WHOSE DEADLY SECRET HAS TAKEN CENTRE STAGE?
Today I hand over my blog to Samantha Goodwin, author of debut novel Murder at Macbeth. Due for publication on 17th May, it is described as ‘a hugely gripping police procedural full of unpredictable twists and suspense’ Murder at Macbeth was longlisted for the international Flash 500 Novel Award.
As an avid crime fiction fan, Samantha Goodwin regularly participates in the renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate and relishes attending literature festivals across the country as well as engaging in numerous online writing communities.
Today Samantha has written a very insightful guest post entitled ‘5 Things Every Debut Author Should Know…Before You Release Your First Book’ and is also sharing an extract, a fabulous taster before publication day!!
I’ll hand you over to Samantha now and I do hope you enjoy….
[ About the Book ~ Murder at Macbeth ]
When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates.
But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady?
As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit.
Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…
[ Guest Post ]
5 Things Every Debut Author Should Know…Before You Release Your First Book
By Samantha Goodwin, author of Murder at Macbeth
So, you’ve finished your debut novel – congratulations! But before you go rushing off to release it, have a read of these 5 top tips to help make your book launch a success. This is particularly crucial if you are an indie author, but still valid for traditionally published authors too (although admittedly you will be guided through the process more).
1. Make your best first impression
As a debut author it is important to pursue quality in all you do to make your book the absolute best it can be. That involves working with beta readers to help refine your story and investing in an editor and proof-reader – trust me, it’s worth it!
If you’re at a loss of where to start finding these contacts, Indie Author Central (IAC) have compiled a helpful directory of beta readers, editors and cover designers here: https://www.indieauthorcentral.net/
2. Invest in your book cover
Inevitably readers WILL judge your book by its cover, so it certainly is a good plan to make yours as good as possible. I would personally advocate working with a professional graphic designer as it’s unlikely you would be able to replicate the same quality doing it yourself.
Do spend time coming up with a good brief for the designer and research what type of covers work well in your genre. While you definitely want to do your best to stand out, there are usually certain elements that remain genre-specific. For example, beautiful calligraphy font would work well on a romance novel, but not for crime fiction. If you can, test out your cover options by showing potential readers to get some unbiased opinions.
3. Connect with book bloggers
Book bloggers are fantastic! Avid readers who will not only jump at the chance to read your book, but also spend time writing a review to inform other people about it? What’s not to love?! You can also request bloggers to get involved in promoting your cover reveal, as well as hosting giveaways, author interviews and guest posts. All great options for helping to raise awareness of your new book (even though sales are not necessarily guaranteed). It can help get the ball rolling on Amazon and Goodreads reviews too (as some, but not all, bloggers can post their reviews on these sites too). But do remember – book bloggers will always give their honest opinion.
You have the option of paying for a Blog Tour company who will contact book bloggers on your behalf and coordinate everything, or contacting book bloggers directly. I did the latter and found bloggers to be incredibly receptive – over 40 featured my book! So, the free direct approach can definitely work, albeit be prepared for it to take quite a lot of time liaising with everyone.
One handy site for identifying book bloggers who review indie books is http://www.theindieview.com
4. Network with other authors
I never cease to be amazed at how supportive the online writing community is and how willing authors are to help each other out. It can be daunting to put yourself out there but networking with other authors is a great way to start building some buzz around your new book.
The best decision I made was to contact fellow authors to enquire if they would read an advanced copy of my novel in order to provide a review quote that I could then include on the book cover and in my marketing. There’s a reason all debut books you see on sale have review quotes on them; it helps potential readers trust the new author. Connecting with authors who write in the same genre as you would be a bonus too; I’m still in disbelief that the No.1 bestselling crime author Joy Ellis loved my book and gave me a glowing testimonial.
5. Do your research
Take your time, be wise about investing money and do your research! The great thing about launching a new book is that lots of authors have done exactly that before and are generally very forthcoming about what worked well for them…and what didn’t!
