The Ebb & Flow of Writing

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The mountains are back. They disappear every spring when tall trees explode with foliage, then reappear in the fall, slowly, day by day as leaves, tired from months waving in the hot summer sun, cascade down quilting the ground with reds, yellows, and browns.

October South Mountains View
While watching this daily transformation from my office window in my log home in the North Carolina Mountains, I’m reminded of the ebb and flow of all living things, even the ebb and flow of my writing life. One minute my mind bursts forth with ideas coming at me so fast my fingers stumble over the keys, while other times I sit and stare wondering if I’ll ever have an original thought again. One moment my current WIP consumes me. It’s all I can think about. When it’s done, finished and ready to submit, there’s a let-down that often affects my ability to move forward to the next project, at least for a little while. 

It's the letting go, somewhat akin to sending your baby off to kindergarten or to college, that puts you in a tailspin. Perhaps that’s a little melodramatic but if you’re a writer you understand that when you spend hours upon hours with certain characters in certain locations, close ties develop. These characters become real, are real, at least to you.

The same is true when writing nonfiction. You become close to certain researchers or interviewees or people important to helping get the information straight, the story right. The almost daily contact fosters relationships beyond the facts of the story as conversation drifts to more personal subjects, family and daily struggles. You don't intend it but friendships develop after days of contact. When the manuscript is finished, the book out, daily contact ceases.

I'm feeling a little of that right now--the separation from daily contact. My nonfiction is out and I'm missing multiple folks who helped me along the way; folks from my high school (the book is about an event that happened there) and folks from Virginia, where my story ends; folks I've known for years and those who are new but feel as if they've been friends for years.

November South Mountains View
Letting go is hard. But just as trees release the leaves with the changing seasons, so to we must release our work, at first to the agent or editor or publisher and then to the world so our book can do its job inspiring, teaching, influencing and entertaining readers.

That's what being a writer is all about.

Have you ever had trouble letting go when you've finished a manuscript or a book? I'd love to hear your story.


Website: www.arliebooks.comBlog: http://sandrawarrenwrites.blogspot.comTwitter:

The Perfect Venue

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Is there a "perfect" venue for holding a book launch or autograph signing? I don't think so. But you can find a unique place if you think outside the box.

Gone are the days when a bookstore is where you go to sign books. Today, authors need to be creative, right from the start, when getting the word out. I'm not talking to the 1/2 of 1% of author folks who are published with huge advances and publicists at their disposal. I'm talking about the rest of us, the 99% who have to be creative to keep our books bringing in the sales numbers.

So think outside the box.

The location that comes to mind first and foremost is a bookstore or a library. For your particular book those choices might just be the best, but maybe not.

McDowell Public Library 
I had my previous book signing in a library. Their meeting room is downstairs in the back of the children's room. It should have been a perfect spot because of the children's section, but on the day of my signing only a couple of families came to the library. If it hadn't been for a group of friends and neighbors, it would have been a total disaster.

My best book signings have been in a donut shop in Michigan, Marge's Donut Den. Yes, you heard me right. A donut shop. I've been privileged to have held three there. The first one was for my children's book, Arlie the Alligator. That day I sold $1500 in books & CD's in about three hours time.

The next book signing held at Marge's Donut Den, was for two biographies. I didn't sell $1500 but sales did come close.

In September I held my third book launch/book signing at Marge's. We Bought a WWII Bomber. Approximately sixty people attended the presentation but well over a hundred came and went throughout the launch. They all bought at least one book, with some buying more than one.

The proprietor of Marge's Donut Den in Wyoming, Michigan is a book lover as well as an exceptional donut baker. She has two large events rooms where she holds poetry readings, book discussions, writing and art classes as well as other events. It's safe to say there are few donut shops around like hers.

Marge's Donut Den Events Room - Wyoming, MI
Last week, I held a North Carolina book launch for We Bought a WWII Bomber, at a local arts association that has a storefront presence right on Main Street in the town near where I live. From the street it appears to be a store that sells local crafts from talented artists, but inside is a large space for small receptions and a theater that seats about one hundred people.

