Barnes & Noble and Bookstock

What a crazy time these last several days have been, running around advertising, trying to get everything together for the big events, and trying not to get too stressed out over them.

Barnes & Noble was up first on Friday night from 6 to 7 pm. IMG_4551A

I had a case of nerves ahead of time and stressed over last-minute things. Once the event started, though, I calmed down. About a dozen people came throughout the event, all friends and family (thank you!!!), which gave it a much more relaxed atmosphere and helped me not to be as nervous. I sold 8 books, and it was fun signing them. The store wasn’t busy, and I don’t think anyone came to the Marvel Fangirl event that was supposed to run after my event. It was a nice night weather-wise, so I imagine most people were out enjoying it. It may not have been a packed house, but it worked for me, getting my feet wet for the first time. It was a great experience.

IMG_4552A

When setting up the event, I had the choice of sitting near the front of the store at a table and just being available to sign books or using the event space on the second floor to have a book discussion, in addition to the book signing. The event space was an open space on one side of the selling floor with a podium and chairs set up for an audience. I decided to go with the latter and have the discussion. I’ve heard that straight book signings can be awkward, and I didn’t want anyone to feel pressured into buying my book. I also thought a discussion would be a better way to engage potential readers and get them interested in the book. I don’t know if it was the right choice or not, but it seemed like the right one at the time.

 

BookstockAd_July2015The Bookstock Literary Festival was another interesting experience, even though I didn’t sell any books. I manned the League of VT Writers table to promote books by League members, including my own. Part of the reason for no sales, I think, was the location of the table. The festival organizers had canopy tents set up along a walking path on the green. The tables that fronted the walkway got a lot of business, but those around the sides didn’t get as much traffic. The LVW table was on the side and also toward the back, close to the used book sale tent. By the time the people got to our end of the green, they saw the big “Book Sale” sign and made a beeline for that tent. In their defense, I probably would have done the same thing, though I would have gone back and checked out the places I’d missed afterward. Oh, well. I’ll have some good feedback to give them about the experience, anyway.

On to the next event!

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

League of VT Writers Meeting Recap and Barnes & Noble Prep

I really enjoyed the League of VT Writers “Into the Words” Retreat and Member Showcase I attended last Saturday. The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont was just lovely, and the rain held off until right after the close of the meeting.

VT poet Jerry Johnson's restored schoolhouse home in Albany, VT Photo Credit: Jerry Johnson

VT poet Jerry Johnson’s restored schoolhouse home in Albany, VT
Photo Credit: Jerry Johnson

By the time I arrived and got my table set up with my book display, the meeting was already in full swing. Unfortunately, I missed the first round of seminars/workshops, but I still had three more sessions with four or five workshops each from which to choose. I brought my teen son with me, and he did a great job manning the table, so I could lose myself in a wonderful literary summer camp.

In “Blogging Boot Camp,” VT author J.P. (Joy) Choquette went over the basics of blogging, the various platforms, and how important social media is to a good marketing strategy. I learned there is a tool called a Website grader that will analyze your site and tell you what’s up to snuff and what needs work. Here are a couple of links that list several graders: https://blog.bufferapp.com/website-graders-content-scores and http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29274/HubSpot-Launches-Free-Marketing-Grader-Tool-to-Replace-Website-Grader.aspx. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I plan to at some point.

“Performance Techniques for Writers” with retired theater arts and public speaking teacher J.S. Grant was chock full of tips and tricks on how to prepare yourself for a public reading of your work. J.S. showed us muscle relaxation techniques, such as shoulder rolls and gentle neck stretches, and deep breathing techniques to help with nervousness and projecting your voice. Saying “me mo me mo…” and “fa-da-da-da” repeatedly is an old actors’ trick that helps loosen your lips and tongue.

J.S. was engaging and funny as she led us through these preparations and then had us practicing our articulation with tongue-twisters. I discovered that I am incapable of saying, “The sea ceaseth us and sufficeth us.” And spitting is good. It means you’re enunciating your “t’s” and “p’s” properly. One other great tip — if you are doing your reading in front of a microphone, always inhale through your mouth. If you inhale through your nose, everyone in the audience will hear it.