As well as researching handy tips online, you can also check out the following two Facebook Groups that both have thousands of fellow writers and a treasure trove of information (consult the Files sections).
Indie Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/smashwordsauthor/
Writers Helping Writers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mikegeffnerpresentswritershelpingwriters/?ref=bookmarks
[ Extract ~ Murder at Macbeth ]
The Way to Dusty Death
Friday 23rd March
Nikki Gowon was dead. Neil Hillton was sure of it. Dumbfounded, he stared blankly down at the young woman’s lifeless body. A crimson stain had blossomed on her white dress like a macabre flower and a pool of blood was seeping out from beneath her, discolouring the wooden floorboards. Her dark, tangled hair resembled a spider running across the stage. The sharp knife had clattered to her side, where it lay forgotten, the blade glinting ominously red.
A hushed silence had fallen backstage, punctuated only by Megan’s intermittent sobs. A sense of complete and utter panic was setting in fast. Beyond the red velvet curtains currently obscuring the stage, Neil could hear the distant murmuring of the impatient audience waiting for the next act of the play to commence. Of course, they could never have guessed the real reason for the delay.
What exactly was he meant to say? Oh, so sorry for the temporary setback but our lead actress has just been killed. I do apologise for the inconvenience.
As a seasoned London theatre director, Neil had experienced his fair share of live disasters over the years, but tonight’s current predicament made all those previous quandaries fade into insignificance. He couldn’t foresee how the old showbiz adage ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ applied here.
It most certainly will not be, he thought bitterly. Everything will definitely not be alright in this scenario.
Neil was painfully aware he should have already sprung into action. But he felt rooted in position, rigid in shock. He was at a loss to explain the circumstances leading to this horrific moment. All he could think about was the motionless body of the beautiful young actress slumped across the stage.
He was vaguely aware of the other cast members milling around him in equal states of shock and confusion. A grief-stricken Jimmy knelt on the floor unmoving, staring down at Nikki’s still body in disbelief. His trembling hands were pressed against the ugly stab wound in her abdomen in a vain attempt to stem the gushing blood flow.
Neil regarded the desperate lover grimly. It was already too late for such heroics.
Ben stood awkwardly to the side of Jimmy, hand placed stiffly on his shoulder as though it offered some semblance of comfort. Standing behind them was Violet, frozen still as a statue, silent tears rolling down her rosy cheeks. Eyes wide, deep blue pools of despair. The teenage girl frustrated the hell out of Neil. Sure, she served her purpose and had proved eager to offer her help and assistance as a dutiful stagehand. But recently she had taken to following him around like a lost puppy, as though she was afraid to be left alone. It had been driving him crazy.
An inconsolable Megan started wailing hysterically. Clutching her boyfriend, Peter, she sobbed as he gently stroked her hair in a futile attempt to calm her. Neil had half a mind to berate her for crying so loudly the audience might be able to hear, but he restrained himself. While the audience’s opinion was usually paramount, this was hardly a run-of-the-mill night.
Purchase Link ~ Murder at Macbeth
[ Bio ]
Samantha Goodwin has written professionally for her business career as a Chartered Marketing Manager for over a decade before turning her hand to fiction. As an avid crime fiction fan, she regularly participates in the renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate and completed their prestigious Crime Writing Creative Workshop. She also relishes attending literature festivals across the country as well as engaging in numerous online writing communities.
Keen to support upcoming authors, Samantha recently launched the #IndieWritingWisdom initiative on Instagram to collate and share inspiring, original quotes from a wide range of different writers to encourage others.
When she is not writing, Samantha enjoys reading, countryside walks, movies, musicals and almost all chocolate (but controversially not Oreos). She lives in Leeds with her husband, Chris, and son, Jack.
Murder at Macbeth is her first novel and was longlisted for the international Flash 500 Novel Award.
Goodreads Link: http://bit.ly/murderatmacbethgoodreads
Author Website: http://samanthagoodwinnet.wordpress.com