MACA - McDowell Arts Council Association
I was quite taken aback when I arrived and saw about a dozen hand-crafted, beautifully made quilts hanging from the ceiling in the very room I thought I had contracted to use. At that point there was nothing I could do but setup as best I could on the tables that I had requested in advance. As it turned out, the quilts provided an interesting backdrop for the event. Folks off the street could come in, vote for a quilt, look at the crafts and buy a book. It turned out to be okay even though numbers in attendance could have been much, much better. It was noted that everyone who attended bought a book and several bought more than one, so the percentages associated with sales vs attendance were high.

We tend to measure the success of a book launch or autograph signing by the numbers in attendance and numbers of books sold. Of course we want to be able to autograph many, but success doesn't always come that way. The poorest attended just might be the most successful because you never know if that one person who comes and loves what you've got to say has the connections or means to get the word out or offer you an opportunity to speak at a much larger venue. That one person might have the connections to make your book and your career soar.

So think outside the box. What is your book about? Is there a location in it you might capitalize on? A famous place? A farm or park? One writer friend wrote about an historic school that had been renovated, so her book signing was in that school. Think about organizations that may tie into something that happens in the book. Offer to give a percentage of sales as a donation.

Also, consider the location and the type of room. Is it off the beaten path or in an area that might draw walk-in or walk-by traffic? Will the room accommodate a crowd comfortably?

Think also about doing a presentation. People are curious about writers. They love to hear about the process more than having your read a section out of your book--where your ideas come from and how you put the story together. Did you have to do research? How long did it take you? That kind of stuff. Presentations excite readers to purchase.

There are many places to hold a book launch so think outside the box and find a unique venue to show your book off to its finest.

What is the most unique place you've hosted a book launch or been to a book launch? I'd love to know.

Share your unique place in the COMMENT box and I'll put your name into a hat for a copy of We Bought a WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of a Michigan High School, a B-17 bomber & The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Book Launch: The New Autograph Party

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"When is your Book Launch? You're having one aren't you?"

That is the question I was continually asked after the arrival of my latest book, an adult non-fiction about students in a Michigan high school who sold War Bonds and War Loan Stamps and bought a B-17 bomber during World War II. The book generated a great deal of interest and multiple events in Michigan and Virginia, places pertinent to the story, so I wasn't going to do anything else in North Carolina, where I live...until the question kept coming up.

Self-promotion, especially of my own books, doesn't come easy and I suspect I'm not alone. Hand me someone else's book and I can sell it without blinking an eye. But my own, well, that's another story.

In my mind there's a fine line between promoting your work, as in getting the word out, and selling it or pushing people to buy. It takes skill to know the difference and to master the art of promoting without seeming pushy. For some this comes naturally. For me, not so much. In my mind, a Book Launch balances on that fine line.

The very idea of a Book Launch, today's word for an Autograph Party, is to get the word out so that people will want to purchase your book, after all what will you sign if not your book? It would be crazy to hold a Book Launch without having copies to sell on-hand. And that's the problem I have with them. I don't want people to feel obligated to purchase. I want them to come and listen to the presentation and then decide whether or not they are interested enough to make a purchase.

I've given in to the idea and planned a Book Launch. To celebrate the launch and my birthday, I'm offering the Kindle version of the book for FREE on Amazon, all day Saturday, October 17th and Sunday the 18th. So you don't have to purchase the book. You can get it for FREE.

Here are the particulars if you'd like to attend in-person:

"We Bought A WWII Bomber" Book Launch
Saturday - October 17th
Time: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (Presentation at 1:30 pm)
Where: MACA (McDowell Arts Council Association)
           50 South Main Street
           Marion, NC 28752

I've made plans;
Bookmarks & postcards to hand out. Check!
Signs and letters sent. Check!
Refreshments ordered. Check!
Water bottle labels made and taped on bottles. Check!
Color coordinated plates, napkins & forks. Check!
Cake ordered with a B-17 bomber &a book cover on it. Check!
PowerPoint Presentation ready. Check!
Digital projector packed. Check!
Multiple copies of the book ordered. Check!

All seems to be ready.

So come if you can. I'd love to share this amazing story of patriotism and support of our American troops during WWII, with you.

FREE on Kindle - October 17th & 18th!

We Bought A WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of a Michigan High School, a B-17 Bomber & The Blue Ridge Parkway

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About Me

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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