The Trouble With Self Promotion


where the bodies are

After years of work, a great deal of time spent writing, re-writing, abandoning, taking up again, and endless rounds of editing, self doubt, and convincing myself that no one will like it, I finally took the big plunge and queried, accepted a contract, and had a book published.


Now what?


Self promotion, that’s what.


No matter the size of the publisher, or if you go the traditional publisher route, small independent press, or self publish, nobody is going to know about or buy your book without promotion and a lot of it. The smaller the company, the smaller the promotional budget they’ll have. But regardless of the size of the company the bulk of the promotion will fall on the author’s shoulders. It’s expected that you will take up that burden and run with it. After all, who has your self-interest at heart more than you? That means you, the writer, have to do a lot of work to promote yourself as an author and your book.


My first attempt at bulk/multi self promotion can be summed up with one word. It’s not a good word so we’ll just say “Oh crap!” and leave it at that.


The trouble with self promotion, my trouble to be specific although guaranteed I’m not alone, could probably have been helped a great deal with being more prepared and organized. But in such a big task it takes a lot of time to be prepared and organized in that huge world of promotion and, like writing a novel, that will be an ongoing work in progress.


Anger and frustration. Those are two good words to describe my experience. The biggest challenges working against me: poor internet connection, a less than stellar working mouse (okay, its more dysfunctional than functional), and starting out already tired and frustrated, with an overdose of wild hyper kids to reduce any attempt at concentrating to a slathering glob of damn I wish I had a glass of wine and a quiet place.


So this is lesson one in How To Be A Writer – Promote Yourself & Your Book:
– Distractions are a killer just as much here as when you are trying to write
– Tired and grumpy? Let’s find our happy place before we start.
– Preparation and organization ahead, yeah let’s work on that.
– A good internet connection and reliable computer are huge pluses, essential even.
– Spending four hours or more fighting with the internet, computer, distractions, et al to post a measly 8 quick past and post attempts to promote your book sucks the big one and was probably a huge waste of time.


Do you know #WhereTheBodiesAre ?

Do you know #WhereTheBodiesAre ?

First I would like to thank Beth Fehlbaum for inviting me on this blog tour.

Beth Fehlbaum is the author of Big Fat Disaster (Coming from Merit Press in March, 2014!) and The Patience Trilogy (available for acquisition!).
Chapter previews of all her books are available online.

Beth is also the founder of UncommonYA.com, “a group website of traditionally published authors who tell it like it is.”

Beth Fehlbaum
Author websites:
Beth Fehlbaum Books.com

Library Science Student website:
La-la-Library Science Bloggity-blog

Follow Beth:

On this blog tour authors are asked to answer four questions:
1) What am I working on?
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3) Why do I write what I do?
4) How does my writing process work?

Who is L.V. Gaudet? L. V. Gaudet is a Canadian fiction writer who writes mainly the darker forms of fiction. L.V. Gaudet’s writing is influenced by growing up with a love for thrillers and horrors, sneaking down as a kid to watch old Vincent Price movies and devouring thriller novels.

I am a fiction writer with flash fiction and short stories scattered about the web. Also, the short story “Falling” published in the murder/mystery anthology Mystery in the Wind published by Second Wind Publishing.

1) What am I working on?

It might be easier to ask what I am NOT working on. My husband likes to tease me about my level of multi-tasking in everything I do. Right now I am working with the publisher Second Wind Publishing on getting my debut novel Where the Bodies Are published this summer.

In addition to getting this novel out, my ongoing projects include:

 Editing Garden Grove. Something sinister is behind the strange events happening at the new Garden Grove Meadows community being built in a cozy little bedroom community. With a string of petty vandalism, the poisoning of the work crew, and strange human bones being planted around the job site, what could they possibly have in common?

