July 24, 2017

Today I have another interview with another writer friend of mine Tracy Gregory. She connected with me on Facebook and we became fast friends. I read her most recent book, her first novel called Ways of War. I wrote a review.

Review of the Ways of War

The Vietnam War was the most despised war in all of American History would have had to have been the Vietnam War. I remember being a young child while the war was going on. I remember the agony of daily body counts and the unbelievable celebrations of MIAs who returned after years of torture by the Viet Cong. I remember the reports of I remember draft dodgers and the protests.

What I didn’t know about was the secret war, the insidious war of mind control experiments that the government conducted at the same time. Tracy Gregory in this book brings them all together when Grant Windsor goes to Vietnam leaving behind a wife and two young children. Word comes back that he was killed in a fire, his body never recovered. The only sign that he had ever been there, was his dog tags. His wife Anna tries to move on, but even though she has Stephen waiting for her in the wings, she can’t seem to shake the idea that if she falls for Stephen, she will be cheating on Grant.


I highly recommend this intriguing spell-binding historical novel. I look forward to reading future novels by this author.


Interview withTracy Gregory

ME: Hi Tracy, I am glad you could join us today. First, would you be kind enough to tell my readers a little about yourself.


TRACY: Well, I was born in Concord, New Hampshire and raised in Soldotna, Alaska. My parents divorced when I was young. My mother remarried which resulted in our moving to the Last Frontier. We lived a simple life in Alaska. We lived without electricity and water for some years. Our free time consisted of hauling wood and water. I learned to appreciate every little gift, even the gift of free time. I am the second of six children. When I graduated from high school, I returned to New Hampshire to attend college. I got married, had two children and got divorced. I remarried when my children were young, and remain married today. I love to read and write. I’m an avid gardener, and I enjoy being outside. That’s the short version. Maybe the long version will show up in bookstores someday.


ME: What or who inspired you to start writing?


TRACY: Believe it or not, my desire to write came from Judy Collins. She is a folk singer whose stories mesmerized me and sparked my imagination. When I was eleven or twelve, I received a record player and a Judy Collins record from my mom for Christmas. I still remember the record “Early in The Spring.” I listened to the songs over and over wishing I could tell the stories she was singing.


ME: Do you find it difficult to get reviews from readers?


TRACY: At first, I was somewhat defensive when it came to comments made about my writing. But once a sat back and thought about the big picture I came to realize that the opinion of my reader is important. Their opinions and input are what will make me a better writer. I try to look at it as constructive criticism. I have learned you can’t please all the people all the time so I have resorted to pleasing my readers first by placing value in their opinion.


ME: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?


TRACY: I love to read! I have a library of books that I have read and reread. I enjoy everything from the old classics such as Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Dickens to science fiction writers such as Wells, Bradbury and George Orwell. I would have to say my favorite genre is historical fiction. I enjoy Jeff Shaara, Phillipa Gregory, Michael Sullivan, Amy Harmon, Soraya Lane and Cygnet Brown of course.


ME: Do you have an interesting writing quirk? If so, what is it and how does it help your writing?


TRACY: I lead a busy life, as I’m sure you (and many others) do so I believe you can relate to that statement. Because of the interruptions, I find it difficult to write every day. I find the most productive writing time for me is at night when the world is asleep. I consider myself a marathon writer. What I mean by marathon writer is instead of writing a little each day, I find myself hiding in my library and writing forty thousand words at a time. I then set the work aside, and it could be weeks before I return to writing.


ME: How many books have you written? Which was your favorite?


TRACY: Ways of War is the first Novel in what will be a series. Usher of Truth will be the second and should be released by the winter of 2017. Days of Doom will be the third work in the series. I haven’t decided if that will conclude the series.  I also have some poetry available on Amazon. If I had to say I have a favorite Novel, it would be “Ways of War” as it is the first to be published. I will say my favorite work of poetry would be “Children’s Anthology.” The poems are all inspired by my children.


ME: What are some of the greatest struggles you’ve faced to further your writing career?


TRACY: The greatest struggle for me as with many other writers is the promotion of my first work. The idea of having to prove myself to a base of readers that have an interest in a topic so broad yet very targeted was challenging. Historical fiction in itself is as broad as the history that defines the genre. It is difficult to target a market of readers and present the “hook” so to speak that would draw them in and create a following.


ME: How can readers discover more about you and you work?


