Category Archives: Book Promotion

Hot Chocolate Press Event this Saturday in Denver

HCP Bookbar

The hot ladies of Hot Chocolate Press will be at BookBar in Denver this Saturday!  There will be readings, giveaways, and activities involving  . . . marshmallows . . . of course. Dean K Miller, the hot guy of Hot Chocolate Press is unable to attend (no, this wasn’t our doing), but his books will be available for purchase at the event. If you can make it, we’d love to have you.

Bobbing on Sale

Bobbing for Watermelons by April J. Moore

Check it out: Bobbing for Watermelons is on sale at Amazon for $10.95 (Kindle: $5.99). Want to try before you buy? Read the first four chapters for free

SAVE THE DATE: On January 9th, I will be joined by my fellow Hot Chocolate Press authors at Bookbar in Denver for a night of readings, games, and giveaways. (We all decided I will talk about my melons.) I’ll post more info soon.

Have a great weekend.

News and a Giveaway

I really need to be better about consistently blogging, but lately, I’ve been putting everything I have to say in the YA I’m working on. You can catch me at The Writing Bug, however, every other Wednesday. But while I’m words-smithing away, the writing world keeps spinning, so here’s some newsworthy tidbits to pass along. Plus, I’m giving away a copy of Bobbing for Watermelons . . .

2015_Hot-Chocolate-Press-Library

My Bobbing publisher, Kerrie Flanagan of Hot Chocolate Press is at Patricia Stoltey’s blog today discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a small publisher. It’s a great interview, plus Kerrie is giving away a book, so head over and leave a comment.

The Water Holds No Scars

The Water Holds No Scars: Fly Fishing Stories of Rivers & Rejuvenation, edited by Dean K. Miller, is  now available from Tulip Tree Publishing. This is a compilation of essays from various authors about their healing experiences of fly fishing. Proceeds benefit the Platte Rivers Chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.  I’m anxiously awaiting my copy to arrive in the mail.

 

 

The Devil's Lament

I highly recommend Kenneth W. Harmon’s ebook, The Devil’s Lament. Ken is a longtime member of my critique group and this book has always been one of my favorites of his. He set is aside for a few years, so I was thrilled when he finally decided to shop it. It didn’t take long for his publisher, Winlock Press to snag it. “It is 1932. The world has turned to dust. Lucifer stills walks among us, testing the faithful at every turn. Then he discovers the reincarnation of Eve in a Dust Bowl revival tent … and their ancient passion threatens the world again. When Lucifer and Eve were together in Eden, their relationship changed the fate of humanity.” An excellent read.

 

NCW Top of the Mountain Book AwardThe 2016 Top of the Mountain Book Award is underway. Deadline is February 1, 2016, but wouldn’t it be great to get your submission in before the craziness of the holidays? Top prize is $1,000 given in two categories: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction. Fiction entries tend to outnumber the nonfiction ones, so please pass along the contest to all your memoir writers!

Bobbing for Watermelons by April J. Moore

Finally, what  you’ve all been waiting for, right? I’m giving away a copy of Bobbing for Watermelons to one (outrageously) lucky and (obviously) smart reader. Just leave a comment (preferably a nice one) by next Monday, the 7th at midnight, PST. Open to U.S. residents only.

And if you read any of these books I mentioned (or any book for that matter) leave an honest review on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and/or Goodreads. It helps authors out a great deal, especially considering there are roughly 750,000 books published a year!

Happy reading!

True Murder Podcast

True Murder PodcastCheck out my interview with Dan Zupansky of True Murder podcast where I discuss Folsom’s 93. You’ll hear that my brain cut out quite a bit and that my favorite words are “um” and “and.” Regardless, it was fun and it’s a great podcast if you like true crime.

Between the Pages This Sunday Night

KRFC Between The Pages -- April J. Moore

 

This Sunday, from 6-7 p.m., Between the Pages, a radio show featuring author readings, news, and music, makes its debut and I get to be a guest! The show is hosted by funnyman, Rich Keller of Wooden Pants Publishing, and I’ll be joined by Northern Colorado Writers Director and founder of Hot Chocolate Press, Kerrie Flanagan. I get to talk about Folsom’s 93 and read from my latest book, Bobbing for Watermelons. Kerrie will fill us in on all the latest industry news and events, so hopefully, you can tune in . . . and given it’s a live show, hopefully, I don’t screw up. But there’s always that chance and you won’t want to miss it. Check out Between the Pages on Facebook and give ’em a Like; they’re good folks. 

E is for Exposure


E is for Exposure, 2015 A to Z Challenge -- April J. MooreTo sell books, exposure is crucial. But what’s the right exposure? And where do you find it? How do you avoid over-exposure? Hell if I know; I’m still trying to figure it out. For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents:

Attend writer’s conferences. These are great places to network and get noticed. If you’re an expert in your field, or have a great workshop idea, many conferences offer opportunities to submit a proposal for teaching a workshop or doing a presentation.

Blog. I know, some of you hate blogging and I get it. You don’t have to do it, but it is a good way to showcase your writing chops. I love this post by Chuck Wendig who takes a hysterical look at whether or not you should blog. I do it because I enjoy it. I might say stupid things every now and again, but I really do try to be helpful and maybe even entertain here and there.

Offer free stuff. Many authors will tell you to never write for free, and I agree, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with offering a free chapter or two to entice readers. There’s no obligation to the reader, and if your work is the on par, it will get readers to buy. (You can read the first 4 chapters of my novel, Bobbing for Watermelons HERE. I didn’t plan this. I promise.) I talk about a Lead Magnet in a previous post about marketing that might help. 

Be active on social media. Choose your poison: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, whatever . . . focus on one and submit quality content. I don’t have a big Twitter following, but I enjoy using it and meeting others and tweeting helpful links. 

Join a local writing organization. This is another opportunity to network and talk shop with like-minded folks who want to help you on your writing journey. The more writers you connect with, the more writing/book events you’ll attend, which will lead to getting your name out there.

A couple of don’ts:

Don’t over-tweet or over Facebook your book. That’s over-exposure and people will soon ignore you because they’ll think you’re a narcissistic ass-clown.

Don’t post pictures of your bare ass.

That is all.

What do you do for maximum exposure? 

A to Z Challenge 2015

Making the Most of Book Launches & Signings

A recent post by Jody Hedlund about creating a book launch team, got me jazzed up about getting the wheels in motion for my upcoming release of my book. Last night, I joined several other NCW authors for a night of readings at Bas Bleu Theatre. I read an excerpt from my new book, which is not only great practice for reading aloud, but it generated buzz for my book. My publisher also made up this awfully cute bookmarks to help promote it.
NCW Reading, Bobbing for Watermelons by April J. Moore

When Folsom’s 93 released, the launch took place at the prison itself. The museum that sits outside the prison walls, provided the perfect venue. For all of the events, I had many of the book’s mug shots printed into foam board, which guests of my local launch had a great time with. It was a great way to get people involved in your book launch/signing.
Folsom's 93 book launch April J. MooreI also have album with all the mug shot in it so people can flip through them—which is a great icebreaker when you’re at a book signing and people are afraid to come over to the table.
Folsom's 93 mug shotsJust recently, I had these cool business card magnets made up with some of my favorite Folsom guys:
Business card magnets, book promotion, Folsom's 93These are inexpensive ways to get readers interested in your book, and more importantly, remember your book. Making your presentation and signing memorable is going to draw readers in and chances are, impress their socks off. 

Patricia Stoltey went all out for her last signing by providing refreshments and big baskets of giveaways.
Patricia Stoltey signingAnother way to generate an audience, especially before the book launches, is create ads with your book and tweet them. Author Kenneth Harmon used this technique and gained over 10K Twitter followers in a few months time. You can read about how he did it HERE.
Kenneth Harmon
Have a launch/signing at a location mentioned in the book
It doesn’t have to be the exact place, especially if it’s not possible to travel there, but think about similar venues in your own city. Consider what your character does for a living; play up that. Think about the various  places and things in your book that you can incorporate. Not all signings and launches have to take place in a bookstore.
Incorporate props
I got to have the actual gallows trap door for my book launch, which was pretty spectacular, but there may be other (smaller) items that are portable enough to bring with you. One author, who writes about zombies, decorates his table with zombie props and dolls. (I’d think writers of erotica might really garner some attention with props!)
Create ads with book info and include any author blurbs you scored
Like what Ken Harmon did, he added text to pictures he took himself. If he acquired a blurb from another author, he added that. It’s a great way to generate buzz, especially on Twitter.
Bookmarks and postcards
This is another great way to get interest, especially if you do a reading before the book is released. Your audience needs something to remind them of your upcoming book. 
Have items such as magnetic business cards, mousepads, pens, and mugs made up using the book’s cover to other pictures that may be in the book
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These are great for including in a giveaway basket or placed on the table. Check out places like Snapfish, Overnight Prints, and Vista Print.
Partner with an organization that your book can be associated with
If your book has an underlying message or theme, or brings awareness to a certain issue, contact organizations that might be interested in partnering up. An author friend is pairing up with her local cat rescue since her book is about a shelter cat.

