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One of the best parts of a mystery novel is its interactive feeling. Readers attempt to solve the puzzle alongside the sleuth. So, as authors, we must play fair and provide the reader with real genuine clues. But what exactly does “playing fair” mean?

For starters, it means providing genuine clues that point a finger at the true murderer. Those clues reveal the murder’s motive, means and opportunity, and are strategically inserted within the plot. They can be subtle. They can be overshadowed by red herrings. They can be shuffled within meaningless information. But, they must be present. And when the murderer’s identity if finally reveled, the reader must be saying, “Of course!” The reader must feel that if she had picked up on that discarded scarf left at the crime scene, she too would have solved the mystery like your sleuth.

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If you’re building an author platform, Kindle Marketing Gold: 5 Keys to Boost Your eBook Sales is a great book to read. It covers all the basics: Facebook, Twitter, review sites, book trailers, press releases, writing a blog, and Amazon categories and keywords.

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Hey JC,

I’ve written an edge-of-your seat adventure novel and published it on KDP, Nook, Smashwords and several other sites about a year ago. But only a few of my friends bought it and virtually no one has told me that they read it or left any feedback. So I posted a question to all my friends on Facebook, asking them to share the reasons they haven’t bought my book yet. I made it crystal clear that this had nothing to do with guilting them to buy it. The question was for marketing purposes only. Of course I would take their money if they did feel guilty enough to buy it. But I really want them to read it and not just buy it.

So what should I do? Do you think this will work?

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The whole point of a murder mystery is picking up on the clues and solving the whodunit. But, did you know that mysteries have three types of clues hidden within their pages?

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When I start writing a book, I know exactly how it’s is going to begin. It starts off with a bang. Someone is murdered. A mystery develops. The amateur sleuth is introduced and identifies the suspects. I also know how the book is going to end. There is great peril. It’s intense. The sleuth may lose everything. The murderer may get away. Those two sides of the story are vivid, well thought-out and, best of all, practically write themselves.

It’s the middle that’s challenging.

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I downloaded this book over a year and a half ago, and not because I thought I’d really make $42,000 in one month. I was looking for direction on how to establish an author platform.

Since I was familiar with mystery author Cheryl Tardif I started with her book, How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month. There’s good advice her for launching an author platform.

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Hi JC,

Hope you don’t mind me asking you a question, but I’ve got a mystery novel on Kindle that’s got over 25 four and five star reviews. Then last week this troll gave me a one star. It was a really negative review that was really uncalled for. I don’t even think it’s a real review. How should I respond?

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The Florida Heritage of Writer’s Conference concluded after two days of workshops and a Saturday book fair. I met Robin Cook, mystery author Elizabeth Sims, along with many other authors. Looking forward to next year.

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It’s open season on authors, which means that writer’s conferences and critique groups are on the calendar.

I’m attending the Florida Heritage Book Fair and Writer’s Conference this week, and looking forward to it. This is my second year to attend, which gives an advantage. I know what to expect and how to prepare. Last year, I just showed up and, well, listened. This year though, it’s game on.

So here’s what I suggest doing to prepare for a writer’s conference:

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Whether you’re an author or a reader, you’ve got to check out this online library! (see what I did there?) Book Junkies is a Pinterest library devoted to indie and small press publications. There’s more than 3,700 pins across 39 boards — that’s Pinterest talk for some odd 3,700 Indie and small press books divided into 38 categories.

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