Write in a Different Genre: Guest Post by Donna Galanti

Today I’m thrilled to host a stop for the blog tour celebrating the launch of Donna Galanti’s debut paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). Here’s a quick synopsis:

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. With the killer closing in, and terrifying secrets revealed, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

Readers who devour paranormal books with a smidge of horror and steam will enjoy A Human Element. To purchase A Human Element click here. And you can read my positive review by clicking here.

Now onto Donna’s guest post.  Welcome, Donna!

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Challenge Yourself to Write in a Different Genre
by Donna Galanti

If you are a writer have you challenged yourself to write in a different genre? I tried it in my Write a YA Novel in 9 Months class. I like to write dark fiction for adults and this class forced me to find my own natural young adult voice. My teacher and NY Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry said he never backs down from an offer to write something new. He promotes that as writers we should not be bound to any one genre or point of view, but as writers we should write anything. I agree.

In researching how to write a young adult novel, I realized that I had already written young  voices in my adult novel as I propelled two characters into adulthood. But I took it a step further. I challenged myself to also write in a different point of view – the first person, rather than my comfortable third person. I found out how difficult it is to stay in the mind and view of one person through an entire book. And that of a twelve year old boy!

Here’s an excerpt from seven year old Laura in A HUMAN ELEMENT, contemplating what her real mother looks like:

All she knew about her real mother was she had been a runaway who showed up one day. Laura dreamed up many scenarios about where her mother hailed from. Once her mother was a trapeze artist from a traveling circus who got left behind on a tour, another time a royal princess who ran away to escape marrying an evil prince. And one time she was even an alien transported to Earth on a secret mission to see how humans lived.

Wesley often told Laura it was good luck to have two mommies. Fanny watched over her as her “Earth mommy” while Sarah was her “angel mommy” looking down from Heaven.

Laura was afraid some days that her “Earth mommy” would be taken from her too. 

Today felt like one of those days.

And here’s Laura at eleven spending time at her favorite spot to write, the lake:

She spread out her blanket on the grass and sat cross-legged facing the lake with her notebook and pen in hand waiting for the sun to hit the water. She wanted to capture in words the beauty of the summer morning all around her. The sun burst out of the treetops and shot shimmering jewels across the water. Laura shielded her eyes and her heart leaped with a thrill. She had made it just in time. The cool morning air blew off the water and embraced her. She closed her eyes for just a second to feel the warmth of the sun on her face, but instead a slobbery snout nudged her cheeks and hair.

“Hey,” she shouted in surprise and scrambled up to find an old, chocolate Labrador sniffing her legs. He had white whiskers around his jaw and a pleading, sad look. He became her friend instantly. She fell back down on her knees and wiggled his ears.

“Where’d you come from?” Laura scratched his head “You’re so cute!”

She laughed as he tickled her with his nose.

“Scooter,” a gruff voice called. “Come here, boy.”

Laura looked up to see a trim, old man whacking through the brush in the woods. She knew it had to be the hermit people talked about. She had seen him from afar, with his gray cap, but never up close. The old man twitched, startled to see her there with his dog. He stopped a few feet away from her. He didn’t look like a hermit but a nice, normal grandpa dressed in jeans and a green plaid shirt. He leaned on a crooked, black walking stick. He looked in good shape for an old geezer.

It was fun to realize I already had found my natural young voice in my adult book, and fun to “grow” with Laura as she grew up in A HUMAN ELEMENT. I also know I get bored with an author once a formula has been applied to their books, over and over. This happened with a favorite author, Dean Koontz. After some time I could pick up his book, read the beginning, and know how it would go about and end. That greatly disappointed me (I even wrote him a letter to that effect, but he didn’t respond :)). Sometimes we read an author because we know what they’ll give us, but sometimes we read an author because we want to be surprised.

John Grisham surprised me with two books that I fell in love with. THE LAST JUROR, written in first person, and THE TESTAMENT, written in third person. Both tell a story from the deep perspective of one person different from Grisham’s legal-thriller styles novels.  However, his try at non-fiction, THE INNOCENT MAN, did not work for me. Too dry and dull. But his book, THE PAINTED HOUSE, a coming of age book did draw me in. Again, a book in a different voice and point of view. Whether I liked it or not, bravo to him for trying new styles!

So do you like it when authors please their loyal-fans and continue to write in the same vein? Or do you want them to try new voices, new genres, new points of view? It’s exciting to be an author today as it’s become more acceptable to write across genres and in different points of view. It also gains you a crossover wider audience. John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, James Patterson. They’ve all done it. As for me. I’m game for trying something new. What about you?

LIKE Donna’s Author Facebook  page for news and updates! Her tour runs through April 11th with book giveaways, more guest posts, and interview fun, and a chance to win the big prize giveaway! So pop over to her blog to see the full tour schedule.

Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She won first place for Words on the Wall Fiction at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: www.donnagalanti.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Blog: http://blog.donnagalanti.com/wp/

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Blog Tour Tips!: On Planning Your Journey

Running a blog tour to promote a new novel is an amazing way to connect with a wider audience, to get a concentrated bunch of reviews, and to get your name out there!  If you are a subscriber to my blog, you know that I ran my very first blog tour to help launch my new novel Drawn.  It was a great experience, and I’m kicking myself for not doing this sort of thing sooner.

So why didn’t I do a blog tour sooner?  Well, truthfully this is a fairly new thing in the world of book promotion…something that wasn’t around when I was a Book Promotion Manager for a publisher years ago, or even when my first novel What I Meant… came out through Random House.  It felt mysterious, plus I knew authors who paid a ton of money to do a tour where they appeared on just 5 or 6 sites.  Surely I must be missing something here… Surely I didn’t understand the nuances of setting up and running such a tour…

So, of course, I decided to go for it on my own!  On The Drawn Blog Ghost Tour I made 22 stops in 5 weeks.  On tour I did 10 guest posts, 10 interviews, 4 giveaways, and got 9 reviews.  Was it a lot of work? Not more than writing a novel. Was it worth it? Oh yeah. Did I make any missteps? Absolutely.

And so, dear author, here are Marie Lamba’s Blog Tour Tips, which I humbly offer to you in the hopes that you can run your own blog tour, and kick some promo butt of your own…

MAKE CONTACT:

Make up a list of the best book blog review sites for your genre, the authors you have relationships with who can feature you, and send out a request for tour stops on writing-related sites you belong to.  Then start emailing and planning!

And expect decent results… When I was contacting book bloggers this summer about reviewing my YA novel OVER MY HEAD I got spotty results.  Many didn’t respond, others responded but weren’t interested (indie pubbed, right?), and still others DID take it on, giving it a nice review, BUT many of those reviews were slow in coming, some as much as 6 months later.  BUT when I contacted reviewers about a DRAWN blog tour, the response was dramatically different.

MOST bloggers that I got in touch with got back to me immediately (knowing that a deadline was involved), and signed on for the tour! Something about the word “tour” makes them respond very positively. The bloggers were eager to take a spot (I gave them a 2 month lead time) on my month-long tour. As I’ve mentioned, I planned for a mix of  reviews, interviews, guest blogs from me, and a bunch  combined this with book giveaways. I took about a day’s total time to contact everyone and to set up my calendar.

BE ORGANIZED

I kept a folder with a chart so I could track who needed what, what the deadlines were, what the blog stop dates were, and this list included all contact names and emails.

Send out ebook ARC’s and cover images immediately to the ones who want to do reviews.  Also turn around any interview questions  sent to you quickly (I did this within 24 hours of receiving)  just to stay on top of things. And record all actions in your blog chart (you’ll go nuts otherwise wondering what is and isn’t done).

The biggest challenge? Of course those guest posts. You think you’ll have enough to write about but then you find you have to dig deep to do them all and make them high quality.  Be careful you don’t over commit on that part.

I worked hard to make sure no two stops were the same. Original interviews or guest posts on every stop, so if someone were following the entire tour, they’d be rewarded with new stuff. No cut and paste answers! I also tried to create guest posts that would fit with a particular blogger’s audience.  Like a post about ghosts for Jonathan Maberry’s paranormal crowd, or one about medievel romance in history for The Elliot Review, which is run by a librarian, that sort of thing.  The idea is for you to meet that audience on its own terms and make it interesting.  Trying not to repeat yourself can be a challenge!

You can check out my tour stops to get a feel for the sort of varied posts, etc. I did by clicking here.

With each stop, make sure they have a cover image, an author image, and that each interview or post includes your bio and book blurb.

BE NICE!

