I posted this piece last fall. But, with spring in the air, invitations to author fairs are beginning to pop up. So, I thought it was worth revisiting, with one slight change to the original…
With warmer weather coming, I WILL have to shave my legs for this!
The term, “fair” brings to mind celebrations, hustle and bustle, excitement, and fun (sometimes creepy clowns are involved).
For authors, a fair is the opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow writers, meet book lovers, and get your book into the hands of new readers.
In our mid-western city, author fairs are few and far between. So, when I saw the opportunity to participate in one, I jumped at the chance.
Ticket in hand, I began preparing for the big day. Coffee in hand, I tackled my to-do list. My must-have list includes: my books, book stands, business cards, a credit card reader, pens, a table cloth, and some cash to make change.
My want-to-have list is much longer and mostly unnecessary (except, I am a children’s book author, so a gal’s gotta have something for the kiddos). This list includes freebies like: bookmarks, coloring sheets, and candy. Since I write books about fairies, I figured I’d throw in some plastic fairy bracelets, mini fairy dolls, and some bling for my table top (thank you Dollar Store).
And while I’m at it, why not order a 3 foot tall stand-up display of my main character?
The big day finally arrived. I packed up my gear and headed to the fair. After several trips to the car and a lot of zhuzh-ing, I was ready. I anxiously waited for the crowd to file in…and waited…and waited.
The author fair got much less traffic than I expected. I sold a whopping total of 4 books that day. Although I met some really great people, I was feeling pretty defeated. But, just as I was getting ready to pack it in, I ran into this guy.
Some would call this synchronicity. I am at a book fair, selling copies of my book featuring a bagpipe-playing dust fairy, and this guy is out in front of the venue playing the bagpipes. He was kind enough to pose for a picture, and he even bought a copy of my book.
I may have come away from this less-than-fair author fair only 4 books lighter, but this parting encounter brought the experience back into perspective. This man’s joy comes from sharing his music with others. I don’t imagine he measures his success in album sales.
I write fun books for kids. People like my books, and that brings me joy. Selling books or not selling books should not get in the way of that.
And on a lighter note-It’s fall in Iowa, so I did NOT shave my legs for this!
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Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in advice, amwriting, author, book fair, book marketing, indie author, Self-Publishing, Uncategorized, writers' blues, writing for kids Tags: author, blogging, book marketing, book promotion, self-publishing
The traditional road to publishing can be long and winding. Do it yourself, and you’d better have a good pair of shoes.
I often share stories of my self-publishing journey; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The ugly moments came mostly from my own misconceptions about the process.
Myth #1 Build It and They Will Come…
Once you publish your book, it will fly off the shelves!
One of the biggest misconceptions I had when starting out was that if I could just get my book published, the hard work would be over. Little did I know it had just begun!
I wanted to try something different in this post. I am hoping you will join me to build an unofficial list of self-publishing myths or things you’ve learned along the way that may be helpful to others. Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in advice, amwriting, author, book marketing, indie author, new author, Self-Publishing, writers' blues, writing Tags: amwriting, author, self-published author, self-publishing
I posted this piece a few months ago…
Writing is a solitary vocation. I spend a lot of time alone, pondering and reflecting, constructing and connecting. Most recently I connected my life, as a writer, to a well-known poem by Robert Fulghum. http://www.robertfulghum.com/ In the poem, Fulghum reflects on his days in kindergarten and how those lessons prepared him for life.
As I read his words, I began to ponder how becoming an author has enriched my life. I may not have learned “All I really need to know”, but I am constructing my journey one keystroke and lesson at a time. Here’s what I know…
All I really need to know…I learned writing kids’ Books
Give back to your fellow writers. Share articles and resources. Share your failures; they matter too. Lift someone up; show him the way. Give your books away to kids in need. Give back to your community.
I have dues to pay, like everyone else. There are no short-cuts or secret formulas to getting your books published or noticed.
Don’t hit people-
over the head with book promotions. It’s a fine line we walk when we promote our books. When in doubt, less is ALWAYS more!
Put things back where you found them-
Being an organized writer leads to being a productive writer (took me a long time to accept this one). This rule also applies to cats sleeping on your lap while you write. If you must disturb them, return them to your lap immediately.
Clean up your own mess-
I am a better writer when I can see the top of my work space (fought this one for years). Cats sitting on your work space are exempt.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours-
Whenever you quote or reference someone else or his/her work, give him/her proper credit.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody-
For me, this pertains to my husband. He is often on the receiving end of my writer’s block crankiness and endures my need for isolation when the block gives way.
Wash your hands before you eat-
A good practice on those rare occasions when I pry myself from my WIP to eat.
Sometimes I have to let go of an idea that is not working to create space for a new one.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you-
And they make for delicious refreshments at book signing events.
Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some-
Okay, I’m still working on that one.
Take a nap every afternoon-
My cats handle this one for me.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together-
I am blessed to go out into the kid lit world, holding hands with some of the best people I know. Winding our way through the streets of the publishing world; we stick together.
Be aware of wonder-
Without wonder, how would we create anything new?
Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup; The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die. So do we-
The wonderful thing is that, as writers, we can make these moments matter. And what we write can matter to someone in a profound way.
And remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned-the biggest word of all-LOOK-
My greatest joy, as a children’s author, is seeing my words reflected through another person’s eyes. In that book, for those few moments, we look at the world together.
What has your writing journey taught you? I’d love to hear about it. Don’t be shy, leave a reply.
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in #MARCHingBookstoKids, #PBPiO, advice, amwriting, author, indie author, inspiration, new author, Picture Book Pass it On, Self-Publishing, writing, writing for kids Tags: #booknerd, #kidlit, #PBPiO, amwriting, author, blogging, kids' books, self-published author, self-publishing
I have been blogging for nearly one year. In that short time, I have met some incredible people, many of whom are authors. We’ve shared laughs, frustrations, celebrations, and advice.
I’d like to solicit some of that advice.
I am currently self-publishing my second children’s picture book. I am happy to say the manuscript is finished, and the illustrator is making great progress with his sketches. So, I should be galloping a victory lap on my unicorn…
BUT…I am stuck. What is holding me back? It’s the short blurb I have to slap on the back of this puppy to let readers know what my book is about. What’s the big deal? I wrote an entire book, and I can’t come up with a few sentences to sum it up? No, it seems I cannot…
SO…I would be delighted to hear your opinions about the latest draft of my blurb. Any input is welcomed and appreciated. I also welcome your advice and tips for writing book blurbs. Thank you!
Here is what I have after 12 pages of drafts:
Fairies, music, and dust! Oh my!
Messy house? It’s not your fault. The Dust Fairies are a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who delight in making messes while hidden from sight. And when the band strikes up the music, the dust really starts to fly.
When Aggie tries to join the fairy band, it doesn’t go as planned. Now, she is faced with a tough decision. Should she change who she is to fit in, or embrace who she is and stand out?
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I am blessed to be part of such a supportive group of bloggers. Here’s a revised “blurb” based on your feedback. I also added some of Kevin Richter’s latest sketches.
Fairies, music, and dust! Oh, my! Aggie is a little Dust Fairy with a big problem. She wants to join the fairy band, but they don’t approve of her offbeat style. Now, she’s faced with a tough decision. Should she change who she is to fit in or embrace who she is and stand out?