Is There A Better Marketing Tool Than Your Cover?

Your cover is the first thing the reader sees and…inevitably…the book’s first impression.

MEGA-BOOKSTOREI took the opportunity to poll readers during a recent mega-bookstore signing I attended with over a dozen other authors (six of which were romance). Because I truly wanted the information, I offered those who would fill out the questionnaire chocolate (always works) and the chance to win a store gift card. Out of the 25 readers I approached only one turned down my request.

The first four questions required a “yes”, “no” or “sometimes” response. The last question gave them three lines to express their opinion. Here are the questions I asked:

funny-cartoon-question-mark-awesome-487x5501. Is a book’s cover important in attracting your interest?

2. Do you collect bookmarks, trading cards or other material branded with covers?

3. Do you look for the author, book or book cover on social media (e.g., FB, Twitter)?

4. Do you follow authors on social media or through newsletters?

5. How often do you feel authors should promote their book on social media and are you drawn to the promotion?

The results:

Q1: 19 yes, 2 no, 3 sometimes

Q2: 12 yes, 11 no, 1 sometimes (note added by respondent: “if they’re pretty”)

Q3: 11 yes, 3 no, 10 sometimes (this stat surprised me)

Q4: 18 yes, 6 no

Q5: The majority of the respondents said that anything more than once per day was overkill. Three said that if they see the cover more than once in the day they skip past it. Four said they don’t pay much attention to the cover unless they’re attracted to it because the “KNOW” it’s a sales pitch.

Once the questionnaire was completed, I asked each respondent to look at a single picture and give me their impression. The only thing I asked was: “Would you stop scrolling through FB or Twitter to to look at this picture?” Twenty-one of the the 24 said, “yes”.

The picture?

Cover Reveal AnukahatenOver the course of the past six months or so I’ve devoted quite a bit of time to creating book-centered memes and engagement on both FB and Twitter related to these memes has increased significantly. I’ve quickly come to realize that while I might get a few likes, comments, and engagements out of my cover and buy link, far more people are stopping to read the meme. Traffic on both my website and blog have increased.

Crazy Writer MemeHere’s another meme, aimed at poking fun of us as writers rather than to tout a specific book. All memes were created using nothing more than Powerpoint and a good stock photo site. And, all memes contained my website address but no buy links or sales pitch.

I thinks, as writers, we need to find new ways to engage our readers. And, if the standard cover, blurb and buy link isn’t doing it, we should find other avenues for promotion. Even something as simple as a meme.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay well read.


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Escape by Belle Ami – Spotlight Promo + #Giveaway

Source: Escape by Belle Ami – Spotlight Promo + #Giveaway

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. . . Isn’t just Disneyland or World. This summer, for authors who are members of RWA, it’s also the Annual National Conference, the week of July 26.

That’s when Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference takes over Orlando and hits the Swan, with spillover at the Dolphin. Or is that the other way around?

No matter. National goes to Mickey Mouse’s home base and the level of fun-anticipation has been growing all winter.

This year RWA beckons but so does Orlando. Many authors and editors will come early, stay later, bring their families, indulge their grandchildren. RWA members can also find deals for tickets and regular Disney events. It’s all fun.

Newbie RWA members show up each year at National, eager and bright-eyed, raring to go. There’s so much to do, endless things to see and experience.

With RWA Orlando coming up fast, I thought I’d ruminate a bit on the value, the cost, the agony and the ecstasy of forking out major bucks for National (or any large conference for that matter).

Here’s the setup: a new-to-RWA author decides to swallow her nausea at the thought of dealing with hordes of people, and scrapes up the money for National. Or any number of more regional but just-as-intimidating conferences.

It’s a lot of money and she’s still so new to the whole writing-to-publish game. She has the online form pulled up; all she has to do is fill it in and write the check. Or log into PayPal and hit the button.

Perhaps she’s not yet a member of RWA and wonders if these memberships—and conferences and conventions—are even necessary. Maybe she’s better off holed up at her laptop or desktop, honing her craft and saving her pennies just in case she decides to self-publish one day. Will she learn anything that she can’t find online, amongst all the resources now available on the internet for new writers? Isn’t she better served by staying the course, getting her manuscript all prettied up, and not wasting time and money doing something she’s probably unprepared for?

Maybe. Then again . . .

I had been a member of RWA for a grand total of two weeks when I did a late registration for a local chapter conference. I was scared and nervous and nauseous and almost turned back several times on the drive to the conference hotel. I had even bowed to internal and external persuasion, and decided to pitch my manuscript. It took every ounce of courage to walk into that hotel and pin on the badge I found in my goodie bag, because I am the very epitome of introvert and I usually don’t do well in crowds of more than three.

Yet I’m glad I went. I learned a lot about myself in those two days, and what I learned served as a huge affirmation that writing truly was my focus, my passion and my future. Of course my pitches were abysmal, my manuscript was laughably so not ready, and I was in awe of everyone else at the conference who seemed to have their stuff far more together. But I met people, I found I could stand in a room with a hundred other like-minded specimens of humanity without freaking out, and I came away with tentative friendships that have since strengthened.

A year later I attended my first RWA conference, in New York City, and threw myself into workshops, pitch sessions, and networking. A month after that, I had my very first publishing contract under my belt, and a year after that, I became an editor for Soul Mate, who’d first taken a chance on me.

I’ve had the splendid opportunity to meet so many of you at past RWA Nationals. If when we met I didn’t come across as an introvert, well . . . that personality quirk is still very much a part of me, truly. What’s changed is how attending conferences has given me a sheen of confidence when I get to connect with like-minded people who have the same goals as I do. Naturally it’s easier to blend in when the entire conference of a few thousand or more writers, agents, editors, and industry professionals all lust after the same thing: the written word. Even better when we get to chat about it. A lot. And in ways our non-writing friends or our family members can’t relate to.

Outside of conference-going, life continues its frenetic pace but it’s wonderful and uplifting. I’m ever the introvert, but guess what? If you ever meet me at a conference, you’ll never know I still have days when I want to lock myself in a dark closet and avoid people, phones, email messages, and anything else that brings me into contact with other specimens of humanity.

That’s what going did for me, and it’s one tiny thing of many a writers’ conference will do for you: help to balance you out and teach you that you’re not alone in your creative needs.

Each time I attend a conference I gain more confidence. Oh, I still retain my people-watching habits, but often I’ll see my old self in so many faces. Like that deer-in-the-headlights newbie who walks around as if wondering what on earth she’s doing there. I also see my future self, the author with more books published and more name recognition both as a writer and as an editor. I see changes ahead for me, and maybe I wouldn’t have seen any of that if I didn’t gird my loins, cough up the dough . . . and go.

Conferences can instill confidence in even the shyest attendee. You can’t wander around during an event like that and not connect with people, especially if you have already developed a few friendships within your local chapter or writing group. Other writers want to smile at you, talk to you, perhaps offer up some of the mojo they have gained over the course of their own creative journey. You sit in a workshop and others will sit near you and start up a conversation; all it takes is one glance and a smile from you. Nobody ever has to be alone for any reason at a conference unless they want it that way.

For anyone who wonders if a conference is worth time and money: yes, it most certainly is. You not only learn, but you experience. Going to chapter meetings is only a part. It’s a very important part, of course, but it’s like a conference ‘seals the deal.’ Whether on a local/regional level or national, you need it. Time away from your normal life, for several days or just an all-day mini-con, is important to your creative juices. It affirms your status as a writer and we all need that. Because in spite of everything else you are to others; a spouse, a parent, someone’s child, someone’s co-worker or someone’s boss . . . you’re also a writer and it’s a huge hunk of your life. Otherwise, you’d be doing something else.

When I’m asked if a conference is worth it, I always say ‘yes.’ Because it is. The cost can be horrendous and not everyone likes staying in hotels or flying to get there, but it’s worth it.

So when you go to your first conference, and you’re nervous and wondering why you shelled out all that money—or if it’s your second or third time at a conference and you still can’t figure out why you bothered . . . come find me. Make eye contact, offer up a smile, and I’ll sit down next to you, talk to you. I’ll listen to your pitch if you have one ready. I’ll have lunch with you if you find yourself sitting all alone. Because someone gave me the same courtesy at my first conference, and it meant a whole lot.

See you in Orlando in July? I sure hope so! I may not be wearing mouse ears, but look for the cute little red SMP pin on my badge.

Char Chaffin is a Senior Acquiring Editor with Soul Mate Publishing, and multi-published in several genres. She also co-writes under the pen name CiCi Cordelia, with fellow author/editor and BFF Cheryl Yeko.

