The power of one

I have been giving a lot of talks at local libraries. For my most recent one, I personally invited and Facebook invited a lot of people.

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A lot.

Plus, it was a full moon in Gemini (my sign)! At 7:05pm! And my talk started at 7:00PM!

I know this is a busy time of year for us all, but I was expecting at least 10 people or so.

When it 6:59pm and still no one had come, I began to consider that maybe I had saturated my geographic location.

If no one came (as I have heard sometimes happens, but thankfully had never happened to me), my Plan B was to have my husband make a video of me reading so I could post it on my YouTube Channel (still evolving–don’t judge it). At least this would be time well spent, right?

What I learned: Don’t accept a time slot that starts when the library is CLOSED. Duh. I’m not sure why they even did that… oh, wait. Yes, I do. I took the slot because I was hoping to sell a lot of books before Christmas, and this was the only December slot they had. They had one slot available in January, but I thought people might not come out in the cold when they weren’t possibly out already, shopping for the holidays (books make great gifts!). Note: the temperature was in the 20’s last night.

And then, at 7:05pm, one person came into the room.

My audience had arrived. She probably didn’t really feel like going out, but she wanted to support a fellow writer/author, and guess what?

SHE DID.

Thank you again, Katherine. ❤

For some reason, this song was in my head on my way home from the event, so I am including it here for your listening pleasure:

Humble

Today I was so excited to get a copy of the York Weekly newspaper that my husband and I braved the ice and snow and rode down to the York Hannaford to pick it up before work. After I ascertained that the article did, in fact, run this week (there was a photo of me and of my book cover right there on page B3 of the Living Section!), I folded the paper back up. I didn’t read it on the way home.

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This was a do-over chance. The first article that was written in the newspaper about me publishing my first novel had many errors (including the name of the main character! Her name is NOT Bebe Kristen Davis!) and so was very disappointing.
I had high hopes for this time around.

When we got home, I had to go right to work, so my husband started reading it. “I found something that you’re not going to be happy about,” he began.

Seriously?
Here is the line: “…she is a registered nurse, a health coach, weight gain teacher and author. 

Guess which part is wrong? Was it that stupid autocorrect?

Now the irony here is that I was just commiserating with a friend yesterday about how I had lost 30 lbs on Weight Watchers several years ago and then gained some of it back–talk about adding insult to injury!

Also, lesson learned. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I should have asked if I could give it a once over before the story ran.

And then I remembered myoneword for 2016: GRACE. I could just accept this with grace. I have made plenty of errors in my own writing, and have always felt terrible when I noticed them (or they were gracefully pointed out to me by others) after the fact.

Here is the article (it has since been corrected): Wells Author will Speak at York Library

This came to mind after the events of this morning, so I’m sharing it with you all:

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?

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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.

 

 

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