Book Reviews,  Detective and Mystery,  Writing

Book Review: Mastering Your Mystery: Write, Publish, and Profit with Your Mysteries & Thrillers

Mastering Your Mystery: Write, Publish, and Profit with Your Mysteries & Thrillers (Mastering Series Book 1)Mastering Your Mystery: Write, Publish, and Profit with Your Mysteries & Thrillers by Cheryl Bradshaw
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my goals as an author is to write a murder mystery someday. Knowing me, it’ll probably be a foodie-cozy-comedy caper, but even with that lighthearted notion, I’d like to do it right. But the honest truth is that I knew next to nothing about crafting a mystery. When I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. Little did I know that I was actually purchasing *TWO* books in one, both of them valuable resources, but more about that in a bit.

“Part One: Write It”
In the first half of the book, I received practical advise delivered in clear, easy to understand language in chapters with titles like, “Season Your Steak: The Power of Subplots” and “Go Ahead, Push Me: Writing Great Cliffhangers”. And of course my favorite chapter, “Door No. 1, 2, or 3: Suspects and Red Herrings”.

As I read, I started imagining scenes from a mystery not yet written. The characters and dialog were uniquely my own style, but the plot and crafting of the story was inspired by what I was learning. I could feel new bones growing under the flesh and muscle, as it were.

And then, at the halfway mark of the book, the first part ended and I found myself reading “Part Two: Sell It”. To my surprise, the first chapter was titled “To Agent or Not to Agent: That Is the Question”. Even though I’ve already made the personal decision to stay Indie forever, I found the chapter engaging and enlightening.

As I read the next chapter, “Ties That Bind: Series vs. Stand-alone”, I finally realized that the mysteries and thrillers writing lessons were done, and we’d moved ahead to learn what to do with that finished novel we’ve just written. And I do mean everything. The advice on leveraging the power of newsletters was *just* what I needed. I can’t wait to start putting all that excellent advice into action!

There’s lots of information on getting the most out of your advertising budget, starting a street team, and excellent publishing checklist, and something I’d never seen before – steps you can take to have a better chance of getting a “Best Seller” listing.

I’m going to sign up for Cheryl Bradshaw’s newsletter, right now—both to follow her as a writer and also to see her in action promoting herself. Every indie writer needs this book. If you don’t write mysteries, you *still* need this book for all the advice in Part Two.

This book is totally worth every penny. I purchased the Kindle version but I may also spring for the paperback in order to have it within easy reach on my writing reference shelf.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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