You can find Char here:

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#Amwriting Curvy Girl Romance

I’ve started my first ‘curvy’ heroine story. I didn’t do it because I was writing to trend, although it’s certainly a happy coincidence, since curvaceous women in romance definitely seem to be in at the moment. What woman doesn’t want the fantasy of the hot guy falling for the ‘real’ girl?

True confession: The idea wormed its way into my head after the seventeenth or eighteenth time I watched Pitch Perfect. No, Pitch Perfect 2. Yeah, I loved Fat Amy. She was by far my favorite character. I loved everything about her, including the fact that what’s-his-name was so enamored by her, while she was just looking for a good time.

Which is pretty much what’s going on with my curvy heroine. She’s a bigger girl, but unlike many hefty heroines out there in Romance World, she has confidence. She’s comfortable in her own skin. She knows what she wants and she goes for it. Yeah, yeah, she’s got some demons in her closet; she’s not perfect, of course, because every hero and heroine need to grow over the duration of the book, right? But in the beginning of the book, she seems to have it all together.

She and the hero know each other; her sister is about to marry his best friend. They’ve hung out in the same social circles for a while now, but the hero was married to a snooty Barbie doll who judged everyone by their appearance. She most definitely did not like our heroine, and the feeling was all too mutual. As a result, the hero and heroine had a bit of a testy relationship.

The book starts with the Barbie doll announcing she wants a divorce, which happens to be the morning of the hero’s best friend’s wedding. He’s dumbfounded, shocked, disappointed, angry, you name it. But he’s the best man, so he’s got to go to the wedding instead of wallow in self-pity for the rest of the day.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t get wasted, which is exactly what happens. And our heroine’s there, making fun of him while he hits on her, because she knows he’d never normally do that. And when he tells her his wife is divorcing him, she decides to give him a pity f*ck. Because why not?

And that’s where it gets complicated. Our hero wants more, and the heroine isn’t tied down to anyone since she doesn’t do relationships, so they strike up an affair. Which is only supposed to be about sex. But of course this is a romance novel, so it’s never that easy.

The hero’s using the affair to help him forget his failure at the whole marriage thing, and the heroine is struggling to keep it on a purely sexual level, since, as it turns out, the hero’s actually a pretty cool guy. And then there’s her sister and his best friend, who don’t think this is a good idea. Oh, and the soon-to-be ex, who cannot get over the fact that her hottie husband would sleep with that woman. All sorts of troubles—and laugh out loud moments—will ensue.

Until finally, of course, our hero and heroine find their well-deserved happily ever after. I’m looking forward to writing that part!

But first, I have to get through the build up, the climax, that moment where even the author wonders, Will they make it through?

So yeah, I’d better get writing…

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Saluting Veterans

I’m taking time from editing Storm Watch, which is due out June 28, to wish everyone a thoughtful, reflective Memorial Day. I will be spending it with family and friends, hosting a barbeque in honor of my son’s birthday and graduation.  He is now a teacher, both degrees framed on his bedroom wall. My father would have been delighted with his grandson’s achievements–and I miss him so much at times such as this.

This has been a tumultuous year for my family–as well as for the United States (and the rest of the world. Bedrock beliefs have been challenged, courage and resolve in the face of fear and disappointment tested. But if my dad was alive, he’d still be flying his American flag proudly–and wearing his USS New Jersey, BB62 cap.

Storm Watch, and the entire Unfinished Business series  is dedicated to him, and I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all veterans for their service, parti. And my deepest condolences to the families who will be visiting cemeteries tomorrow.

No who we are, no matter where we live, and what we believe all people want peace, security and prosperity for themselves and their families. Members of the Armed Forces, and their families, make great sacrifices to protect the freedoms of others.

Today they deserve our undivided attention and support.


Three Bells, Daddy. I love you and miss you!

The Unfinished Business Series  is dedicated to the memory of my father, Frank Moleti, and my grandfather, Alexander Bruno, captains of The Sea Mist and The Sea Mist II, who inspired my love of sailing, the sea, and of Cape Cod.







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Memorial Day



I can’t not blog on this weekend and not talk about Memorial Day. I would love to wish everyone a happy and safe weekend, but I also ask everyone to reflect on what Memorial Day is. Yes, we travel, see family, picnic, throw parties, but it’s also a day to think about the men and women who lost their lives for our liberties.

