Friday, September 25, 2020

Killer Deadline Book Spotlight, Guest Post & Book Tour Giveaway

Today, I have a mystery in our book spotlight. I reviewed Killer Deadline earlier this year--and, today, I am sharing the book again along with a guest post from author Lauren Carr & a giveaway at the end of this post.
Book TitleKiller Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  232 pages
Genre:  Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   April 23, 2020
Audiobook release date: August 5, 2020
Content Rating: G. This is a true cozy mystery. No sex. No on-stage violence. No swearing. Just good clean fun!

"Here we go! Carr is a master storyteller who always offers a plot full of twists and turns, a bit of humor to offset the dark, and a unique cast of characters. In Killer Deadline that cast includes - handsome Ryan, her first love (who is now her step-brother); a mysterious social media friend called Nerdy Guy; Elmo, a super smart dog, a boxer, she rescued who has become a social media star and has a penchant for cleaning; a TV station full of suspicious employees; and more.

"This book is a wonderful read to pick up at the end of a long day. It truly is a "cozy murder mystery."  I promise, it'll draw you in right from page one and keep you turning the pages until you reach the very last page. I can't wait for the second book in this series." - Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  
About the Book

Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes. 
 Buy the Book
Read a Guest Post


How Long Is Too Long? Does Word Count Really Matter?

By Lauren Carr

Back in the days of the giant lizard (aka dinosaur), I wrote my first book, which I call The Great American Catastrophe. This was back before the delete button was invented and traffic on the expressway during morning rush hour was often held up by a T-Rex chowing down on a Volkswagon on the on-ramp.

The Great American Catastrophe was over about 1200 pages long. Don’t ask me about the word count. Bill Gates, who was in puberty at the time, hadn’t invented that function in MS Word yet.

However, I can tell you the word count for Killer Deadline, the first installment in the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries, has a word count of 58,779 words. That is a fraction of the length of The Great American Catastrophe, which is currently buried in my mother’s basement.

My writing has definitely tightened up over the decades. By tighter, that means my writing is leaner. Extemporaneous scenes or facts that add nothing to the mystery are left out, nor is there an overabundance of adjectives and adverbs. Part of that can be attributed to my laziness. I have better things to do than sit at the laptop trying to think of a creative way of describing a tree. (It’s tall, made of wood, and has green things hanging from the branches.)

But just because I don’t like to sweat bullets coming up with flowery ways of describing nature, does that mean description is bad? Has the Charles Dickens’ style of writing gone to the wayside with readers’ longer attention spans? Is there still a place in literature for sweeping epics like Moby Dick and Gone With the Wind.

Good question.

As an author who has mentored new writers, occasionally, this question will find its way to the forefront. At practically every book event, I will get asked about word or page count. “What word count should my book be?” “How many pages are too many for my sci-fi?”

When I started writing, I didn’t ask that question. My belief was that my book will be as long as it needs to be. Not all stories can be fit into a box dictating a specific size.

The trimming of my books has happened not due to any dictate from anyone. It has happened as a natural progression in my writing style. With It’s Murder, My Son, I found my voice. While I insist my mysteries are not written by a formula, I am now able to see the fat that prevents the story from moving forward and trim it.

I have found it surprising to discover that my mysteries, stretching across four series, have been enjoying great success in sales and reviews, while other authors I know, who have thicker books with large word counts, are having difficulty in even getting reviewers to take them on, even though their books are great literary pieces. For some time, I have concluded that the issue was a common problem with new authors. Reviewers didn’t want to risk investing the time on new authors with big books that would require more time to read and write a review.

Then, one Christmas, I released a mini-anthology, A Gnarly Christmas, (along with Lucky Dog, another short story) and was shocked when this twenty-seven page short story (without any marketing to speak of) began to outsell my full books.

While a host of explanations for the volume of sales could be offered from fans of my books snapping up the short stories to fans gravitating toward the dog on the cover, I can’t help but wonder if readers are clamoring for a quick read.

Think about it: How many of us, even those of us who are readers, have the time to commit to a four-to-five hundred page book? Sociologists have been reporting for years about how busy our lives are compared to our parents. With only sporadic portions of time to sit down to our e-reader, most people may prefer books that they can quickly devour over the few hours they may have to read over the course of a week rather than invest weeks in a longer piece.

Publishers have been trimming back the word count for years. It used to be anything goes, and then it was down to 120,000 then to 100,000, until it was 80,000, and so on. Their explanation: Readers want shorter books.

Another explanation: Longer books make for more publishing material, which makes for higher production costs, which makes for more expensive books for which readers don’t want to pay when it comes to new authors.

E-books took that explanation out of the equation. They don’t require paper and ink. Therefore, an author can make their book as long as necessary to tell a great story without any consideration for production cost.

Based on the surprising success of my short stories, I have come to suspect that there is truth in publishers’ assertion that most readers are seeking quick reads over long reads.

Is the market for longer books reducing?

A few years ago, I asked that question to a fiction writing class I was teaching, I was almost lynched by this roomful of avid readers. Those wanting longer books were offended by the very question. So I can say, yes, there are readers for longer books.

But then, why are authors of longer books, great longer books, having difficulty achieving good sales?

Well, while there are avid readers crying out for big fat books, there are other readers who will confess that they gravitate toward shorter books.

Does word count really matter? Answer: Yes and No.

With the revolution in publishing, and authors taking the power back for their creative literary success, we no longer answer to publishers dictating the word count to us. We can make our books as long as they need to be to tell our story and still get it out there to the readers.

HOWEVER, if we want our books to be successful in sales, we need to keep in mind that while there are readers who love big fat books, there are also a large number of readers who don’t want to commit to a big read—especially for an unknown, unproven author. They only want something to read on the train into work or at night before they go to bed, or while their child is practicing fencing, or they have a short attention span. Whatever the reason, there are many readers who won’t buy or commit to large books.

That being the case, if your book has a large word count, this segment of readers won’t be buying your book.

Another way to look at it:

Authors of quick reads can attract readers from both pools. Thus, these authors can enjoy a wider audience.

Authors of longer books do lose that portion of the reading audience who run screaming like little girls at word counts above 100,000. However, while these authors may not rake in as much in sales, that does not mean that they cannot be successful.

It depends on your definition of success.

If success is measured by how many books you have sold, then you want to keep your word count down.

If your definition of success is measured by the praise of a smaller audience for having created a great literary piece that will stand the test of time, then word count is an irrelevant issue. Take heart. Everyone loves a good cheeseburger, but it takes an educated palate to enjoy the fine taste of caviar. Point in fact: Moby Dick was discovered decades after Herman Melville died penniless.

Conclusion: Does word count matter? The answer is up to each individual author. 
Meet the Author
 Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Killer Deadline marks Lauren's first venture into mystery's purely cozy sub-genre with a female protagonist.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Bookbub

Follow the Book Tour
Enter the Giveaway


No comments:

Post a Comment