TRACY: It is my desire to be a successful author and create a following and keep those followers interested for years to come. I am only as successful as those that support me and share my work with their peers. I try to make sure I am available in as many ways as possible. My website address is http://www.tlgregory.com. You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tlgregory.info/  My Twitter address is http://www.twitter.com/@TracyLGregory . In addition, I have a blog site Traces of Tracy Gregory the site address is http://www.tracesoftlgregory.com.


Tracy’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, other local bookstore, and on her website.



Because today is my birthday, I am putting out a special post

When I was born on July 22, 1959, there had not yet been an American in outer space. That didn’t happen until almost two years later on May 5, 1961 with Alan Shepard. This occurred only after my first brother was born and my mother was already pregnant with my sister. However, two days before I turned ten years old on July 20, 1969, I watched in amazement on our black and white television as Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and heard Armstrong’s famous words for the first time, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”


How can we go so far in such a short time?

We came so far in the space age because the United States was willing to focus on getting to the moon. A few days after Shepard’s historic event, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech  on May 25, 1961 before a joint session of Congress called, “Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs,” In this speech, JFK stated that the United States should set as a goal the “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” by the end of the decade. With focused attention to get to the moon within a decade was shortened by almost two years.


Focused Attention Creates Exponential Growth


This trip down memory lane helped me realize that it was focused attention to detail that helped the United States space program not only grow superior to the Soviet space program but do something that the other country never did and that was land several men on the moon. Those first two years, nothing seemed to occur on the surface. The technicians at NASA were working on details. With today’s modern computers, it would have been much easier, but these technicians didn’t have access to them. They had to use their imaginations and skills in science and mathematics to make the moon landing fact. Rockets had to be designed to carry human beings. Heat shields had to be designed that could take the heat of re-entry, Food that could be eaten in zero gravity had to be created. Calculations had to be made to propel the space crafts out of earth’s orbit. Like the foundation of a building, numerous other aspects of the program had to be handled before they could get a human being in a rocket off the ground.


Imperfection Does Not Mean We Should Quit


The Apollo program changed forever on Jan. 27, 1967, when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test. The three men inside perished despite the best efforts of the ground crew. Eighteen months would pass and there would be extensive redesigns, before NASA sent more men into space, but the problems that they faced did not stop them from reaching their goals.


How to Use Focused Attention?


  1. Make a decision
  2. Create specific goals
  3. Attention to Detail
  4. Setbacks don’t have to be permanent and should be anticipated.
  5. Celebrate the accomplishment

I am imagining what focus can do for me during the next year. I wonder what things can be live one year from now when I add another candle to my next birthday cake. How about you? What could you do with undivided attention?





July 17, 2017

The rule of seven touches

I have created a rule that I try to go by when getting to know people on social media. The rule is this: As much as possible, I try to have seven touches before asking someone for anything. I feel that it is important to get to know people by reaching out to them as individuals. One reason I feel this way is that I learned that getting to know people, builds trust. A second reason is that I enjoy getting to know people this creates a genuineness that others appreciate and respond to.


I consider Twitter my marketing Fishing hole. It is so easy to make initial connections on Twitter. When I started out, I followed about twenty people per day. For a while I used a automatic posting software, but I recently decided to go to a more personal approach and go on twitter in real time. For every post that I make that is mine, I post several of other people’s posts, retweet at least one from people that I am following, like one, and reply to at least one. I try to do this four times per day, but on those days that I can’t, I post at least two times.

My Main Profile Facebook Page

On my main profile Facebook page, I tend to talk with people more on a personal level. Most of the people that I friend with on FB are people that I know or that I have gotten to know from other places. I never accept just anyone.

My Facebook Pages

I have several different Facebook pages related to various aspects of writing. I have my Author page, my Locket Saga page and other pages. Because I have different interests, I have tried to divide my Facebook friends by their interests.

Related Facebook Groups

I have also joined other Facebook groups. These groups allow me to connect with other like-minded people about very specific topics. I also have joined groups where I can post my books when they are free or for sale. Most of the time I am disappointed from the results of this type of sites.


On LinkedIn, I connect with other professionals who have connections with the writing profession. On LinkedIn, I can show what I have done and what I would like help with. The groups on LinkedIn are great places to ask questions from other professionals, seek advice, and ask for other types of help. Because it is a give and take world, I also have to share my expertise with others.


This is a form of social media that I had not thought much about until I had been to a workshop conducted by Tierney James and she suggested building social media via Pinterest. Because of her recommendation, I have created a board specifically for the Locket Saga. In addition, I am in the process of creating a board for each of my books including the Locket Saga and each of my nonfiction books.


