I am celebrating another mini milestone. On Sunday, October 7th, I got two of my books approved to be carried at another bookstore, making the 3rd Bookstore in Atlanta carrying at least one of my books (Nubian Books and the Medubookstore are the other two.)
For those of you who do not have the new book, I am offering you an opportunity to come out to this event and celebrate with me. I will have signed paperback copies of Even Salt Looks Like Sugar and I’ll also be reading from the book. This is also a great time for a Q&A session. Is there something you would have liked to see happen in the story? Do you have a favorite part? Least favorite part? Ask me all the questions you want!
There will be light refreshments available so you can get your snack on too while I tell you a story (and then we can go out to dinner afterwards for some real food…. tee hee). Get a picture with me, or bring another book of mine you have to be signed. Either way, come on out and show some love! If you have not been to one of my signings yet, this is your chance! You know they be lit! It doesn’t matter which of my books you have, bring them to be signed!
Not Subscribed to my email list? You may want to go ahead and do that before December. In our December issue, I am revealing my strategy for getting my books into stores as an Indie Author. We’ll discuss consignment, distribution through Ingram Spark or other platforms, and the review process if the store requires one. CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP. You will get an automatic welcome email. Please check your Spam and Junk folder for it.
ATL, don’t forget to stop through next week for Tinzley Bradford’s 4th Quarterly Settle-free Mixer! The time has come and I am honored to be among such talented professionals. Self-care and self-love is soo important and we are talking about that and so much more.
If you have read Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, please remember to leave a review if you’re feeling so obliged! Thanks so much!! As usual, your time and attention is most appreciated.
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.
Spend Modestly on Your Decor
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.
Don’t Overcharge Your Readers
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.
Live in the Moment
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.
The inaugural Atlanta African American Book Festival is FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC and will take place on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at Georgia State University. Over 70 authors will convene in Atlanta to present their work to the Atlanta community. Author categories include fiction, non-fiction, romance, YA fiction, middle-grade fiction, and children’s picture books. 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 will be one of many authors in attendance and I would be honored to have your support at my table. Since I did not have a launch signing or gathering for Revolution, I’d like to use this as an opportunity for a post-launch celebration. You will have the chance to purchase signed paperback copies of my two most recent books (and not just mine but other authors too), take pictures, take part in workshops, and meet industry professionals. Again, attendance at the festival is FREE so you’ll just need to make it here (food is not allowed inside the venue but there will be food trucks on the outside). 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. To check out my AAA blog feature, click here.
I love it. Very inspiring. Live events are definitely winners. Post Quote: “Selling lots of books is awesome, but so is meeting people who know what you’re going through and who can help you get to the next step.”
A few pics from the Indie Book Fest book signing I did in Orlando yesterday, plus a few priceless tips on working an event.
HOW do you make your author event a WINNER?
I’ll tell you.
As an indie author OR a trad author, you’ll hear about events where you can sell books. Readings at book stores. Writer conferences. Craft shows. Book fairs.
Whether you have done them before or never done one ever, here are a few tips – in no particular order – to make your experience successful.
Signing autographs is fun! And awkward. After a while it’s like signing your credit card receipt for dinner at Golden Corral – you just do it and don’t think much about it. But the first few times, yeah, it’s weird.
Have a Sharpie and a regular pen and ACT LIKE YOU SIGN AUTOGRAPHS ALL THE TIME. Try to…
I’d love to attend something close to home. Plus, Florida is awesome.
If you think you might be interested, please fill out this form. This will help the organizers get a tentative head count so they know what venues to look at to host us and what kinds of accommodations we might need. This is open to all genres!
Kyle also made a WordPress for the event for updates, etc. You can submit any questions you might have on the form or on the web page.
I can’t believe its two weeks before launch day! Where did the time go? In just a short while, I’ll be wrapping up The Stella Trilogy with the release of the 3rd installment. I’m excited but I’ve been keeping things pretty chill. So here’s what’s going on.
I was excited to see that my editor sent me the copy of the final edit last week. There was a lot that needed to be changed and some things I just completely took out. I am so grateful for the revision process and the extra set of eyes. I think my ARC readers are going to really enjoy the revised edition.
I have decided this time around to pay for professional eBook formatting! I don’t want my ebooks to keep looking like: who did it and why did they do it? So, while I have the basic understanding of how to format, I think its best to let someone more experienced handle it until I can perfect the skill. I am really excited about this change and should be getting the newly formatted manuscript back this week.
Print Book Proof
I am always very excited about my print book proofs! This is the final FINAL check where I get to read the book in its print book format for one final run through. I am expecting the mailman to deliver me the copy sometime this afternoon. Of course, I’ll do a FB blast when it arrives (that one part where I stand in front of a poster and hold the book up like I just made The New York Times Best Sellers List).
I am thankful for all of the people who have submitted pictures so far for my Stella Photo Collage! Or at least the first one (I’m sure more pictures will be taken in ATL). I’m going to wait until a week before launch to put it together though. I want to wait until almost the last minute for the collage because I don’t want to miss including anyone’s picture.
Primarily, I’ve been focused on the Atlanta Stella Book Signing Event taking place in ATL the end of this month. It will be a combination of my Book release for Book #3 and a book signing for all of the books in the series. I am using these two weeks to finalize my Power Point Presentation and pick up the decor for the event. Which, interestingly enough, seems to be a lot bigger than anticipated. It wasn’t exactly an event per se at first but I actually have a staff now (special thank you to the six women who have come forward to assist me on the ground!) I am also going to be in a play the day following the signing which is keeping me busy. As we get closer to the date, we are rehearsing more. I am now in practice four nights a week. Speaking of which, I need to buy more coffee.
The funny thing is that while I have this book coming out, I’ve been focused mostly on the next project. I’m reading so many books I can barely keep up and the research itself has been mind-blowing. I would tell you more about the project itself but its somewhat on the low right now. I will say it is another short story and I think Stella’s going to get a run for her money on this one! In the meantime, I am considering a Stella Book Tour to help keep me busy as I write this next story. What do you think? Would you like for me to visit your town?