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