 Nicely aging and waiting their turn to be edited are these completed works:

 The Gypsy Queen. The era of the paddlewheel boats is coming to an end and two intrepid young men looking to strike it rich come up with a plan after sneaking on board a gambling paddlewheel boat and finding themselves overwhelmed by the opulent richness surrounding them. They find a decommissioned old paddlewheel left rotting up a dried up river tributary. Purchasing the boat for a song, bringing her back to rebuild the one famous Gypsy Queen proves to be a bigger stake than they bargained for. Up against a mafia mentality shipbuilders union and the wealthy owner of the only riverboat casino, who is not open to the idea of having new competition, the young men find themselves quickly in over their heads. To add to their troubles the Gypsy Queen is haunted and she wants her revenge.

 Forgotten Princess (working title). In a long ago time where debtors were arrested and placed in workhouse prisons to pay off their debts, many lived in poverty, and few owned the land which so many lived and worked on, children were often left orphaned by circumstance. This is the story of the survival of the orphaned children brought to one of the vilest orphanages in the country. A darkness poisons this orphanage from deep within its walls.

 The McAllister Farm. This is the prequel to Where the Bodies Are. Once you have read the first book you will be filled with questions. Here you will find answers.

 Works in progress include:

 Blood. This is my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel based on the flash fiction story of the same name. I surpassed the 50,000 word goal; however the story did not end there. Death is real and he is dead tired. He has brought across to his world a younger man to become Death’s unwilling apprentice. Is this possible? Can Death be replaced? And will the young man escape Death’s clutches to return to his world?

 Unnamed. In the dark ages where superstitions were believed true one man is obsessed with eradicating the evil he believes plagues the world, the eaters of souls.

 The Men of Twelve (working title). The queen dies of a mysterious ailment, poisoned! Blinded by grief, her husband, the king, rides out in search of his own swift end. His men at arms rush to follow, to protect their king, but can he be protected from himself? Wallowing in the dark pool of his loss, the king charges recklessly into danger only to return at last with something even more dangerous; a new queen. The strange woman brings with her her own stranger servant and dark purpose, putting the king’s daughter in peril.

 The Illopogas. Based on the flash fiction stories of the same name, Ghost Ship (The Illopogas) and Ghost Ship 2: Return The Illopogas, this is the story of The Illopogas, a ship that is a ghost itself, created by the evil that once filled its hull.

And for the kids, to be published under the name Vivian Munnoch are these tantalizingly scary works in progress:

 The Latchkey Kids. These are the tweens and early yeas teens too old for daycare but still young enough to be considered kids. With working parents they have the responsibility of getting themselves off to school and home again, to wait alone at home until their parents come home. Alone they each have their own little world of problems. Brought together by unforeseen circumstances they are pulled into a bigger problem, a danger that lurks beneath them, coming into their homes through the basement at night.

 The Wishing Stone series. This series of books explores the adventure Madelaine is forced into when she is kidnapped from the tent where she sleeps with her family. Only Mocha knows how Madelaine vanished and she can’t tell. Mocha is Madelaine’s little dog. With a bravery bigger than her size, Madelaine’s younger sister runs away with Mocha in search of her sister.

 Butterflies in the Garden series. There are butterflies in the garden, but they are not what they appear.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure how I can say my work differs from others of its genres. While the stories all share a certain darkness, they bring together elements of multiple genres to create a range of reading experiences. Some are more fantasy, others mystery, and some more of a supernatural thriller.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I have always had a love for the dark stories. I grew up sneaking downstairs in the night to watch old Vincent Price movies, absorbed the old Tales from the Dark Side and Twilight Zone shows, and Ray Bradbury Theatre. I devoured every horror book I could get my hands on.

4) How does my writing process work?

My writing process works through unadulterated creative drive. I write what the urge strikes me to write, throwing myself into the writing, letting the writing flow drive itself. If it isn’t working for one story I move on to another.
I usually start with little more than a vague feeling or scene and the story grows from there, driven by its own purpose to become whatever it will be. The story metamorphoses and turns as if with a life of its own. Even I don’t know where it will go when I sit down and start writing. I outline as I go, creating a roadmap of where I’ve been as a reference tool when I need to double back for the sake of consistency.

