Ya’ll know this was the jam, don’t front lol
Ya’ll know this was the jam, don’t front lol
Saturday, I attended another live book signing event, the inaugural Atlanta African American Book Festival. It was not my first signing but it was my first festival. Here are some things I learned.
I saw many beautiful, grand banners and signs at the festival. The authors did not come to play ya’ll. They DID that. I couldn’t stop smiling. Of course, my main focus was on my table but I wouldn’t be EC if I didn’t observe the environment around me, if I didn’t seek out a learning opportunity.
I noticed that the tables that were neat but modest sold at the same rate as the tables that were elaborate and fascinating. While captivating, without the personal appeal of the author talking and engaging with the people, the large banners and signs didn’t add anything extra far as I could tell. Not to mention that many of these banners are very costly. I took this lesson from it:
Spend modestly on decor. It’s nice to go big (go big or go home right? Lol) BUT, if you can’t afford it, don’t overthink it.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to attend a live event. I got lots of comments on this poster:
I got it made at Walmart for less than $20. You don’t have to have a boring table but you don’t have to spend a fortune. Between Walmart, Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby and, surprisingly, Ross Dress for Less (go in the area with all the household stuff, usually in the back…you’re welcome) you can find some expensive-looking stuff that’s actually pretty cheap. Also, don’t forget that you are a big part of the experience. You are the star. Without you, it’s just expensive plastic. I didn’t even get to use my card-reader and no one paid much attention to the bookmarks. I am not saying to have these things is wrong. There are some very basics (like a card-reader and apparently that cash app is hot) you must have at a live event. I am saying not to stress out if your table isn’t grand.
I was surprised to discover many books in the $20 range. For non-celebrity Indie Authors people never heard of, I thought this was a bit much. Personally, I wouldn’t charge over $10 for a copy of my book at an event. I say this not to indicate you should just give your work away, but I think it’s a good idea to give your readers the exclusive by offering them books at a price lower than if they had to pay for shipping. By showing up readers can purchase a discounted copy of some of their favorite books of yours in paperback. They have probably traveled to see you and you probably bought your books in bulk at a discount anyway and you don’t have to ship the book to them. I think that’s deserving of the people who choose to support you. People may pay $20 for a book at a celebrity signing or for a book direct from Amazon or your author website, possibly, but I think it’s a good idea to give readers something special at signings.
I did something different this time around. I didn’t post images of the event until I got back to the house. I didn’t live stream or rush to upload anything. I enjoyed the moment laughing with my husband and friend, talking to the authors and guests and taking pictures. We are so caught up in “Live Streaming” our lives these days so that other people can “see us” “in” the moment that we forget to enjoy the moment for ourselves. I had a much more enjoyable time selling books, practicing my pitch, mingling with guests and passing out my business cards than I would have trying to add hashtags to an Instagram post as someone walks past my table, buying nothing because my head is down. Personally, I attend live events because I enjoy networking with the people and creating memories I can look back on in pictures, not because I think I must. We only have one life to live and I want my children and grandchildren to look back on these pictures as proof that they can do anything they want to do if they only believe they can.
View all the festival pics plus more on my author website here.
What is your name, and where are you from?
My name is Vivienne Sang. I was born and brought up in the north west of England in a town called Northwich, not far from Manchester. At present, I live in the south-east of England not far from the town of Eastbourne.
What job do you think you’d be really good at?
I don’t know if I’d be really good at it, but I would like to have been a vet.
Nice. How many siblings do you have?
My father died when I was very young and my mother re-married. She had a girl with my step-father, my half-sister, but my step-father had already got 7 girls and 3 boys with his first wife, so I have 10 step-siblings as well.
What skill would you like to master?
I do some painting when I have time. I would really like to become a good painter.
What state or country do you never want to go back to?
Belgium. They insist on signing their town in the language of the area, in spite of the rest of the world calling them something else. Liege, for example, is called Luik, I think. Now I don’t have a problem with this, per se, but many countries that have different names for towns sign them with both. We got lost trying to find Liege.
Also, we nearly ran out of fuel once because there were no fuel stations on the main road and we had to go off into a village and by chance found one. Also, Brussels is a nightmare to get around.
Unfortunately it’s on the way to many places in Europe I do want to go back to!
Yea. I can see how that can be confusing with the language. I love history. Who is your favorite historical figure?
Leonardo da Vinci. He’s not only a great artist but also scientist and technologist, too. I went to his home in Amboise in France where they had built scale models of his inventions using only the tools and materials he would have had. Brilliant.
Let’s talk about writing. What genre do you write in?
I write mainly fantasy, but have recently published a historical novel based in Roman Britain, and have another almost done. I think historical fiction is much harder to write, So much research is needed that you can get away with when inventing your own world. Having said that, I do try to make my world as scientifically realistic as possible, so that does involve some research.
