Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ways To Increase Sales-101

Most of you know the tips in this blog as well as I do. The problem is forgetting the simple facts, ignoring them, or reverting to old habits.
Consider these tips as a Refresher Course, or add the tips to your own store of knowledge.

KILLER TITLES--this is a term I use for book titles that says it all--the story and the genre, with a little mystery thrown in. The title is catchy, not corny or silly, but words that stay in your mind. An attention-getter.

In Cold Blood
Thin Ice
Escape From the Alamo
The Burgess Boys

SIMPLE TITLES--a wordy title might make a reader think the book is filled with long-winded narrative. Keep it short. Don't use a term or word that is unknown to the majority of readers.


Examples of long titles:
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great Dust Bowl
Germ, Guns, and Steel: The Downfall of World Empires
(I actually read both these 400 page books)
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
(I will read this one this year.)

AVOID "THE" AND "A" AS THE FIRST WORD-The title will join others clumped together in reader "buy" lists. It will not stand out.
The Stars at Night--the only title of one of my books beginning with "The."
But I don't care--I like it.

MAKE THE TITLE AND STORY FIT A SPECIFIC GENRE--A big mistake is believing readers will buy and read your book, even if it doesn't fit an exact genre.
One of my titles is Making the Turn. My first mistake was the title and the second was having the publisher place it in Women's Fiction. (One day, I will write about the sad demise of Women's Fiction.) The cover has a golf course on it, and to me the title says, "The heroine is making a life change." Yes, she is, but readers thought it was about golf, and in addition, few of us like women's fiction.
It has a love story in it, but the focus is on three generations of females. Confused? So was every person who looked at it. My faithful readers in town loved it, but they are a special group who likes anything I write. I know--I am very lucky.
I pulled this novel from the publisher months ago, and soon I will re-work the entire book and re-issue it. Maybe. I haven't decided.

CREATE THE APPROPRIATE COVER- A year or so ago, I read discussions about the demise of the ebook cover. I never understood the premise of this thought, but there were many who believed ebooks would soon only have a generic title and author's name. That's it. I didn't believe it at all, and in fact, the opposite is true. Ebook covers are more important than ever. Why? Most readers are visual people, and want to get a glimpse into the plot of the story. They want color and a theme, and whether it includes people or not is a personal choice.
***Book cover is the Number 1 reader draw for those of us who are not famous.***
Think about it--readers scan an entire page of several covers on-line, either Amazon, BandN, or Sony. The cover that's appealing and stands out may be the one the reader chooses.

A few guidelines are:
Make the cover simple. If it's crowded and fussy, it will not draw attention in "thumbnail" size.
Use big letters for the title and author. Make sure they stand out.
Create similar titles for a series:
Angel and the Cowboy
Addie and the Gunslinger
Charlotte and the Tenderfoot
Kat and the U.S. Marshal
These 99 Cent Dime Novels have been my biggest sellers overall over a period of six years. Yea!

WRITE A SHORT DESCRIPTION--This is only second to a good cover in reader draw. A long description will only turn them away. We have very short attention spans. One short paragraph will do.

MARKET "HOT SPOT" PRICING-Best selling ebooks on Amazon are priced at:
$2.99 for a 30,000-50,000 word ebook
$0.99 for a book under 25,000 words
$1.59 on Amazon instead of the $1.99 on Smashwords.

PROMOTE WITH A PLAN--Blogs, all Social Media, and Yahoo groups: Don't waste your time on any of these that don't apply to you and your book. If you write Western Historical and also Contemporary Romance, then use your precious time among these people. Even if you don't see visible participation, many readers "lurk." Don't overlook this fact. If you aren't getting much participation on a blog, please remember that some do read and pay attention, but choose not to comment.

If you can see Page Views on your blog or on a blog on which you are a guest, you might be astounded by the number of lurkers. For example: On our group blog Sweethearts of the West, our guests have two days for their post. Each guest receives an average of about ten comments. But when I check Page Views for the two days, I'll find numbers in the hundreds. Day One--maybe 500; Day Two--maybe 350. And we get Page Views from an average of 8 countries.

I hope you found something useful in this post.
Have you, as an, author, changed the title or the cover of a re-issued book? Why?
What is your greatest hang-up when you see a cover and/or title?