I will let a story sit and quietly age for months or more between writing and editing, and each edit.
When I edit I want to look at the story with a fresh mind, an outsider looking in. Those early edits bring with them additional depth as scenes that were hurriedly jotted down to move on with the thread driving me are revisited and rewritten. Characters grow deeper personalities and events a personality of their own.
It’s the later edits that can be a story killer, when I start obsessing whether I edited it enough and risk editing the life out of the story. There is a wealth of writing advice out there, a deluge that will drown you if you are not careful. The best advice I can give any writer is to devour that glut of advice. Devour it, absorb it, learn it, and know when to ignore it. For the most part it is good advice, but creativity cannot be set down to follow a strict set of rules. No piece of advice and no writing rule fits every story.

I’m one of though people who just are not content to have one project on the go. If I find myself stuck with nowhere to go on one project that usually means I’m missing something in the big picture. The best cure for that is to take a step back for a while and approach it again later with a fresh mind. But that does not stop the urge to write or the flow of ideas.
If one story is stuck in the mud with no ideas there are a hundred more waiting to be written. And even when I am making an effort to push myself to finish one particular story and find myself stuck, moving on to write something else gets the creative juices flowing and opens the floodgates that will get me back on track with finishing the other project.

Samples of my work can be found on my blog:
The intangible world of the literary mind
What secrets of the mind lurk beyond the mist enshrouded bridge?


Follow on Facebook (author page):

Coming soon:
Where the Bodies Are
Tentative publishing date: July 1, 2014
through Second Wind Publishing, LLC


I invite you to join Susie Kearley on her blog as part of the blog tour – My Writing Process.

Susie has written two books on ‘Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens’, and ‘Healthy Sustainable Living, God’s Way.’


The Sock Kids Meet Lincoln by Michael John Sullivan and Susan Petrone


Michael John Sullivan The Sock Kids Meet Lincoln - Cover



It’s Saturday in the Sock Kids’ house and that means its wash day.  The Socker family is scooped up and put in the wash where Stretch plays until … he gets whirled around so fast he had to close his eyes and felt like he was falling.


Stretch opened his eyes to find himself on a strange man’s leg.


That man was Lincoln.  Stretch has gone back in time!


Stretch meets the sock on the other leg, a black sock named Meade.


The Sock Kids Meets Lincoln offers a quick lesson in history, just right for the young age group (my daughter even went back to check the year again!) and gives a good opening for a discussion on who Abraham Lincoln is.


After a quick adventure with Lincoln, Stretch finds his way home again.


The Sock Kids was entertaining and full of action for such a short story.  My youngest picks the easiest and quickest books to read to avoid real homework reading, but most quick reads also tend to be too easy.  You can typically see the struggle between Mom making her do the required school reading vs. the distractions that pull her away from the books she is bored with.  The Sock Kids was easy enough for a struggling reader without being boring.


There were no distractions here.  She read The Sock Kids through without pause and was excited about it when she was done, instantly demanding more.  Heck, she tried to find how to get more on my phone! (Good thing purchases are password protected!)



If you are not sure whether your kid will like this book; just read my own daughter’s review after reading it herself.



Book Review by Robyn Gaudet: The Sock Kids Meet Lincoln




The Sock Kids Meet Lincoln can be bought on Amazon and The Sock Kids can be found hanging out here on WordPress.com.



 Michael John Sullivan The Sock Kids Meet Lincoln - CoverGuest blogger Robyn Gaudet, 8 years old (ok, less than two weeks to 9 years old!) shares with us her review on:


The Sock Kids Meet Lincoln by Michael John Sullivan and Susan Petrone



 I read a book called The Sock Kids.  The sock kids are sock people and why I like it is because it is so FUNNY I just wanted to read all the books over and over!

A little sock named Stretch met Lincoln.  Lincoln put Stretch onto his feet and Stretch met a black sock named Meade.  They became good friends then Stretch went home.

My favorite part about the story is when Stretch got whirled from the bath tub and got into 1863 and that’s when he met Lincoln.


The Sock Kids Meet Lincoln can be bought on Amazon and The Sock Kids can be found hanging out here on WordPress.com.

Nancy A Niles Vendetta - CoverPaul Faraday made a big mistake and he blamed it all on himself.  He and his wife came to the city in the desert where he took a job as controller of the Desert Dreams Hotel and Casino and he had an affair with his secretary, Darla, causing his wife to storm out of their mansion furiously jealous.