That’s true. Historical Fiction does require lots of research. Are you married Vivienne? Children?
Yes, I’ve been married for a very long time. 53 years! I have two, a boy and a girl.
Awwue. Congrats! 53 years, wow. Relationship goals!
What are your thoughts on race? Define racism.
There is only one race. The Human Race. People who judge others on the basis of ‘race’ are ignorant. People should be judged by their words and actions only, not on how they look. This applies to disability, too. and everything that makes us different. We should embrace our differences.
Racism is deciding you don’t like a person or group of people you know nothing about on the basis of some physical thing, such as the color of their skin, the slant of their eyes or some other superficial, irrelevant thing.
Vivienne Sang was born in Northwich, Cheshire in the United Kingdom. She was educated at Northwich Girls’ Grammar School and at Elizabeth Gaskell Teacher Training College in Manchester. She taught Science, Maths and English in Salford and Heywood, Lancashire until she had her first child.
After staying at home to bring up her two children, a girl, and a boy, Vivienne returned to teaching when her son started school. At this time, the family lived near Southampton but moved to Redhill in Surrey where she taught in Croydon.
When she took early retirement in 2001 Vivienne moved with her husband to East Sussex.
As well as writing and reading, Vivienne enjoys many crafts and also paints. She enjoys cooking and walking on the Downs as well as cycling.
Vivienne enjoys traveling and has visited many countries in Europe and has made two visits to the USA.
Been a minute since I gave you an EC quote Friday. Today I just want to remind you that it’s hard to beat someone who won’t quit. Whatever you do, just keep going:
If you wrote an article no one reads, write another one. If you sing a song no one hears, sing another one. If you publish a book no one reads, publish another one. If you dance your heart out and no one watches, dance again. The most obvious solution to me in the face of adversity is to keep going. To always try just one more time.
Fun Fact: I’m a stickler for rules. I follow the laws and commandments of the Bible, I pay attention to Amazon’s review policy and I try to live as blamelessly as possible. I’m the person who won’t text and drive. I got a chance to get a tattoo once but I thought it was wrong so I didn’t get it. That’s me. Your law abiding citizen. And anything you say in the comments can be used against you in the court of law (tee hee)
So, I’ve been posting to my Facebook Business page a lot and not my personal page because….you guessed it…rules!
Yup, we all do it but it’s actually illegal.
“It’s actually against Facebook’s policy to use your personal profile as a business profile.” – Shayla Raquel
Just like giving people prizes to review your book is against Amazon’s Review Policy (and sharing the super link to your book can have Amazon to track you and remove reviews after suspecting manipulation), all that promoting you’re doing on your personal page is actually, technically, against Facebook’s policy and if they want they can delete your account.
Don’t get me wrong. I promote on my personal page every now and again too because, hey, an update now and then is cool, I think. Also, strangely enough, people tend to respond more to your personal posts more than your business posts even though the same people on your personal page are also on your business page. I will never understand you people.
✅ But don’t get caught! Be smart and be sure to create a Facebook business page as well and do the bulk of your promos there so it’s not like, super obvious.
Here are some things you can do NOW in case your account gets deleted:
You can download a history of your Facebook activity and archive it somewhere, just in case. You can do so with the following directions, from Facebook’s info page:
1) Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Account Settings
2) Click General in the left-hand column
3) Click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data”
4) Click Start My Archive
If you’re in the Atlanta-land area, don’t forget to join me at the inaugural Atlanta African American Book Festival this weekend, Saturday, July 14, 2018. FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC over 70 authors will convene in Atlanta to present their work to the Atlanta community. Journalists, editors, publishers, literary critics, and scholars from various fields will be present. Panel discussions and workshops will engage festival attendees in topics concerning literary industry tips, civil disobedience, activism, emotional and spiritual well-being, restorative justice, and health and wealth. Children’s activities include a story corner and festival dance floor.
I am one of the many featured authors and I would be honored to have your support at my table. You will have the chance to grab signed paperback copies of my books along with other authors, take pictures, take part in workshops, and meet industry professionals. Again, attendance at the festival is FREE. This is not just an entertainment event but we also seek to implement community programming that promotes black literary arts and family sustainability within our community. You can read my interview with AAABF Fest here.
On social media, everything is a part of your brand and is an extension of you. People don’t know you personally so all they have to work with is the vibes you give off. From the way that you send emails, your blog posts, your social media posts and newsletters, everything. What you publish reveals who you are and can tell people one or two things. Either you’re a nasty, disrespectful person or you’re a kind, respectful person. It doesn’t take much to show others respect and appreciation and it may also grant you a follower, or more, a supporter for life. Below are some basic actions we can implement to help to keep our respect levels at an all-time high.