The most important components involve keeping the good vibe going.  Be courteous to your blog stops.  Thank them.  Buzz them well so they benefit from traffic too.  I created a page on my website dedicated to the tour, with links updated…and also I created blog tour graphics and widgets that every stop can use and sent them that.  I blogged each week about the week’s tour stops, and send out daily updates on my FB and twitter, which were retweeted a bunch. There was a lot to do, but it was all good stuff.  Now here, for you, are…

SOME LESSONS LEARNED

1. DOUBLE CHECK: I ran into some nearly missed tour dates. Why? I sent the material well in advance of the date, and assumed it was received.  Yes, assume. Ass-u-me.  I learned to ask for confirmation that material was sent…and if I didn’t hear back, to email the blogger.  And two days before each post, I learned to “check in” with the blogger just to make sure things were on track and to ask if anything were needed.  People have busy lives, stuff happens, and so a friendly nudge can really help.  *Also, I recommend you don’t have inter-related blog stops where people have to gather clues or anything interconnected like that.  That way if one post doesn’t happen, the world will surely go on.

2. INCLUDE LINKS:  Put the link to your book sales page in whatever you send to folks.  I’d assumed they’d naturally link to the purchase spot and admittedly felt a little obnoxious about typing it into any post I’d sent, but some sites won’t automatically do links for you. Lesson learned!

3. INCLUDE SEARCHABLE MATERIAL:  This is a lesson I learned too late. In your guest posts for the tour, etc., be sure to mention within your post those huge popular authors/books most like your own title…And/or an “if you enjoy (fabulous popular title or author), then you will like (your book)…”  That’s the sort of searchable material you want to have so that folks will find you online.

4. GIVE THE TOUR A LANDING PAGE on your website, which shows ALL the stops and links to those stops. Set this up before the tour starts, so you can send the bloggers on the tour the link to this page, along with your widgets. Update that page as final details trickle in, such as the actual title/subject of your guest post, and on the day of, replace the general blog link with the actual post’s link so future readers will find you there.

5. CREATE A WIDGET that is simple and legible even as a small button (include your book cover), and then put it up on your own website in a post so that other folks can “grab” it and use it on their pages.  I made 3…one banner sized, one half-banner sized, and one button sized.

6.  BUILD EXCITEMENT: Once a week, do a post on your website highlighting that week’s stops to build excitement. To give you an idea of how I tried to keep the energy and interest up, you can read an example of one of these posts here.

7.  BUZZ IT: Take advantage of what’s popping up each day by buzzing it on your facebook and twitter pages… If there’s a particular theme to your post, highlight that…if you’ve gotten a great review, paraphrase it on your FB and in Tweets…  Make those great reviews go the extra mile by either asking the blogger if they will kindly put their review on goodreads/amazon… or if it’s a hot review, put it on your Barnes&Noble.com and Amazon pages under editorial reviews.  I was able to add a bunch to these sites, plus some of my tour bloggers posted on Goodreads…and one beautiful 5 star review was posted as a comment on DRAWN‘s Amazon page.

8.  HIGHLIGHT ON-GOING STUFF: If you have on-going giveaways going on, then continue to buzz them on your FB and twitter so that people will be reminded there is still time to enter.

9. COMMENT! Visit your tour stops to comment back where appropriate to folks who put in replies. The personal touch really makes a difference.

10. DON’T BE A SHMO: Try to somehow balance your tweets and posts with other news and other people’s news so you won’t be a steady stream of book P.R…. I found this to be a little tough because with jam-packed weeks of booktouring there is SO much news coming at me each day…all different, but all about my book!   I made an effort to retweet others in between, and to now and then put up a post on my blog page that wasn’t tour related.  You don’t want to weary people with your news…  Twitter is nice because you can vary your hashtags (#) to reach different people, but also put keywords within your tweet.

11. SAY THANK YOU!  After each stop, take a moment to send a personal note of thanks to your tour stop host. They have used their valuable time to help you, and you want them to know that this matters to you.
Hosting a blog tour is a phenomenal way to build up a quick stable of reviews and buzz about your book.  And you can use these reviews as a stepping stone to even more blogger reviews.  For example, I made a point of contacting bloggers who listed TwilightMoms.com as one of their favorite blogs they follow, and asked if they’d review DRAWN.  Of course I included the rave review from TwilightMoms, and guess what? Those bloggers were eager to give my book a look!

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So is it work? Some. Is it worth it? YES!  You want more readers to find your book, don’t you? Can YOU do this?  You can.

SO GO FOR IT and start mapping out your own book tour.

Marie

This Week’s Highlights!: DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour Continues

First, some quick updates:

*Drawn ebook is still on sale for just $0.99…but for a limited time…links are here.

