Congratulations, Wild Woman Bonnie McKinney!

Bonnie McKinney poses with one of her newly collared and tranquilized black bears.  (Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife.)

I’m excited to announce that Bonnie McKinney has been named one of the top twenty “Wild Women of Texas Conservation” by Texas Parks and Wildlife for her efforts to protect black bears in West Texas.  To read Bonnie’s story, please click here: Bonnie McKinney Nominated To Top 20 Wild Women

Bonnie is the heroine in my new book, The Legend of El Patron:  A True Story.  Bonnie saved the outlaw bear El Patron from certain death after the starving animal followed his nose to a poorly kept hunting camp and wrecked the place.  During her life’s work as a black bear researcher, Bonnie has trapped over 200 bears and radio-collared 71. When she captured the bear she named El Patron, the two became celebrities throughout the national and state parks and wildlife research communities.

Bonnie is an excellent role model for young women who love the outdoors and desire to be part of wildlife conservation efforts.  Congratulations, my friend.  This honor is so richly deserved and highlights the important contribution women can have in wildlife conservation.

About Book Trailers

Book trailers are a relatively new marketing tool for authors.  Essentially, they are visual advertising for your book, similar to a movie trailer.  For an example, here’s a link to my book trailer for The Legend of El Patron: Legend of El Patron book trailer.

With over 74% of online traffic coming from folks watching YouTube videos, making a book trailer to promote your book makes perfect sense.  I have found, however, that there are a few caveats to making your book trailer a successful marketing tool.

Many authors pay between $300 and $1,500 for someone to build a sixty to ninety second book trailer for them.  For me, that cost was prohibitive.  Instead, I decided to build a book trailer myself.   I built my trailer using illustrations from my children’s book and inserting them and text into Apple’s iMovie (video editing software).  My goal was to build interest in “saving the bear,” a major theme in my book.  I then uploaded the video to both Vimeo and YouTube.

How do you make a successful book trailer?  Dana Craver wrote an excellent article on how to make a book trailer published on the Writers Weekly website: How to Make a Book Trailer.  Another great article about book trailer content can be found on the Author Learning Center website: Book Trailer Content. To view examples of book trailers in your genre, simply do an internet search on words like book trailers for kids, or book trailers nonfiction, or book trailers mystery.

Marketing your book trailer is the next step.  This, unfortunately, was more time consuming than I expected.  As an example, in Angela Hoy’s 90+ Days of Promoting your Book Online, she suggests visiting YouTube videos and forums with similar themes as your book, commenting on them, and redirecting them to your site by including your book title when you sign your name.  Others suggest entering book trailer contests, loading your trailer on your author pages in Amazon and Goodreads, and uploading the video to book trailer sites like

Are book trailers an effective marketing tool?  For me, the jury is still out.  My book trailer has had over 160 views combined on Vimeo and YouTube during the last several months.  It does not appear that any of those views have resulted in someone actually purchasing a copy of my book.

Simply uploading a book trailer to YouTube will not sell your book.  I have also learned that promoting the book trailer may become as time consuming as promoting the book itself.  For me, a book trailer may be a positive promotional tool, but has not been a game changer in selling my books.  It is simply one tool in our arsenal to market our books and get them seen.  I’ll keep you posted…


The Legend of El Patron

I am most happy to report that The Legend of El Patron:  A True Story has been published. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s my first venture into the world of independent publishers.

This children’s book began while David and I were on a camping trip to Big Bend National Park.  I picked up a local paper and read an outlandish article about a bear that had migrated into Brewster County from drought-stricken Mexico. Because he was starving, the poor creature broke into a poorly-kept hunting camp. Marked as a nuisance after he wrecked the place, the wildlife researcher sent to put the bear to death ultimately saved his life. She found a home for El Patron at the Living Desert Zoo in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The first night the bear was in his new zoo home, however, he escaped, wandering the streets with law enforcement in pursuit.

The story simply begged to be written. I contacted the zoo and soon was sitting across from the park’s director for an interview.  I left Carlsbad armed with newspaper clippings, a notebook full of scribbles, interview tapes, contact information for the wildlife researcher who had captured and saved the bear, and even a few snapshots of the reclusive celebrity.

El Patron winter coat2
The reclusive El Patron in his enclosure at New Mexico’s Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

I sent the manuscript to several publishers and received some of the nicest rejection letters.  But, alas, they were still rejections.

Last year, however, it seemed that the time had come to publish El Patron’s story.  Animal and human interactions are on the rise.  The wildlife research community has many concerns over the proposed border wall and how it may inhibit animals migrating to and from Mexico, particularly larger animals such as bear,  jaguar, and ocelot.  Additionally, with its educational sidebars, El Patron’s book contains valuable information about desert bears and the only known repatriation of a large mammal without human intervention.  I’m excited about the book’s prospects.  I’ll let you know how I do with marketing and sales. If you would like to view The Legend of El Patron book trailer, please click here: The Legend of El Patron book trailer

I published my indie book through Booklocker because of their many options, services, and marketing tools.  Throughout the publication process, I have been very impressed with this publisher.  They have made many promises and have fulfilled them all.  Best of all, they made the process easy.  I will fill you in more about my experience later.  If you would like to view El Patron’s Booklocker page, please click here: El Patron Booklocker page.