Top 10 tips (I think!) for having successful author reading

As I mentioned in my prior blog post, there is a definite learning curve to this whole ‘promoting your book’ thing. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is this: assume nothing! (Remember Felix Unger’s lesson on what happens when you ASSUME?!).

Anyway, here are what I think are the top 10 tips (in no particular order) for having a successful (eg: well attended) author reading.

  1. Create a Facebook event (you can figure it out; it’s not hard) and then share it on your own page, your author page, and the pages of any friends that will have you.
  2. Make an author page on Facebook, if you haven’t done that yet.
  3. Design some flyers (this can be as simple as a photo of your book, the date, time, and place of your event) and put them up around the town where you’ll be speaking (grocery stores, hairdressers, health food stores…any place that has a community bulletin board).
  4. Ask the person with whom you book your event to send out a press release to any and every newspaper that they can.
  5. Write a press release, so it will be ready when you need it. This can be as simple as your (short) bio, your book title and a little about it, and again the date, time, and place of your talk.
  6. Word of mouth is your friend: tell people and ask them to tell people: their friends, their families.
  7. Make sure you bring business cards, book marks, and any other promotional materials you’ve got to every talk and/or signing you do.
  8. Consider offering a ‘free gift with purchase’ to your book buyers. This doesn’t need to cost  you much at all. In my book, there is an Italian grandmother who makes the best gravy in the entire world, so I gave out a recipe for it (from my own Italian Nana, whose recipe really IS the best in the entire world) as a bonus gift.
  9. It doesn’t ever hurt to have chocolate spread out around your book. As people reach for the chocolate, you are also drawing their eyes (and hands!) toward your book!
  10. If you are doing a library talk, they usually will have a sidewalk easel to put out to alert people about your event. Make sure they use it for you!

That’s all I have for you today. Please comment below if you have any additional tips that have worked for you!

BOOK REVIEW: The Alchemist’s Daughter by Mary Lawrence

I just finished reading The Alchemist’s Daughter by Mary Lawrence. All I can say is, YAY!

the-alchemists-daughterMary’s book is a work of historical fiction, so if you’re into that, you’ll love it. Not a historical fiction fan? Don’t limit yourself! Read it anyway. You’ll still love it! Right from the beginning, you will feel like you’re in London in the 1500’s. The language itself helps to immerse you in the story.

One thing I love is when I’m reading a book and I have to–no, wait; I get to–go grab a dictionary because I’ve stumbled upon an unfamiliar word. Wherry? Kirtle? Bring it! I know these words now!

Bianca, the main character, is fascinated by the metaphysical, and so am I, so I fell in love with her right away. She is also brave, which is something I aspire to be in my own life, and this kept me rooting for her in her bleaker moments. Bianca always wants to know the truth in any situation, even it if will make her own life more difficult.

My favorite part of the book (page 123): I love when Bianca is in her rent (another cool word!) by the fire, reviewing and assimilating all her thoughts, feelings, and impressions from recent events, allowing her intuition to fuse them all together and distill them into an explanation for what has happened.

Best quote from the book (page 126): “The only thing that could possess such a man to be out on a night like this was money. Though sometimes love could. But mostly money.”

If you are squeamish like me, and rats are the stuff your nightmares are made of, here’s a helpful hint: read the rat parts quickly.

Fun fact: one of the characters in the book, Meddybemps, is named after a town in Maine!  See what you can learn at an author talk?
If you are local: Mary Lawrence will be signing her books at Books-a-Million in South Portland, Maine tomorrow at 2pm. Maybe you should go!bam-mary-lawrence

Jodi Picoult at the Music Hall

My friend Deb and I went to see Jodi Picoult read from her new book, Small Great Things. After picoult4she read, she was interviewed by Virginia from New Hampshire Public Radio.

What was good: Jodi’s reading of an excerpt of her book was dramatic and entertaining. It was definitely a performance worth hearing. Being able to ask her questions was also nice.

I liked the venue. The Portsmouth Music Hall is an older theater with loads of character and charm.

I also got the idea of selling tickets to my own author talks from this, and including the cost of the book in the ticket price. Smart, right? So you dont’ have to worry about investing a lot of time and money in an event and not selling books. I might try this someday, you know, when I’m famous.

What wasn’t so good: The price! Not only did you have to buy a ticket to hear the talk, you also had to buy a book. Hardcover fiction is not generally something I spend money on. This made for a pretty pricey evening. Also, the books were pre-signed. Not for nothing, but we had to take it on faith that she actually signed them herself. Just sayin’.

Also, while I did like that she took audience questions, I did not like that she only took some of our questions, and the ones she did take were pre-screened. There was really zero contact with her whatsoever, other than watching and listening. Not interactive.

It was more of an author show than an author talk, more formal than casual. I suppose in the future I should keep the difference in mind. I prefer the latter over the former.

All in all, the book sounds great. The protagonist is a nurse, and (as some of you know) so am I, so if I had to buy a hardcover fiction book by Jodi, I guess this was the one (NOTE: It better not end like My Sister’s Keeper).

 

Meet the Author: ANN BEATTIE

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Ann Beattie

I had the opportunity to hear writer and novelist Ann Beattie read one of her wonderful short stories at the York County Community College Visiting Artists Series last week.

Ann explained that her husband helped her choose what to read at the event. “Read something funny!” he suggested.

She took his advice and read a short story called The Gypsy, I think, something like that–sorry I didn’t get the title exactly– about women in a coffee shop that gets held up. After that, she opened it up for questions.

Someone in the audience asked her what she thought of blogs and I understood her to say she didn’t really read them.
I decided to be bold! Before I could talk myself out of it!
I raised my hand and commented that I was a blogger and a writer and an author. I told her that I had only recently made the connection between blog posts being like short stories. I was talking to a person at my book sale who said they didn’t read novels but they did like to read short stories and a lightbulb went off for me! I explained how blog posts might fit that bill for them. I told Anne that a lot of people liked reading my blog. then I said…wait for it…maybe YOU (Ann) would like reading my blog, too!
And guess what! She said, “Maybe I would.”😀
After she finished her talk, I went up to shake her hand, meet her officially, and give her my card.  Isn’t it wonderful that she took it? Who knows? Maybe Ann will become a blogger herself!
It could happen.

 

Meet the (Maine!) Author: Mary Lawrence

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the well-known author of The Alchemist’s Daughter when she gave a talk at the Kennebunk Library. Who knew Mary Lawrence lived in Maine?

mary-lawrence-at-kennebunk-library-10-11-16

I first noticed Mary’s book because of the cover, once again proving the rule: The cover sells the book. This is the first book in a series called The Bianca Goddard Mysteries. Book Two is Death of an AlchemistThe third book in the series is due out right after Christmas, called Death at St Vedast. Note to yourself: If you start reading now, you’ll be ready to read book three by then!

🙂

If you ever get the opportunity to hear Mary speak and read from her books, GO! You’ll have a pleasant break from those pesky chores that–let’s face it–are always going to be still waiting for you until you get home. Why not go have some fun first? Oh, and support a Maine Author!

Mary says her books are meant to be fast, fun reads. I can’t wait to read The Alchemist’s Daughter. I will be reviewing it here on my blog when I finish it.

Mary’s books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a- Million.

 

 

From sh*t list to hit list

I have recently written about my evolving taste in movies. That got me thinking about some other things that I like now that I used to hate.

Here are a few:

  1. Fish. With the exception of canned tuna, I hated fish. This may have stemmed from when I was young and mom made fish sticks for supper, which I tried to decline. No way. Food on the plate? We ate it. Whether we liked it or not was not even a consideration. We were a family struggling to get by on food stamps. Anyway, she made me sit at the table for hours, telling me I couldn’t get up until I ate it all. I got it down drowned in a quart of ketchup, while sitting on the floor under the table in protest. After I moved to Maine, my husband told me I had to start eating fish, because, you know, it’s the law. I have heard you have to try something you dislike 17 times before your tastes change and you actually like it (“He likes it! Hey, Mikey!). Now I love fried whole clams, haddock, cod, calamari, and I’ve even been known to eat some of Gorton’s crunchy fish sticks (without ketchup!) on occasion.
  2. Margaritas. I used to make fun of women who went out for a drink and chose a margarita. Hello? Classic cliché! And then I tried a strawberry hibiscus margarita at Pedro’s in Kennebunk. Oh. My. God. May I just say that now I am a cliché–I mean a fan?
  3. Christian music. I never paid any attention to my friends who said, “Hey, you should listen to it. I bet you’d really like it!” And then my daughter started putting KLOVE on in the car. And I started listening to it. Guess what? I really like it! Hey Mikey!
  4. Exercise. No, wait. I still hate that.
margarita

Pineapple Coconut Margarita at Side Street Cafe

I will leave you with this look back at Mikey. Enjoy!

 

SPOTLIGHT ON: Zen and Company

zen book with love noteIf you have never been to Zen and Company in Kennebunk, you are really missing out.

Beautiful clothing and (Dansko!) shoes? They have them. A wide variety of oracle cards? They have them. Excellent books*? Yes! The most amazing crystals? OMG, yes! Yes! They have those, too!

Even more important is this: once you pass through the door of Zen and Company, you will not ever want to leave. The atmosphere is so warm and inviting, it just wraps around you like a big warm hug.

All of the staff will welcome you and help you figure out what you want, even when you aren’t sure exactly what that is. Have questions? They can help you. Curious about what the cards in that oracle deck you have your eye on look like, and there isn’t a demo deck open? Just ask them and they will open the deck up for you. You know you need a crystal, but aren’t sure which one? Sue is not only knowledgable, but is also has a knack for helping you define what your own intuition is trying to tell you that you can’t quite grasp on your own.

Maybe you are shopping for a nice dress (eg: a dress you look hot in) to wear to dinner on your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary but you have zero fashion sense (hello? me!). They will help you find the perfect dress! I looked amazing on my 25th anniversary in the dress that Sue helped me pick out at Zen! Just sayin’!

Zen and Company. Go! Tell them Karen sent you!

*So maybe you noticed that I mentioned they have books? One of the (fabulous) books they have is MY book, One Brave Thing. So go, already!

 

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