“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot
As this first quarter of 2023 draws to a close...I've been thinking... #GASP
I celebrated my 5th year as an Indie writer this quarter--my first two books, The Crown for Castlewood Manor and Cast, Crew, & Carnage: The Filming of Castlewood Manor became published realities in 2018. #TimeFlies I've learned so much since then and finding your audience and reader tribe is a never-ending quest. I'm in the midst of some re-branding with my books (see below) and excited to see how the new campaigns work out. 💖👑
Breaking news (at least for me)...I've decided to take on a new writing project that I plan on querying for a traditionally published contract in 2024. I'm super excited about this--I've been kicking the idea around for some time and finally feel the time is right to give it a try.
I'll still be writing in the cozy mystery genre for this new quest. The audience for this project, however, is quite different--I'm switching from an adult reader base to middle grade (MG) readers, targeting age 9-12 years. 👀 Personally, I fell in love with the Trixie Belden mystery series during this age--I couldn't wait to read the next story in the series. I'm hoping to capture the mystery magic with my new book/series I found so engaging as a young girl. The 'tween' sleuth whodunnits stayed with me throughout the decades and certainly set the path for where I am in my love of cozy mysteries today. Those books were life changers for me!
Writing the actual story for querying may be the least of my challenges as I plow through the list of to-dos for this latest quest to understand my new book audience...
From the research I've done so for on this audience switch, the consistent message is to know the genre! This includes:
What are the similar titles you'll be up against?
What's the length of these stories?
Are you planning a standalone book or contemplating a series (best to know this while querying)? If you're going the series route, you need to articulate (and sell) the roadmap as you envision it in the query.
Recognize the impact this change of audience will have on your writing style. The language and nuances of middle grade and young adult fiction are vastly different from adult audiences. Characters, storylines, plot structures, tone, and content will change, taking me out of my current comfort zone. 👆 Literary agent, Mary Kole's book above has been a great resource in my planning, as have articles from Writer's Digest and other websites. I'm trying to carve out time each week to sift through the info and resources.
As for the querying, I'm in a much better mindset these days to take on the search for an agent and publisher. I've learned tons on this topic thanks to my writer friends and research over the past few years. In addition to understanding the genre/MG audience, I'm compiling my list of literary agencies and the specific agents to target. I just need to find the kindred agent who has the same vision I do. The pressure is on me to now convey the uniqueness and marketability of my new idea. Will I be successful? This story is developing...
So, writers, have you thought about changing genres or moving to a new audience? I'd love to know more about your lessons learned and any advice to this newbie would be greatly appreciated!
Here's to new projects--may the odds be ever in your favor! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:
A new look for The Crown for Castlewood Manor!
As all self-promoting authors must do, I'm in the process of doing a refresh for my cozy mystery series, starting with book 1. As we all know, the all-important seller pages can make or break sales. I've been working with the fabulous Eeva Lancaster (the Book Khaleesi on Twitter @eevalancaster) to update the look and consistency on my Amazon seller pages. The Crown for Castlewood Manor was the first project--I love the new look and book blurb and Eeva's monthly, book promo services are awesome too! Take a gander at the new page:
Eeva's advice and recommendations have been spot-on, I've learned so much. You can check out her book promo services here #HighlyRecommended:
Paranormal twists and a gripping whodunnit this week from the writers of Twitter...
Author Cathleen Maza, Savannah at Twilight, 5 ⭐
"The twenty minutes before the sun fully sets over Savannah, Georgia, are some of the most intense and intimate for her to participate in. While the twenty-minute time frame barely registers in the human realm, this is when her work requires most of her energy and focus...time is relative and moves at its own pace in the spirit world."
Author Maza once again transports us to the mystical streets of Savannah. We're on an adventure with the soul of the same name who wields her otherworldly energy to assist those who need a spiritual boost into the light, or the depths of darkness if their actions warrant. With the touch of her ghostly hand. we are whisked to scenes we are destined to witness, enveloped by a healing energy that crosses the realms. In this collection, we visit souls who have passed and now must make a final choice. There is no right or wrong, and with Savannah's calm guidance the option which brings them a peaceful path is revealed.
The love and consideration Savannah has for the city and its inhabitants is heartfelt. It comes with a steep price she is willing to bear. Through her eyes, the beauty, mystery, and magic of this haunting, southern town will enchant you. Well done to the author for taking a reader into the ghostly Twilight...a highly recommended read!
Author Anthony Horowitz, Moonflower Murders, 5 ⭐
An English couple is convinced their missing daughter uncovered a dark secret tied to a gruesome murder at the family's hotel after reading author Alan Conway's book in his popular series, 'Atticus Pund Takes the Case'. They approach the deceased author's former editor, Susan Ryeland, to investigate the connection between their daughter's disappearance and the book's plotline. Their offer of ten-thousand pounds is tempting--the catch? She needs to leave the hotel in Crete she and partner, Andreas own and manage, and stay at the scene of the crime, the stately Branlow Hall.
The return to England brings up many emotions for Susan. She questions leaving her livelihood and career behind to run the hotel with Andreas. The demands of their new venture have taken a toll on their relationship. Will this new assignment lead her to jettison the hotel venture and her partner to return to her comfort zone? As Susan investigates the history of the murder and the man some feel was wrongly accused, she finds several ties to Alan Conway and his book. The suspects are plentiful, will Susan's sleuthing place her danger?
Author Horowitz once again weaves a masterful whodunit that marries present day events into the world of a cozy mystery. The back-and-forth connection is fascinating and will keep you guessing 'til the very end. I'm a huge fan of this series--a highly recommended read!
The Splendor of Biltmore House!
Wow, oh wow, there is something about roaming the halls of a castle and the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC did not disappoint!
I soaked up the details of each room as we took our tour of this grand manor house. The story concept for book nine in my cozy series is forming and I can't wait to incorporate some of the glamorous details into the next story. I'll share more pics next time--loved, loved, loved this visit!
Welcome to my world. Until next time, have a good one!
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. Wishing you all a fabulous April coming up on Saturday, and that's no fools! Gemma and Rikkhe approve 💖👑