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Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Post with Author Linda Katmarian and Giveaway

Welcome author Linda Katmarian to RFTC. Celebrating the release of her debut book, Dreaming of Laughing Hawk, Linda has stopped by to chat. Please give her a warm welcome.

Author Linda Katmarian grew up in the Midwest and graduated with a Master's Degree in French literature from Illinois State University. She has studied under Sol Stein, prolific author and former owner of Stein & Day publishing company in New York, and Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. In 2012, after a long career as a technical writer, Linda committed herself to writing fiction full time. She lives in Southern California. DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK is her debut novel.

Places to find Linda:
| Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Finding Your Target Audience

One of the hardest concepts for me to get my arms around as a writer is how to define my target audience. You may shrug your shoulders and wonder why that is so important. If you write a good book, surely most people can recognize and appreciate that. Maybe yes, maybe no. I believe that there are certain readers who have precise expectations for their reading choices and to put a book in their hands that does not conform to those expectations is to ask for rejection.

I occasionally review books for fellow writers. When someone gives me a fantasy, sci-fi, or erotic book, I usually cringe because I know I am probably not their target reader. Nevertheless, I try to read those books with an open mind and evaluate the pros and cons of the book and the total reading experience. I never start a review with a sentence like `I really did not like this book.’ That is not a review comment under any circumstances, it is an insult to the writer, and it doesn’t help readers. But in the process of trying to develop a review that is useful to others, I have to look at myself and understand why I am not the target audience for this book and how that shades my acceptance of a book.

Initially, I thought that a reading audience of DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK could include a broad spectrum of readers and it has, but there are certain realities I have had to come to grips with.

  • Most men don’t read books about female protagonists. In fact, fiction readers are predominantly female. A male writer once said to me: “At first I thought this was going to be one of those sappy women’s stories, but when you described Elizabeth’s stepfather, I decided this is a story I would read.” The problem is you probably can’t convince most men to read a story like Dreaming of Laughing Hawk unless they are willing to set aside their prejudices about women writers and stories with female protagonists. So clearly I do not think I should expend a lot of energy in targeting male readers.
  • Some readers only read specific types of books. There are some who will be open-minded enough to try a genre that they don’t normally read, but many will not. So in evaluating these readers there may be some things you can do to appeal to them, but they cannot be the yardstick you use in making marketing decisions.
  • Some readers have strong religious or political beliefs that will influence their acceptance of your writing.
  • You can’t design a marketing strategy that will appeal to all groups of readers. In other words, you need to select that reader who is most likely to be representative of your most supportive group of readers. I have to admit I’ve fumbled around with this concept and I still make marketing mistakes.

I believe my most enthusiastic readers are women in the 25-40 age group. That ideal reader is a young professional, liberal-minded, well-educated, and adventurous. This doesn’t mean I’m excluding other readers, but that this particular group tends to be the most responsive and so I need to get inside their skin to understand how they see the world. I’m still working on this.

So let me turn this around to you. What do you as a reader expect from a book? What criteria do you use on making a decision about a book?


In 1964 Elizabeth Leigh is looking forward to college, escape from her unhappy home, and the fulfillment of her dreams. Adventure. Love. Her place in the sun. On a restless afternoon, she leaves school early and discovers her mother is packing to run off with a lover, abandoning Elizabeth and her stepfather. Worse, she learns her mother has squandered the college money her grandfather left her.

A fortuitous invitation from her cousin Melina to come to Los Angeles rescues her from an uncertain future. In Los Angeles, Elizabeth finds security in the embrace of her aunt's family and is introduced to the man who soon becomes her fiance, Collin Greenslade, an ambitious, up-and-coming real estate developer. Life could not be more perfect.

When her cousin's boyfriend, a civil rights activist, has his Thunderbird vandalized in Mississippi, he enlists his roommate, Mark Laughing Hawk, to tow his car back home. Melina insists that she and Elizabeth should come along for the ride, but what starts as a fun romp across the country becomes a journey of the soul that complicates love and endangers lives.

Dreaming of Laughing Hawk explores the desire for love, power, and sense of purpose and the lengths we will go to attain them.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle |


Elizabeth

At her insistence, James had driven her by Grandfather's old farm one day. She had claimed curiosity, but she had gone expecting to rediscover something. The place had been burnt to the ground, her childhood memories reduced to a blackened foundation and a dingy clutter of outer buildings.

The image of leaving that spectacle of ruin was burnt in her mind—she and James driving down the gravel road. Weeds and the low-hanging branches of unpruned trees swooshed and thumped against the car while gravel popped loudly under the car's tires. As the car had bumped along, a flock of startled black birds exploded out of the brush. For a moment, they fluttered and swirled about like pieces of charred paper in the draft of a flame and then they were gone. The mind could play such tricks.


Check out what's up for grabs.