Thank you. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Romance novels tend to have a formula for the plot, as well as a prototype for the hero and heroine. There's nothing wrong with this plan, because those who read and love romance expect certain aspects in the novel.

A problem might arise, though, if all our heroines are gorgeous and have flowing lovely hair, and all our heroes are six feet tall with jet black hair and blue eyes. Still, if these attributes fit the character, that's well and good.

To be honest, though, the most memorable romances I have read have something in common: an unorthodox hero or heroine. It wouldn't do, though, to make both different from the norm.
Where's the conflict in that?

Author Pamela Morsi is a master at writing romance with characters that don't fit the mold.
Simple Jess--I read this long ago, but I still remember the characters. The heroine, Althea Winsloe, is a young widow with a young son and a farm with the finest corn bottom on the mountain. Knowing she must marry, she chooses Simple Jess, and very big young man who happens to be a little slow, but is strong, handsome, and friendly. However, he learns quickly what love and sex are, and makes a fine husband.
Ms. Morsi's romance novels almost always showcase characters that do not fit the norm.

Author LaVyrle Spencer, as you may know, is my favorite romance author of all time. Most of her characters do conform to the standards--at least to some degree--but some of her books have unorthodox characters.
And Then Came Heaven--In this novel, the hero is Eddie Olczak, a young husband and father of two beautiful little girls. His wife, Krystyna, dies in a tragic accident, leaving Eddie mourning and forlorn with a broken heart. Sister Regina teaches the children in the church school, and she has already learned to love them--which is against the rules. She also cares for Eddie, for she has always felt a special affinity for him, his wife, and daughters. She becomes concerned about the church's strict rules while worrying about the family. She and Eddie continually cross paths, and one day, both frightened and thrilled, they discover they have feelings for each other.
This is one of Ms. Spencer's novels I have read several times, and I experience the same deep emotion for these characters every time.

The Great Escape; Natural Born Charmer; and First Lady--Susan Elizabeth Phillips has no rival in the super fun/super sexy novels with quirky characters: An ex-President's daughter and a menacing-looking guy on a motorcycle; a Chicago Stars quarterback and a young woman who is wearing a beaver suit when he picks her up on the road; Female President of the United States runs away, is picked up by a stranger driving a beat-up RV, and travels incognito across the country with him.

Phantom Waltz--Catherine Anderson has written more than one novel about an unorthodox heroine, mainly those with physical or mental handicaps: a paraplegic heroine, a young woman who is blind regains her sight after most of her life, and a young woman with severe traumatic disorder.

None of my own novels feature unorthodox or unusual heroines, but I would like to write one--maybe. I think, though, I'm still stuck in the orthodox, the normal, the familiar.

Have you read a novel with a heroine or hero who differs from the norm? I'm certain this description has varying degrees, depending on our own perspective.

What do you think, either about your own novels or another author's novels?

Sunday, May 19, 2013


TRUCK STOP PARADISE-a Texas Contemporary Novel

Chad stood very still near the counter and stared at Leigh as she laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks. Rubbing her hands down her face, she hiccupped and sobbed. Now she was crying instead of laughing hysterically. He had no idea what to do. What had Crissy said? Obviously, she was talking about him, probably called him a name, and now Leigh had gone off the deep end.
He moved away from the counter. "Leigh…"
Suddenly, she jumped to her feet and began swiping at her eyes. "Don’t touch me, Chad."
Turning away from him, she rushed to the stairs and ran up. He took off after her, taking the stairs two at a time, so that by the time she'd reached the landing, he grabbed her arm and held on. She pushed and shoved at his hand.

"Let me go. Stop touching me!"

He loosened his grip but did not let her go. Instead, he pulled her slowly to him, and he wrapped his other arm around her waist.
TRUCK STOP PARADISE on Amazon--99cent novella:   

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Are You a Writer, an Author, or a Storyteller?

The question might seem obvious, but a subtle distinction exists between the three. Of course, we are writers. Practically everyone is a writer--"a person who uses written words to communicate ideas." Another way to describe a writer is: "the word refers to the creation of human language."

I once saw a cartoon of the inside of a large cave. Figures and symbols covered every available space on the ceiling and walls. A caveman stood with his hand to his chin, looking up, contemplating...something. Two cavewomen sat together on a stone. One said, "We're going to have to move again. George has just finished another novel."

