Friday, January 21, 2011

Learning On the Job

First, I have to say thank you to all of the wonderful bloggers who have featured or reviewed Princess of Las Pulgas. The links are there in my sidebar. I'll be adding more it seems because there are a lot of very busy book bloggers. Bless them!

I've been busy since this book released and it's been great to talk to readers and meet booksellers. This week I met a great Children's Event Coordinator, Colleen Ross at Books Inc.  Here we at the signing. 

What I've found is that as a new author I may have a few people at my signings, but connecting with the booksellers is not only great because they love books, but, if they like your book, they are the people who can help you with your promotion. I've learned a few other things about appearances and I'm sure I'll be learning more, but I thought I'd share a few pointers I've picked up along the way.

*Go to your presentation (reading, book signing, workshop, discussion) on time and prepared.

*You don't have to do a song and dance for your audience, but think of ways to make your talk or exchange with the people interesting. Include them by having some questions of your own. "How many of you write?" "Does anyone here keep a journal?" 

*If other authors attend to support you, introduce them. They'll appreciate it and the readers will enjoy meeting other authors.

*Even if you have one person in attendance do your best at presenting your book and yourself. In one case I heard about, the one person who showed up at a friend's signing turned out to be a school superintendent who recommended the author's book in his district.

*Invite your friends, of course, and start a mailing list for signings, so you can evite or direct email readers to future events.

*If you can include other authors in your signing, do. Having two or three presentations often creates more interest and gathers more people. 

*When possible, offer to do a short workshop as part of your signing. 

*Above all enjoy the time you spend with your readers. I think I was enjoying something here. Probably something someone said that made me laugh. 

Here are some friends after the signing. We turned this event into a great party and reunion. That made the evening very special.

None of what I've written is new, but sometimes it helps to see a list of suggestions from someone who's learning on the job. I'm sure I'll learn more as I go along and when I do, I'll share.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Home Again

What is it about the sound, the smell, the taste of home, that softens the heart and pulls memories into the present as if those times had never passed. I've traveled a lot and for long periods of time, but even a short four days and only a few hundred miles make home more of a haven than a shelter.

And I don't care how beautiful the place I've visited is, my place is even better. It's not as cultured. It doesn't offer the perfect climate. It isn't where tourists pay to visit. But it's where my heart resides. It's where I fit. It's a part of me and I of it. Yet, it takes leaving once in a while to remind me of how wonderful my spot on the planet really is.

But I have to admit San Diego is a beautiful city on the Pacific. I spent one day at ALA but the rest of my time revisiting a place I used to live. Here's the artist's center in Balboa Park. Walking across the colored tiles was like a trip through Wonderland. 

I couldn't miss the world famous zoo either. Not many cages here and they do so much conservation of endangered species.  One of my favorites was this guy. Right after I snapped this picture he decided he'd had enough of us peering at him and turned his back. I think my photo was the last straw. After all he was trying to eat lunch.

Here's my two headed camel photo. 

These were temporary buildings built in 1915 and were saved when people recognized how beautiful the  Moorish architecture was. Walking through these corridors I felt as if I were at the Alhambra in Spain.

There was whimsy along the way too.

And even some philosophy. I loved this. 

Please take this thought from Edmund Burke and leave a few words for others to think about and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Being Published

I just had my second book published. My second book! Good grief, as Charlie B. would say. How great is that? Pretty great, I'd answer. It's something that I never thought I'd do, yet it happened. The first time it was so exciting, kind of like a first kiss. What could be more perfect? The second time is still darned good. I don't think I'll ever take for granted that I'm published--that I have an ISBN recorded in this world of books. I am grateful. I am hooked. I want more and I plan to get more.

One thing you get to do when you write books is meet other people who write them too. Here's a bit of ALA in San Diego where I signed with another writer, Selene Castrovilla. 

Kami Garcia, Cindy Pon, Carrie Ryan, Cheri Williams dropped by our booth to say hello, so that made the experience even more exciting. I love that I know writers. They are special.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My First Grateful Post of 2011

There's something special about a forest after the rain. The clouds even sense it and dip into the tree tops, trailing gentle white fingers through the needles. 

I couldn't resist going outside when I saw this through my window. I pulled myself away from my computer and a story that keeps wanting to be written and walked a bit. It's always a wonderful surprise to find that I when I step out my door I'm immediately in a place that offers so much: chilled air to freshen my face, a canyon filled with redwoods to make my writer-eyes relax, a creek that plays like lovely music along my path. 

I returned to my computer and a new chapter came as if I'd already written it. The truth is that the fresh air and the forest  and the creek next to the path wrote that chapter. I was only the secretary.

This is my first grateful post of the year. There will be more because I have so much to be grateful for.

And you? What are you grateful for, readers? We're a diverse lot, so it would be wonderful to know what gives you joy and what you appreciate most. If you write, where do you gather your inspiration?


Saturday, January 1, 2011

My First Post in 2011

Ah, a beginning. I love beginnings. They offer up such hope. There are no boundaries at the start--no errors, no omissions, no regrets. It's the most wonderful time. So here we are day one of 2011 and I'm full of hope.

"Ready am I to go, and my eagerness with sails full set awaits the wind."
The Prophet, Kahilil Gibran

May all of you set sail with the wind and find your safe harbor or your adventure--whatever you seek.