Monday, August 31, 2009
On July 7th I blogged about the plans for my book launch party for The Belly Button Fairy. I received a number of emails from authors who thought I was going a bit too far and spending a bit too much. Today I'll tell you how it all turned out.
On Saturday, the day of the event, we(my husband, my illustrator and I) arrived at Barnes & Noble an hour before the event was to begin. We were delighted to see that little fairies had already begun to arrive. We had enlisted a few friends and some of our grandchildren as helpers. Together we covered the tables with sparkly tablecloths, assembled the give-aways, and set up the cakes, our book posters, the microphone and the illustrator's easel. In the meantime, the face painter and craft person were busy getting ready.
I had distributed approximately 1200 invitations, and a little more than 350 people showed up. If my math is correct, that's about 25%. Not bad. I'm not sure of the exact final book count, however there were well over 200 of my books sold that day. My illustrator (Mark Wayne Adams) and I signed books for 2-1/2 hours. I was so happy to have a sore hand! The kids were all happy. Their faces were painted, their tummies were filled with cake, and they were happily clasping the new wands they had made and the new books they had purchased. The parents were happy because the kids were happy (and busy).
Was it worth the time and dollars that it took to create this event? You be the judge.
Remember the movie line - "If you build it they will come?" My advice: "If you do the work they will come."
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I am so happy to share my new video trailer with you! Trailertothestars.com did an excellent job!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Along with the hoopla surrounding the opening of the movie Julie and Julia, I am feeling a new respect for one of the true queens of cooking. Her great book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking was, in fact, the first cookbook I purchased as a new bride in 1963. It’s surprising to find out that this revered book was rejected by several publishers before it was finally published in 1961 by Knopf.
It’s also no surprise to find that many other successful authors received their share of the dreaded rejection letters before finding someone who believed in their books. One of those famous authors is John Grisham, who was reportedly rejected by a dozen publishers before his career was launched. (Who’s crying now?) Then there are J.K. Rowling’s famous Harry Potter books which were also rejected by a number of large publishers. Add to the list the authors Stephen King, George Orwell, William Faulkner and Irving Stone. Even The Diary of Anne Frank received its share of rejections.
It’s never fun being rejected. My reaction when I received my first rejection notice was to throw myself a pity party and eats lots of chocolate. After two days, I had to actually pick myself up from my bed, shove the chocolate wrappers aside, slap myself across the face and say, “I’ll show them!” One of the keys for me has been to remember that “Success is the best revenge!” I had to understand what I was doing, do it well, keep my eye on the goal and never give up. And, through it all, I had to promise myself that I would at least try to enjoy myself.
I consider each of my rejection slips as a badge of honor, a ticket to the world of writing, a promise of things to come. Show me an author who has never received a rejection slip and I’ll show you someone who still has a lot of living to do.
As Julia would say, “Bon Apetit!”
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Does the word “storytime” conjure up happy memories for you? Are you lucky enough to remember the warm feeling of being in the library, surrounded by smiling children and hundreds and hundreds of books? Maybe you were nestled in your mother’s lap. Or maybe you were feeling brave enough to venture a few feet away to sit with children you didn’t even know. Do you remember the “library lady”, with her warm smile and sing-song voice? Do you remember how she held the book to the side while she read, showing you the pictures and at the same time somehow managing to read the words? Did you practice reading to your stuffed animals at home, trying to hold the book at just the right angle?
Now, I don’t want to burst your bubble, however, as an author I visit lots of storytimes. I’d like to add a few new scenarios to your memories – some scenes that are only within the reader’s line of vision. There are storytime “happenings” that you just might have missed. For instance, just yesterday, while I was reading one of my fairy books, a man and his son were actually on the floor having a wrestling match over a toy truck that the child just wanted to hold onto while he listened to the story. Sadly, papa said “no!” Then there were the 2 little girls who spent the entire hour hitting each other over the head with plastic flowers that they had brought from home. Add to that the two nannies who I spotted sound asleep in the front row while their little charges wandered aimlessly around the room. Oh yes, and there was also an entire pre-school class who came to storytime, proudly carrying the fairy wands they had just made in class. Wands were waving, kids were being poked, and all I could hear was my mother’s voice in my head saying, “Stop that before you poke someone’s eyes out!” And, it’s funny how there always seems to be at least one “Cheerio Kid” at each storytime because after each event, the floor is always dotted with crushed cereal.
I hope you don’t get me wrong. I love reading to children. I love the look in their eyes as they imagine the world they are hearing about. The view from the front of the room just adds character and excitement to each event.
Please continue to support storytimes at your local library.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
If your first reaction to this question is, “Huh? I didn’t know you should invite people to the party,” then listen up. If you have planned the party well (see my post dated July 7), then it would really be a shame if no one showed up.
Yesterday an author friend of mine told me that she never sends out actual invitations to her launch parties or bookstore events. She relies on her press releases to do the job. No, no, no. That's not enough.
The goal is to invite, invite, invite.
The first thing to do is create a colorful invitation. The many online printing sites make this easy and affordable. I guarantee that you will have a more positive reaction to professional looking invitations than to boring run-of-the-mill flyers. If you plan ahead, you will be able to take advantage of the promotions and coupons that the online companies always offer.
The number of invitations needed depends on how big you can think. A print run of about 1200 invitations is an impressive, yet reachable, goal if you work at it. Today I invited an entire Brownie troop to my upcoming launch party. That was 30 down and 1170 left to go! Then I visited a day camp at my local community college and handed out 200 more. That brings me to 230 down and only 970 to go. Uh oh, I hope I don’t run out.
Use the internet to your advantage. Today I emailed a copy of my invitation to a teacher friend of mine and asked her to forward it to the other teachers in her school, as well as to her students. She was happy to do so. I will send the same request to a friend who belongs to a large Mom's club and to all of my friends,
both the real life and the online social networking ones.
For a children’s event, think of schools, camps, daycare centers, dance classes, scouts, etc. For other genres, ask yourself exactly who you think will be interested in your book. Then ask yourself where these people shop, eat, have meetings or just hang out? Think of specific places to promote to your particular niche market. Think of shops, organizations, colleges, libraries, book clubs, etc.
And, of course, don’t forget the media. Be sure to send invitations to the newspaper reporters in your area. A great personal touch is to locate the reporters’ names online and hand-deliver the invitations. Even if only one reporter shows up, the result will often be an article with some free publicity.
Remember = You Are Invited To A Party – everyone who reads this blog is invited to my book launch party for The Belly Button Fairy on August 29th at 11 AM – Barnes & Noble – Bel Air, MD – Come for Storytime, Gifts, Prizes and Cake - Meet the author and the illustrator - Fairy costumes are welcome!