the reason: characters can make or break your book just as a bad actor or actress can kill a movie.
Consider for a minute how boring it would be if all your characters were black shadows walking through a cardboard city. That’s essentially how flat a story can be if the characters h…

Everyone Has a Story—Here’s Mine, Part 2

Last week I started to share my writing journey with you. It’s one that seems to inspire others, as well as myself. What took place in my life confirmed that I was meant to be an author. If you’re an author, you will have your own story, I have no doubt. But, here is the rest of mine. (If you didn’t catch Part 1, you can find it here.)
Back in 2006, the economy was strong, and I was young and determined to find happiness with my employment. I wasn’t looking for a career, I was simply looking for a place where I’d be happy and my mind would be challenged. That year, I left a company I had worked at for seven years because I wanted a change. I ended up working at three different places in three months—and all the moves were my doing!
What can I say? I knew what I wanted and I hadn’t found it yet. Through all of this, my sweet husband supported my decisions. He says he never had any doubt in my abilities. That’s probably a good reason I’ve kept him around so long. (Nineteen years in 20…

Everyone Has a Story—Here’s Mine, Part 1

A common question I’m asked as an author is, “when did you start writing?” Every time I get to answer this question, I fall in love all over again…not that I ever really fell out of love. Some people might tell you that they loved books from the time they could read, that they were writing stories in crayon, that writing is what defines their entire life up until this point. Well, my story is a little different. It’s a unique one that usually sends spikes of energy through me and those I’m telling it to.
It didn’t necessarily start off that exciting, but how I became reunited with writing after being away from it for thirteen years, is my story alone to tell. So here goes.
My story starts off much like other authors. I did start writing when I was young, but it wasn’t with crayons. It was on a typewriter and then on a computer. I was a teenager at the time and in love with the dramatics involved with young romance. Maybe it was a reflection of all the tangled emotions that were whirlin…