**Also, through Valentines Day, you can enter to win all of my books signed, plus chocolates, plus have a chance at a grand prize…entering is as easy as leaving a comment: click The Valentine Blog Hop for the details.

AND NOW: News from the road…

The Drawn Blog Ghost Tour road, that is.

This week I’m criss-crossing the globe…I’ve packed my wrinkle free clothes, my passport and my writing journal… Well, okay, since this is a BLOG tour after all, maybe I haven’t packed anything. Maybe I haven’t left the country. MAYBE I’m sitting in my studio in my jammies all week long.

So? I’m STILL crossing the globe on this week’s tour, making not one but TWO stops in Australia, then racing back to the U.S. for the balance of this week.

But can’t we imagine that this author is wandering through cyberspace, a fashionable carry-on over one shoulder, and a well-read copy of Drawn under the other?  We envision this author as unstoppable. Her business-like heels click clack through the world’s airports.

Her passionate mission? To spread the word about Drawn, her new paranormal novel about a timeless love between teen artist Michelle, and Christopher, the medieval ghost with a sketchy past… Our world-traveling author won’t rest until everyone knows it’s gotten amazing reviews, like last week’s rave from The Author Chronicles, who said “If you’re looking for a book with an engaging protagonist, captivating plot, and paranormal twist, this is for you. Just make sure to clear your calendar first, because once you start, you won’t want to put it down!”

Our jet-setting author wants people to realize that if they like Twilight, Hush Hush and books by Beth Fantaskey, that they will fall in love with Drawn

Our trail blazing writer wants…well, she wants to get out of her jammies and into real clothes at some time this week, but never mind that.  On to this weeks highlights (the fourth week of the tour!), brought to you by the fabulous book bloggers on the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour!:

February 6th:  That’s today! Say a hearty g’day to our down-under blogger Novels on the Run as they host my guest post “Any Time but the Present.” I share why I think time travel is so seductive, plus some tasty excerpts from Drawn.

February 7th: Still in awesome Australia is blogger Agrippina Legit, who will feature a review of Drawn and an interview with me with that “Land Down Under” spin.

February 8th: We zoom back to the U.S. where The Cozy Reader posts her review of Drawn plus my  guest blog “Writing Magic,” where I share some of my own techniques for writing believable fantasy scenes…with examples from Drawn.

February 9th: Take a walk on the dark side at Lucas Mangum’s Dark Dimensions blog, where he’ll post his review of Drawn plus run an interview with me exploring the fascination with darkness and the paranormal…and the darkness that winds through Drawn.

February 10th: Twimom101 features a quirky Top 10 Q&A with me. I reveal some stuff… Er, hope I didn’t embarrass myself? If I do, please tell me!

As with any of these posts, leave comments and I’ll be sure to comment back.  See how dedicated I am? Even with ALL of this travelling.  Even with spending all day in my fuzzy slippers…er, I mean, my business-like heels…

Ah the glamour of being an author on tour!  Truly, there’s nothing like it…

To catch up on any of the fun you missed in the past few weeks on the tour (from authentic ghost photos, to reviews and interviews and posts that are illuminating and/or bizarre) just click here or on the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour tab at the top of my website at any time, and follow the links.

Bon voyage!

Things are Heating Up!: Drawn Blog Ghost Tour Week 3

TONS of excitement here.  This past week my new paranormal novel Drawn cracked #11 in its category on Amazon!!! Seems readers are really warming to this novel about Christopher, the hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past.

And the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour is smoking hot so far.  There have been a slew of guest posts about writing, hauntings, knights, passion and art.  There have also been two probing interviews, one ghost photo, and a bunch of really sizzling reviews…including one from TwilightMOMS who said: “Mysterious and enchanting, DRAWN is a breath of fresh air. If you are looking for a page turner with a unique twist, then look no further.”

Also, the winter nights have been heating up with not one but two giveaways. **There is still a chance to enter these…simply click here for the Elliot Review (ends Jan. 30th) and here for TwilightMOMS (ends Jan. 31st) and follow the directions to win your own autographed copy of Drawn!

Now Week 3 of the tour steams ahead with three red-hot stops:

January 30th: At Word For Teens, my guest post “Do Over” talks about how I overcame my own battles with bullies and how this helped shaped the novel…plus there’s a brand new Drawn BOOK GIVEAWAY!