Now Anna was missing; kidnapped.

He would not have the opportunity to make any more mistakes.

The kidnapper, a man calling himself The Fixer, saw to that.  Paul and his wife were murdered in retaliation for another mistake Paul Faraday had made, one he didn’t even know about.  The fixer was seeking revenge for his son’s death.

The fixer wasn’t done yet.  He has a Vendetta.

Tina Munroe works catching cheaters at the Oasis Hotel and Casino.  Between the hours she works at the steady Casino job she works for Bernie Phillips, a private investigator.

Her boss as the casino, Billy “Hutch” Hutchins is The Fixer’s next target.

Pulled by a sense of protectiveness over her old friend, The Fixer’s next target, Tina is drawn deeper into the mystery of The Fixer.  Everyone becomes a suspect, including Lex Bruenner who Tina finds herself unavoidably attracted to.

As Tina gets closer to the truth she puts herself into deeper scrapes and those around her in greater danger, digging herself deeper into the darker underground world behind the Casinos and into The Fixer’s path.

The truth has to lie somewhere in the one thing Hutch and Faraday had in common, running casinos and living submerged in the gambling world.  The question is whether Tina can find The Fixer’s identity before he kills her or someone else close to her.

At times Nancy A Niles’ Vendetta has the feel of the old style gumshoe, but with a big twist – the stereotypical private eye hero is a woman.  You can’t help but like Tina Munroe as you find yourself rooting for her as you wonder how she’s going to get out of this jam she’s in.

 Vendetta is published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

T C Harrelson The Beast of Macon Hollow - CoverMy first impression of The Beast of Macon Hollow was that it would be a mystery story akin to the likes of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys of old, perhaps with a Scooby and the gang monster twist.


When the story climaxed I was pleasantly surprised by the more monster than mystery turn the story had taken. (Of course, I like that kind of story).


I offered the story to my ten year old to read, but she didn’t get very far before quitting.  I think the story was a bit too mature for her age level and taste in stories, although it certainly falls into one of the genres she likes.  Perhaps not quite enough school girl drama for her.


I would recommend this story for ages twelve and up, perhaps an eleven year old with more mature tastes.



Macon Hollow.  It certainly is an odd little town.  The Hollow is a town cut off from time and from the outside world both geographically and culturally.  It is a town that is “left behind” in Will’s thoughts, lost in an era before the twenty-first century.


Electronic devices are strictly banned, there is no television or radio from the outside, and a very select few are allowed telephone access to the outside world.  Those few are the ones running Macon Hollow.  No one except those who control the town are allowed to visit the outside world, and no outsiders are allowed in.


That is, until the Shepards came home.



The Shepards.  Dragged from the life of electronics and the modern world they knew, Will and his sister Liz find themselves uprooted and moved back in time to the small town of Macon Hollow after their mother’s death.


The Shepard family came from the Hollow, before Will and his sister Liz were born.  Their father had managed to leave the town behind, never intending to return.


Liz, who has a better relationship with their father, has a much more forgiving nature, trying to bridge the gulf of animosity between her brother and their father.


Will has a difficult relationship with his father, Joseph Shepard, or the Sergeant as Will calls him because he treats him more the way a drill sergeant treats a disliked grunt than he feels a father should treat his son.  The dislike between them is palpable, the Sergeant blaming Will for his mother’s death as much as Will blames himself.



The Trouble With Macon Hollow.  The trouble with Macon Hollow is that it is haunted.  Or maybe it isn’t.  The Hollow’s monster problems can’t really be classified as a ghost.  It is a mystery for certain.  The Hollow is plagued by periodic visits by a beast with a voracious appetite for killing.


The Beast is a curious entity that seems to change depending on the victim’s fears,  growing stronger and bolder with each kill.


Will finds himself linked to The Beast, living it’s killings through the creatures eyes and drawn inevitably into the terror it wreaks on the Hollow.


Learning about his family’s past, Will also discovers secrets about himself, and that he is the one who must stop the Beast of Macon Hollow.  With the help of his sister and their new friends from the Hollow, Will is drawn deeper into the mystery of the Beast and the town’s hidden past.