In the last workshop I attended, author M. Larose read from her YA fantasy novel, The Flower Eater. Keeping in mind what I had just learned, I thought she did a great job. Later, she and I swapped books with promises to read and review. I sold four books, in addition to the swap, and I also picked up a copy of Stella Rose, by Tammy Flanders Hetrick. She was the author I had observed at her Barnes & Noble book signing in May and later blogged about it HERE. It was fun meeting her (she had found my blog and commented on it), and we shared a laugh over it.

And speaking of Barnes & Noble, I’ve been contacting area newspapers and other media outlets and submitting press release info for my book signing event Friday evening. I wrote the release info with the who/what/where/etc. in three formats: bullet form, paragraph form, and as an ad, to fit each media’s requirements. I put up fliers around town. Don’t be afraid to ask about putting up fliers. You never know who will say yes. Besides the library, the local Hannaford grocery store put one up on their bulletin board right where everyone leaving the store can see it. Even the dentist I’ve been going to for years said they’d put one up for me.

I’ve also been getting my swag together. I have book cards, personalized pens (with book title and author name) from PenFactory.com, and I’m in the process of making cord necklaces with gold and silver sword charms, which I love. What’s really neat is that the swords fit into the hands of my Lego book characters. (I made Lego people that look like my three main characters.) Now if I could just figure out what I’m going to wear, I’ll be all set. 🙂

 LegoBookCharacters

BookCards

PensInBox

PensCloseUp

SwordCharms

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Celebrate the Small Things!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

It’s been another busy week in the book marketing and selling departments, and it’s going to be a busy weekend, too. Things I’m celebrating:

  1. I did a fun interview on Celine Jeanjean’s blog, Down the Rabbit Hole.
  2. I sold five books in 2 ½ hours at the local Farmer’s Market Craft Day! Whoo hoo! Three people paid cash, and two paid with credit/debit cards. The Square worked perfectly and was quick and easy to use. Thank you to everyone who suggested I get one!!
  3. I sent press release/calendar event info to the surrounding newspapers and put flyers up around town for the Barnes & Noble book signing coming up. I don’t know how many of the papers will actually include the info, but it was a good exercise in publicity.
  4. In a fit of madness, I called the local WCAX TV news station and got myself on their Books Over Breakfast program, which is a brief segment where the news person talks to authors about their books. It’s scheduled to air on August 5th at 6:55 AM. Eeep.
  5. On Saturday, I’ll be going to the League of VT Writers Summer Retreat and Member Showcase in Albany, VT, to attend some interesting workshops and hopefully sell more books.
  6. On Sunday, I’m taking my son, the NASCAR nut, to the Sprint Cup race in Loudon, NH, as an early birthday present. My daughter gets to spend the weekend with grandparents, and she’s excited about that.

I also enjoyed some lovely weather this week.

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Guest Interview on Celine Jeanjean’s Blog

Today I’m being interviewed by the fabulous Celine Jeanjean on her blog, Down the Rabbit Hole. The interview is part of her “What interesting things did you find while researching your book?” series. Hop on over to read about spooky swamps and having fun with swords. 🙂

Here’s the link:

https://celinejeanjean.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/an-interview-with-lori-maclaughlin/

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

L.G. Keltner’s A Silent Soliloquy Blog Tour!

L.G. Keltner is stopping by today on her blog tour to celebrate her new book, A Silent Soliloquy. Take it away, L.G.!

I’d like to thank Lori for letting me take over her blog today! While I’m here, I’d like to talk a little about my publishing journey.

It feels surreal that I’m finally doing this. The idea of self-publishing my work has been on my mind since I started blogging, but I kept chickening out. Sending A Silent Soliloquy out into the world feels a bit like walking outside naked during broad daylight, only a bit more legal.

I wrote A Silent Soliloquy and revised it multiple times. I was afraid to let anyone see it. Those who’d read my work said it was good, but the fact that I’d never gone through with publishing anything before intimidated me. It was one thing to share stories on my blog. The idea of preparing my manuscript for publication, sending it out beyond the friendly backyard that is my blog, and marketing it seemed downright daunting.

