Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Friday, January 30, 2015

More on Bestsellers by Category in Print

            This really is the time where, in so many ways, we slice and dice what happened in the previous year, and the bestseller list is not immune to this scrutiny.  So continuing with the bestseller list theme, there’s a new article at Publishers Weekly breaking down the bestsellers of 2014 by category in print.  Here’s the link:

            It’s ironic because on the one hand you would think that in knowing what is gaining or losing momentum with readers that it would be easy to figure out where to spend your energy and time as a writer.  This isn’t always the case, because just when you think that you’ve written next best thing in fiction – say a thriller – the world of readers, publishers and booksellers turn away from your category, or sub category, and want something different.  After all there are only so many copy cat stories a reader can take.  BTW – the same thing happens in the world of movies and other entertainment arenas.  It doesn’t seem to take long for what’s new to become old, especially when there’s glut or saturation in the market.
            Often if you wait long enough there will be a dry spell and possibly a new thirst for what you’ve written and then you might just have another shot at being a publishing hit.  However, since we’re talking about print versions of books, all bets may be off going forward due to a shift among readers who are increasingly favoring the electronic versions of books.  A notable example is the 11 percent decline in sale of romance novels in print. However, this particular article didn’t break the romance category down even further so it’s hard to tell which sub categories of romance novels in print showed the most decline in sales and sub categories are very important in the world or romance novels.
            As you can imagine, a publisher of romance novels in print will be paying attention to this information because publishers are for-profit businesses after all and it’s hard to make a profit on something with declining sales.  What this most likely means for authors is that only those authors with a proven track record of sales will be offered a print contract up front.  We’re already seeing this in the digital first imprints that publisher after publisher is establishing.  Then there’s the whole social media influence.  Just check this out:

            Oh, the print categories that did the best in print in 2014?  Well the award goes to both the self-help and graphic novel categories.  So, if you can write a self-help book that reads like a graphic novel, you just may have a hit in print at your fingertips – literally and figuratively.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Great Start to 2015

Here we are twenty-six days into the new year, and I have to say 2015 is off to a great start.

My tenth release with The Wild Rose Press made its world-wide debut on January 14. One Great Night is an ebook novella and sports what might be my favorite cover of all my releases. The cover artist captured the look and feel of the story perfectly: fun, flirty, and sexy.

The tag line reads: She's ready, he's not; it's a battle of the sexes with a twist.

At twenty-seven, Chloe Harris has never had a night of really great sex. Before she turns thirty she wants to check that particular item off of her bucket list. She's known Jason her whole life. More importantly, she trusts him. Who better to help her with her plan?

Call him a bit old-fashioned, but Jason Williams has never had a one-night stand. And he's not about to start with his best friend's baby sister. To save Chloe from herself, he'll pretend to go along with her crazy scheme. But what happens when the charade becomes all too real? For his libido and his heart.

Available from TWRP, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

The fun didn't stop with a new release. I also managed to complete (in about 17 days) the first draft of a new story. I established a new writing routine, didn't stop along the way to do much editing, and wrote chronologically from beginning to end. Three very new approaches to writing for me. I'll be working on edits this coming week, so we'll see if the new method worked as well as it seemed to.

With January off to such a great start, I can't wait to see what the rest of the year holds.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Self-Publishing Predictions for 2015

There’s a great article at Publishers Weekly about self-publishing predictions for the coming year, and perhaps beyond, and while I know there have been many predictions of late (some which have materialized and some that have not), this article provides some very useful numbers and statistics that are worth mulling over.  Here’s the link:

One important prediction to mull over is that some services such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited will make it harder for indie authors to sell their books in 2015.  This prediction comes from Russell Blake at his website:

At the heart of some of these challenges are the subscription services, including Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, Scribd, and the requirement for authors to sign exclusive deals thus blocking them from selling via other and often competing self-publishing platforms which is having the affect of limiting the amount of income authors can generate on the sale of their books.

One thing that is fueling the rise and popularity of these subscriber services is that readers are eager to get the best bang for their buck and who can blame them!  I understand this as a reader because I am a big fan of checking out e-books from my local library since I’m already paying to support it.  Of course, the libraries have been greatly challenged with dwindling budgets and given what publishers tend to charge for e-books library staffs have difficult choices to make when spending those dwindling tax dollars.

