Category Archives: Book Promotion Experiences


Entries for my contest to come up with a vicitm and/or murderer for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery came from as far away South Africa. There were so many good ones, I had a difficult time deciding. It was so much fun. I had a hard time deciding, but finally my decision was based on what I thought I could use for this next book.

Because there are so many good ones with ideas I might use in future books, I’m going to award more than one first prize–and a few consolation prizes.

First prize and the winner of all the books goes to two people. The first is Brent Gill. He had wonderful ideas for both the victim and murderer.

A second first prize winner will receive same set of books will also go to Brian Baker–who came up with another great idea for the book–one I can hopefully combine with the first one.

Second prize goes to Shirley Palmer. She came up with a name for a character that I am going to use. I’ll be sending her four books in the series.

I am also sending a copy of Deadly Omen to Priyanka Holsinger, Carol Pharr, Johnny Saunders who each came up with some wonderful ideas–and who knows, they may somehow wind up in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree book one day.

I want to thank everyone else who took the time to submit ideas: Gloria Vigil, Harriet Queen, Lorna and Larry, Larry W. Chavis, Lucille Robinson, Neville Thompson Sue McGinty, Maureen Emmons, and Debra Guyette.

Believe me, every entry was wonderful and imaginative and I had a hard time deciding. Of course, I had to decide what I could work with.

My next book will be dedicated to each of you. Now I have to get to work. I was just waiting to begin until I made up my mind which of you was the winner!

I’m doing a Virtual Book Tour for Judgment Fire which will be out from Mundania Press in a few days. Stop by one or more of these places to learn more.

August 1 – The Writers Life
August 2 – Plug Your Book
August 3 – The Story Behind the Books
August 6 – Pump Up Your Book Promotion
August 7 – As the Page Turns
August 9 – Be My Guest!
August 10 – W.O.W
August 14 – Boomer Chick
I’ll put the rest on when I do my next BookDen Post.


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A Week In Pink


A long awaited and deserved vacation finally came for this tired but wired writer last week, and part of the joy was not having to drive too far to find a restful paradise. Topsail Island, NC became the hands down choice this year. My daughter, who’s expecting her first child (a girl she’s already named Sydney Grace), and her husband drove from Texas over a two-day period, which must have been grueling, based upon my travel experiences. I find it hard to sit still that long. I guess my daughter did too. Her small, but swollen, pink feet were happy to be walking around again once they hit sand. The swelling went down quickly. My husband and I rented a cozy, waterfront condo (that happened to be painted a soft pink) called Ocean Potion at Topsail Beach. Renting with Ward Realty was an accommodating, pleasant and relaxed experience. It was surprising to find the condo so immaculate after a busy July 4th week. Ocean Potion’s decor was simply delightful and oh so beachy; lighthouses, fish, sailboats, shells. Of course, my husband and I had dibs on the penthouse bedroom on the top floor with the lounging deck embraced by pink exterior walls. After our Texans settled in on their choice of bedroom, the empty bedroom drew a request for occupation from relatives in my son-in-law’s family reunion house a short distance down the road, so his sister, her husband and their pink-cheeked, 4-year-old moved in. The vacation days were filled with beach walks, sand moats & castles, a baby shower with pink bows and pink clothes, riding the waves, smearing sunblock on pink shoulders, shopping, board and card games, abundant laughter, a few tears that turned noses pink, picking up a few pink-tinged shells on the beach, dodging the occasional lightning storm, and dancing with a precious but needy Golden Retriever whose pink tongue licked my face in delight more than necessary.

And so much good food! Chicken and broccoli braid, blackened chicken sliders, fresh fruit salad, grilled mahi mahi, pink shrimp boil. Everyone shared their special dish. Of course, I don’t go anywhere without books; books to read and books to place. My choice to read was “By Way of Water” by Charlotte Gullick. I guess you’d say it’s a reread as this is the fourth time I’ve turned those pages front to back. It’s a novel “about the legacies of love, faith and violence and the private rules we set for ourselves when the world seems irreconcilably misaligned.” Charlotte said it best. I read it over and over again because I love the rhythm in Gullick’s writing. Like listening to my favorite song, I never tire of it. I’m also drawn to 7-year-old Justy’s strength and her penny. “By Way of Water” was published in 2002 without media hype, but somehow I found it, and it’s a gem I cherish. I’ll probably read it again. I also took copies of my own novel, “Save Them All,” to place on the island so visitors to our area will have the opportunity to enjoy a North Carolina story filled with authenticity, purpose, love for our natural resources and to feel the passion and romance that gradually awaken on our down east coast and go wild! “Save Them All” was warmly received by the proprietor of the Topsail Gift Basket who placed my books and a poster on display in her shop. The much anticipated beach week at Topsail is gone, but I must say the Island was in pink condition and definitely had me feeling “in the pink” more than once.

