Monday, January 15, 2018

Serendipity or Opportunity?

I fell on some ice Wednesday. I didn't think it was a big deal- until Thursday night. I could barely move on Friday morning and was forced to cancel my appearance at the Burlington Country YA Author Book Festival. I was dreading yoga on Monday morning, although I was starting to feel better.

Should I go... or stay home in my comfy jammies, with a cup of chai, and finish those revisions...?

Sigh.

I went. After class I chatted with my fellow sufferers and mentioned my fall, and that I had to cancel going to a book signing. This lead to them asking if I was an author? What did I write? Would it be suitable for her grandchildren?

I handed out bookmarks. Sometimes this can generate online sales. Then, reluctantly, unsure, one woman mentioned she was a writer too. Memoir, not published. She shyly asked questions about writing, publishing--and would I come speak to her writing/critique group at the library?

From a small chat I've (hopefully) made a sale and although I won't get a speaking fee, my appearance may garner more sales from both the audience and the library (if they don't have my books already). You just never now when an opportunity for a sale, even for one book, will arise. Maybe that one book will be recommended for a book club, where all the members buy a copy. Or a teacher wants you to talk to her class because they'll be discussing your book after she buys a copy for each student.

Keeping all these scenarios in mind, here are 5 tips:


  1. ALWAYS carry bookmarks. I've found business cards are static, boring, and too small to be effective. There are a number of companies that can print them economically and assist you (or for a small fee) do the design.
  2. Use bold colors and an attractive, easy to read font. Larger bookmarks allow you to post more information. Smaller ones are easily lost.
  3. Put your covers and (if possible) an illustration from the book prominently showcased. Graphics draw the eye quicker than blocks of text.
  4. List important information: your name, full title of your book(s), the publisher, your website/blog. I would also recommend the ISBN so librarians and teachers can quickly find your book and order it!
  5. USE THEM. Bookmarks don't bring any attention to your book sitting on your desk. Hand them out, leave them in bookstores, libraries, schools, workplaces, Starbucks, etc. The worst? They get thrown out. The best? Someone picks it up who could help your career.

See you next week!

Char


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Clear Your Desk!

Monday was National Clean Your Desk Day.

I wasn't totally successful.


Things I didn't clear/put/throw away:

1. My trusty thesaurus (it's the blue book on the corner). While my laptop has a built-in thesaurus, it's not as comprehensive. My laptop version gives a few examples, my worn paperback gives more than I can use, but the right word is always there. Since I'm in the middle of revisions on two middle grade novels, that precious baby is staying right there.

2. That pile of magazines stacked next to my laptop. I want to read them, have to read them, need to read them. But... I'm reading several novels, writing, revising, outlining... I don't want to take time from them to read articles on PR, etc. The perfect opportunity to go through and read is during the commercial breaks of a TV show or the NFL playoffs. If my beloved Patriots don't make it through to the Super Bowl, there will be no excuse on a Sunday not to read those mags, take the useful info, and toss the rest.

3.  That little red can.... of chocolate. As part of my New Year's goal is to work smarter, I've allocated myself one piece when I finish something on my to do list. And it can't be just anything, like washing the kitchen floor (done) because that's not important or related to my writing. Finish the blog post and query two agents? Score! Nothing like a little cocoa bean incentive.

4.  Various papers (scattered). They are bits of novel notes that need to be filed or tossed once I've incorporated them into the respective novels. Another is an outline for a romance novel I want to write. One is my darn To Do List. I need to deal with them one at a time. I'm determined to clear my desk by the end of the month.

5.  Old agendas (under that stack of white paper which is the latest mg novel). I go through my old agendas and transfer any important info into my new agenda. Things like birthdays, book festivals, conferences and awards submission dates, contact info I've scribbled down, and again, more novel notes. I don't rely solely on my phone calendar because that's crowded with stuff like doctor, dentist, music practice, volunteer, etc. appointments. And if I lose my phone (as I have been known to do), and don't have a backup, well, I'm just in a really bad place. Always have a backup!

I've made the deadline to have my desk cleared not in one day (that's just too crazy and impractical and stress-inducing), so by the end of the month is completely doable. That's the secret to writing or anything else- be practical, know or try to anticipate limitations, and work smarter.

Char