Caught in the middle of the pressure from readers to pay less and subscription services quests for subscribers are the authors themselves, especially indie authors.  To illustrate at least part of this dilemma is an article posted at the New York Times on author dissatisfaction with Amazon Kindle Unlimited:

Now part of the Publishers Weekly article is a bit of a David and Goliath story in that it’s clear that the publishing industry that historically has looked down on self-published authors is now actually learning some lessons from those same authors.  In fact, there are numerous examples of authors who were once established with traditional publishers that are now setting up their own publishing labels and “going it alone.”  Of course, I question the reality of “going it alone” because I suspect the more established authors use services for things such as cover design, websites, promotion, etc.

Some additional and interesting tidbits from the Publishers Weekly article and Russell Blake’s blog is that all authors (not just indies) need to pay attention to the spreading use of mobile devices – and not just e-books – and how branding still impacts on any author’s ability to sell more books and grow their reader base.

In the end, writing is still very hard work and becoming a published author will always be fraught with challenges.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rejection Game! by DL Larson

We've all  done it ~ dreamed of telling the uncaring publisher who once rejected our manuscript that is now at the top of the Best Sellers list, "See, I told you I could write!"

Writer's Digest offers a fun twist to the rejection game. They encourage writers to send them their version of an imaginary rejection letter to a famous writer with a famous book. Some letters have been quite clever. This month's spoof was a rejection letter to Charles Dickens, regarding his boring and unrealistic story titled, Our Mutual Friend. The publisher expounded on Dickens' lack of skill and odd use of names and his lack of vocabulary. Oh, and the publisher mentioned he was going out of business! If you are interested in participating in this game, submit your letter via email to:   "Reject a Hit" should be in the subject line.

I remember in a writing class I took years ago, the professor copied excerpts of famous writers and we critiqued the work. The class as a whole did not think too highly of most of the passages. Then we found out the writers were Hemingway, Steinbeck and a few others I don't recall. We were shocked that these legends had been allowed to get away with sloppy and lazy writing.

If you were to write your own rejection letter regarding your manuscript, what would you write? Would it be the mundane, no thank you at this time, note? Or would you go into detail why you rejected it?

I tried this with my last manuscript. It's hard to self-diagnose why someone does not want your book. The number of pages a publisher wants to examine continues to shrink. It feels like a horse race - something exciting must happen right from the beginning. That something must draw the reader in quickly ... or the rejection hammer comes down. Boom.

Most writers receive more rejection letters than acceptance letters. What can we learn from this? If you wrote a rejection letter about your manuscript ... why would you reject it? What would you tell yourself?
Is it the pace? The characters? Not enough action?

Maybe this exercise will unlock the secret everyone knows but you.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I've Learned

Despite my good intentions, I've learned I can't get everything done that I thought I could. That said, I'm late posting here today.

Anyway, what I did get done:

Had breakfast, gave Rascal, our dog, hers, and walked her, but not as far as I' would have liked, since she wasn't too thrilled about wet paws from the thawing snow. 

I finished Debra St. John's new romance, One Great Night, and gave it 5 stars, calling it a sweet, yet sexy romance. 

I deleted tons of emails I never read and never will, then answered those that were important.

Ate lunch, fed Rascal again.

I approved members for my two largest Facebook groups, Book Place and Books Gone Viral, and commented on timelines for those who had liked my comments. Also, posted on FB about two free cookbooks. 

I cleaned a pot and other items left from yesterday in the sink. 

Washed and dried the sheets, which is always a project. They're so hard to get back on the queen size bed! Well, at least it's good exercise!

Washed some three large towels, which are now in the dryer. I alternate which ones I use on Rascal's doggie bed.   

Cleaned the room humidifier and got it started again. It still works fine! This project should have already been done, but I'd not gotten around to it before.

In between, I let Rascal out in the fenced yard and back inside a few times, then went to the Dollar Tree store, and did other stuff around the house. 

Now, the day is done. Again, no writing accomplished, except for the review and this. My goal is to finish Always Young in the next few months. I might figure out a cover and post it, because then I'll have to get the book done!

Time for dinner and TV! Hope to have better luck writing tomorrow!

Find Morgan Mandel's romances & thrillers at:

Twitter: @MorganMandel

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Failed Experiment?

Last Wednesday I threw myself a release party on Facebook for One Great Night. The blog scene for promotion just isn't working for me anymore, if it ever did, so I thought I'd try something new.

Overall, I'd have to say it was a failed experiment. Here's why:

Out of the 81 people I invited, only 11 accepted.

Out of those 11, the night of the party, only four people commented or participated in the discussions I started. At the very end, a few others 'liked' some of the posts, but didn't comment themselves.

The 11 that did respond were friends, which means that I wholly appreciate their support, but I didn't reach any new readers.

However, I will say there were some positive take aways...

*I learned how to create an event on Facebook.
*I learned that I need to keep refreshing my screen and not just posting in order to see any comments in 'real time'.
*Even though a small number accepted, since I started with a low number of invitees, my percentage of 'yeses' was 14%. (Another party I was invited to that week invited 592 guest and had 61 accept, giving an 'attendance' factor of 10%.) So percentage-wise I did better than the other party.
*It was a lot less stressful than coming up with an entire blog post for a release.
*It was fun.

Do I wish I had a bigger turnout? Yes.
Will I try it again? Probably.

In the meantime, I'm wracking my brain to come up with unique promotion ideas that are targeted at readers, rather than writers.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Available now: One Great Night from The Wild Rose Press.

Friday, January 16, 2015

More on the Bestseller Lists

After my last posting I found an article in Publishers Weekly that goes into great detail about the 2014 Bestsellers in the book world and the lists of those books that sold.  Here’s the link:

Several conclusions were made by the writer of this article, What the Numbers Reveal About the 2014 Bestsellers, but there’s also insight into some trends that seem to continue from year to year.

So here are some highlights from the article referenced above:

            - Movie Adaptations had a significant impact on book sales in 2014.
            - Conglomerates rule but the number of conglomerates is shrinking as they merge and/or gobble each other up.
            - Familiar authors with prominent platforms continue to dominate.
            - More #1 titles in 2014 than in 2013 but only three titles lasted more than 10 weeks at the top.

The article has some great comparison charts based on the bestsellers by Corporation and then further ranked by hardcover, paperback, mass market and trade so this article is definitely worth a read.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Few Good Writing Tips! by DL Larson

Last week I watched American Idol as many did. After one contestant sang, Harry C. asked her if he could hear a song in "her own voice." I've never much thought singing had the same problems/issues as writers. But it made me think a bit more on finding one's true voice. After the contestant sang with her true voice, all three judges were smiling, happy to hear the real thing.

We've been taught to read, read, read in order to become better writers. And that is true. But we must be careful not to copy other authors' voices. Sometimes a writer falls victim to mimicking another writer and doesn't realize it, again because so many editors/agents want a quick blurb on what or who our work resembles ... at the same time searching for a fresh voice. It's a bit like balancing on the tip of a razor.

The only way to find your own voice is to write, write, write. And I would advice not to read too much when you are writing. When I first started out, I found my writing resembled whoever I happen to be reading at the time. I learned not to read while I write. Maybe that will help you too in finding your own unique voice.

Another way to find your own voice is to take something you have already written and rewrite it with a different point of view. Your thought process changes and your true voice emerges on the pages. Another experiment to try is if your work is written in past tense, rewrite it into present tense. Flipping tense and POV are simple exercises to bend your ideas until they are your own. Do this with a few paragraphs at a time. Compare the two and decide what you like or do not like about each. Is the cadence different? Is the thrum of the words work better in one?

This exercise may seem too simple or mundane to some, but it is also an exercise in editing. So you get two for one by working out the kinks in your writing voice as well as deciding what really works for each particular paragraph. Editing is a big part of writing and improves with practice, practice, practice.

If you belong to a writers group where folks are struggling with editing, or voice, etc., choose a few paragraphs to work on individually and then bring them together to see the many differences each person has made to the same paragraph. They will be delighted to see their work transformed in so many ways. It's a fun way for a new writer to create their own voice.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Lately, one of the writers' groups I belong to has concentrated on doing memes on Mondays, where we post them on Facebook.

There are certainly enough memes there already, but I have to admit I usually read them. Apparently, they must be popular.

The ones with long messages I usually skip over. After all, they're not a book. They're just supposed to be a saying, not an elaboration.

You can use your own pictures, quotes from your books, or tried and true sayings. It's up to you. However, if you use a picture not yours, make sure it's legal to share it, or you could run into all sorts of trouble. is a free program, which can start you off with some basic tools to put a meme together. Lots of different fonts, backgrounds, and colors to choose from.
There's also a $33 charge for one year of more elaborate stuff. I found their site handy to put together my recent Facebook cover.

Memes are kind of fun, so you might like to try one sometime. Here are a few of mine:

This picture was from vacation in Wisconsin

Another one from vacation

Memes are a great way to get noticed,and in our business every little bit helps.

Morgan Mandel
Find all of Morgan Mandel's romances
& mysteries on Amazon at