Linda Bergman-Althouse

author of “Save Them All

coming soon(er or later), “The Purple Fence”

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Interview on Myspace

I was recently interviewed by author R.M. Hamilton on Authors of Myspace. For those that are interested in learning a little bit more about me and my first book, Portraits in the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories, you can read the interview here:



Portraits in the Dark on Barnes and

Portraits in the Dark on Amazon.

Portraits in the Dark through BookSense.

The Writers’ Block


Filed under Annoucements, Book, Book Promotion Experiences, Book Reviews, Fiction, In the News, The Writing Life, Writing

Portraits in the Dark Now Available Through Locus Online

Portraits in the Dark is an award-winning collection that has received stellar reviews from both readers and professional reviewers alike. Get your copy today to see what all the buzz is about!

My book, Portraits in the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories, is now available through Locus Magazine Online, one of the best online sources for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

You can purchase the book and support Locus Online by clicking on the bookseller links under the title listing.

Taken from Locus Online: Your purchase of books through and Amazon UK links (click on titles or covers) helps support Locus Online.

Also, if you live in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, you can also purchase the book from the Barnes and Noble in White Marsh, MD and the Barnes and Noble in Towson, MD. It is currently in stock and available at those locations. If you find that they have sold out of the books, please consider ordering more and help put Portraits in the Dark on more book store shelves throughout the country!

Click these links to purchase through Locus Online:


You can also read past reviews of the work at the amazon link above, as well as at:
Portraits in the Dark web site:


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Reading, writing, and arithmetic

Earlier this week I attended a writer’s meeting and Thomas F. Monteleone was the guest speaker. It was an intimate crowd of about 15-20 people and we all listened intently as Mr. Monteleone spoke about his experiences in publishing. He is a science fiction and horror author, and he has published over 20 books.

He was very funny, giving insight in a way that many of us could relate to, whether published or not. One thing that he talked about was the way things work when it comes to advances-after the first one.

The example, as I remember it, was if you receive an advance on a first book–say $100,000*–and it doesn’t become a bestseller, then the advance on your next book is determined primarily by the sales of the first. So if you sold 20,000 books, the next book is expected to sell at least that much and then a few thousand more. Your pay will be determined by that figure, so say $40,000.* Makes business sense, though I have to admit that it’s not something I really thought about. It seemed to me that advances were based on how much the company felt the specific book would make, not necessarily on past sales–unless it was a best seller. Good to know.

During the course of the informal meeting, Mr.Monteleone asked me, and a couple of others, why I we write. My answer was because I have to. Even when it’s frustrating and I feel like my head is full of the worst prose imaginable, I love writing. I didn’t always want to be a writer–when I was younger I had no idea that it could be a career–but it is what I do. Unlike other industries, the business side does not really bother me. There’s the art, and then there’s cold hard math. I separate the two when writing, but it is still there and eventually one has to make money if they expect to continue doing what they do without having to do something else as well.

It can be a very sobering thing, knowing how much art is eventually boiled down to monetary figures. There are a number of factors that can influence how well a book does or doesn’t do. For instance, the guest speaker told us how he sent a book of his to a different publisher that offered him a great deal of money due to the success of his previous works. Once the book was published, they didn’t do what his former publisher did. Practically no promotion, and the book didn’t sell as it should have. Promotion, marketing, is the (perhaps unfortunate) difference between a good book going unnoticed and one becoming a bestseller.

When picking a publisher for your work, it seems important to know their track record and how they treat their authors rather than how much money they can give you. A hard lesson to learn and a catch 22 of sorts, maybe, since most authors don’t know who will publish their work and when they will be paid next; $100,000 goes a long way, compared to $40,000. But who’s counting, right?
Nancy O. Greene
author of Portraits in the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories.
The author is available for book clubs in the Maryland and Washington D.C. area, and online book clubs.
Her book is available in stock for purchase from the brick-and-mortar Barnes and Noble in White Marsh, MD at The Avenue as well as the B&N in Towson, MD at the Towson Circle. It is available for order at all brick-and-mortar booksellers worldwide and online at,, and others.
Read more reviews and excerpts at the web site here.
The Writers’ Block.

*The $40,000 – $100,000 figures are used here as examples for a first-time author advance, taken from the guest speaker’s example for a bestselling book. Through research, while figures vary widely depending on the expert source, I’ve found that the average first-time author advance is $3,000 – $15,000. These amounts can be lower if the author is picked up by a small press and higher if the subject matter and author are considered highly marketable.


