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Chasing the Case

Paperback Writer

This week my publishers sent me the full cover for the paperback version of my new mystery, Chasing the Case. That’s it above. And I will say unabashedly that I love it.

Laurence Patterson, co-publisher of Crooked Cat Books, emailed me the final design Wednesday. In about a week or so, I will have the book in my hands after it arrives by mail.

At that point I will officially be a paperback writer. (Yeah, yeah, I will post a photo.)

In this digital age, eBooks are huge. I understand why. They are affordable and accessible. Buy one and it will appear on your Kindle, computer or whatever in a minute. It’s also a good way to try out a new author.

And my understanding is that most sales are via eBooks these days.

Ah, traditionalist that I can sometimes be, there is still something about holding a book I wrote.

I’m reminded, of course, of The Beatles’ song Paperback Writer, which was largely written by Paul McCartney. Admittedly, it’s not one of the Fab Four’s best songs, but the message hits home for me and I am sure other authors who are trying hard to make it in the publishing world.

As a refresher: In the song, a wannabe author begs a publisher to take a look at his book — “a dirty story of a dirty man . . .” Yeah, he really begs.

Ha, the guy is totally delusional to think the publisher could possibly make a million dollars off the book.

And I have to laugh when he brags that it has a thousand pages and he could write more. (Man, he needs an editor.)

Of course, way back then, wannabe authors typed up a query letter and mailed it with a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with the entire manuscript or a sample. Maybe they received a form letter or a personal reply. Nowadays query letters get emailed and except for the rare occasion, don’t hear anything back.

Yes, I can relate.

And I am also grateful to Laurence and Steph Patterson of Crooked Cat Books for taking me on.

But back to the cover — I love the mood it sets for my mystery, the first in the Isabel Long series. Using black, gray, and red is dramatic and the image captures a key scene in the book.

On the back is a short synopsis I wrote plus an endorsement from thriller author Craig Dirgo: “Take a trip to the land of pot roast, and murder. I did, and I liked what I read.” (You can find other endorsements inside and on Amazon.)

Craig’s words made me smile and I hope it wins over readers. After all, that’s what covers are for.

Chasing the Case will be formally released May 18 with a big to-do on Facebook. I will post info about that, but there will be a lively discussion and contests. Want me to use your name as one of the characters in the second sequel I am currently writing? That’s one of the prizes.

Here is the link to pre-order your copy of Chasing the Case:

I say: why wait? And thank you if you pre-order.

Kindle  copy
Chasing the Case, Isabel Long Series

My Low-Pressure Sales Pitch

I’ve been thinking of ways to tell readers nicely how happy it would make me if they pre-ordered my brand new mystery, Chasing the Case. So, here goes.

Pre-order, you say? This is how it works: you tell Amazon ahead of time you want to buy the Kindle version of the book, and on May 18 it will pop into your computer, tablet, or device like a pleasant surprise.

I am grateful for those who have already made a purchase. As for others, I can imagine what you’re saying: May 18 is a long ways off. Why can’t I wait?

Here are ten reasons.

ONE: Chasing the Case is a really good mystery, if I say so myself. Yesterday somebody sent me a challenge on Twitter about what three things I need to write. My top answer was: A story I can’t let go. That’s the scenario for this one. It was my first attempt at this genre and I found I loved writing mysteries.

Here’s a short summary. Isabel Long, a long-time journalist, becomes an amateur P.I. after she gets canned from her newspaper job. She’s got time on her hands, so she decides to solve a mystery of a woman who went missing 28 years earlier. It was her first big story as a rookie reporter. And it happened in her town of a thousand people.

Isabel is smart, sassy and doesn’t take crap from anybody. She’s got a Watson, her 92-year-old mother who lives with her. And she takes a job tending bar at a local watering hole so she can get up close and personal with those close to this case.

The story is set in an imagined hilltown in Western Massachusetts.

As a journalist, Isabel never lost a story she chased. Now, as an amateur P.I., she’s not about to lose this case either.

TWO: It’s damn cheap at $2.99 (US), £1.99 (UK) and $3.99 (AU) and CDN $2.99 (CA).

What could you possibly buy at that price that would bring you lasting pleasure? Not much these days. I’ve had coffee that cost more than that.

By the way it’s free, if you have Kindle Unlimited.

THREE: It’s damn easy to buy. Just go to these links. On a box, you will see a place that says “Pre-order with 1-Click.” Just click it.

You go to: Amazon US or Amazon UK or Amazon Canada or Amazon Australia.

FOUR: It’s good for the novel’s ranking on Amazon. Yup, the book industry is a numbers game.

FIVE: Uh, I don’t own a Kindle. You can download a free Kindle app for your computer, tablet, even your phone.

SIX: Hold on. I prefer a book in hand. Yes, I understand. I have a library of books I’ve collected.

My friend, Amy, sent me this humorous message on Facebook: “Troglodyte Murphy awaits the hard copy… Ring me on my 2006 Tracfone when it’s ready.”

Paperbacks will be available soon and I will let you know when.

SEVEN: On launch day, I will be hosting an online party on Facebook. It will last a few hours. There will be opportunities for fun discussions and contests with prizes. Would you like your pet’s name to be used in the second sequel I’m working on? Perhaps you would like one of the characters to have your name. That’s a start. It’s open to anyone on Facebook.

EIGHT: I promise not to be a pest about this. My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, recommends our presence on social media should be 80 percent us and 20 percent our books. I am going to have to post a whole lot more to make up for this pitch.

NINE: Let me repeat: you will make me happy. Very happy. And grateful. Writing brings me immense pleasure, but it takes a lot to put together say a 75,000-word novel. I want people to read it. Luckily, I have the support of Crooked Cat Books and I hope you.

TEN: Thank you for sticking with me if you’ve read this far.

Chasing the Case cover copy
Chasing the Case

The Cover Story

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard about not judging a book by its cover. But it can sure give you a good idea of what to expect inside. And that’s why I’m excited about the cover my publishers designed for my mystery, Chasing the Case. You can see it above. Here’s the story behind it.

Chasing the Case is my first mystery and the first in a series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. after she gets canned from her newspaper. With time on her hands, she decides to solve the disappearance of a woman 28 years ago from her town of a thousand people. It was also Isabel’s first big story as a rookie reporter.

She has a Watson, her 92-year-old mother, who lives with her. And she takes a part-time bartending job at the local watering hole where she can get up close and personal with those connected to the case. Yeah, things are not just sweetness and light in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts.

So, how do I project that to potential readers? That’s where Laurence and Steph Patterson, of Crooked Cat Books, come in.

When I signed onto the publishing house, I was asked to suggest an idea for a cover. Given the title and a pivotal scene in the mystery, I thought of a woman running through the woods as if she’s giving chase or being chased.

But Laurence and Steph came up with a better idea.

Besides the images of women running through the woods available to us were athletic-looking babes in sporty gear. They were all too young to be Isabel, who, as the French say, is une femme d’un certain âge. Another consideration: the story takes place in the fall/early winter.

Laurence and Steph researched other book covers in my genre and considered what style would fit the mood of Chasing the Case and set the theme for its sequel, Redneck’s Revenge, which will be out this fall. They sent me sample images and encouraged me to look for my own.

The one image that intrigued me from the get-go was of a woman walking along a path — or it could be a dirt road. The air is dusky or foggy in the black-and-white image. It could be just before the sun breaks in the morning or after the sun sets in the evening. Without spilling any secrets, it could be a crucial scene in the story.

We went back and forth a bit. I showed the image to two friends who had read the book. I kept looking at other images.

But nothing was as good as that image.

Once I gave the go-ahead, Laurence and Steph came up with the wording and design. My name is in a dark red on top.

I love it.

And it appears those who have seen it on social media do as well. What especially makes me happy is that it is appealing to both men and women. Yes, a woman is the central figure, but I am hoping anyone would want to read it.

(By the way, my first two adult novels that I self-published —  Peace, Love, and You Know What and The Sweet Spot — were designed by Michelle Gutierrez. A talented designer, she read both books before coming up with their great covers. You can find them on Amazon.)

So what’s next? There’s more work to be done before we hit the switch on Amazon and elsewhere for the eBook and paperback editions. We have a release date of May 18. You can pre-order the Kindle edition before that and it will pop into your device that day. But — smile — the paperback for Chasing the Case can be bought before that.

I will keep you informed without being a pest about it.

By the way, here’s the link to Crooked Cat Books so you can check it out and learn about its other authors and their books.