I haven’t done much with this form of social media. With its hangouts and all, it seems as though it would be a good way to promote fiction, probably better than Facebook pages.


There are probably as many different combinations of social media that a person could use. You might also consider using Instagram or Snapchat. Use whatever works for you and whatever you do, learn to do it consistently. The important thing to understand about social media is that if you’re using social media for promotion activities, it is important to start using ones that you use consistently.




July 10, 2017

When a person hires a public relations representative to promote their books, this is the one thing that PR people do. They contact the traditional media representatives via the news services. That’s about it. The rest of it is up to you to make happen. This is one of the reasons that I have decided to do it myself as an Independent Author. What they do is not as mysterious as public relations people want you to think.


I don’t have to do all of the press releases all either. Sometimes I enlist help. Tomorrow I am going to be at the Marionville and Mount Vernon Libraries in Lawrence County, Missouri, but the library put out the press release to the local papers and radio stations. Here’s a link to the


A Local Approach to sending out Press Releases

First thing that they do is write a press release for you. Writing press releases are not that difficult. I have written and sent out several over the past several years and for the most part, the media that used the press release that I wrote word for word.


I have learned from my process is that I am more likely to get into a publication if I can find a local edge. One thing that I did was that I sent a press release of every new book when I put out it out to my local newspaper. In addition, I sent press releases to my hometown in Pennsylvania. The hometown approach was the local angle that I used.


Here is another angle I am using to get my latest book into a local newspaper. I am getting ready to send a book to one of my readers Heather who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. I intend to write a press release about the fact that she won the book during my “choose the cover contest”. I put the name of everyone who responded into a hat and I drew her name. The prize is the book.


How to Find Specific Media Representatives

Using Louisville as my example, in order to reach a local representative, the first thing I do is look up the areas local newspaper on google.

To find a specific media representative in any location is not difficult. The first thing to do is to find the newspapers that are in Louisville. To find any newspaper, radio station, television station or even colleges in any state in the United States, go to http://www.usnpl.com/


At this site, you’ll find the link to the state of Kentucky. From there, you can then go to the city of choice and in this case I then go to the Courier-Journal.  I can then click on the A with circle around it to indicate that I want to see the address. On the address page I can then either send the newspaper an email or I can investigate further. Because I want to know as much as possible about who is I should specifically send the information, I click on the staff page link. From this page I am able to see exactly who is most likely to handle this type of news.


If I still couldn’t tell exactly who to contact, I would call the main phone number and ask the gatekeeper exactly who that person is and from there I can then contact that individual.


How to Contact a Media Representative

When it comes to actually contacting this individual, I would start by sending this person an email, introducing myself and what I am doing. I would not attach the press release but would include it in the body of the email. By contacting this individual directly with a specific plan, I am more likeqly to get coverage through that media outlet.


When approaching your media representative, think of the journalist as your customer. Recognize that the way to get this person to promote your book is to give the journalist what he or she wants, and what a journalist wants is a story that will please his or her customers—the periodicals or newspaper’s readers. This is why local slants work well with journalists.


Well written press releases, directed toward specific journalists and directing a specific slant to that journalist’s readers, although it won’t guarantee coverage, exponentially increases your chances for media coverage.



Building Traffic for Author Blog

June 26, 2017

Get to Know Other Authors Online


Reach Out to Other Authors

Have you ever heard the story of the man who had this dream that he went to a place where people were sitting in a banquet hall and their arms were tied so that they could not reach their own mouths with their forks. In the one room they were all sad and looked thin because they were starving to death. Then he saw another scenario where the people were sitting in the same room and instead of trying to feed themselves, they were using their forks to feed the person next to them. These people were laughing and joking and they were healthy and well fed. The first one, the man was told was a picture of the selfish people in hell and the second represented the giving nature of the individuals in Heaven.


The same idea can apply to authors. There are those who try to market their books alone. They are like the starving people of hell. However, the authors who do better are those who help other authors. These authors are like the people in Heaven.  Not only does this help the other offer, but it benefits the author who doing the helping as well and creating a win-win situation.


If you’re an online author, you want to get to know other authors. It benefits you and it benefits them. You introduce your readers to this other author and this other author introduces their audience to your following. So, how can you build this kind of synergy?



Find out about each author’s online presence. Talk to the author on direct messages. Connect with them on social media sites other than where you met them. Find out what you have in common in addition to the fact that both write books.



Offer to Do a Guest Blog on the other Author’s Blog


Once you get to know another writer, its time to find a way to help the other author. One thing you can do is to do a guest post on the other author’s blog. This gives the other author’s readers a change of pace and a slightly different perspective.