Over the years, I’ve written three non-fiction military books. I’m always amazed at the stories I’ve heard and written about our servicemen and women. One-by-one as our WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam vets age and pass on to another life, we lose their stories, their journeys to protect us. And whether they served during peacetime or war or conflict, they deserve our respect and honor.

The other day I chaperoned my grandson’s second-grade field trip. We walked from their school to downtown, learning about our community along the way. We walked through a large cemetery. The kids were respectful and amazed at all the flags. One student asked why there were flags on some graves and not others. We told them it was in honor of all the men and women who served in the military and have died. “Wow, that’s a lot,” one child said. Another said, “Some day I’m going to be in the Army.”

Monday I’ll proudly watch my seventh-grade granddaughter march in her first Memorial Day parade. I’ll tear up as she goes past. I’ll tear up as our veterans, young and old go by. I’ll get choked up as they play taps and think about my grandfather, father, brother, sister, nephews, and cousins who served.

This weekend take the time to visit a cemetery, not to put flowers on family member’s graves. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s what many people think this day is about. Take the time to look over the cemetery and watch the multitude of flags wave in the breeze and think about the dedication and service to our country.

This post is not about what I write or publish, or what others write and publish. It’s my chance to humbly thank those that have given their lives for us. Bless them.

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Is it Drapes or Draperies?


Nope, it’s not working. How do I do this writing thing?

Writing takes more than putting words on paper. Like broadly-scoped art, there are applicable concepts. Writing is creative, right? Creativity and art are parallel, and in all art, there are similarities. Which tools do you use, blank sheet of paper versus blank canvas, keyboard versus sketching pencil,  paint brush,  camera . . .

Albert Stieglitz

Each week my blog will utilize those concepts, like in the books of Dixon and Bickham in their writing or Georgia O’Keefe or Albert Stieglitz or John Singer Sargent in their art. For me, having been degreed and experienced in several arts, such as interior design, architecture, painting, photography, dance, criticism, like the writing of Goldberger or Muschamp, the concepts are similar. Concepts that will impact descriptions in your books.

Today I’m writing about the word “Drape.”

Is it Drapes or Draperies?

I have a bone of contention with the English-speaking world. Drapes is a verb, Draperies is a noun. I’ll explain. I learned the use of the word, drape/draperies at the New York School of Interior design BFA program. I bet you’re thinking it’s jargon. No. It’s grammar.

Me being curious about everything, I checked online to see if this issue had ever been addressed. Low and behold, I found a blog by Mark Scott Drapery Design from December 2009, in total agreement with me, so this post is a reblog. It’s obvious that Mark understands English grammar, and he most likely has worked with NYSID* interior designers. Thanks Mark Scott!

Needless to say that I was delighted to find someone in this world, other than my design colleagues, that understand the use of the words. No more confusion.

Mark Scott’s reblog: Whenever asked this question I unequivocally respond, “Most definitely, Draperies.” You see, drape is a verb. To drape. As in, He draped his coat over the chair and looked menacingly into her eyes, as if to say, ‘Don’t even think about calling those beautiful window treatments drapes!’  Or, She draped her shawl over her shoulder, rolled her eyes while lighting a cigarette, and loudly asked, in an accusatory voice, ‘Where the hell did you get those god-awful drapes?’

Traditional Draperies 19th Century Greek Revival

Now, if you sell window treatments for a living, as I do, keep in mind that people do not want to pay good money for a verb. Verbs are fleeting. Always in motion and seldom ready to stand alone. They need a subject or object to lean on. People want something self-reliant, long-lasting – something that’s gonna stick around for a while – like a noun. It’s stationary, fixed, not goin’ anywhere and proud of it.

I prefer terminology that suggests longevity and permanence (and that will increase my income potential, of course). Let vagabonds and Philistines have their drapes. Give me my draperies, sir, or prepare to be publicly draped in insult and shame!

So Mark, maybe now our public will refuse to be shamed because they know how to use the verb drape and the noun draperies. Of course you can save yourself anguish if you say ‘curtain.’ But those are usually shorties that shrink your window, Oops did I say something naughty? Next week, we can talk about the difference between floor-to-ceiling draperies and short curtains covering the window only. Tricks to fool the eye, spoken from a pro. Now we are talking about writing descriptions in your book(s).

Thumbs up Mark!

Mark, may I give you a thumbs up for your skill with draperies?


Sheer Curtain Panels, Contemporary design with a draped valance gives these draperies a traditional flare.















*American Society of Interior Designers
*New York School of Interior Design

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link:
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