Join the Summer Book Trek to read, review and win books! Review The Unsaid to get started!
I’m thrilled to be a part of Fyrecon June 8-10 at Weber State University – Davis Campus in Layton, Utah. I’ll be teaching two classes and sitting on four panels.
To kick off the event Thursday I’ll be teaching a class at 1:30pm Bringing Your Story to Life where I’ll help writer take their stories from beginning to the end.
Friday fun day is loaded with another class and two panels. The first panel starts at 11:30am where we talk about books that have influenced us. Then at 2:30pm I’ll be teaching a class on flipping your story upside down to find clarity where I relate my experience as a freelance sports reporter and what I learned that helped my write novels. Right after that I’ll sit on the panel talking about the dos and don’ts of manipulating your audience.
Saturday evening I’ll be moderating the panel on reboots and remakes for television and film which I’m really excited about. Then I’ll be sitting on a panel with my good friend Alyson Peterson on writing humor.
I can’t wait!
Enjoy four fun conversations about the wonderful world of authorship. Episode 12 is my favorite. Also be sure to subscribe to the Ready, Set, Write podcast on iTunes.
Guest Adrienne Quintana
Traditional vs Indie Publishing
How Writing Changed Our Lives
Start the New Year off right with literacy and games of chance. Enter for your chance to win a free ebook of the exciting debut mystery novel The Land of Look Behind. Your friends will be so jealous. Plus you get to follow an author on Amazon. #winning
See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Land of Look Behind (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/
The Top Ten Things You Are Likely To Hear At My Launch Party
I am thrilled to invite you to The Unsaid Launch Party. Come celebrate with me and get a signed copy of my latest novel. The party begins at 4pm on Saturday October 15, 2016 hosted by Barnes & Noble at San Tan Village Parkway.
The Unsaid is a unique love story with heart and humor that deals with choice, hope, love, courage and the crazy things we think but do not say.
“Maggie, a heavenly curator of unspoken thoughts, is content to do her job while she waits for her turn in mortality. When Eric, her beholden, shows interest in the new girl at work, Maggie’s curiosity for the wonders of love and life cause her to forsake the rules in search of answers. But meddling in mortal affairs has consequences that Maggie could never have imagined…”
Mark your calendar, invite all your family and friends, and join us for fun, food and literature.
I was thrilled to get to speak with the Southeast Region Library’s Mystery Discussion group about The Land of Look Behind. I attempted to stream the event on Facebook Live with a few hiccups but here is the video from our discussion. Thank you again to all who came and watch online.
I am thrilled to be meeting with the Maricopa County Southeast Regional Library Mystery Book Discussion Group, Thursday August 11, 2016 at 7PM. Please come and join me for a fun time and an exciting and illuminating discussion about The Land of Look Behind. Register below (it’s FREE!). Please and thank you.
Chances are if you’re reading this you are A) my mother or B) an author interested in having a successful book signing. To the former I say, “Mom, you can stop reading. Also, your chocolate chip muffins were on point as usual.” To the latter, I hope you find this an informative and valuable use of your precious “non-writing” time.
Before I get into the details I’ve got to cover one critically important thing. You have to forget that you are an author and this is your book baby that you spent months and years birthing into the wide world of publishing. You are and it is, but nobody cares. At a book signing, especially for first time or little known authors, you are a salesman and your book is your product. I’ll give you a moment to let the bile settle back into your stomach. Ready? Is it okay to continue? Good. In a bookstore at a book signing you have an amazing chance to reach real live readers and let them know about your book; the more you embrace that the more successful you will be. Think of yourself as a glorified sign spinner pointing the way to an amazing story you want to share. Are you going to be okay? Suppress the gag. Suppress it. It’ll be fine. You’ll be all right. There you go. Shall I proceed? Okay then.
Here are ten things I learned on my very first book tour (because everybody loves a top ten).
- Look presentable. The shut-in reclusive author vibe may have helped you complete your novel but the bookstore and its patrons probably won’t respond to the bedhead hair bun or the hobo beard and uncombed quaff. You don’t have to rock a pant suit or find a tweed coat with patches on the sleeves but you do want to dress for success as they say. And this advice is coming from the guy who tried to convince his wife that wearing his pajamas to a book signing could become his hook, you know, “Hey, that’s the author who wears his pajamas in public.” In hindsight I’m glad I listened to her. Book signings are like dating, it’s probably best to keep your eccentricities to a minimum. Although if anybody has pulled it off let me know in the comments below so I can revisit the fedora conversation with my wife/fashion critic.
- Smile. From the moment you arrive you should be the happiest person in the world to be there. Like I said, this is your chance to talk with readers, real live people who enjoy books. You know, books, like the one you’ve written. A book signing is not a chore or a hassle, it’s an opportunity. Everyone you meet should receive a warm greeting; from the staff (who are your best friends, by the way) to every living breathing soul you meet. Remember they are all potential readers.
- Stand. There are several benefits to this, the first of which is it makes No. 5 a lot easier (but we’ll get to that). At most book signings you’ll be provided a table and a chair. The temptation is to sit in the chair behind the table. Resist, don’t do it. Stand up and remember to smile. I use the chair as a reward. I only sit down when I’m signing a copy. No signing, no sitting. I know signings can last for hours and that can be daunting but I promise nothing feels better than when you settle into that chair and write your name in the copy of your book that they’re gonna take home.
- Have something to look at. You know, besides a standing, smiling author. I have a 20×30 foam board of my book cover. Everyone knows that most people actually do judge a book by its cover so that’s something you’ll want to display prominently. I’ve seen banners, table hangers and even balloons. Have something that will draw the eye and set you apart from the rest of the store. You’ll have a stack of books but there are books everywhere, you need to stand out. Once they pause or look your way employ numbers 2 and 5.