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Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

“Platform” is among the most bantered-about terms in publishing today, and it’s particularly important for writers of nonfiction.  Once upon a time, you’d send a proposal to an editor, and if the editor liked the project and strongly believed in it, he (or she) would buy it on the spot.  Alas, that’s less and less the case today.  With few exceptions, marketing departments often have the final say on whether a deal is made.  An editor may still want the book, but may end up passing on it because the folks in marketing feel that either the market for the book isn’t big enough, or that the author’s marketability isn’t broad enough.  That’s why platform is so important.  Publishers today want to know how many readers your book might have, how these readers can be reached, what the author can do to help reach those readers, and how visible the author is.  Oftentimes, the answers to those questions come down to numbers, numbers, numbers. If you’re a first-time author with an established speaking platform, how many talks do you give a year?  How many cities do you travel to?  How many people come to hear you speak, who might also buy your book at the end of your talk?  That’s your audience, that’s your platform.  If you’re an established author, how many books have you written and how many copies have you sold?  What publications do you write for, and what’s their circulation?  If you have a website, about how many hits do you get per day, and how many unique visitors?  If you happen to do a lot of radio or TV appearances (or better yet, host a show or podcast of your own), what sort of audience do you have? How many markets are you heard in, and about how many listeners tune in? 

Publishers like it if they can market a book around an author or expert with an established audience.  An established audience is a built-in platform.  Now … what if you’re starting off and don’t have a built-in platform?  Not a problem.  You can create an audience for yourself with a little research and ingenuity.  I’ve done a lot of speaking and radio appearances in my career. But 15 years ago, when I shopped my first book around, I had no platform at all.  I compensated for that by coming up with a detailed marketing plan that outlined all the different markets for the book and how I proposed to reach them.  The publisher who ended up buying the book said that my book proposal was “one of the best he’d ever read.” If it worked for me, it can work for you. Let’s say you’re a yet-to-be published genre writer with a presence on MySpace. You have x-number of MySpace “friends,” plus you belong to several different MySpace groups related to writing and publishing in general, as well as your particular genre. By the time you add up all your friends, plus all the members in the groups to which you belong, you could be looking at anywhere from several hundred to several thousand people. That’s several hundred to several thousand people you have ready access to, that may be interested in buying your book.  That’s not a bad platform for starters.Now that you have x-number of people potentially interested in your book, it’s time to think like the folks in marketing. This is where ingenuity comes in. Come up with a plan to reach those readers in creative ways … through the web, through a blog, through chat groups, through the library, through groups and organizations, through special markets (i.e., conventions, talks, and other non-bookstore ways of reaching people), or through a virtual book tour.Virtual book tours can be especially helpful for first-time authors or authors of genre books, because they target blogs, chat groups, and podcasts and other specialty forums on the web whose audience belongs to the same demographic as that of your target readership. So be sure to mention a virtual book tour in your proposal as part of your marketing plan.  

Platform may not be everything in publishing today, but it’s certainly a very important thing. If you can think in terms of who your readers are and what you can to do reach them, you’re more than on your way.    Ed Robertson 

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To Cross or Not to Cross?

To cross or not to cross? That is the question for today. has become one of the more popular “sharing” sites for books.

According to thier website, bookcrossing is defined as follows:

n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

(added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)

They actively promote a program called ‘The Three R’s.”

The “3 Rs” of BookCrossing…

  1. Read a good book (you already know how to do that)
  2. Register it here (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book
  3. Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, “forget” it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records a journal entry for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it!

Many authors and publishers fear losing royalties if too many readers practice this.  They imagine a world where hundreds of readers are passing along one copy of their book, instead of each of those individuals going to a store and buying a copy.

As a self-published author, I know the key to success is to build strong word-of-mouth, and what better way to do so then through giving away free copies of your book?  I personally have registered and released a dozen copies of my novel The Thief Maker into the wild, and encourage friends, family, and readers to do the same.  I have also donated copies to local libraries and used book stores.  The idea that this type of practice robs us of royalties is ridiculous.  For me, it’s about finding readers and connecting with their minds, not their wallets.  Plus, it spreads good karma, as Bookcrossing says…and who knows…some of those who find the free copies you release and like the idea or like the book might encourage others to go out and buy it.

Releasing a book into the wild does involve a little bit of strategy on your part.  Leaving a book behind at a Barnes & Noble cafe table is probably a better idea than releasing a book on a park bench in the dead of winter.  You have to get into the mind of a potential reader.  Where might readers be congregating, and where might a “lost book” catch someone’s attention? 

The one catch to is that the person who finds the book has to register on the site to be able to leave an entry stating they found the book, and some people might not bother doing that.  This means people could be reading and passing along the book without your knowledge.  It makes it difficult to measure the true success of such a practice.  So far, there’s only been one confirmed “catch” of The Thief Maker.  I personally like the “mystery” aspect of the process and enjoy imagining others finding the books and simply never registering.

What other ways can you spread word-of-mouth and build “the karma of literature?”  Are there other sites like that promote similar practices?  Are there other revolutionary ideas out there that could help writers find an audience?  Feel free to respond and share!


David H. Schleicher, author of The Thief Maker

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