I realize I’m just scratching the surface when it comes to creative book launches and signings, but I hope it launches some ideas for you. Your branding and how you promote your books is an important part in creating an audience. This may be a daunting thing for a lot of writers who’d much rather spend their time writing than promoting their books and actually talking to people, but that’s why some promotional items can be an icebreaker—both for the author and for the potential buyer. Above all, make it a fun experience.
Book Promotion April J. MooreWhat are some of your ideas for making the most of your book launches & signings?

 

 

Friday News: Flash Fiction Anthology Update

baby shoes

I’m thrilled to announce that Baby Shoes: Celebrating Flash Fiction has made its e-book funding goal! Woot-woot! There are ten days left and we hope to  make it to $2200 so that we can do a print run as well. Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out this amazing project that will be featuring 100 authors and 100 flash fiction stories. You’ll find some familiar names among the author list such as Linda Needham, Joe Lansdale, Danika Dinsmore, and Walter J. Williams. Yours truly will have a piece in the book called “An Affair to Forget.” I’m also honored to be among some of my favorite local authors, Katherine ValdezShelley Widhalm, and he who shall not be named . . . because he’s using a pen name. 😉 Thanks again for the support.

Folsom’s Hits New York City

Books on the Subway -- Folsom's 93I love New York City, but if I can’t be there, at least my book can be riding the subway system, courtesy of Rosy from Books on the Subway. Rosy, an avid reader, heard of Books on the Underground, based in London, and thought, why not do the same in NYC? Isn’t it novel? She calls it a “public library on the go.” The books are labeled with a BOTS sticker, so readers can pick up the book, read it, and then return it to the train for someone else to enjoy. I sent Rosy a couple copies of Folsom’s 93 and she just dropped them off at 28th street station. How cool is that?! I hope my 93 guys enjoy their rides. Look for Books on the Subway on Twitter and Facebook, and check her site to see how you could get your own book to ride the rails, too. 

So, You Say You Want to Write?

Quite often, I’m approached by people who are either just getting into writing, or have a finished manuscript, but don’t know what steps to take next. I’ve talked to retirees who are finally getting around to that story in their head, and the stay-at-home mom whose kids are now in school full-time, so at last, she has quiet time to write. So how do I get started? How do go about publishing my book? Ah . . . as many of you know, those are very loaded questions that require more than a quick chat over coffee. But they need to start somewhere, so I have five pieces of advice that will hopefully point them in the write direction.
The End (Now What)

1.) Connect with a local writing organization. Some people think that you can either write or you can’t, and for those who think they can, they don’t necessarily see the value in attending writing workshops and classes. Well sure, we all like to think we can handle this writing thing on our own, but quite frankly, even seasoned authors are constantly improving on their craft. There’s always room to grow and improve as a writer—especially with help from other writers. Writing doesn’t have to be a solo venture. The support and camaraderie between writers is a beautiful thing—we learn from one another, not only about the craft, but the business of writing as well. Plus, when your short stories, articles or book comes out, you’ll already have an audience ready and willing to read, Tweet, and review. Networking is just as important in writing as it is in any other occupation.

2.) Join a critique group. Vital. I can’t reiterate enough how important this is. This is also another great reason to join a local writing organization—they will likely be able to hook you up with a group that would fit your needs. Don’t subject your friends and family to your “shitty first drafts,” as Anne Lamott calls them; that’s what your critique group is for. Plus, a critique group will be more honest with you and have the writing chops to help. Another great reason to join one is that they keep you on track and accountable when it’s your turn to submit, otherwise, it’s easy to veer off the writing path. And besides, it’s fun to get your name in the acknowledgements page of their books (because your feedback was so valuable!)