February 1st: At Author Chronicles the bloggers host a writerly interview with me.  Plus they put up an amazing review of Drawn here.

February 3rd: Author Danyelle Leafty posts her review of Drawn on her Myth-Takes blog.

To visit all the stops on the tour, click here or on the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour tab at the top of this website. And for info on how to purchase your own copy of Drawn just click here.  Then you can find out for yourself why paranormal author Cyn Balog called Drawn, “A lushly romantic ghost story…captivating and haunting. I didn’t want it to end.”

Stay warm…cuddle up with a good book!

Marie

This Week on the DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour!

This is it!  The kick-off date for the DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour!!!!  And it begins with a serious ka-pow as a line-up of fabulous book bloggers feature interviews, guest posts and giveaways…all in celebration of the release of my new paranormal novel Drawn.

So here’s this week’s line up:

January 17th: Kicking off the tour TODAY at Jonathan Maberry’s Big Scary Blog, I guest post about ghosts and ghostly sitings in “Definitely Not Normal.” The post includes a never before seen authentic ghost photo. NOT KIDDING.

January 18th: At the Stories. Read ‘em. Write ‘em blog, Author Stephanie Theban hosts a probing interview with me about Drawn and about life.

January 19th: At The Elliot Review, I guest post on “Why it’s Positively Medieval” where I talk about knights in shining armor, those great boots, and whether or not chivalry is indeed dead. Plus there’s a Drawn BOOK GIVEAWAY! Check it out for your chance to win a signed paperback of Drawn 🙂

January 20th: At the blog of Author Shana Norris there’s a fun and personal interview with me.

And that’s just week one!  There’s so much more action on the way, and more giveaways too.  To keep up with it all, just click on the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour tab at the top of this site, or click here.

DRAWN Now out in Paperback Too!

And so the journey really begins… My new paranormal YA novel Drawn is now not only available in ebook but in paperback too!  That means that you can now go into your favorite bookstore and order your very own copy, or you can order it online through Amazon by clicking here!  In case you don’t already know, this novel is about a teen artist who draws and then meets and falls for a hot medieval ghost. Yowza.

You can do a lot to make this novel successful by purchasing it now, instead of later.  Sales that happen all at once push the book into a higher ranking, more people notice it then, and buy it, and so on!  (Same goes for the ebook sales…so whatever form you purchase, now is better than later…for ebook purchase info, click here.)

To celebrate this new publication, I’m currently hosting a Drawn paperback giveaway over at Goodreads.com. Up for grabs are 5 autographed copies of Drawn, and all you have to do is enter to win by going here.

And on Tuesday, I’m kicking off my very first blog tour.  This is new territory for me, folks, and it promises to be VERY exciting.  The month-long Drawn Blog Ghost Tour includes stops at some of the hottest blog sites, and includes a range of interviews, reviews, guest posts and book giveaways!  First stop will be on Tuesday at Jonathan Maberry’s Big Scary Blog…with a post that will include a never before seen ghost photo.  NOT kidding. It’s freaky.  Check back throughout the month for all the tour highlights. And to haunt all the tour stops, you can find each blog tour detail and link by clicking here.

So now Drawn is officially out in the world.  What a long, but wonderful journey it’s been.  Thanks so much to all my friends, readers and supporters for encouraging me along the way. This novel really means a lot to me, and I hope it will come to mean something to people who read it, too…

Thanks, all,

Marie

Going on Tour: Announcing the DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour!

This has been a busy time at casa Lamba.  Yes, there have been presents to shop for and trees to decorate and chocolates to eat, BUT forget all that.  What I’ve been REALLY busy doing is getting ready to launch Drawn, my new paranormal novel, in just a few short weeks!!!!

Since Drawn is all about a hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past, I thought it’d be cool to haunt blogs all over the world, revealing deep dark secrets about the book and the characters.  So I’m happy to announce the upcoming DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour.

From January 17th through February 17th, we’ll be heating up the winter with stops at blogs hosted by red-hot authors, sizzling book reviewers, and book bloggers as far away as Australia!  There will be lots of chances to learn more about Christopher the shady ghost and Michelle the teen artist who draws him and then meets and falls for him.  Plus there will be a bunch of chances to win your own free copy of Drawn.

The fun starts January 17th.  For all the stops on the tour and more info, just click here or on the DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour tab on the top of my site. And check back throughout the tour for updates.

Also…stay tuned for more info about Drawn, which will be on sale everywhere in January!