Start by offering to do a guest blog for authors who already do guest blogging. Suggest a topic that relates to that author’s blog, but allow the other author to make the final decision about what you will write about on the blog.


Write the best post possible. Turn it in well before the blog is to be posted so that the other author can look it over and suggest changes if needed. Be sure that you include links back to your blog on this author’s blog.


Once you have one guest post under your belt, move onto your next. If you continue writing good content on your blog, readers of the other blog will check out your blog too.


Offer to Allow Another Author to Be a Guest Blogger on Your Blog

Another thing that you can do is to ask the other author to do a guest post on your blog. In this case, it gives your readers a change of pace and a slightly different perspective.


Once you have done a few guest blog posts, ask other authors that you know to write guest posts for your blog. Alternate your own blog posts with posts of other authors.  You might consider having one guest blogger write for you per month if you have been posting weekly.


Do a Blog Tour

If you have just launched a book, doing an online book tour is an awesome way to introduce your books to numerous other authors’ followers.

A blog tour is basically numerous blogs done in a succession where you call it a blog tour. There are numerous things you can do to make the blog tour fun.

Again, be sure that you are willing to do the same for other authors in your circle of author friends. Always make sure the fork goes both ways or you’ll end up starving yourself.

I will talk more about blog tours at a later date.


Where Do You Find Other Authors to associate with?

I have numerous contacts who are also authors, so finding these authors on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter is something that I have already done. I have a pretty good network to work with.

However, if I was just getting started, I would go to Amazon Author Central and look up authors in my book’s genre. If the author has a blog posted there, I would go to that website and comment on a few posts over a couple of weeks and then I would find out as much as I could about that author.

After a couple of weeks, I would send an email to the author telling him/her about how much I enjoy his/her blog and what I enjoyed most about his/her work. Tell him/her about yourself, but don’t ask for anything. Make it a point to reach out seven times both in comments and email before asking the other author for anything even offering to guest post.


There are of course other ways to draw followers to your blog, but exchanging blog posts is definitely a very productive start toward building your blog audience.

If you are an author interested in doing a guest blog or having me guest blog for you, please contact me at cygnetbrown@gmail.com







June 19, 2017

June is Entrepreneurs “Do It Yourself” Marketing Month! As a self-publishing author, I enjoy taking responsible for my own marketing success. This month I am focusing a lot of my energy and time on self-publishing marketing projects. It is all part of my goals in building my publishing business during the next ninety days.

The Trouble With Traditional Advertising

I have seen a lot of articles lately regarding advertising to sell books. People think that the easiest way to get results from marketing is to create an ad campaign and wait for the results. What people don’t realize is that taking out ads is one of the least effective ways of getting results from marketing. The cost per book sale is more costly than The best way is and has always been through word of mouth and referrals.

Word of mouth can come in many different ways. One way for me to get word of mouth is for friends and family to get the word around about my books. Another is to attend live events like fairs and festivals and introduce myself to others in person. Still another way is to let people get to know me by speaking at meetings or conferences. I can also create live events of my own. On July eleventh, I am going to be attending an event that was created for me at the libraries in Mount Vernon and Marionville, Missouri.

Although I enjoy the live events and\ would love to be able to have more of them, they are costly and offer an even lower return on investment than the advertisements do for book marketing success. So what are good ways to market my book that has a better return on investment?

Free Online Marketing Techniques I Will Use During the Next 90 Days

1, Building blog and newsletter traffic-by joining with other authors through guest blogging.

Building blog and newsletter traffic is easy when I join other authors through guest blogging. It is a win-win for both of us because both my audience and the other author’s audiences benefit from the same post. Both authors also benefit.

2. Getting Reviews

One easy way to get rviews is to offer free pdf copies of Living Today, I to anyone who will agree to do a review of the bookMedia Coverage-By sending press releases to targeted media contacts.

3. Media Coverage-By sending press releases to targeted media contacts.

I can takp resposibility for my own media coveragp by sending press releases to targeted media contactsSocial Media

4.Social Media

I can increase my social media coverage through Tweets on Twitter and Posts on Facebook and by friending more targetted people on these sites.

Over the next four weeks I am going more in depth and explain how I plan to utilize each of these in my own 90 day marketing campaign. I will then use these strategies as the basic principles of book marketing I will use over the next ninety days.

For more information about books by Cygnet Brown, for Kinde books go to

For Kinde books go to https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK

For Print Books Go to http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown





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