Guest post: 5 Free Ways to Market Your Cozy Mystery + 1 by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of marketing, is brought to you by Christian and cozy mystery author and interviewee Kathryn Jones.

5 Free Ways to Market Your Cozy Mystery + 1

Cozy mysteries are a mysterious breed. They include a murder, of course, but a sort of prettied up version of the slash murder and guts variety. The murder, with all of its gory details, is not what’s important here but the drawing out of a superb investigation, by an amateur cop no less.

The interesting thing about a cozy, other than the unique writing of it, is the marketing that follows, for not all book reviewers read mysteries, and cozy’s are not for all readers.

But for those who review them and those who read them, marketing your cozy mystery in just the right way will create the interest in your book that you need and want.

According to a recent Verso survey, it was estimated that 49.2% of readers discovered books through personal recommendations, and this beat out bookstore staff recommendations, advertising, search engine results, books reviews, library visits—even blogs. What this tells me is that you have to talk about your book enough that others read it and recommend it to their friends and relatives.

  1. One of my favorite free ways to market my books is to open my mouth. That means when I’m at a restaurant, when I’m standing in line at the post office (sending yet another book off to a reviewer) when I’m at the supermarket, I speak. No, I’m not obnoxious, I just begin a conversation. A good start off point: Have you ever read a cozy mystery? If the answer is yes, you’re off to a good start. You can talk about your book. If the answer is no, you’re still off to a good start. You can share what a cozy is, and if the person still retains interest you can tell him/her about your book.
  2. Focus on mystery reviewers, even cozy mystery reviewers when seeking for reviews of your book. You want a reviewer that has reads cozies before, or at the very least a mystery. Sure, other reviewers can give excellent reviews of your book, but the cozy mystery reviewer can tap into the elements that he/she knows makes a great cozy. Try:
    1. http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net/reviewer-list.html
    2. http://karinafabian.com/index.php?name=content&pid=28
    3. http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/
  3. Get creative at your book signings. There’s nothing worse than going to a book signing with a bored looking author sitting behind an equally boring table. Take a look at your book. My cozy mystery, Scrambled, has scrambled eggs on the cover. So I took an old plate and wrote with permanent marker around the edge of the plate the first line of my book. (If I bake the plate in my oven for 30 minutes at 150 degrees, the writing will never fade and the plate can be eaten off of). I am also giving away free scrambled egg recipes. Yellow paper, of course.
  4. Blogs written with a cozy mystery slant. October is coming up, and with that, all that makes Halloween great. If your book is coming out near October, why not create some blogs of a more spooky nature? Are you also a short story writer? At this site alone, there are numerous ways to get the word out about your book: submit your short story to Morgen Bailey, have it critiqued, and she’ll include links to your website and books. Bailey also offers options to submit flash fictionbook listing, poetry, a spotlight, a guest blog or all of the above options if you choose.
  5. Get some interviews under your belt. These interviews could be with a mystery blog site or with a radio blog owner. Mystery blog sites are many, and radio blogs are increasing in number. Check out The Authors Show at: http://theauthorshow.com.
  6. Try some free video. I have recently discovered a fun site called animoto.com. At the site you choose music, pictures, video and text that fit into a 30 second video. The video is easy to produce and you can share it later with your social media friends. This is a great, fun way to promote your cozy for free.

Keep in mind that the above options for marketing your next cozy are free, but in your searching, paid options will become available. Decide beforehand if you’re going to pay a reviewer or a radio blog personality, or even a video site to help you market your book.

In the end, your cozy will stand out from the crowd the more creative effort you put into promoting your work, while still remaining within your budget.

That was great (especially number five, although I could be biased). Recent interviewee Patricia Rockwell publishes cozy mysteries. 🙂 Thank you, Kathryn!

Kathryn has been a published writer since 1987. She has published various newspaper stories, magazine articles, essays and short stories for teens and adults.

She is the author of A River of Stones, a young adult fiction novel dealing with divorce published in 2002, and Conquering your Goliaths—A Parable of the Five Stones, a Christian novel published in January of 2012.

One of her newest creations, a Conquering your Goliaths—Guidebook, was published in February 2012, followed by Scrambled in September 2012, is her first cozy mystery.

Kathryn graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Mass Communication and a minor in Creative Writing. Her studies included work in creative writing, public relations and journalism. Recently, she has opened the doors to Idea Creations Press, a publishing services company that caters to writers and their writing, publishing and marketing needs.

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with YA novelist Saskia E. Akyil – the four hundred and ninetieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Author Spotlight no.86 – Kathryn Jones

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the eighty-sixth, is of Christian and cozy mystery author Kathryn Jones.

Kathryn has been a published writer since 1987. She has published various newspaper stories, magazine articles, essays and short stories for teens and adults.  She is the author of: “A River of Stones”, a young adult fiction novel dealing with divorce published in 2002, and “Conquering your Goliaths—A Parable of the Five Stones”, a Christian novel published in January of 2012. Her newest creation, a “Conquering your Goliaths—Guidebook”, was published in February of 2012.

And now from the author herself:

I used to believe in writer’s block. It was a good excuse for not writing; kind of like the excuse I gave (and still give) for neglecting to mop my floors. I hate to mop floors because it takes so much time, and I used to have writer’s block because it took so much time to come up with something to write about. No more.

For the last few years I have decided there’s no such thing as writer’s block. Instead, I have many great ways to get my writing moving. Here are three of my favorites:

  • I have a binder filled with magazine pictures that I find interesting in one way or another. Most of them are ads. The great thing about ads is the words used to define the picture, words that help me to get started on my writing. The picture helps too because I can visualize a scene associated with it. One of my favorite pictures is of a man and a woman at the spa. Both have cucumbers on their eyes and a drink on a small end table to quench their thirst. They both seem content, but I can’t help wonder if the man is as content as he seems. Is it macho for a man to go to a spa, even with his wife? Would he really put cucumbers on his eyes? Thoughts like these get me writing.
  • A book is a good resource for ideas. Just open the book to any page and point to a sentence without looking at it. These are the first few words of your short story or novel. Just now I picked one up. It read: “Mama kept glancing at Mary Toy and finally dabbed at her face with a lace handkerchief” (Cold Sassy Tree, Page 53). The idea here is not to actually use the line you point to in your final draft; it’s to get you thinking about your own story.
  • When was the last time you rode the bus? When was the last time you wrote about what others said while traveling, how the city looked from the bus windows, and who got on and off the bus? This is a great exercise to get your writing moving. The last time I did this exercise, I came away with two story ideas—the first I wrote almost entirely on the bus. It was about a young girl’s conversation with a homeless man and her offering of her coat to keep him warm during the bitter winter.

Not believing in writer’s block is only half the battle in writing your next piece. The other half must be filled with options to get you writing again. Something all writers want.

Thank you Kathryn. I run a fortnightly writing workshop and we often use magazine pictures. If you know how to get ideas you should be able to never run out of stories. 🙂

You can find more about Kathryn and her writing via her website: http://www.ariverofstones.com.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with sci-fi and fantasy paranormal author Caron Rider – the three hundred and seventy-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.