- Engage. Now that you are standing and smiling you need to engage. Chances are the majority of people did not know you were going to be there and, even if they did, you might not be the exclusive reason they came to the store that day. You need to engage them. And unless they are impressed with your standing ability or you have an otherworldly talent for smiling that means you are going to have to say something that will get them to talk with you. “Hello” is a good start but you are going to have to bring a bit more unless you just want to exchange greeting with strangers for two hours. I like to ask them a question or comment on something they are carrying or looking at. It can be anything really. Although, I caution that you might want to be careful about walking up to a woman you don’t know leaning on the bookshelf and asking if she likes mystery. You can get some funny looks that way, uh, I mean, that’s what I’ve heard.
- Have something to say. This is crucial. You can knock 1-5 out of the park but it’s all for naught if you can’t briefly and succinctly describe your story/characters to them. Thankfully I learned this lesson beforehand. I was having lunch with a fellow author, Randy Lindsay, and he asked me to tell him about my book. I fumbled and stammered and started rambling about backstories and setup and I watched as his eyes glazed over. He then told me I needed to come up with a pitch. Not a synopsis or a book report but a short pitch that would give readers a taste of what to expect and a reason to care. It’s important that this isn’t overly complicated. You know your story is good and hopefully they’ll find out but when they stop and ask “What’s your book about?” they are really asking “Why should I care?”
- Have something to give. A bookmark, a business card, a poem, an excerpt from the book, something you can hand out in a hurry. Something they can take with them. Ideally this will have information about yourself, your book, your website or how to find you on social media. Remember this is an opportunity to meet the readers and for them to meet you. The reality though is they might already have an armful of books or a shelf full at home. They might not be the kind of person who decides on the spot and needs time to think it over. Give them something to leave with so they’ll remember that presentable, standing, smiling, engaging author who had something to look at and something to say once they’ve returned home.
- Freebies. You might argue that this could be looped in with ‘Have something to give.’ well it could but I’m trying to get to ten, so sue me. Freebies can be completely unrelated to you or your book. Have candy or popcorn or maybe a raffle for a copy of a previous work. Freebies are another good way to entice people to talk with you and a great way to engage with readers. Don’t have any expectations that your freebies will lead to book sales, because often they will be gobbled up by children or a window shopper with a sweet tooth. It’s just a nice gesture to passersby.
- Bring your own writing utensil. Along with a table and chair, most booksellers will offer you a pen to sign with. While I appreciate the thought I always bring my own pen, one that I am comfortable writing with and trust to have plenty of ink, glide smoothly and not leak. Do yourself a favor, spring for a couple of nice pens and always bring them with you.
- Be grateful. When someone stops and talks with you, thank them and wish them well even if they aren’t interested in your book. Remember your best friends (the staff)? Thank them for hosting you and taking care of you while you were there. Send a note to the manager or owner after you leave and let them know how grateful you are for the opportunity to meet with them their readers. You will never be sorry for being grateful and you’ll never know what it might mean to the person receiving gratitude. Think about the last time anybody thanked you for anything.
So that’s it. You do those ten things and you just had a successful book signing regardless of how many books you signed. You’re welcome.
After a truly beautiful evening with friends and family at The Land of Look Behind launch party I struck out into the cold world, armed with my poster and some business cards on a local book tour to promote my book to the masses.
I had no idea if any among the throngs of strangers would be interested in my book and feared they might even be annoyed by my presence. To my great joy and surprise I started off with a bang and a sell out at Costco in Gilbert.
Then I got really nervous at the thought of following that up. I had to wait nearly a week for my next signing and in the days between I reset my own personal bar back to “Just not zero”. If I could sign just one copy then I’d be happy. Well the day came and I walked into my local B&N to find a table with my book and a picture of myself. Kirsten, the wonderful CRM, set me up with a drink and wished me luck.
I stood at the front of the store and smiled at everyone who entered until at last someone thought my book sounded interesting and I avoided the shut out. A few friends even dropped by for me to sign their pre-purchased copies. Before the evening was through I had hit double digits and only five copies were left.
I signed the remaining copies, breathed a sigh of relief, and returned home to wait another long week till the next signing.
Back at Costco, this time in Mesa, I found a very busy and crowded super store filled with a hurried and bustling Friday afternoon crowd and began to doubt again if anyone’s interest would be piqued by my presence. I was setup with a table near the books and left alone again.
“Just not zero” was quickly dispelled as several customers slowed in front of my sign and asked about my story. Copy after copy vanished and before I knew it two hours had passed and I had to run to a Live Q&A with Jorie Loves a Story.
After a good night’s sleep I awoke to a new day and another signing at Barnes & Noble. This time it was a marathon five hour schedule.
I arrived at the store and rode the escalator to the top where I was greeted by a table full of books and my own face smiling back at me. With several signings under my belt I thought I knew what to expect and was confident I could exceed my low bar of “Just not zero” but tucked between cookbooks and health & fitness I wasn’t sure how many people would stop and talk to a novice novelist.
I was thrilled as person after person ascended the moving staircase and smiled warmly at the nervous author behind his mystery laden table. Some good friends stopped by too which made the day all the more memorable. Just a few hours in and I was down to my last copy.
Before Masha, another wonderful CRM, could even get downstairs to make the announcement that I had just one copy left I had sold out.
As I was tweeting the wonderful news I even had a good friend of mine appear at the top of the escalator who had come to get an autographed copy.
We slunk downstairs for a clandestine signing, where I kept a couple of extra copies in the trunk for just such an occasion. So pretty much I’m calling it a sell out +1. All and all it was a successful first leg of my book tour and believe it or not I’m looking forward to doing it again. #JustNotZero