When someone reblogs or pingbacks on one of your posts, say thank you. It really just takes a second. Although the person probably didn’t share your post to look good, everyone likes to be appreciated. This same thing applies to any social media sharing. When others share your work, thank them. They didn’t have to do it.
When someone leaves a comment on your blog or social media in general, respond back. Let them know you see their support and you appreciate it. Remember, no one has to say anything to you so acknowledge those who do.
It only takes a second to navigate to the person’s avatar and discover what their name is. You can see some people’s names with their comment profile but for some, you may have to visit their blog to see their real name. Taking a few seconds out of your day to go the extra mile is a form of respect. Using the person name also makes it more personable and shows you really mean it. It makes the other person feel good inside that you took the time to learn their name.
If you really connect with someone, show that you are interested in learning more about them and their work by following their social media pages. You can learn a lot about a person, or at least glimpse who they are, by following them on social media.
How will we know you’re not just some robot follower or someone following to get a follow back? Through your level of participation. When following someone on social media, don’t just follow and become a ghost. Participate. Retweet their pinned tweet or something they are promoting. Thank them if they retweet something of yours and share their information with your audience as you would like them to do for you. Like some of their Facebook posts. You don’t have to become a stalker but remember, actions speak louder than words. Show you’re a real person by genuinely participating.
A wise person once said, don’t burn your bridges. I am sure we’ve all heard this before. The saying suggests that you never know who you will need later in life and where you will have to go so don’t cut off what could possibly connect you to something greater on the other side. Don’t burn down your bridge. Understand that there will be differences in opinions and it’s OK to disagree. In fact, I am all for being firm and standing your ground, but don’t allow someone to get you so upset that you are out of character and are being disrespectful in a way you can’t come back from.
Remember that people are not dumb. Even through texting and social media we can still tell when someone’s being “smart” and condescending. Using all caps, exclamation marks, and publishing blog posts indirectly talking to other bloggers are all signs that you are angry and will not be missed by your fellow peers. They may find this behavior childish and disrespectful and you could lose a good supporter forever. It is possible to disagree with someone and leave them with their dignity.
We have a duty, especially on social media, to communicate our wants and needs with anyone we share personal space with. This includes blogging and social media. People’s lives are busy and you never know what someone is going through. If there’s something you don’t understand, something that needs clarity, or if you yourself want to clarify something, be sure to communicate effectively and ask questions when needed. Never, make assumptions and be clear that you are dealing with 100% factual information. Anything that is spoken about in anger that is not reflective of the truth can turn potential clients / readers / supporters off. It means you didn’t even have the decency to verify your information before attacking them.
Always ask questions and never make assumptions. Also, if someone asks you a question, try your best to answer it. If you don’t know the answer swallow your pride and admit you don’t know (no one knows everything). But don’t leave the question hanging in the air. It could be read as a sign of disrespect.
The way you treat those closets to you speaks volumes about who you are. If you talk about your husband or wife in a way that is nasty it doesn’t just embarrass him/her, it also embarrasses you. It brings shame to your household and makes you look childish and unkind. Never, ever, disrespect the one you love in public either by revealing personal matters or cursing them out on social media. This is especially shameful if you’re a writer or businessperson. Who wants to support someone who demeans the people they love so effortlessly? Not me.
Be careful how you talk to people online. Emails, personal DMs and phone calls are ways you can reach out to people privately if you have pressing issues. (These are also good ways to communicate if you see someone doing something wrong and feel they need correction. Sometimes people just need to be educated, not demeaned.) Respect starts at home. Give it to your household first and then give it to others.
First, I want to thank everyone who shared the original post on their social media’s and all of the wonderful and generous bloggers who reached out. The struggle is real out here and the magnitude of having someone to host me on their blog for free is not lost to me so thank you. As of now I am no longer accepting invitations to be featured on any more blogs. If you emailed me, thank you for your interest.
Below are the blogs that I will be visiting starting next month and into October. Unlike a traditional blog tour, this tour will feature new material per blog stop. This means that there is one new poem per blog so you will get something different on each blog! The tour stops are also one week apart so that you’ll have a chance to catch up in the event you don’t catch it on the first day. You will also be helping the host bloggers out by visiting their blogs and sharing the post on your social media.
Day One: Vearner Gloster
Day Two: Vivienne Sang
Day Three: Don Massenzio
Day Four: Chris Graham
Day Five: Balroop Singh
Day Six: Mary Schmidt
Day Seven: Rachel Poli
Day Eight: Abbie Johnson
Day Nine: Frank Parker
Day Ten: Lynda McKinney Lambert