Thyme For Writers: Spicing Up a Book Launch with Candee Fick

We welcome back Candee Fick to Thyme for Writers with Spicing Up a  Book Launch!

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Thyme For Writers: Spicing Up a Book Launch with Candee Fick

As a writer seeking publication, there are a few dates that will stand out in your memory almost as much as the day you got married or when your children were born. There’s the day you got “the call” that you were being offered a contract. Then there’s the first day you hold that advanced reader copy in your hands and smell the ink (don’t pretend you didn’t!) And then there’s launch day…

A typical book launch revolves around spreading the word. “Hey, I’ve got a new book coming out and you should buy it.” (Which I do. And yes, you should. But that’s not the point of this post…) Authors roll up their sleeves, create memes and other graphics, schedule guest blog posts, email their list, plan a party, get some prizes, set up a few giveaways, and maybe even buy a few ads on Facebook to gain visibility.

important dates, book launch, advanced reader copy, Focus on Love, Candee Fick, brainstorming, fiction, nonfiction, inspiration, theme, marketing, social media

Which is all good stuff to do as you generate buzz for your new book. After all, marketing experts say it takes seven exposures to your message before someone will act.

However, with the hundreds of books coming out this year and all those authors doing the same pre-launch tactics, how do you make your book stand out above the crowd? How do you attract a reader’s attention long enough for them to take those second, third, sixth, and seventh looks so you can make the sale?

It’s “thyme” to spice up your book launch with a theme that somehow ties into your book (or at least into the season). Perhaps the best way to make this point is with a few examples to spark your own creativity.

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For my debut novel with a college football setting, I planned a virtual tailgate party to “kickoff” the book. During the event, we discussed topics like tailgating food, uniforms, mascots, and marching bands to capture the favor of a college football program. I also used words like pre-game, halftime, fourth quarter, and overtime in some of my marketing language.

My second novel was set in a dinner theater so, like in real show business, I encouraged folks to buy their “tickets” to Opening Day with a countdown until the curtain would rise. Backstage tours, glimpses at the costuming, plus lots of videos to capture the music and rhythm of dancing feet all helped pull readers into the story world and pique their interest.

One friend’s book was set around a fashion consignment store in Hollywood. Her online launch party held a “red carpet” theme where she actually introduced each character as if they were arriving to the party and even described what they were wearing.

In addition to finding inspiration from the book’s setting, you can also plan to build buzz around the title. To launch her book, Charming the Troublemaker, another friend had a bunch of fellow writers at a conference pose for pictures holding a Snicker’s candy bar with the word “troublemaker” on it. During the countdown to launch, she posted those pictures on Facebook and asked people to vote whether that particular person was sweet, salty, or both. Weekly votes narrowed the field until there was one winner of the troublemaker title…and everyone remembered the name of her book (or at least part of it!).

important dates, book launch, advanced reader copy, Focus on Love, Candee Fick, brainstorming, fiction, nonfiction, inspiration, theme, marketing, social media
Focus on Love by Candee Fick

While brainstorming plans for my next release on Tuesday, I too found inspiration in the title, Focus On Love, along with the fact that both main characters in the book are photographers. In January, when everyone was focused on new resolutions and a word for the year, I blogged about that theme. But once the calendar turned to February and Valentine’s Day approached, everyone had “love” on the brain. That’s when I started a photo contest and asked people to share pictures of love in action or things that they love with the hashtag #FocusOnLove. (Winner gets an autographed book and a Shutterfly gift card…because it’s photography. The contest ends on the 17th so there’s still plenty of time to participate!)

It’s too soon to tell if I’ve made my launch unique enough to be memorable, but I certainly have done my best to make my book stand out from the rest.

What about you? How can you spice up your next book launch? Is there a unique element or feature in your book that would get readers interested long enough to take another look at your story? Maybe it’s the setting. Or a career /profession. A family recipe or historical tie-in. Is there a holiday to celebrate like Christmas? How can you weave that into the graphics, prizes, party plans, and even headlines?

P.S. In case you wanted to know more about Focus On Love, you can pre-order it here. In addition to the photo contest mentioned above, you can also enter to win autographed copies of all three of my novels as well as another Shutterfly gift card here.