Up For Grabs For Entire Tour:
  • 1 lucky winner will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

To Enter: 
  • Please answer the question: What do you as a reader expect from a book? What criteria do you use on making a decision about a book?
  • Please leave your email address along with your comment to be entered. 
  • Giveaway ends September 9th.

Good Luck! 

24 comments :

  1. Hmm... just something to make me smile or a pleasant time while reading it! :)

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I want the story and characters to engage my attention, and expect a certain level of writing skill. I look at the blurb, cover, reviews, interviews, goodreads etc.

    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

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  3. I like a variety of genres and writing styles, so I don't have anything specific in that regard, but editing is important. I don't mind a few errors here and there, but a lot of errors just takes away from the enjoyment.

    Criteria: If it's a series, whether each book is a stand alone or has a cliffhanger. If cliffhangers, then when the other books are coming out (or estimated time of year). If the author does not list this information anywhere and a reviewer says "I can't wait for the next book," I typically won't read the first book.

    lcminer at windstream dot net

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm looking for the plot to move along at a good pace and the characters have to be interesting enough that I care about what happens to them.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

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  5. I'm looking for a story to lose myself in and a plot that keeps my interest. Thanks for sharing!

    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I usually read a page somewhere in the middle of the book and the blurb on the back and if it looks like something that will interest me, I get it.

    miztik_rose@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. An excellent post. I look at the genre, read the blurb and the first page. The first page gives me a good sense of the writer's style and whether it's one for me.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  8. I expect a book to take me on a journey. Whether it's a love story, suspense or thriller, it has to make me feel like I'm in the story too. I like to find myself doing the things that I read, as I read it. i.e. licking my lips, widening my eyes etc. When the book is finished, I want to feel a mixture of relief and sadness.

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  9. I like well developed characters and settings so I can feel like I am right there. I tend to prefer series just because the author can develop characters over many books and I already know them a bit. I usually read the blurb and a random page in the book and read reviews if it is a new author.
    kumquat8 at hotmail dot com

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  10. Thank you for sharing how you all make your decision to read a book. Many of you stress the importance of well developed characters and feeling like you are in the story. I think that's essential for readers and writers. The one comment I get from many people who read DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK is that they wish it were also a movie because the characters, scenes, and story are easy for them to visualize.

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  11. A book has to keep me interested, if I get bored I put the book away. When I'm buying a book I read a little of the first page and I can tell if I will like it or not.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  12. I look for a book that has something unique, or has something that speaks to me. A book that has me asking how did they manage that or how did they get there. I don't like books that have a lot of made up names that are impossible to pronounce. If I have to stumble over something every time it appears, then it interrupts the flow of the story and I get annoyed and put the book down. I like to disappear into the author's world and if the flow is interrupted every five seconds, it kind of hard to enjoy the adventure. Did I help at all? Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway. Congrats on your debut novel and good luck. evamillien at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean by interruptions. I recently read a fantasy that had so many characters--new ones with bizarre names in late chapters, that I was crazy trying to keep everyone straight and in many cases, I wondered why the author even bothered to introduce the character.

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  13. I read the back of the book and if it sounds like something I would enjoy I get it, but I will try anything if it keeps me interested.
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  14. For me, I prefer to read romance novels or series that will have a happy ending. I hate when I read a book and become connected to the characters, only to have a main character die at the end. I've read a few of those, and I felt cheated by the end. I do prefer that the books I read have a hint of fantasy to them as well, but I read a lot of different genres.

    Thank you so much for the post and giveaway! Amazon is my very favorite place to buy books online, so fingers crossed. :-)

    Best Wishes,
    Lindsey V.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops, I forgot my email: Lindsey8907@yahoo.com

      Delete
  15. Sorry for the late post. I’m playing catch-up here so I’m just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!
    kareninnc at gmail dot com

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  16. I insist on strong, intelligent heroines and ├╝ber macho heroes. This makes for an awesome dynamics and guarantees some amazing sparks flying. There MUST be a HEA and cheating is a complete and utter deal breaker for my books. That is an automatic DNF.

    blueshedevil32 at gmail dot com

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  17. Mostly I like historical romance genre, but overall I read many kinds of genre.
    One thing I expect is the story/plot. It must be has the climax, and then great ending. I prefer a fairytale one, maybe because my tireness of reality ;)

    lady_milano3 at yahoo dot com

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  18. I read the synopsis of the book I intend to read. Even though an synopsis is a short over view of the book I expect it to take me into the storyline and make me imagine I'm right there in the book. I want a book that will take me away from my surroundings and make me feel apart of what is going on in the story. The cover is another item I check out. It has to grab me and make me want to check out what the book has in store. My email is terrie.fulk61@gmail.com

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  19. The plot sounds very interesting!
    cookiesmasher5@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete