Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another Book Signing

I have yet another library author presentation and book signing tonight. I love doing these and so appreciate the library staff who goes to so much trouble to promote the event and make me feel welcome.

Unfortunately I haven't seen a lot of readers lately. Don't know if it's the weather. It's been gorgeous here in southern Ohio--until this week, that is. The days have been warm, with the scent of fall in the air. Hey, I'd rather be outside too. But with my eternal optimism, I'm looking forward to this one. It will be standing room only since it's cold and rainy out and no one has anything else to do. Haven't had one of those in a while. I wonder if everyone is tired of hearing what I have to say.

I certainly hope not. I am speaking to a RWA chapter in Ashland, KY on Saturday. I love speaking to writers. I've learned a lot in the last few years about writing and promotion and love sharing with others who know the pain and frustration of this business. We're all in this together.

Be blessed and get some writing done today.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Making a best seller list

Last week I discovered my latest release, EVIDENCE OF GRACE debuted at #18 in the Christian market according to Christian Retailing Magazine. Wow. This is my first best seller list. Needless to say I'm excited. The book is currently holding steady at #38 in the fiction category. That's four months later and out of more than 4000 books on the market. Another wow.

Please don't take this post as a blatant opportunity for self gloating and self-promotion. I'm just a little overwhelmed. While I want to celebrate and shout it from the rooftops that someone other than my mother is actually buying my books, cracking the top 50 in fiction sales makes me wonder what I did right with this book and what has gained it some attention.

I don't think this book is particularly better than its predecessors though writing is like performing brain surgery. The more you do it, the better you get. My goal is that every book I write will be better than the last since I strive to keep learning and honing my craft. So maybe it is a better book. Maybe I'm a much better writer than I was a few years ago and my material and storylines stronger the last.

Or maybe it's more than that.

Sometimes a completely unknown writer will write a novel that skyrockets to the top of the best seller charts. But it doesn't happen often. That's why it makes the news. Check out a best seller list. Nearly every author on there is a well known name. They are typically published through a large publishing house. There are many reasons behind this, but the most logical is name recognition.

You are building a business here, dear writer. Your goal isn't just to sell one book. You want to sell yourself. As you continue to write and put more published works under your belt, you will increase your likelihood of debuting your next novel at a noticable place on a best seller list.

I am thoroughly shocked that this has happened with EVIDENCE OF GRACE. Not that I didn't have faith in the book. It's a wonderful story. I hope people out there buying it will agree. I am just surprised that the books are getting noticed. EVIDENCE OF GRACE is the third book in my Jenna's Creek series so I am hoping this will translate into sales for the two previous books.

I made a lot of rookie mistakes in the marketing and promotion of the first books. But this is a learning process just like any other business. Let's keep learning and growing together.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book Promotion Interview

Dash over to Michelle Gregory's blog, Life in the Midst of Writing, to read my interview about marketing and book promotion. Before a writer is published, they believer finding a publisher is the hardest job imaginable. Unfortunately it's only the beginning. After the contract is signed, the real work begins. Hopefully you'll find a tip or two that will help get you started.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Online Marketing

I haven't been doing much online work lately. Lots of marketing ops this month are keeping me from completing other tasks. October and November are my biggest marketing months--I probably do more in those two months than the rest of the year combined, at least in person. The other ten months focus on writing and networking online or through other venues.

I love getting out and meeting readers. At least that's the goal. Last night I had a book signing to which no one came. Oh well. I had a nice talk with the librarians and the head of the Friends of the Library committee. Set up an event for next year at a Ohio college where I will be speaking to faculty. That should be interesting.

I love to speak as you have probably discerned. But the online marketing must not be ignored. I was interviewed by Michelle Gregory on her blog Life in the Midst of Writing on the topic of marketing; what works and what doesn't. I have learned a few things about the subject in the last few years since the publication of my first book. It's sink or swim in this business. A fledgling writer must overcome shyness and reticence about speaking or tooting one's own horn, as it were. I'll let you know when the interview appears and link you over there. Plenty of good stuff and tips on how to begin.

Another thing that's suffered the last few weeks while I've focused on outside events is my writing so I'm off to get cracking.

Have a blessed day and week.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Time to Write

I've been finding it incredibly hard to carve out any serious writing time lately. Today I'm taking my mother to have a colonoscopy. Yesterday it was lunch with my out-of-state sisters who came in for a funeral. Last night was another book signing. Over the weekend was of course the funeral and a family reunion (different branch of the family tree).

Whew! When is a writer supposed to do that thing she does so well?

At the book signing last night someone asked how some writers pump out 4-8 books a year. We laughed and discussed the possibility of ghost writers (more common than you think). I was quick to point out the prolific writers who write more than 2 books a year don't maintain their own websites. They don't set up at craft fairs to meet new readers. They don't set up their own book signing events or blog tours, and many don't write their own newsletters, press releases, or applications for speaking gigs at conferences.

Oh, to have an assistant, but I've lamented that here before.

The main reason I don't produce more than I do is because I mis-manage my time. On days when I don't have doctor appointments or funerals or book signings, I should hunker down at the computer and pump out the word count. Then when a busy week comes along, it doesn't matter if I only have a few moments to steal away and do a few character sketches or post to my blog.

I can blame life all I want for not getting more done. I can moan that too many people are pulling me away from the computer. But the truth is, I waste my good writing days and then get irritated that my word count isn't higher.

I've said it a thousand times, and I'll say it again. As in anything you really want to do, it's all about discipline. Something I sorely lack most days. With a wedding and the biggest craft show of the year coming up at the end of the week, I probably won't get much done this week. But I'll do what I can and pray to stay more committed when I do have a chance to sit down and actually write.

Have a great rest of the week.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

October marks my holiday season kick-off for craft fairs and speaking events. I have done this with much success every Fall since my first book, Streams of Mercy was published in 2004. I don’t know why more authors don’t take advantage of this venue. I always set up at craft fairs with my sister who quilts and makes aprons. The first time I did a craft fair, she told a friend of ours she didn’t think I would sell a book. She was afraid I’d have a rotten time. I wasn’t sure myself.

I was busy all day. Most people have never met a published author. Nor have most events hosted one. So my books and I am a novelty. Now I have readers come back year after year to buy the next book. I’ve said it so many times, I’m going to have it put on my headstone. “An autographed book makes a great gift.”

Consider it, dear author. Try a small one-day local event. People will love meeting you. You will get to spend all day talking about your books. And someone may even ask to have their picture taken with you. See pic taken at the Buffalo Trace Balloon Race in Maysville, KY this summer.

Here’s my schedule.
Booksignings and Events:October 8th–Seaman Public Library 6:00 p.m.October 13-14–Lewis Mtn. Herb Fest: Manchester, OH Booksigning 1:00 but I will be there all weekend signing and selling books. This is a wonderful event. Lots of work, but totally worth it. So many readers from all over Ohio and Kentucky.October 15th–Manchester Public Library 6:00 p.m.October 25th–West Union Public Library 6:00 p.m.October 27th–RWA chapter meeting Ashland, KY Boyd Co. libraryOctober 29th–Peebles Public Library 6:00 p.m.November 3rd–Rambler Center Craft Fair and Bazaar, Russellville, OH All DayNovember 10th–Goshen Friends of the Library Annual Craft Fair. Milford, OHNovember 17th–Jingle Bell Craft Fair and Parade. Waverly, OH This was my first show; has always a wonderful event for me. I feel like I know everyone in town. Thanks to the lovely people of Waverly, OHNovember 24th–Amelia High School Athletic Boosters Annual Craft Fair. Amelia, OH Like most of the other craft fairs listed, this is my first year for trying this one. I look forward to it. Can’t wait to meet new readers.December 8th–3rd Annual Maysville Festival of Books and Authors Night

Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and find a craft fair or Bazaar near you. If nothing else, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people who don’t visit their local library or bookstore and may never have heard of you. But believe me, they will be thrilled to learn a “famous” author lives in their midst. Talking to them will be a great boost for you after sitting behind your computer all summer.

Oh, and did I mention the possibility of press coverage?

Step out of your comfort zone and sell some books.