January 15, 2018

Advice on Planning an Author Event

Last fall, a new book store opened in my hometown, Lexington, Kentucky.  I went to the grand opening and was totally impressed.  Brier Books is located in a convenient area close to downtown.  When you go inside, you feel like you've found a special place for books.  The interior is warm and bright and the layout of the building invites you from room to room.

At the grand opening, the co-owner and I chatted about the possibility of having an author event.  She was interested!  Several months later we met to discuss the details. After an hour, we had laid the groundwork for "Happy Tails Craft and Story Time."

Listed below are suggestions that can help you plan an author event, too.
  • Meet with the owner at the bookstore or for coffee.
  • Wait on business chat. Get to know the owner.
  • Get down to business. Chose a date and time.
  • Come up with a catchy title for the event.
  • Partner with a nonprofit organization and donate part of the proceeds.
  • Communicate with the manager of non-profit to decide her role.
  • Discuss an advertising plan.
  • Design an eye-catching invitation for social media and an email list.
  • Discuss book ordering.
  • Determine the percentage of proceeds that will be donated.
  • Find out about the space and set-up arrangements.
  • Plan the details of the event (reading, signing, games, craft)

Begin working on your plan several months in advance.  Gather art materials and have them prepped in such as way as to help kids do the craft easily.  Purchase wipes for clean-up, pens for signing your book, and have bookmarks or other giveaways.

When you plan in advance and spread the word, you should have a significant turn-out.  The most important thing to know is, this event is for the book store, the non-profit, and for kids.  It's not about how many books you can sell (though that's always on an author's mind).  Put your effort and heart into meeting your fans.  Allow them to get to know you and your book and your author event will be an amazing success.

January 4, 2018

All the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise*

I like to write in the study during the day when it’s peaceful and quiet.  Most of the time, I’m surrounded by silence.  The only sound is the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard or the purring of Ozzie, our cat.  Throughout the day there may be a few noises—the ticking of a clock or the humming of the clothes dryer.  But these sounds don’t interfere with my writing.  It’s the outside noises that put my writing to the test.    

For every season there is a noise.  During the fall, leaf blowers blast leaves into piles. In winter, snow plows rumble down the street.  When spring arrives, spray-cleaners drone on and on, driving dirt from decks and house siding.  Throughout the summer, lawn mowers roar and children scream.  

So you say, lighten up.  You're too sensitive.  Deal with it!

But noise distracts me.  My brain stops working.  My fingers freeze.  My muse packs up, taking inspiration and ideas along with her.  There’s no other choice.  I’ve got to stop writing until the outside world calms down.

I long for peace and quiet, but the fact is I can’t change my neighbors’ habits.   Noise happens.  (I just wish it didn’t happen while I write).  Meanwhile, my picture book manuscript stares at me.  I can almost hear it whisper, “Come back.”     

But it's useless.  I consider turning off the computer.  Maybe writing isn’t for me.  With a sigh of resignation, I gaze out the window at kids riding bikes up and down the sidewalk.  Then, I glance around the study and look upward.  The ceiling fan catches my eye.  The study is stuffy, so with a flick of a switch I turn it on.  

Suddenly, the fan begins to drown out the noise.  A gentle calmness washes over me.  I am able to return to my manuscript, to the sentences that need revising.  The words are powerful.  Like magic, they cast spell over me, and I am writing because writing IS for me.  My fingers click on the keyboard, Ozzie purrs, and the outside noises get dim and slowly fade away.

Check out Ozzie's cute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLvQ5cCVQPw&t=5s
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
All the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise previously published in the Creativity Connection, 2005.