We've grown up writing. At age three, we used crayons to draw a picture and add a crooked letter here and there, "writing a letter to Grandmother."

As we grow up, we write notes to friends, essays for a class, or a love letter to someone we love. We write something every day, some way. We might even keep a diary.

A professional writer uses words to produce creative pieces such as literary art, novels, short stories, poetry, plays, news articles, essays, or songs. Writers often write about how to write, or why they write, or write critical articles about someone else's writing. Often a professional writer gets paid when a piece is published.
Dickens, Collins, Gaskell, and Proctor
An author is one who originates any written work. An author can claim responsibility for creating the writing.

A storyteller is one who conveys events in words, images, and sounds, often by embellishing and improvising the tale. The storyteller educates, preserves cultural phenomenon, instills moral values, and entertains. The narration, then, includes a plot and characters, complete with a point of view.

When I began writing, I did not refer to myself as anything other than "someone who wrote stories." Calling myself an author didn't sound right. All my stories were stored in files and folders in my computer. But with my first contract, I felt perfectly at ease referring to myself as an author. I became...Celia Yeary, Author.

With published stories came reviews. I will never forget the day when one reviewer called me a true "storyteller." Wow. That somehow made an impression, as though I had reached some pinnacle of success. I held that thought close and still do. For someone to refer to me as a storyteller still makes me proud.

Today, my local readers are very generous is telling me what they think of my newest book. Often the person will say something similar: "How do you think of all these stories? They're so good."

I'm actually hearing, "You're such a good storyteller." No one uses "author," and I take their words to mean, "storyteller."

What do you think about this idea? Which are you? Have you been called a storyteller? Is it really the best compliment?

I like all three terms--writer, author, storyteller. Me...You...all wrapped up in one package.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Do Your Readers Love Your Characters?

When I read a negative review—my own, a friend's, a best-selling author's—and learn why the reviewer did not like the book, often the reason is:

"I did not care for the main character."
"The Heroine was not very likeable."
"The Heroine is Too Stupid To Live."
"The plot was thin because the Heroine had nothing to make the story work."
"The Heroine acted like a sixteen-year-old."
"The Heroine was a whiner and a loser."

Think about that. More often than not, the low rating concerns the likeability of the main characters. So, what characteristics make a protagonist empathetic? Why does one character resonate with the reader, but another turns her off?

The Main Character has been treated unjustly. She loses her job because of a jealous co-worker; she was jilted at the altar; she was cut out of her father's will; she was physically abandoned, left alone to fend for herself; she is lied to but doesn't know it before it's too late.
This approach can work if we do not see her as a martyr. She must carry on with a brave face.

"Sharon's husband goes through a mid-life crisis, asks for a divorce, and wants to sell the house they've had for 25 years. Although she agrees—what else can she do?—she is angry and heartbroken. Stiffening her spine and lifting her chin, she seeks out a new life…with anger and resentment still burning her heart."

The Protagonist displays a valued trait. She may be very loyal, loving, or courageous. This especially works if she makes or has made a bad choice. We forgive her, if we first see her tending a sick loved one, helping a child, or standing up to a bully for a friend.

"Jeanine dusts off her counseling certificate and works with battered wives. Knowing she made a fatal error by marrying Joel, she tries to settle her life by helping others."

The Protagonist is burdened with inner struggles. She may suffer depression, bitterness, jealousy, resentment, or hate. Perhaps she has shut down her emotions because of one of these reasons, but does not recognize her problem.

"Millie works 24/7, exhausting herself and threatening her health. If only her friend James would leave her alone and stop trying to help. She does not need help from anyone. Her life is under control. If only she could sleep…"  

The Protagonist wishes for some basic human need. Perhaps she needs someone to love her, a purpose in life, or acceptance. This works well if we first see her as caring or unselfish.

"Marcia cares for her dying mother for years, laying her own hopes and dreams aside. Now that he mother is gone, Marcia reaches out for acceptance in a world she doesn't understand."

The Protagonist grieves. She has lost a child, a beloved spouse, or her last living relative. A reader won't know why she grieves, but we don't want a bunch of back-story to explain her actions. Instead, we should learn more through the action and plot of the story.

"Jackie lost her baby and husband in one car accident…and she was driving. She meets Hal, and he wants her to live again…but webs of emotions keep her trapped, and even he might not be able to break through."
This is the short list of ideas to make the protagonist likeable. We want to cheer for her, but can't if she acts in a negative manner we don't like.
I had entered the first chapter of a complete manuscript in a contest, and got shot down. My critique partners did not like my heroine. I liked her…but others read something that made them feel negative toward her. What was wrong with her?

I sent the first chapter to a young woman with a degree in journalism and creative writing. What's wrong with my heroine, my protagonist? What is she doing that turns off readers?

Here's her answer:
Five year-old Nicky tugs at Katherine's jeans leg to get his aunt's attention. Katherine pushes his hand away and says, "Don't do that, Nicky. Wait until I'm finished here."
This is one example of several in which I had Kate speaking to sad little Nicky a little harshly.

My friend said, "Instead of pushing his hand away and scolding, have Kate reach for his hand, hold it, rub her thumb over his, saying, 'Just a minute, Sweetie. I promise we'll get a room with a television.'

I am happy to report I "fixed" Kate, and even though she is insecure about taking Nicky to raise, she is kind and sweet to him. She shows that she loves the little boy very much.

The Stars at Night..a contemporary romance--SOON to be re-released with Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Click on Badge
Love Those Cowboys!

I fell in love at age ten when I watched my first black and white movie in the Rose Theater in a small West Texas town. It was 1950, and Roy Rogers was King of the Cowboys, and Gene Autry was The Singing Cowboy, and there was Lash LaRue, and The Lone Ranger, and several more. The cowgirls or the female in the movie could have just stayed off the screen, for all I cared. Only the cowboys interested me.

The very first romance novel I read was about a cowboy, as told in Janet Dailey’s This Calder Range. I still remember Chase Benteen Calder taking his beautiful Lorna away from her comfortable home to forge a new life in wild Wyoming. The book was old when I found it. I’m a rather new convert to reading romance, and of course, writing it, too.

My reading material for years had been science fiction, the classics, old westerns, and women’s fiction. But there was something thrilling about the frontier--the excitement, the hopes and dreams of countless men and women who reached far beyond their horizons, searching for an elusive entity, something that called to the heart and soul, their own Manifest Destiny. 

I knew I was hooked on Western Romance when I began to search for every one of Janet Dailey’s novels that continued the Calder saga. Our library had only about half, so I haunted every used bookstore between Texas and Michigan. Probably, since I loved Westerns—Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, and Zane Grey—the romance of the west also intrigued me.
You bet! I became an addict.

Most of my own stories tell of cowboys on ranches. A few have a gunslinger or a lawman as the hero.

In the novella, Addie and the Gunslinger, Jude Morgan lands in jail in a far-flung western Texas town, even though he'd given up his outlaw days years before. A beautiful woman visits the jail and claims Jude is her long-lost husband, and she demands he come home where he belongs.

In the novella, Kat and the U.S. Marshal, Marshal Diego Montoya comes to San Antonio, tracking a killer and swindler, and finds the woman he'd dreamed about from a year ago.


My newest release is a contemporary romance, a novella, set in the Panhandle of Texas-Truck Stop Paradise

Blurb for Truck Stop Paradise-A novella
Leigh Anne McClintock has spent her adult life shielding her addictive sister Crissy. But when Crissy abandons a horse, Leigh Anne borrows a pick-up and trailer and takes the horse from North Texas to the Panhandle ranch owned by a childhood friend, Chad Rogers.

Chad has wondered for years why his best friend Leigh Anne betrayed him and her sister Crissy on the night of their ten-year high school reunion. When Leigh Anne arrives, he willingly takes in the animal, and he cautiously tries to make peace with Leigh Anne. They feel the old attraction, but neither can let go of the past.

When Crissy makes a disturbing appearance, Chad and Leigh Anne finally learn to put themselves first...and find the love that had been there all along.
99CENTS on Amazon:

HOP on over to
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PLEASE leave an email in your comment to win a copy of Truck Stop Paradise.

~~*~~*~~I'll choose two winners~~*~~*~~

If you've read Truck Stop Paradise, choose another book from my website below.
I'll see that you get it if you're a winner.
All my books are on Amazon, and some are on Barnes and Nobel and Smashwords.

 Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas