Pitchwars 2016: #PimpMyBio Contestant Blog Hop

Following in the footsteps of Christopher Keelty and Dannie Morin…it’s time for the annual #PimpMyBio blog hop for Pitchwars Contestants!!!

This is just for fun, for mentees and mentors to get to know each other better. I repeat, this is NOT mandatory…but I know some mentors use it to stalk get to know contestants better.


STEP ONE: Create a post on your blog. Tell us all about yourself! And please add a link back to this page (the main blog hop page).

Here’s a link to last year’s bios, so you can get an idea of what to write. Make friends & comment on other’s bios! 🙂

To GIF or not to GIF…that is the question


STEP TWO: Upload the link to said post via the Linky widget below, where it says “Click to Enter.” Your “Link Title” should be your name.


STEP THREE: Watch the #pitchwars Twitter feed maniacally, waiting for your first choice mentor to drop hints about their faves.

This Blog Hop is open NOW, and closes on August 3rd.

Aaand…don’t forget – this year, you can get two extra entries if you decide to donate. 



REMINDER: Your “Link Title” should be YOUR NAME

IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE: email me at booksboozescotland @ gmail


Pitchwars – Pick me!


1.   About me

Fun: I’ve been in marketing for 15+ years…so yeah, I know booze. Scotch Whisky & Wine, to be exact. My corporate background means I’m familiar with branding, PowerPoints, deadline, and spreadsheets! Exciting, right?

More fun: I teach Pinterest for Authors and Branding for Authors 🙂

Most fun: I live in NY with my 5 year old, black lab puppy, and Scottish hubby.

Yeah, kilts.

ross wedding kilt

(This one’s from my wedding)

2.   Some of my fave things


Maggie Stiefvater – ALL THE BOOKS especially The Scorpio Races

Sherry Thomas – Elemental Trilogy

Cassandra Clare – Clockwork Angel series


I’m attending the @madcapretreats in August with Kiersten White, Tessa Gratton, Natalie C Parker…can’t wait!!



currently obsessed with B0RNS, Troye Sivan, El Vy, and always, The XX.

LOVE 8tracks.com…the ultimate book playlist!

3.   Fandoms

Anything on BBC America & SyFy. Whedonite. GOT.

And, I’ll admit, some many of the Bravo programs.

Awkward, I know.       Sorrynotsorry.


4.   My MS

MOM, I MARRIED A HIGHLANDER is a YA Time Travel, set in the present. Think of it as a YA OUTLANDER, in reverse.

Here’s my Twitter Pitch:

Abby’s extra credit report is derailed when a Highlander from the past jumps into the library. He’s bleeding,dirty &…hot #YA #F #PitMad

Mom, I Married a Highlander

Mom, I Married a Highlander

It won the 2015 Golden Claddagh RWA contest, and finaled in the 2015 Windy City and the 2016 Great Expectations RWA contests. Recently, it finaled in the 2016 Maggie contest.

# of queries sent: 0      I want to get it all shiny first!

I’m looking for someone to guide me through developmental editing, specifically pacing (vs grammar etc). Tips on balancing humor vs. plot a bonus!

I will work hard! I know enough to know that there’s a lot I don’t know.

jon know i know some things

Critiques: I have several awesome CPs and we are tough with each other.

So bring it! I have my big girl panties on, I can take it.


5.   Did I mention booze?

Yeah, the MS has whisky in it. I just got back from Scotland to here’s a few droolworthy shots.

Casks at Springburn Distillery | Lana Pattinson

Portnahaven, Islay, Scotland | Lana Pattinson






And that’s about it!

Check out other Pitchwars bios here.

Let’s connect on TwitterPinterest, Goodreads, Instagram

Cheers! Lana

Pinterest Hack: How to auto-post your Instagram photos to Pinterest

Auto-pin your Instagram pics to Pinterest | www.lanapattinson.com


You’ve taken some great shots for your lovingly curated IG account…now use them for Pins!

Now, I know what you’re thinking…ugh. Does this mean I have to write a new blog post for each picture and then repin them? NOPE.

Here is how to auto-Pin an Instagram photo onto your board:

  • Sign up for an account at www.ifttt.com
  • Make sure you choose this “recipe” created by Pinterest because there are several to choose from, and they do things differently.
  • Go to Pinterest. Create a board on Pinterest for your IG photos. I called mine: My Instagram | www.lanapattinson.com
  • Copy the board name, and paste it into the IFTTT box
  • Here’s what your ‘recipe’ will look like. Leave every other text box alone! This “recipe” will link directly to your Instagram post.

How to auto-post your Instagram photos to Pinterest | www.lanapattinson.com

  • Here is what showed up in my Pinterest account, on the board I created (“My Instagram…”)

How to auto-post your Instagram photos to Pinterest | www.lanapattinson.com

  • If someone clicks on it, here is what the Pin looks like enlarged:

How to auto-post your Instagram photos to Pinterest | www.lanapattinson.com


If I click on the link, here’s where it takes Pinners: notice the URL directs Pinners straight to the Instagram post – where people can like the post or click on my profile.If I click on the link, here's where it takes Pinners:

AND THAT’S IT! What do you think?

BookMarketing: Using Free Downloads with Author Beth Teliho

BookMarketing with Free Downloads | www.lanapattinson.com

BookMarketing with Free Downloads | www.lanapattinson.com

Today we’re talking to Beth Teliho, author of Order of Seven and all-around funny gal.

Order of Seven is FREE for 2 days only – Feb 26 & 27 – so download your copy now! It’s a Young Adult supernatural suspense, written for all ages.

Hi Beth! I know you recently ran a free book promo for your first book, Order of Seven (which I enjoyed BTW!).

Why did you decide to use this promotional tactic?

I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions about free promos. Some authors are against them, because why give something away for free that you put so much money and effort towards? Valid point, and I agree…to an extent. Order of Seven had a great start last year for the debut of an unknown author, and I’m thankful for it, but at around the nine-month mark, I had exhausted my reach. I feel like my top priority now should be discoverability. I’m a speck in an ocean of books; I need more readers to know it exists. I’ve done 99-cent promos before, but my highest number of downloads was 84. That’s fine, but I wanted way more than that.


What hurdles did you face?

I submitted to the king of all ad sites, Bookbub, and was rejected, so that was a tad bit disappointing, but that’s okay. I’d rather score them with a 99-cent promo another time so I’ll make some money back. Still a disappointment but to a lesser degree was a rejection from ENT (Ereader News Today).

Two bigger sites that couldn’t do my first date range did commit to my backup dates, so it’ll actually be free again February 26 & 27. That may seem strange to offer it free again so soon, but it’s an experiment to see how well these other ad sites deliver on downloads. This way, I’ll know if I’d like to use them again for a 99-cent promo. I’m just having fun with it because I won’t do another free promo unless I’m using it to market my next book.


What did you want to accomplish with this promotion?

I concentrated my goals on the first date range because that one had the most marketing associated with it. My goal was to get at least one thousand downloads. I also wanted to hit #1 on Amazon in my sub-category and place in the top 100 in free downloads, both of which I accomplished. Yay!


And the results were…staggering! 5000+ downloads? Why do you think it was so successful?

Yes, 5,313 to be exact, and more to come 2/26 & 2/27! First, I must give huge props to my incredible cyber-street-team and their willingness to promote for me! All in all, it was hugely successful because I spent some money on it. I doubt a free promo with a budget of $0 could result in that many downloads, unless of course it was a very well known author.

I didn’t spend a ton of money, but I put a little where it counts. I boosted a Facebook post about the promo, and I also ran a contest on that post. Anyone who liked, or commented, or shared automatically had a chance to win a signed copy of Order of Seven. The extra traffic due to the contest was great!

Here’s a rundown of which sites I used and how much it cost:

For the 2/9 – 2/11 promo:

  1. FB boost – $18
  2. Books Butterfly – $90 (expensive, but they guarantee downloads.)
  3. Fussy Librarian – $20
  4. Digital Book Today – $30
  5. Indie Book of the Day – Free
  6. Ask David (they tweet to 48K followers) – Free
  7. Best ebooks for free – Free

For the 2/26 – 2/27 promo: (not doing any Facebook or other hardcore marketing for this one because I want to see the results of the ad sites on their own)

  1. Robin Reads – $15
  2. Book Gorilla – $50

Total investment for all promo days: $228 (including the cost to ship a book to the contest winner). For the results I saw, it was worth every penny!


Any other suggestions for fellow authors who want to try this tactic?

I would use a free promo when you have exhausted your reach and need the discoverability, or to pump up interest for another book release. Don’t give it away in the beginning (much like with dating- ha!) because interest will be high amongst your reach at first…let them pay for it so you make money to budget for future promos.

If you want the most for your effort, budget a little money toward it. Free ad sites – although it certainly doesn’t hurt to use them – result in little to no downloads so don’t rely solely on them. Schedule as many paid ads for your promo as you can afford and then market all over social media. Have your friends (or street team) market too. Boost a Facebook post if you can – even a $5 boost helps way more than you’d think. Most of all, don’t stress! Have fun with it. It’s all an experiment, and one that results in more readers who might’ve never known about your book otherwise. In my humble opinion, it’s a win-win.

Thanks Beth!

Beth Teliho is an award-winning author who lives in Texas with her husband and two adventurous sons. Restless in the mundane, she writes about the abnormal, paranormal, and otherwise fantastical because that’s what quickens her heartbeat. She laughs at inappropriate jokes, and prefers spicy food and margaritas to almost anything. One day, she hopes to live in a treehouse with at least seven cats.
Order of Seven is FREE for 2 days only – Feb 26 & 27 – so download your copy now!!
Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

BookMarketing: Facebook with Author CM McCoy

Using Facebook for Book Marketing | www.lanapattinson.com

Using Facebook for Book Marketing | www.lanapattinson.com

Today we’re talking to Author CM McCoy, who is an author, tippety-tapper, and PR Manager at Inklings Literary Agency. Her first book, EERIE, was recently released to much fanfare.

1,087 guests…250 prizes…one epic Facebook party.

Wow, CM! You had an EPIC facebook party for the launch of your first novel, Eerie. Where’d you get the idea from?

Hi Lana! Hey, thanks for thinking of me. Oh my word, yes, the Eerie Facebook Release Party was quite the undertaking. When it comes to parties,we have this saying in our family: go big or go home.

This book launch was a huge deal to me, and I really wanted to share it with all my friends in an enthusiastic way. Since I’m in Alaska, and since most of my friends and family are not in Alaska, I decided to forgo a “real” party and focus on a Facebook party, which my friends from every corner of the world could attend.

I had a couple author friends who were kind enough to let me participate in their FB release parties prior to the Eerie release, which is where I learned:

a) what a FB party was

b) how one pulls off such a party and

c) how one promotes such a party

As a debut author, I obviously didn’t have a fan base outside of my friends and family who had beta-read Eerie for me, so I knew I’d have to do some heavy promoting and call in a few favors to get the ball rolling. I reached out to my favorite authors to see if they would be interested in participating in the release party, some of whom I’d never met personally. I told them my plan for some epic giveaways, including a Coach purse and $100 gift card, and I offered to do some pre-party promo for their books. Most responded with a resounding yes! A few declined. Only one or two never responded.

Even Andy Weir responded (Yes, I wrote to the author of The Martian.) He declined, but his note was personal, genuine, kind, and quite obviously from the man himself. I won’t go into detail, but I did print it out and hang it on my wall.

In the end, we hosted over 1,000 guests, and my novel reached #717 on Amazon’s list of Best-selling Paranormal Romance on release day.

How long did it take you to assemble all the authors / prizes? It sounds very time consuming…
I started planning the party a couple months ahead of time, and had a 14-hour party fully staffed by take-over authors 3 weeks before the party. I had started assembling the prizes in the summer, picking up things here and there.

My first post was a $100 gift card giveaway. I posted it 2 months and 2 days prior to the party, shared it on Twitter and FB groups, and asked my authors to share it with their fans when they signed on for a takeover. We hosted 1,087 guests.

Including myself, thirty authors participated in takeovers over two days. Each author posted at least one giveaway. My agent gave away close to 20 books. Add to that the 57 giveaways I posted plus the two separate online scavenger hunts with even more prizes in December, and we ended up sending out almost 250 prizes.

It was extremely time-consuming, but the connections I made with fans and other authors have proven priceless. The people who discovered Eerie through the Facebook party had so much fun there, they continued following me after the party. They do promotion for me by retweeting teasers, sharing FB posts, and they even nominated Eerie for two awards from a blogger on Facebook (both of which Eerie won because of their awesome support)–these fans have helped me spread the Eerie word online as well as in book clubs and libraries.

Looking back, do you think it was worth the effort? Would you attempt to do it again, for your next novel launch?
Yes. It was absolutely worth the effort. I would do a Facebook party for the next one, but I’d do a few things differently. This worked well for a debut, but I think I’ll do something fantastic and different from the normal FB party for the next one. You probably want to know what that is, but I’m not telling…yet.  😀

Any last words for new authors trying to promote their debut?

Yes. Two things:

1) Whatever you do promo-wise–you get out of it what you put into it. I don’t mean money, I mean enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. And the purpose of a FB party is to make individual connections with readers to share your enthusiasm. Sometimes you don’t even talk to guests about your book, but about dogs or toddlers eating crayons or whatever. You may not see an immediate return on your effort, but people remember authors that connect with them.