3.) Perfect your query letter (for fiction). There’s a special place in hell for query letters. Many writers say that the query letter is harder to write than the damn book. Your amazing story is relegated to 1-2 paragraphs that has a killer hook in the opening. But it can’t be cliche. And it shouldn’t open with a question. Or can it? But you have to include the word count and some want it in the opening paragraph and some want it in the end. Oh, and don’t forget the brief bio and what other writing credits you have. And most important: never, ever, forget to . . . um, hmmm. . . . can’t remember. See what I mean? They suck. Luckily, there are a number of sources out there to help—though they all vary to some degree. I recommend Give ‘Em What They Want: The Right Way to Pitch Your Novel to Editors and Agents. Also check out Query Shark to get very blunt, to-the-point advice on writing a query. For some new writers, finding out that agents are practically the gatekeepers to traditional publishing, is like a punch to the gut. “You mean, you don’t send the manuscript and cover letter to Simon & Schuster?” Nope. That’s why I also recommend Agent Query when it comes time to start the glorious process.

4.) Perfect your pitch or book proposal (for nonfiction). These are usually just as heinous as the query letter. For most book-length nonfiction, a proposal is often sent with . . . brace yourself . . . a query letter too. I know, I’m sorry. (And that’s if you’re lucky!) Sometimes agents will take a proposal right off the bat (check their online guidelines). Oftentimes, you have to query the book proposal! Plus, the book doesn’t need to be finished, like it does with fiction. Many agents and editors want to be able to move things around and tweak a nonfiction manuscript, but you still need an outline and sample chapters to present in your proposal, which is often 30 pages or more. Fortunately, there’s help. Check out How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen. For pitching magazine articles, Kerrie Flanagan, freelance writer and director of the Northern Colorado Writers says that in your query, open with a catchy hook; give the editor a brief description of the proposed article (and how it ties to their guidelines); tell them what their readers will get out of reading it; and finally, tell them why you’re the perfect person to write it.

5.) Set up a blog. For some, this is more daunting than the query letter. When an agent sees promise in your query or book proposal, they want to find out more about you. And what better way than Google? A lot of agents and editors believe that you need a web presence, no matter how stellar your book is. It won’t sell itself. You don’t have to be a Super Blogger like some of those in my previous post, but you have to let people know that you and your book exist. You’ll also need a page where you post links to any online clips so that magazine editors can get a feel for your writing style. Blog a couple of times a week—the key is quality, not quantity. Start building your audience, especially if you’re an expert in a certain field and are shopping your nonfiction how-to, for example. It’s a necessary evil. But wait, there’s more. Follow other writers’ blogs and comment! The more you put yourself out there with quality content, the bigger the audience you’ll build—agents and editors will love you for it. 

So there you have it: my 5-step, Get Published Quick Scheme. Well, more like writing scheme, and sometimes, that’s all you need to get going.

What’s your best advice for a new writer? (Besides turn the other way and run?)

The Gift of Reading

If you’re in the Fort Collins area, I want to let you know about Lattes & Literature, a book fair featuring local author books as well as some delicious caffeinated concoctions. It all goes down Dec. 11 at Ft. Collins Coffeehouse . . .
Lattes and LiteratureFor those history geeks in the family, you’ll be able to pick up my book, Folsom’s 93, but if you’re not in the area and don’t feel like a road trip, it’s also available from these fine local booksellers: Old Firehouse Books, The Eclectic Reader or from the big guys: Amazon and B&N.

Folsom's 93 by April Moore

Among these local scribes who’ll also have her book available is Kerrie Flanagan with Claire’s Christmas Catastrophe, a children’s book for 7-10-year-olds. For the writer in the family, she’ll have Write Away: A Year of Musings and Motivations for Writers available as well.
Flanagan.jpgThere are also some author signings coming up that you don’t want to miss out on.

Dean K. Miller will be at Lo Co Artisan Coffeehouse in Loveland, CO on December 12, from 6 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. signing copies of Echoes: Reflections Through Poetry and Verse.