In The Beast of Macon Hollow T C Harrelson wove a story that kept me wanting to read on, pulling me towards a delightfully twisted ending.  While many of the events in the climax were no surprise (the hints were there if you paid attention), there was one twist I did not see coming.  I like that.




The Beast of Macon Hollow was published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC, where I got it from.



I get incredibly lazy about character development in my first draft.  This especially happens when it comes to secondary and background characters.


When I’m in the throes of pounding at that keyboard, the words flowing through my fingertips as the story flourishes, or banging my head on the contraption in frustration, my focus is on the story.  The big question of what happens next is what drives that first draft.



 In most of my stories I have no better idea than the reader does about what is going to happen next or even who the characters are.  The story often changes from that initial hunch of what it will be about as the events play out.  Hell, I’m just along for the ride, wherever my imagination decides to take us.


Just like the reader I’m experiencing the story and meeting the characters as the events unfold.


This is why it is perhaps even more important for someone who writes like I do to never forget that every character is somebody, no matter how small a bit part they play.



What is more memorable?  The story where everyone is a faceless nameless blank except the three or four main characters?  Or one where old Mrs. Appleblossom down the street always wears a white flower either in her hat or tucked into her button hole, the absence of which could be a hidden (subliminal) hint of trouble to come?


What about Mr. Commely, who’s only purpose in the story is to deliver the letter that gives your character the bad news?  Does the reader need to know that Mr. Commely has returned to work after retiring because he’s lonely after his wife passed away, that he always has a gentle pat on the head waiting for even the most fiercest of mailman hating dogs on his route, or that his behavior is sometimes strange and erratic? It doesn’t drive the story forward, so some would argue this is just extra words that should be cut.


The girl serving coffee through the drive through window probably doesn’t need to tell you that she’s having a bad morning.  You can see it in her face.  You don’t know her name and you probably don’t need to.  But you can make the reader wonder why she’s having a bad day.  Did she have a fight with her boyfriend?  Was she reprimanded at work for being late again when she’s dealing with a serious crisis at home?  Maybe she has a parent or child who is deathly ill.  Why she looks unhappy isn’t important to the story.  But just making the reader notice her sadness and wonder about it because your character did draws the reader further into becoming one with and sympathizing with your main character.


When you go through the drive through yourself, that girl behind the window touches your life when she hands you your coffee and takes your money.  It may only be a thirty-second moment, but those thirty seconds still touch your life.



None of these bits about small characters drive the story and most of it can be left unsaid, back-story for these people who make only brief appearances.  But dropping these little observations can add a depth of understanding and reality to the world your characters live in.


If you write with a sense of familiarity will all your characters lives, the reader will pick up on it.  Like watching someone waving to someone walking by from across the parking lot, you can get a sense if they are familiar with each other or just passing a friendly wave to an acquainted stranger.


Some characters develop through the writing of that first draft.  The main characters mostly get a lot of their character traits and flaws because their reactions and needs are what push the story forward.  But with the rest they are lucky if they get dubbed as “frontdeskguy” or “girl2” as I write.  Sometimes they are nothing more than a mention of “the other guy”.


As the story unfolds, so do little hints into the characters that show up for repeat appearances.  And as I learn more about where these bit players fall into the story, I also get a better understanding of how each of them can bring more life to the story.


Like the young man in Men of Twelve (working name of a W.I.P.).  The young man is an unimportant player, like the Start Trek guy who wears red to beam down to the planet.  I know he’s going to die and the reader may get a sense of it too.  That the trees mock him for being a nameless bastard without a father moments before his death does not drive the story, but it does add a layer of depth to the scene and the world the characters live in.



It’s in the editing, when I go back over the story to re-write, revise, develop more, and delete than I put the emphasis on picking out each character from the biggest to the smallest and give them a little touch of personality.


Bringing your characters to life brings the story to life.  And, remembering that behind that blank nameless place holder in the story every character is somebody adds a touch of real life to your work.  Behind the blank nameless face every person you see today is somebody too.


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