September 20, 2017

Thinking Out of the Box for a Book Signing

What do I know about doing a book signing?  Not a whole lot.  So, I wanted to learn what makes a hugely successful author event.

I attended a handful of book signings to see how others actually went about it.  Quite simply, there was a table, the books, and a chair for the author. Maybe a poster of the book. Nothing more.

But I wanted more.

My book signing is scheduled for this coming Sunday.  I want it to attract people—not have them walk past table without picking up a book.  I've seen that happen to others, and it seemed painful.

So...I did some thinking out of the box.  What does that entail?

Pizzazz and puppies!  Since Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell is about a little girl and the rescue dog that changed her life, I've planned to have:

brightly-colored dog water bowls overflowing with bookmarks, magnets, and cookies
helium balloons with paw prints floating over the table
a doggy mug holding paw print pencils
a plush toy puppy that looks like Maggie's dog

For an extra cute-factor and special treat, Woodford Humane Society will be bringing puppies and kittens that are looking for forever homes.

And then, there's Charlie, my friend's rescue dog who will be making an appearance.  After all, he's the inspiration for the story!

This book signing has to be more than a table, a chair and some books.  It has to shout: Come on over and check out the book, the cool gifts, and the sweet animals.

As you've probably figured out, the planning has taken months.  But it's been a joyful process that required some thinking out of the box.  In a few days (Sept 24th to be exact!) we shall see.  I'm hoping pizzazz and puppies will make this book signing a huge success.




     

September 15, 2017

No One Ever Told Me

Dear Aspiring Writer,

No one ever told me that publishing a children's picture book would be hard work.  It took me completely by surprise.

Most writers know that everything about writing is challenging...

coming up with a story idea

the editing

crafting query letters

and submitting,

the jealousy that creeps in when you compare yourself to published writers,

the rejections.

If we are able to work through all of that and stay positive and determined, good things will happen. And before you know it, your book will get published and you'll be signing a contract. But when it happens...HOLD ON.  The roller coaster ride of even more hard work begins.

After signing with a publisher, you have to start thinking about how you are going to market your book.  If you publish with a mid-size publisher or a Big Five publisher, they will do a lot of the publicity for you.  Still, you'll need to market the book some.  And if you go with a small press like I have, you will have even more work to do because small presses don't have the resources to promote writers like the bigger publishing houses.

Sure, it seems glamorous to publish a book.  But there's a lot to be done after your book is released. That's why writers should think about marketing NOW, before you sign a contract. Begin to develop your platform.  Get on social media and join Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Develop a website. You'll be glad you did because you will be getting your name out there and creating a fan base.

Trying to figure this whole marketing thing out is daunting, but if you can take care of some of the work ahead of time, you won't feel so frenzied.  That way, many months before your book is released, you can spend time organizing book signings, designing bookmarks, sending out email blast announcements and doing other creative things needed to spread the word.

Marketing is amazingly time-consuming.  The nice thing is, you can google and research marketing a children's book to find out how others went about it.  Start thinking about what you can do now, so you won't be taken by surprise when it comes time to promote your work.

Sincerely yours,
Randi Lynn









September 1, 2017

Animal Characters

Have you ever used animals as the main characters in your stories?  If not—why not? Children love stories about animals.

If you don't know where to start, do Google search for "fascinating animals,"  You may find creatures worthy of starring in your stories.  That's how I found Cholla.  Cholla was a horse that could hold a brush in his mouth and paint pictures.  In fact, his owner entered one of his paintings in an international art contest and it won a prize.  My story  Cholla, the True Story of an Artsy Horse is based on a real horse and a true event.

Besides searching for unique animals online, you may run across some interesting creatures while you're traveling or on vacation.  Keep your eyes open and you may come across an interesting animal to write about.  Once when my husband and I were in New Orleans, we saw a dog do funny tricks for bystanders in Jackson Square.

Sometimes pets in your own neighborhood may inspire you.  We have a neighbor that owns a potbelly pig as a pet.  Our next-door neighbors have three chickens, two dogs and a cat. Raccoons and opossums have visited our patio.  A red-tailed hawk sometimes perches on our deck.

Perhaps a friend or a relative has an adorable or an unusual pet that you could use as basis for a new character.  A good friend of my rescued a lovable dog named Charlie (his gorgeous picture is to the right), and he is the inspiration for Maggie's dog in my upcoming book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.

You don't have to look far to find an animal that can be used as a character in one of your stories. Search the Internet for interesting animals.  Take a look in your own neighborhood. Write about a pet. Children will love a story about an amazing animal character.


For more on Maggie, check out: