Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: "Midnight is a Place" Joan Aiken

Midnight is a Place is one of my all-time favorite books, by one of the 20th century's best children's authors, Joan Aiken. Lucas Bell lives with his guardian, Sir Randolph Grimsby. Everything in his life is dark and gloomy. When a new child, Anna Marie, is brought to the house, Lucas tries to make friends with her, but finds her spoiled and rude. When disaster strikes, Lucas and Anna Marie find themselves on a terrifying journey, involving sewers, the streets of London, and a factory that will keep you from ever looking at a carpet the same way again. You can get this book on Amazon for a penny plus shipping in paperback, or download it to Kindle for 9.99. Worth the read! Once you try Midnight is a Place you will want to read every single one of Joan Aiken's books.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Selling Books at Booths.

As a writer, everything is found by trial and error. What works great for someone else might not work as well for you, since every book is different. I am finding methods that work well for romance and fantasy books written for adults might not generate the same results for the Middle-Grade audience I am trying to reach. So far, my best sales have not been generated from ebooks, book signings or advertising. My best sales have come from booths.
Kids want to pick something up and hold it. They see the excitement on your face and it's contagious. The greatest feeling I've ever had as an author has been when a child sees my book cover and starts jumping up and down.

I have worked extremely hard to find the right cover, lettering, mood, etc. for my book, and that's one thing about kids. They are honest. They don't pretend to like something, they either do or they don't.
I designed bookmarks with my book cover, QR code and web address. At street events I will watch the street for kids that look to be in the right age range. I will walk up to them and ask if they like to read and hand them a bookmark. At my last street event, 50 percent of the kids I handed bookmarks to came over with their parents and bought both of my books. That's amazing! 
It's also good to have a different book to use for an example. Because my book is set in a future, post-apocalyptic environment, I asked each kid "Did you read Hunger Games?" Most of them had and were thrilled to know I had a book in the same genre.

So here are some tips I am compiling through trial and error. 

1. Make your table inviting. Create a large poster of your book cover and glue it to foam board. Have candy or other treats to hand out.

2. Have bookmarks with your book cover and QR code. I designed mine and had them printed on cardstock for 20 cents a page at Staples (each page was five bookmarks). I cut them out myself with a paper cutter. You can also order them from an online company. Think of each one as a seed and possible future sale. 

3. Approach people and be excited. This might be hard for some people if you aren't naturally a people person, but if kids don't think you're excited, they sure won't be.

4. Don't hesitate to ask. If you can't afford a pricey booth at an event, ask if you can go in with a small portion of space with another vendor. Or ask the event cordinators if you can bring an activity or read portions of the story throughout the day in exchange for a discount.

5. If you have more than one book in a series, offer a discount if all are purchased. I sold every single customer both copies of my book because I offered a discount. 

Do you have any more tips? I would love to hear them!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Writer Inspiration

I agreed to put in a blog post as part of a blog hopping event. The writer who asked me to participate is Vila Gingerich.
You might not know who she is now, but when her books are published you will, she is an exceptional writer and I can't wait to own printed copies of her work.
Here are the questions I was asked:

1. What am I working on?
Right now I'm working on a short story for a collection being put together by my friend Joshua Mercier from The Bearded Scribe called "Twice Upon a Time." The collection is going to be fairy tales re-written with a speculative twist. Mine is a re-take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears called "Meta-locks"

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Most people are pretty surprised to see a book that is a Christian/Fantasy/Science-Fiction/Dystopian. It's not normally a grouping you would see together, but it has been done, as anyone who has read C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy would know.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I want to write books I would want to read. I like books for kids the best. So I write books for kids.

4) How does my writing process work?
Sometimes I will go crazy and do nothing but write for days on end. Sometimes I only write a few minutes a day. It depends on what's going on with the family and how I feel about it that day.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Book Review: Dragon's Curse by HL Burke

(From the Amazon Description Page)

On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. 

Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family? 

A fast-paced fun read by HL Burke. I liked the idea of a human making friends with a dragon, and Burke's characters are well-rounded and fun to get to know. This story glows in your mind days after reading it.

You can get the book on Kindle FREE today only!