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Today is reserved for the wonderful Author and my good friend, Aaron Lazar. He is one of the prized jewels at Twilight Times Books, and I have the pleasure of offering him the bright spotlight for his newest masterpiece – For Keeps.

Bio: Aaron PaulLazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindleauthor of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valleycountryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play withtheir dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight TimesBooks releases.

List of books:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES

DOUBLE FORTÉ (2012, author’s preferred edition)   UPSTAGED (coming 2012 author’s preferred edition, eBook and print)

TREMOLO: CRY OF THELOON (2007, AUDIO BOOK 2011) MAZURKA (2009, AUDIO BOOK 2012)

FIRESONG (2011, AUDIO BOOK 2012) DON’T LET THE WINDCATCH YOU (coming 2012)

MOORE MYSTERIES

HEALEY’S CAVE (2010, AUDIO BOOK 2011) TERROR COMES KNOCKING (2012, AUDIO BOOK 2012)

FOR KEEPS (JULY 2012, AUDIO BOOK 2012)

TALL PINESMYSTERIES

FOR THE BIRDS (2011, AUDIO BOOK, 2012) ESSENTIALLY YOURS (2012)

SANCTUARY (coming,2013)

FOR KEEPS –  Synopsis

When retired family doctor Sam Moore’s old girlfriend is murdered in a local hotel,the police suspect his involvement. The coroner, a former med school colleaguewhose husband is about to desert her, reveals that she had a crush on Sam inmed school. When she is strangled the next day in her own morgue, Sam is onceagain in the hot seat.

Sam’sworld falls apart when he returns home to find a family member killed in thelaundry room, stabbed with his own garden shears. Rocketed into a world ofdenial and temporary insanity, Sam faces his worst fear, and is locked up inthe very same psych ward he was in when his brother Bill died fifty years ago.Sam is determined to ask his long dead brother to help him. Billy, whocommunicates through a little green marble, has the ability to propel Samthrough time and has helped Sam unwrap baffling mysteries in the past.

**** Free Kindle Download between September 14 – 16th ****

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It’s the document that torments the minds of all aspiring authors. The blank piece of paper tasks you, daring you to minimize a ninety thousand word document into one hundred words. For countless hours you have labored over your manuscript, and now its future is reduced to a single page with an introduction and synopsis.

What is a Query Letter? For those who are completing their first manuscript and have not reached this point in the publishing process – it’s a quick snapshot of your work and a brief introduction of yourself. The Query Letter is the first document a publishing editor or agent will see before he/she is committed to seeing the rest of your work. I must note: Some publishers and agents see manuscripts upfront, but in general, it’s the Query Letter that’s seen first.

Good News: It’s only one bloody page.

Bad News: It’s only one bloody page.

How do I explain my story in one page that took me hundreds to write? First of all…you’re asking the wrong question. You shouldn’t be explaining anything. You’re now a salesman, so give them the pitch.

Disclosure: The methods I’m going to share do transcend genres, but I must confess, there is a fiction emphasis. Duh…I’m a fantasy author. And though I spent considerable time researching the process and suffering from trial and error, I also obtained the help from a friend and author, Michael Totten – author of The Road to Fatima Gate. His insights were a strong contribution toward my method – so for that reason it would be poor form to not give him credit.

The Query Letter

Introduction:

This is just as it sounds. Here you write a brief introduction, providing the name and word count of your novel. You should also give a quick comparison to a notable author, such as  – Those who like (names of other titles) will also enjoy (the name of your book).

Brief Marketing pitch:

This is a good spot for a brief, one or two sentence selling point that relates your work with something popular. For instance – say you have a book about a superhero. You would write something quick like: Superhero stories will be popular this summer with the upcoming movie release of Avengers.  (Name of your work) embodies the superhero genre – capturing the elements of the Hero and Villain dynamic – or something of the like.

The Synopsis:

This is the most important part. The synopsis is what separates a publisher’s genuine interest and the wastepaper basket. So, to really emphasize this point, we are going to do a little role-playing. Forget about selling to an agent or publisher. Instead, imagine that I’m a pretentious Movie producer – I mean really pretentious. Now try to sell me.

 The DON’TS

  • Don’t tell me the damn plot – I really don’t care.
  • Don’t try to entwine me with some intricate, multilayered theme . I have a hooker in the next room waiting for me to snort a line of coke off her ass. STOP WASTING MY TIME.
  • Don’t bore me with extraneous detail. My feet are falling asleep.
  • Don’t tell me how everyone that has read your book loved it. They’re nobody like you, so bugger off.

 The Movie Voice

Write your synopsis like a movie trailer. Imagine the deep voice you hear when watching a movie preview. In a world…blah, blah, blah.

Create your synopsis in that fashion – even test it out by reading it in a mock-movie voice. In that one hundred-fifty word pitch, try to capture the visual and emotional energy of your work. Remember, you’re pretending to sell an obnoxious producer who has the attention span of a gerbil. Make it quick with an impact. Some genres, especially non-fiction, will require you to appeal to the mind rather than emotion, but the way you pitch it should be the same.

Okay…time to stop role-playing. So now you know the secret to writing a brief synopsis. And I don’t mean to cast publishers and agents in a negative light, but I must emphasize the importance of the pitch. They are not as cruel as my role-playing, but they are inundated daily with hundreds of manuscripts flying across their desk. You need to capture their attention quickly before they toss your work in the pile with the others – an act that has become instinctive to them by now.

The Ending:

If you are writing a series, this a good spot to mention the other titles. If you have already started other books, by all means, mention them here. Also disclose any published works, but only if they were paid gigs.

Special note:

Remember to be mindful of what a publisher/agent is looking for and closely follow their submission guidelines. Don’t be afraid of the Query letter. Be excited, and allow it to be an extension of both your soul and your work.

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How I sold 5 Million ebooks in 5 months is a vital resource for authors wishing to promote themselves.  After initially reading the book, the content seemed to take broad strokes at promotional solutions, but that was deceiving. When going back through his examples and explanations, I definitely found gems of wisdom – they can be subtle…but they are there.

As a “How to” book, the content moves more quickly than other books of its kind, and like Locke’s fiction, gets straight to the point. I will not bullet point all of Locke’s secrets in this review, as that is for the reader to discover after his purchase. But there are two specific items I wish to share about the book.

1) Read his examples. And when finished…read them again.

2) The underlying theme about social networking is the importance of reciprocity. John Locke stresses this on many occasions. And unlike many “How to” books, his message is done with a sincerity that most authors lack. Locke explains in detail the how helping one another is the foundation of success.

This book should be required reading for every author –  whether self-published, small press, or mainstream.

Cheers,

Jack

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For the love…

What causes someone to pull themself out of bed at 6am to hammer-out some text for a story? It’s all about the love of writing. A measure of discipline is also involved, but you have to have that special love; that joy of seeing your imagination take form upon the sheets of paper in front of you. Without the “kiss” of the muse, it’s just mechanics. If you have that passion, don’t worry about how many words you write per day, or how many chapters you need to get through in a month…just write and be persistent, and the volume will follow.

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