I know. I’m posting twice today, but I wanted to let you know that I put up a new chapter. AND, I’m going to be busy this weekend, so I’m posting my blog early. Maybe I’ll get lucky. I read online that the best days to post blogs are Thursdays and Fridays. Guess this time, I’ll find out:) Anyway, here goes:
I’ve read lots of advice about how to brand yourself as an author. Write posts and tweets that help readers recognize you. I’ve changed genres enough, I might have made that hard for them. When I switched from urban fantasy to romances to mysteries, one thing my books all had in common was food. Someone in almost every series liked to cook. Because I do. So, yes, I tweet and post about food. I enjoy reading mysteries that include recipes. But I haven’t really gotten comfortable talking about the mysteries themselves until recently.
My first one, The Body in the Attic, doesn’t come out until November 27, and I guess that felt so far away, it felt silly to talk about it now. But then my publisher surprised me and posted it on Amazon for pre-sale. Without a cover. I don’t even have to turn in the final proof pages until June 4. But, seeing it for sale somehow made the book and marketing more real. And then I read Mae Clair’s blog for her upcoming books, the first one due out June 12. She created wonderful ads and postcards for it and a fewer older books she’s written, and she inspired me. You can see them here: https://maeclair.net/2018/05/15/has-it-really-been-that-long/
Somehow, all of a sudden, I wanted to let the world know I was writing mysteries. So, I used Canva.com to make a twitter header and posted it. I’m not as talented as Mae, but I was happy with it.
Every book in the series will be titled The Body In . . . because every book will revolve around murder. When I sit down to write a mystery, I always start with a dead body. Yes, there are other crimes in the world, but they don’t have the gravity of a murder victim. Once I know who died and what he was like, I ask myself Who killed him and more importantly, Why. I’ve read and listened to mystery writers who swear they have no idea who the killer is until they write the last few pages of their story. That would drive me crazy. How do you add clues and red herrings if you don’t know Who Done It? They manage to still write good mysteries. We all approach writing differently, but my brain needs to know the end of a book before I write the beginning.
The next question I ask myself is whom does the victim’s death affect? Are people devastated, or do they cheer and throw a party? How many people wished him dead? And how does my amateur sleuth get involved in the case? What makes this death so important that she’ll try to investigate it?
It helps to have enough suspects, too. Readers are clever. They can practically guess your intentions by intuition. It’s not the end of the world if they guess the killer before the end of the book, but if everything’s too predictable, you didn’t try hard enough.
Anyway, whatever you’re working on, good luck with it. And happy writing.
Are you a mystery reader? What’s your favorite type? Cozies? Thrillers? Suspense or women in jeopardy? If mysteries aren’t your thing, what do you read?