Should Indie Publishers Offer a Goodreads Giveaway?

If you are wondering if a goodreads.com giveaway is worth a try, the short answer is Yes!

I love the idea of reaching readers directly. I offered one signed copy of The Seventh Stone as a giveaway on goodreads.com for a time span of two weeks to give it a try. I tweeted to spread the word about the giveaway four times. In total, 548 people requested to join the giveaway. Now, 94 people have added The Seventh Stone to their “To Read” lists. And the lucky winner is someone who is an avid reader and enthusiast of thrillers. I was thrilled to send her my signed copy, and if I’m lucky, she might want to write a positive review on goodreads.

To sum up the Goodreads Giveaway:

My Cost of Giveaway: Price of one print paperback plus shipping

Time of Giveaway: Two weeks

Tweets about Giveaway: Four

Readers clicking on The Seventh Stone to enter giveaway: 548

Readers who added The Seventh Stone to their To Read shelf: 94

Lucky Winner: 1

Sales generated: This is the big question mark. I don’t know if this will translate into more sales, but I am extremely pleased with the exposure of The Seventh Stone to readers. It is definitely worth a try if you’re promoting your book.

The Advantages of a Series Character in Thriller Fiction

Lee Child, bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers, offered these insights in a workshop which I attended:

A series character makes it easier for a reader to buy a book, and sometimes encourages them to buy previous books in the series.

You can’t design a series character to be succesful. Let the character be himself and hope for the best. Don’t worry whether the character will be liked or disliked.

Allow the main character to be a little rugged, a tad dastardly. Many writers use a sidekick to be the tough one so the main character can remain pure. The main character should have those “dark” elements. This can work well with female characters, too.

On character development, Child believes his readers are looking for the same character in different situations. Series characters don’t even have to age. Readers can always count on Jack Reacher. This works well for Jack Reacher, but not for all series characters, like Harry Potter, or Christa Devlin, the main character in The Seventh Stone, who are altered dramatically by the experiences.

But the most important tip Child offered: Be yourself. Close your eyes and jump. Don’t be intimidated.

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Sapphire Ring – History remembered

By Pamela Hegarty

Prince William honored his late mother, Princess Diana, by passing on to his fiancée, Kate Middleton, the stunning sapphire ring that Prince Charles had given Diana.  To me, it is a reminder of another sapphire ring in Britain’s history, belonging to Saint Edward, and the undeniable attraction of gemstones.

In researching my thriller, The Seventh Stone, I was intrigued by the fascinating and storied histories of some of the world’s most famous gemstones.   Edward, King of England from 1042 to 1066, also wore a now famous sapphire ring.  According to legend, the generous and kind Edward, upon meeting a beggar while travelling, had no money to give the man.  Instead, Edward gave the beggar his sapphire ring.

Years later, in Syria, two British pilgrims got lost in a storm.  A man guided them to safety.  He gave them a sapphire ring to return to King Edward.  The man explained that he was Saint John the Evangelist, and he had disguised himself as a beggar when he met King Edward.  He asked the pilgrims to return the ring to Edward, and tell him that the King would be rewarded for his generosity and piety in the kingdom of Heaven in six months time.

Six months after the pilgrims returned the ring, King Edward died of natural causes.  Edward became a saint.

The sapphire from his ring is now in the Maltese Cross topping the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain.

Of course, that’s the short version of the story.  Edward’s Sapphire also shares a legendary history with a powerful Biblical artifact.  But to learn that chapter in the story of Edward’s Sapphire, you’ll have to read The Seventh Stone.

The Da Vinci Code – Decoding Plot-driven vs Character-driven novels

Robert Langdon, literature’s most famous symbologist, is called in to solve a bizarre murder at the beginning of The Da Vinci Code. The murder sets the plot in motion, driving the hero into a race to solve the puzzle before the villains. Certainly, The Da Vinci Code must be a plot-driven novel.

BUT Robert Langdon uses his specialized knowledge to advance to the next step in solving the puzzle, so The Da Vinci Code must be a character-driven novel.

Writers have been arguing the advantages and disadvantages of plot-driven versus character-driven novels since the birth of genre fiction. At a recent workshop, best-selling thriller writer, William Bernhardt, had a different take.

Plot and character must be interwoven for a story to be successful. The character is chosen for the plot. The plot is chosen for the character.

Every scene should have something happening that changes the protagonist’s life. That change, in turn, affects the next plot twist. The character is revealed by how she reacts under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation.

So don’t try to define your novel as plot-driven or character-driven. To be successful, it has to be both.

Science, Mythology, and Christianity meet in New York City

This headline might sound like an oxymoron followed by a non sequitur, but this photograph is proof that it’s true.

The spires in the background belong to New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, one of America’s, and Christianity’s, most inspiring places of worship.

The statue in the foreground is an art deco rendering of Atlas, the mighty, mythological Titan who carried the heavens.

In this statue, Atlas is carrying an armillary sphere, a model of the heavens popular with Renaissance scientists to teach and learn about the movement of celestial objects.

Only in New York? No, but it certainly was fun to include this setting for a shoot-out scene in The Seventh Stone.

Is There Anybody Out There?

No, I’m not talking about readers. I do have faith that you are out there, no matter what my Amazon ranking implies! When I see these amazing NASA images of the vast universe, I am both humbled and inspired. And I’m reminded that the best fiction is those stories that leave us with questions, not answers.

Top Ten Reasons to Read a Thriller

By Pamela Hegarty

Here are my top ten reasons to read a thriller novel–before the world ends!

10.  The world is supposed to end in 2012.  You want to know how.

9.  And who is going to save us.

8.  Thrillers dominate the bestseller lists.  Yes, it is a conspiracy.

7.  Seven out of ten NY Times bestsellers on this week’s list are written by women.  No, that is not a conspiracy.

7.  You want an escape from depression, drunkenness and dysfunction, not to read about it.

6.  Thrillers make history, religion and politics exciting.

5.  Good battles evil, and wins, usually.

4.  You want to travel to another era, but the time machine hasn’t been invented yet, or has it?

3.  You love figuring out puzzles.

2.  And adventuring in new worlds.

1.  And learning not only about a different time and place, but about yourself.

What kind of hero will you be today?