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Author Candee Fick

BIO: Candee Fick is a multi-published author in both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job, writing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Find all of her books on Amazon here or sign up to receive email updates and get the first chapters of her novels for free. You can also find her online at

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Focus on Love by Candee Fick

BOOK BLURB: Free-spirited Elizabeth Foster turned her back on her father’s photography business to pursue musical theater, but with a one-show contract, she’s a few weeks from unemployment forcing her home. Meanwhile sought-after photographer Ryan Callahan has put his career on hold to help his sister’s family while her husband is deployed, but the promise of a bigger assignment could lure him away from building a family of his own. If given the choice, what dreams would develop? Or will they learn to focus on love instead?

A Writer’s Journey with Tracy Krauss

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Tracy Krauss to Thyme for Writers. Tracy is a multi-published and award winning author and playwright with several books and plays in print. She lives in Tumbler Ridge, BC with her husband of 35 years and teaches secondary school Art, Drama and English.

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Tracy Krauss, Author or Conspiracy of Bones

When I first started writing over thirty years ago, I was just happy to clack away at my typewriter (yes – typewriter), dreaming of the day I’d see one of my books on a library shelf somewhere. I was in no hurry. Good thing, since it took me sixteen years to finish my first novel and another seven to finally find a publisher! Those were the days of researching at the library with a pen and paper, and filling actual (as opposed to virtual) wastebaskets with crumpled paper.

By the time I’d finally signed that first contract, this writer’s life had changed. Drastically. And in the past nine years, it hasn’t stopped changing. Although the traditional ‘agent-publisher’ route is still an option, it is no longer the only scenario. I’ve pretty much done the entire gamut – agent, traditional deals, royalties, fee for services (vanity press), and self-publishing using Create Space and Lightning Source. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, but gone are the days of ‘just writing’. Modern authors have to be savvy business people, too.

Tracy Krauss, British Columbia, novels, marketing, Conspiracy of Bones, books, writing, publishing, writer’s life, journey
Thyme to Write

The biggest wake-up call for me after my first book came out was learning I was expected to do 90% of my own marketing. Beyond a word document, I hardly knew my way around a computer, let alone the internet! And social media? Phth! What’s that? But… necessity is a mighty teacher, let me tell you! The learning curve is still steep at times, but it feels more like a mildly paced yet enjoyable roller–coaster than one of those horrid spin-you-around-until-you-puke rides that nobody actually likes.

What’s my point? If the call is there, you’ll stick with it no matter what. Even after 20 plus books and plays in print, I feel excited about sitting down to write. I can’t imagine a day when I will say, “That’s it. I have no more stories to tell!” It just ain’t gonna happen.

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Conspiracy of Bones by Tracy Krauss

Speaking of that first book, I got the rights back to it after seven years and decided to revamp and re-publish it, and I’m giving it away on amazon absolutely free – no strings. (My way of thanking my readers.) CONSPIRACY OF BONES (formerly AND THE BEAT GOES ON) is available on amazon as an ebook for free. (Sorry – the paperback still costs money, but totally worth it!) If you’re interested, here’s the blurb:

Canadian born archaeologist Mark Graham unearths a remarkable discovery while at a dig in the mountains of Zimbabwe – pterodactyl remains and giant human bones buried together. Speculation leads to the possible existence of a mythical race known as ‘Nephilim’, a pre-flood people alleged to have descended from both gods and men.
But scepticism and sabotage delay Mark and his team as the dig site is compromised, putting their discovery – as well as Mark’s very life – in grave danger. Deceived and framed by trusted friends and colleagues, Mark struggles to safeguard his findings and protect his reputation in order to unearth the mystery behind the bones.

I’d love for you to check out any of my other novels as well. My work strikes a chord with readers looking for thought provoking, faith based, romantic suspense that is authentic and sometimes ‘edgy’. (Although not overtly, in my opinion.) All my books can be found by going to my website’s ‘Books’ page.

Thanks to Karen for having me here on Thyme for Writers.

Visit with Tracy or purchase her book at: -fiction on the edge without crossing the line-
Amazon Author page

On Writing Full Time with Jill Haymaker

I would like to welcome Jill Haymaker as our guest today on Thyme for Writers. Jill was born and raised in Indiana and Ohio. After high school, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado. Ms. Haymaker made her home in Fort Collins until her recent move to East Texas. She practiced family law in Fort Collins for the past 20 years. She has three grown children, a son and two daughters. She also has three granddaughters.

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
Jill Haymaker

Jill has always had a passion for writing. Colorado Sunset was her first full length romance novel in her Peakview, Colorado series. Her latest book, Colorado Summer Stars is the seventh book in the series. If you love small town romance, you will love the characters in this series. She also has had several short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul, the most recent in the book Random Acts of Kindness.

When not practicing law or writing, Jill enjoys The Colorado mountains, horseback riding, gardening, long walks with her Shetland Sheepdog, Laddie, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoys their numerous sporting events. She is also an avid football fan and can be found on autumn weekends cheering on her favorite teams. She has a passion for working with high school youth- she is a youth group leader at her church, coaches a high school mock trial team and is a volunteer at cross country and track meets.

On Writing Full Time

by Jill Haymaker

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
On Writing Full Time
Jill Haymaker

I recently quit my day job and moved to a new town and home, so that I could write full time. I was so excited. This would be great, nothing to do but write—all day, every day. But then the reality set in. I now had to figure out how to make a living writing. And how to manage my time.
Until now, my writing schedule had consisted of an hour or two here, an hour or two there. I soon learned, that if this was my full-time job, I needed to be more structured. I set up eight hour work days. Every morning I write for three or four hours, stopping every hour or two to stand up, stretch and take a short walk around my neighborhood, then I’m back at it until noon or after.

Most afternoons, I spend more time on marketing than actual writing. Back to paragraph one, where I said I need to make a living. I can’t say I’ve figured marketing out yet, but I’m getting closer. I keep trying new things, learning new techniques, and exploring social media for ideas. I now have time to read all those articles about marketing that I’ve saved over the years.

For the most part, I’m glad I made the leap. The solitariness of what I’m doing is hard sometimes. I need more interaction with the real world. On days when I feel isolated, I allow myself to take a day off. Last week I volunteered at a low income preschool one morning, and the next afternoon I helped cook and serve a meal at a homeless shelter. Both of these activities refreshed me and got me back to writing.

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
Thyme to Write

Sometimes I worry that my writing is not making a difference in the world, but then I read an email or review from a reader who says my books give them hope, help them to never give up on finding love or happiness. I hope they do that. It’s definitely the message I try to convey. Meanwhile, I now have a job that’s flexible enough to work in many volunteer hours. I feel truly blessed by this opportunity that God has given me and I intend to make the most of it each and every day for as long as I can continue to write. I truly love what I do.

You can contact Jill or purchase her Peakview Series with the following links:

Buy link:

Social Media links:






Goodreads: https://www/

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
Colorado Summer Stars by Jill Haymaker

Colorado Summer Stars by Jill Haymaker

How did her relationship go so wrong? When NICOLE PHILLIPS flees San Francisco after her boyfriend’s jealousy turns violent, she doesn’t know where to go next. Out of a job and a place to live, she heads to the only place she feels safe—her childhood home in the tiny town of Peakview, nestled high in the Colorado Rockies. The one place she’d sworn to never live again.

RICK BRADY was a skinny, nerdy kid, earning him the not-so-flattering nickname of Scarecrow in high school. He’d been glad to escape his reputation and leave Peakview behind. When his parents’ health begins to fail, he returns to Peakview and opens his own veterinarian practice on their ranch. He’s never really been in love, unless you count that crush he had on the most popular girl in school from kindergarten through senior year.

Now fifteen years after they both left town, they are back home and searching for answers to questions they can’t define. Beneath the beauty of the Colorado summer stars, they reconnect. They soon discover that it’s not easy to leave the past behind. To move forward and find true love, they must overcome their insecurities and doubts and learn to trust again.
Come home to Peakview, Colorado where everyone has a chance at love.