Then my husband read my book. He finished it in a matter of hours, then he proceeded to praise it. I know him. If he hadn’t really liked it, he would have told me it was good and left it at that. Instead he kept talking about it. He knew I’d been considering publishing it and that I would need cover art to make that happen, so he asked someone he knew to draw something up. I loved it, and before I knew it, the ball was rolling. I guess I just needed that extra nudge, and family support means everything.

Once I had that nudge, I studied what my fellow bloggers had done. I considered their advice. That’s crucial. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from those who’ve traveled this road before.

I got my book ready for Amazon. Having decided that I wanted as wide a distribution as possible, I decided not to enroll in KDP Select. The exclusivity requirement didn’t work for what I wanted to do. Who knows if that was a good decision or not? I guess I’ll see.

After that, I set up a print edition through CreateSpace, and I went on the fun journey of formatting it for Smashwords. Getting into the Premium Catalog is no easy task, but it’s a necessary one to reach the maximum possible audience. It was worth the effort I put into it.

Now here I am on the marketing leg of this journey. I’m engaging on this blog tour because it seems to work for other self-published writers, and I’m having fun with it so far.

*   *   *

Final Silent Soliloquy Cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

Length: 28,000 words

Cover Art: Devross

Release Date: July 6th, 2015

 Blurb:

TIPPIE was created to be a weapon. By all appearances, she’s an ordinary girl of 18, and she uses that to her advantage in her work for The Facility. What no one sees is that there’s another girl buried deep inside. She can’t speak or control the movements of the body she inhabits. As TIPPIE’s silent passenger, she can only observe. She uses the details she learns from TIPPIE’s work to reconstruct the stories of other people’s lives. It helps her feel a little more connected to the world she can only watch.

When TIPPIE’s work leads her to David, a young man with a haunted past and information that The Facility wants, TIPPIE uses her skills to earn his trust. The silent girl beneath the surface knows that TIPPIE is only going to hurt him, but she can’t help but feel for him. Those feelings only grow, but she knows all too well that TIPPIE’s work will soon come to an end.

Available here:  Amazon US  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  Smashwords

You can also add it on Goodreads.

 

photo L.G. Keltner spends most of her time trying to write while also cleaning up after her crazy but wonderful kids and hanging out with her husband. Her favorite genre of all time is science fiction, and she’s been trying to write novels since the age of six. Needless to say, those earliest attempts weren’t all that good.

Her non-writing hobbies include astronomy and playing Trivial Pursuit.

You can typically find L.G. lurking around her blog, on Twitter, or on her Facebook page.

 

 

Celebrate the Small Things!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

I’m celebrating big news this week. I scheduled a book-signing event at Barnes & Noble! It’s coming up on July 24th. Whoo hoo! I’m excited and nervous and wondering what on earth I’m going to wear. B & N is ordering my books to have on hand, and the event is listed on the store’s website: http://stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2776?page=1&size=10&month=Month&day=Day&type=all

How cool is that!!

I’ve also signed up for three more book events coming up: a local Farmer’s Market Craft Day on July 16th, the League of VT Writers Summer Retreat and Member Showcase in Albany, VT, on July 18th, and the Bookstock Literary Festival in Woodstock, VT, on July 25th. It’s going to be a crazy month.

More celebrations for the week — spending a Sunday afternoon swimming and visiting with good friends, cooling off at Sandbar beach on Monday, and celebrating IHOP’s birthday on Tuesday with 57-cent pancake stacks!

All in all, a pretty good week.

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Celebrate the Small Things!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

Some great things to celebrate this week, not the least of which is sunshine!! June was such a rainy month here that it hasn’t felt at all like summer.

My first book event last Sunday, The Craft of Small Publishing in Vermont at the River Arts Center, went well. It was a small venue, which was great for me for a first event. I wasn’t half as nervous as I thought I’d be, and I sold a book! Yay! I know one book doesn’t sound like much, but for me it was a success. I like to set small goals, so I’m less likely to be disappointed.

I visited Bear Pond Books in Stowe, VT, yesterday and dropped off two copies of my book for their shelves. Hooray for independent book stores!

We stopped at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory on the way home from Stowe and got ice cream cones to celebrate. I can personally attest to the fact that B & J’s salted caramel blondie ice cream is delicious!

Looking forward to the Fourth of July parade tomorrow and good times with friends at the fireworks. Happy Birthday, America!!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.