Echoes: Reflections Through Poetry and Verse by Dean K. Miller

Patricia Stoltey will be at The Eclectic Reader December 13th from 1:00-3:00 signing copies of her 3rd book, a stand alone suspense-thriller, Dead Wrong

Dead WrongSome other great titles you’ll want to get your hands on is Sheala Henke’s YA, IDEA-33: A Regeneration
idea 33And Nancy L. Reed’s Words Left Behind: Tales From a Life Gladly Lived
Words Left Behind
One of my favorite children’s books that just came out is Count the Clouds, by M.C. Myers that has incredible illustrations and comes with a CD and digital download for a sing-along good time. 
count the cloudsAll right, that’s about it for now. (And just so you know, I wouldn’t promote any ol’ writers; these are very talented, high caliber authors whose company I’m humbled to be in.)

Meet Jason Brick

Guess what? I found someone who actually makes a living writing! Really, I’m not kidding. And lucky for us, we can learn how to do the same from his new book, Mastering the Business of Writing: How to Earn a Full-Time Living as a Writer. Jason was kind enough to answer some questions and bestow some of his writer wisdom upon us mere mortals. Thanks, Jason!

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1.) In addition to being an freelance writer, you’ve also published a travel book, short stories, and from what I hear, penned a young adult novel. Does your passion for writing reside with one more than the others?

It’s more a matter of what I’m passionate about at any given moment. One of the things I love about writing is I can bounce between one project and another as the mood suits me. I have lots (LOTS) of interests and this lets me chase them all down. 

 2.) You’re also a writing and a martial arts coach. Do you find many similarities between the writing clients and the martial arts clients? Is one group easier to coach than the other?

The process is almost identical for both, even though the details of what I’m coaching change. In both cases, what I’m really teaching is how to take control of your life and support the things that you hold dearest. Martial arts students are way easier to teach, I think because there’s more of a culture of listening and trying something out in the martial arts world. Writers resist more before trying stuff, and they tend to be a little more fragile. 

 3.) During your years of coaching, what’s the toughest thing to teach writers?

To think of writing as a business. A lot of writers don’t seem to want to do that. Some are afraid of the organization, marketing and self-discipline it takes to run a business. Some don’t want to “sell out.” But I have to ask…what constitutes selling out your talent? Turning out a few hours of work for pay every day, or spending those hours working at Home Depot and writing nothing at all?

 4.) You recently e-published two writing books, Mastering the Business of Writing: How to Make a Full-Time Living as a Writer; and 9 Steps of Highly Profitable WritingDid you learn anything surprising during the process of writing those? And what’s one important thing you hope readers take away from these books?

Full Disclosure: I had a publisher — TKC Publishing out of Hawaii — do the actual e-publishing. Working with them, I learned that promoting an ebook is way more complex than I imagined. But TKC has it to a science — Mastering hit #1 on the Amazon chart for books about writing for a day an a half last week. The most important thing I hope readers take away from either book is that this is the best time to be a writer in the history of the written word. Don’t let Scott Turow or a bunch of scared agents tell you otherwise. The door’s wide open for anybody willing to put in the work. Walk through it, already. 

JB.2

5.) You’ve also written some dark, yet humorous short fiction under a pen name that has received great reviews on Amazon. Wingman in particular is said to be “like [The] Hangover, but funnier.” You’ve proven that writers don’t have to stick to one genre or style of writing; do you find it easy or difficult to keep them separate? Do you recommend it to other writers?

I find it necessary to bounce between genres. Otherwise, I get bored. And being bored does not keep my coat glossy. I recommend it to other writers who feel inspired to write in different areas. If you want to, you should. If not, you shouldn’t. I should also say that the industry says it’s a mistake. You spend energy in areas you don’t already have a following, and have to duplicate a lot of effort. That’s changing with the new face of publishing, but it’s still something to keep in mind. 

 6.) What do you think is the most common mistake that writers make?

Not treating your writing like a business. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to approach it professionally. If you want to just write a little and publish from time to time, though, it’s probably not that important. 

 7.) What, in your opinion, are the downsides, as well as the advantages, of digital publishing?

The biggest downside is that print still has all the cache. There’s something to holding the finished book in your hand, or being able to give a copy to a friend, that’s really special. Other than that, digital wins. Selling one copy or 10,000 copies costs you the same amount of moneyIt’s easy to fix typos as readers point them out to you. And you don’t have to wait a whole damn year between finishing the book and seeing it up on Amazon. 

 8.) As a busy father of two, how do you make the time to write full-time? (I’m assuming that after twenty years of teaching martial arts you’ve learned to stay focused and disciplined).

First, it’s my full-time job. I write from home, and it takes me only 3 or 4 hours a day to write enough to make my living. That alone gives me 5 hours (plus a couple theoretical commute hours) I wouldn’t have if I punched a clock. The focus thing is sort of true. I did learn how to create and apply systems to keep my time on track, and the martial arts helps me stick to those systems. Being systematic is a huge part of both of my books on writing. It’s an important habit to succeeding in any freelance endeavor. 

9.) What’s next for Jason Brick? Or for your alter ego, Jake F. Simons?

Jason Brick has three things in the hopper. My YA book about quantum mechanics and the zombie apocalypse should be finished up in the next few months. I’m also joining up with SEOWiSE, an outfit that teaches writers how to conquer the web to support their careers. But what I’m really most excited about is Precious Cargo. It’s a book I’m working on with some top martial arts, close protection and law enforcement guys where we apply bodyguard doctrine to family safety while traveling. I think it will be important, and it’s really fun to research.

As for Jake…Wingman’s sequel Train Wreck hit Amazon on July 31st. The next story in the series, Cluster*&$k, should be out before the holidays…just in time to buy grandma the trilogy.

JB.4

I encourage you to check out Jason’s website that is full of great information about freelance writing, writer’s conferences and more. Thanks again, Jason/Jake! (You can also check out my interview on Jason’s website)

Baby who? (And a book tour)

If you’re able to tear yourself away from The Royal Birth Coverage, I’d love to share with you the equally exciting news of Folsom’s 93 book tour thus far. Check it out HERE. You can see me chat on Good Day Sacramento and if you’re not sick of me by then, you can listen to a public radio interview as well.

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(A bundle of nerves before the interview)

Book Launch and What I Learned

welcome

Before I head out tomorrow for the California launch of Folsom’s 93, I held a book launch here in Fort Collins in the Tasting Room of the Fort Collins Brewery. The idea was not to sell a bunch of books, but rather, to celebrate with friends and family the long-awaited release of my first book. I guess I’d consider it more of  a “book shower” after the birth of the darn thing. I didn’t expect everyone to coo over the book and buy, buy, buy. It’s okay to just hold it, look it over, and hand it back to the parent. Not everyone is into babies like this, especially creepy babies. It’s about celebrating. Having never done a book launch before, I learned a lot, so I thought I’d pass along my thoughts . . .

KerrieApril

1.) First, I learned (well, was reminded) that I have the most amazing friends and family in the world. A BIG thanks to all those who came and supported me!

2.) Picking a venue: Free is usually best, but we decided to splurge a bit and rent out a section of a local brewery. Some things to consider: when they require a minimum in food purchases, find out if tax and added gratuity is included. (I was taken aback a little when they tacked on nearly a $100 gratuity to the bill for 2 bartenders even after they had put out 3 tip jars that were already filled). Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with tipping—I insist upon it—just be aware of what will be expected of you in this type of venue. We purchased beer and appetizers for guests, so it was great to see them drinking, eating, and mingling. If you don’t mind paying a little bit, this is a great way to go, especially since all you have to do is show up. I also considered buying a keg and hosting the event at my house, but the added stress of hosting (including cleaning up) just wasn’t appealing.

brewery

3.) Invite ’em right: I figured Facebook was a good place to start by creating an event that goes out to the friends you invite. It was probably the easiest, fastest way, but it was the least reliable method. Many people didn’t see that they were invited because FB alerts people once or twice and events are posted in an out-of-the-way spot and can easily be missed. Plus, lots of people use this tool and if you have some very social friends, your invite can easily get lost. I suggest using Evite. It’s free and a lot more reliable. You’ll need everyone’s email address, but for those who don’t post theirs on their FB page, send them a personal message.

4.) Get an “event planner”: This may be your spouse or best friend who’s not afraid to run the show a little. People seemed to show up all at once, so it was a bit overwhelming. I had planned on saying a few words and thanking everyone for coming, but there was never a moment when I could get everyone’s attention. I was in constant greet-mode. This makes it hard when it’s a friends and family event—at a public reading or signing, it’s a lot easier to say your shpeal. Before the shindig, designate someone who won’t be afraid to let loose a whistle or tap a glass to get the crowd’s attention—and yours. Also, have a friend take lots of pictures, because you will not have time to! This reminded me of my wedding reception, so it will be helpful to have others in charge of making sure things get done and go smooth. They also need to make sure you have something to eat and a drink in your hand.

5.) Pass the Buck: If you’re selling books yourself, designate someone to handle all of the sales. My husband, obsessed with finances, was the perfect choice for this job. I suggest getting the Square so that you can take credit cards via your smart phone or ipad. The device is free—they’ll mail it to you—and all you have to do is download the free app. It takes 2.75% of each swipe and that’s it; no additional fees and the moolah is deposited the next business day. This is ideal because you should have a box of books in your trunk. (If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you, or you’re a NY Times best seller and you don’t need to). With the Square, you can take payments from anyone, anywhere, including the barista who you see every morning who you’ve developed a friendly rapport with who  will be delighted to now be serving the greatest local author ever. Also, make sure you can easily make change for those paying with cash. For example, I sold the book for $15, so we had lots of fives on hand because people paying cash were likely to pay with a twenty dollar bill.

6.) Say whaaat?!: Most people, when having a book signed, especially by someone they know, hope you’re going to do more than just sign your name. First, sign the title page. Always ask who they want it signed to and make sure they tell you how it’s spelled. (there are those few Apryls out there . . .) Find some signature phrases such as Many Thanks, Best Wishes, Much Appreciation, All the Best, Hope you enjoy the book . . .you get the idea. And think before you write. We had a small gathering a few weeks ago with good friends and one suggested I come up with something that has to do with prison, so I wrote “Stay on the straight and narrow . . .”  . . . to our gay friends. After I handed it to them, I realized how stupidly inappropriate that was, but we all had a really big laugh about it.

7.) Get Creative: I had taken in a CD of the mug shots, as well as the book cover, to a print shop to have them enlarged and mounted on foamcore. (Thank you, Megan from Print Cafe. And thanks for coming to the launch!) These were great for displaying on the tables. I propped up the book cover on the signing table. Be sure to bring book stands for stuff like this. (Thanks, Kerrie!) They were a hit, particularly Felix, who made his way around the room . . .

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8.) Open any gifts right away: If someone gives you a gift, particularly if it’s from your wonderful sister (who flew in from out-of-state to surprise you for the book launch), open it right then and there because it could be a beautiful, engraved pen that would have been perfect to use for signing the books. Things were busy and I didn’t open it until later. Don’t wait.

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Overall, have a good time and enjoy yourself.

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The company my husband works for is based out of San Francisco, so I decided to tag along this time. My son and I get to tool around the city while he works, then we’re off to Sacramento where I’ll be at the Folsom Prison Museum from 10-4 on July 20th. Next, catch me at Time Tested Books on July 24th in Sacramento at 7pm. Then it’s back to San Fran on the 25th to Modern Times Bookstore at 7pm. Wish me luck!

Blog Hoppin’

Folsom's 93

I’ve got the blog tour rolling with a first stop at The Death Writer, where I answer questions about Folsom’s 93 and then on to Patricia Stoltey’s blog where I discuss why I couldn’t talk about my book at the dinner table. I hope you can make it over to these great writer sites. Also, Kerrie Flanagan at The Writing Bug wrote a review!

I salute you, UPS Man

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I just took this picture. Seriously, I just picked up my camera, pointed it at my backyard and  . . . click! . . . here you go. This is a *little bit* of a freak spring snow storm here in Northern Colorado. We typically get most of our snow in March, but the snow gods decided to put it off until April 15 and it hasn’t let up too much since. When it’s all said and done (hopefully by tomorrow) we should have accumulated a little over 2 feet.

So I have to give a shout out to my local UPS guy who braved the storm and delivered my box of new postcards and business cards that I recently ordered. (He must have known I was ignoring all my other tasks today by sitting at my computer thinking about what my next blog post would be). I also think it was the one and only time he couldn’t wear his little brown shorts. Anyway, I have the NCW Conference next week and unfortunately, I’m not able to get any reader copies of my book by then, so these post cards will have to do.

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Pretty snazzy, huh? (Front and back) I keep fearing that as I read them, I’m going to discover a typo—no matter how many times I went over them before clicking the all-powerful and no-going-back order button. Now lets hope I get rid of them all before the release date in July. And it looks like I’m be returning to prison July 20th with an initial signing at the Folsom Prison Museum, that sits just outside the prison. I think, however, I’ll stay on the outside of the prison walls this time. That is of course, if I make it through this blizzard.

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