(Or Pickles, in CM’s case…but please continue…)

2) If you’re a debut author, ASK other authors for help. It’s an amazing community. There are folks that can help with teaser images or setting up FB parties or setting up effective Rafflecopter giveaways or strategies for starting your own FB group. Ask whoever you know, and if you don’t know anyone, ask me on twitter: @eerie_o  🙂

Check out CM’s book here:

BookMarketing: USA Today with Author Linda Budzinski

Today we’re chatting with Linda Budzinski about utilizing the press to promote your book.

Linda’s new book, EM & EM, is available here.

Using USA Today to promote your book | www.lanapattinson.com

Hi Linda! Congrats on your new book release. So tell me…what’s the most fun/effective thing you did to promote EM & EM?

At one of its monthly meetings last year, my local RWA chapter, the Virginia chapter, had a guest speaker named Joyce Lamb, who is editor of USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” romance book blog. Her topic was promo, and one of the things she told us was specifically how to submit a post proposal for blog. Like many blogs, they are always looking for content. She gave us a few simple instructions:

  • Familiarize yourself with the blog and the type of content it runs.
  • Query her about the proposed post about six weeks out from when you would like it to run (e.g., from your book’s release date if that is when you would like it run).
  • Let her know a little about your book.
  • Propose a post that is not “Here’s a post all about my book” but is somehow related to its topic/theme.
  • Include other (preferably very famous) authors within the post. That way, those authors may tweet out the post to their followers (which means lots of hits, yay!) and also it will get more Google hits when people Google their names, because USA Today is really good about optimizing its Google SEO.


Wow. That is solid info – a very clear plan of how to target USA Today.

I thought this would be a pretty cool way to help promote EM & EM, so here is the query letter I sent to Joyce:

Hi, Joyce!

We met at the Virginia RWA meeting this spring. Thank you again for your excellent presentation on promotion! As per your suggestions, I would like to propose a blog post for the “Happy Ever After” blog.

My second young adult romance, EM & EM, will be released as an ebook and in paperback on September 15 from Swoon Romance YA. My main character is transplanted from the Jersey Shore to the Midwest as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has a new name, a new look, and a brand-sparkling new reputation. And of course, she meets someone who loves her for who he thinks she is.

I would love to write a post about the role of hidden/mistaken/secret identity in romance and particularly in YA romance. My plan would be to contact some authors who have used this in their YA romance novels to get input as to why they feel this device resonates with readers. (See, I was paying attention!)

Please let me know if this would interest you and if so, the specs re: word count and submission deadline.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda Budzinski



Thanks for sharing your letter. A great format – a paragraph of your book, a paragraph of how the proposed topic relates to your book….so I’m guessing that they liked it?

Well … Joyce told me she loved the idea and said she would run the post the day after my release date! Next I contacted three authors–Kody Keplinger (yes, THAT Kody Keplinger, I was feeling brave!), Robin Benway (who actually is one of my all-time favorite YA authors and I totally fangirlled when she wrote me back and ohmygosh she was so sweet) and Jody Gehrman. Each of them has a YA book out that uses hidden/secret/mistaken identity and is at least in part a romance. And each of them is a LOT more famous than me, LOL. I was a little nervous emailing them, but it helps to be able to say that USA Today had given the post the green light!

Of course, the YA writing community is so awesome, and all three of them agreed to participate and sent me quotes on why they think secret identity resonates with romance readers and why they used it in their own books. Had they declined to participate, I of course could still have cited their books, but it was so awesome that they actually sent me quotes!


Now I want to read the article myself!

It turned into a really fun post, and you can see it here.


That was awesome. Any other advice for authors trying to promote their book?

I would totally recommend romance authors trying this when the time comes for their first book to come out, or even querying to write a post at any point in the publishing process. Joyce is super nice and really does want to find good content. Of course, her blog is specifically for romance readers, but I would think the same basic idea would work for other blogs as well, so if say, an author has a YA fantasy, they could research and find a well known fantasy blogger and approach them with a similar request.

Linda Budzinski’s young adult novels, EM & EM (2015) and THE FUNERAL SINGER (2013), were both published by Swoon Romance YA. Her upcoming novel, THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, scheduled for publication in fall of 2016 by Swoon, received the Romance Writers of America Young Adult Chapter’s 2015 Rosemary Award and the Virginia Chapter’s 2015 Fool for Love Award. She can be found on Twitter at @LindaBudz or on the web at www.lindabudzinski.com.

Check out LInda’s novels here: