Are You a Writer? Most of the Followers of This Blog Are…

why does my book not sell I am too, have been for nearly 30 years.  I also own a Writing and Editorial Consultancy firm, Margaret Langstaff Editorial. I work every day with writers trying to make their books better before publication.

But even the best book in the world, one people really would like to read, fails in the marketplace if it receives poor promotion.  This fact of life is true for both conventionally published books and self-published books.

Publishers make a lot of marketing promises to get you to sign a contract and all too often fail to perform once you do.  If you are self-published, you are even more vulnerable.  For if your self-published book is not marketed properly it does not have a chance at all.  And what do most self-published writers know about book marketing?

Almost nothing.

Look at Twitter, look at Facebook. It’s pathetic how many writers shoot themselves in the foot every day all day long. Turn off potential readers, dig themselves ever deeper into a hole of oblivion.

Someone in the biz urged this book on me, said it would help my clients.  Well, I’m all for that!  But I was skeptical.  There is so much half-baked garbage out there by self-styled experts, I usually turn a deaf ear. So I wasn’t expecting much.  But she delivers. I was surprised.

I’m not going to write a full blown review of WHY DOES MY BOOK NOT SELL? 20 Simple Fixes by Rayne Hall. There are plenty on Amazon.  Check those out. I’m just going to say she has the creds (publishing, marketing) and has earned her stripes. She’s practical, knows what works, what doesn’t, and she makes a lot of sense.

I recommend her book to any writer who wants a decent return on his or her investment. It’s not the last word, but it’s a great start, the best brief to the point guide I’ve yet seen.

Posted in book marketing, Literature, publishing, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

I don’t get it, but “toot-toot” anyway, book sots

Marlin DarlinI wrote this book more than four years ago, the first in a series of over the top, raucous Florida based mysteries featuring a red haired wild woman, Garnet Sullivan.  It was the first novel I wrote under my own name after having ghosted so many for so many other “authors.”  I meant it to be a literate entertainment; I was not aspiring in this instance to write another Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary.
Laughed my way through writing it.  Surprise! People laughed when they read it.  It was chosen a top Goodreads mystery the month it was published.  Surprise! It remains my most popular book.  Surprise! Great reviews keep trickling in.
I’m “reprinting” here the latest review, just in this morning, in the hopes some of you beloved book sots and followers of this blog will (Surprise!) buy it.
If you’re sick of Christmas carols at this point, want a lift from the fog of winter and would dig a cheap realistic Florida vacation with a bunch of nutcases, this is a real deal.  You will get sand between your toes and see, hear and smell the ocean in some entertaining company, guaranteed.
[Have I ever mentioned I write for a living?]
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Florida based mystery, December 18, 2014
This review is from: Marlin, Darlin': Garnet Sullivan Live from Florida (Kindle Edition)

Marlin, Darlin’ is a very well written and fun mystery set in Florida. Garnett Sullivan earns her living as a reporter and a part-time evening class teacher. There’s been an ugly accident at the local Marlin fishing tournament. A wealthy businessman went overboard and later his body was washed up and his boat impounded for evidence.

Squabbling over reporter rites with fellow newsman Randy Trigg, the pair follow up several suspicious leads. Ducking and diving with local police officer Lance Dawtry for inside information Garnett also has cause to suspect student Jim Walker of illegal dealings when he disappears with her car for several days.

Meanwhile a crazy old bird Mrs Bettina Bassett is arrested for the bale of grass on her back seat and Allison Highsmith is pressuring Garnett to help her out with a charity dog fundraiser. Just how much trouble can one delightful reporter get herself into?

I loved Garnett’s yellow VW Beetle and the warm sultry Florida background, filled with bugs and creatures as Garnett dashed after the clues. The characters were very well written and memorable, Dr Beidermeyer, Bettina even Randy and Lance, Definitely a book to cheer up the long winter nights.

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Emily Dickinson’s Encounters with the Sublime

Margaret Jean Langstaff:

edA certain slant of light today suggested to me this deserved a fresh look for “refreshment’s” sake. 

There’s a certain slant of light,
Winter Afternoons–
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes–

Heavenly Hurt it gives us–
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the Meanings are–

None may teach it– Any–
‘Tis the Seal Despair–
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air–

When it comes, the Landscape listens–
Shadows– hold their breath–
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death–


Oh, winter.

Originally posted on Margaret Langstaff:

© Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved.


                    Nature and God – I neither knew

                   Yet Both so well knew me

                   They startled, like Executors

                   Of My identity.—E.D.

Dickinson wrote and sent this poem ("A Ro...

Dickinson wrote and sent this poem (“A Route to Evanescence”) to Thomas Higginson in 1880. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve read, studied and written about Emily Dickinson’s poetry on and off for over thirty years, my serious interest and examination of it beginning long ago in graduate school and resulting in my master’s thesis. Like a dog with a good bone, though, I wouldn’t let it go even then and continued research and scholarly reading on Dickinson during the rest of my academic studies and when those days were finally over, I found it had become not only a matter of taste and fascination, but—for lack of a better word, a habit. One would think my…

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Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Noelle reviews Home For Christmas by Margaret Langstaff

Margaret Jean Langstaff:

What a lovely thing to receive in the morning’s mail! One of the best Christmas presents I could have received!

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:

Today’s book review is from Noelle, she blogs at


Noelle chose to read and review Home For Christmas by Margaret Langstaff

Home For Christmas


Home for Christmas is a compendium of Christmas stories from years gone by, assembled by Margaret Jean Langstaff and the Editors at Cedar Press. These editors intended the collection to be a reminder to its readers of what Christmas really means and what every Christmas gives to the human heart. I will tell you about a few.

How could you not like a book with a wonderful cover illustration of a horse-drawn buggy wending its way past snow-covered cottages of Christmas stories and then opens with O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi? That story tugged at my heart strings when I first read it in high school.

In Christmas Day in the Morning by Grace S. Richmond, older parents are facing another Christmas…

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Twitter horrors: “Im a genius, buy my book”

I swear, I’ve got to do some serious UN-following. Most recent egregious case in point:

“Visit me and the other talented authors at Self Publisher’s Showcase.”

This way way awful.  Don’t people know how they sound?

How do they think this will sell their books?

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So here we go again! NYT “10 Best Books of 2014″


Something to argue about or totally ignore (NYT)

The year’s best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

We should be so grateful for this priceless direction.

The Times used to have the best readers/critics in the universe on staff.

Alas, there has been a serious brain leak or draconian budget cut.

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100 Notable Books of 2014 – NYT

[Just another tidbit of wit (?)]


The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Worth reading (pardon the pun), the list, that is.


ALL OUR NAMES. By Dinaw Mengestu. (Knopf, $25.95.) With great sadness and much hard truth, Mengestu’s novel looks at a relationship of shared dependencies between a Midwestern social worker and a bereft African immigrant.

ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING. By Evie Wyld. (Pantheon, $24.95.) Wyld’s emotionally wrenching novel traces a solitary sheep farmer’s attempt to outrun her past on a remote British island.

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. By Anthony Doerr. (Scribner, $27.) The paths of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy converge in this novel, set around the time of World War II.

AMERICAN INNOVATIONS. By Rivka Galchen. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24.) Most of these stories offer variations on a particular sort of woman: in her 30s, urban, emotionally adrift.

Etcetera! And so on. And on and on.

NYT 100 Most Notable Books 2014

Note that few were bestsellers. Commerce and literature are like oil and water.  Or something … both congenitally highly suspicious of each other.  They’d never date or share a taxi.

Posted in Commercial Fiction, Literature, New Yorl Times Book Review, NYTBR, Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments