Monday, October 31, 2005

The book signing at Urban Knowledge in Memphis was great. It was hosted by the Unique Women's Social Club and they created quite the scene and drew in the crowd. They had nice little gift bags that they raffled off, had tasty refreshments, and just looked spectacular in their red shirts. I like red. :-) And Kim J. had already read my book and just talked it up a storm to customers. She got quite a few people excited. LOL Anyway, I don't think I ever had such a good time at a book signing. I didn't want it to end.

With one more weekend signing left in Baltimore in 3 - 4 weeks, it's back to the grind. I stated that I was going to take Sundays off. Well, let's just say that I had a light Sunday yesterday. Did a few things while watching the game. It wasn't a full day off, but I'm good.

I have 3 weeks left to finish up a story for an anthology. I'll be able to talk more about it in the near future. I'm also working on a revision to a story for another anthology. That's due the end of this year. Copyedits of First Fridays will probably be back any day now, so I'm trying to clear the plate as much as possible. Speaking of First Fridays, I had a conference call last week with my editor and publisher. It was the first time I've had the chance to actually talk to my editor directly about FF. I knew she loved it, but didn't know exactly how much. She says she feels it's an even stronger novel that Counting Raindrops. That was great to hear. Like I said before, unlike Counting, I hadn't had anyone to read First Fridays before my editor saw it. So, I didn't know what type of feedback to expect or if someone else would like it as much as I did. I was worried about a "sophomore jinx". Wondered if I would be able to be creative on the second book and have it get positive feedback like the first. But after hearing my editor's comments, I think I stand a chance. ;-)

Well, as usual, there's work to be done so I best be gettin' to choppin' some wood! (Don't try to figure out what that means because I have no idea myself.)


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hey Peeps!

I know it's really been a while now, but things are crazy hectic. Just so much to do. Last weekend, I did the St. Louis Book Festival as planned. However, I hadn't expected to be in the midst of another revision, so I was knocking that out too. Got it Thursday and spent that night and all day Friday doing the edits. It was pretty much all line edits, which requires just adding commas here, changing a word there, deleting that, and rearranging this. So, no scene creations or anything...simple stuff. But a lot of stuff. So, when I say, I edited all day, I mean, ALL DAY! Don't know what time I started, but I remember finishing at 10:30PM and my bottom was hurting!! LOL I sat on the sofa, so it was soft. But I guess sitting in that position for so long got to me. Anyway, I got it done, Friday night, but then I had to find time to print it out, burn a CD, package it, then ship it overnight. Worked all that around the 2-day festival and shipped it off Sunday morning. Feels good.

Now, all I need to do is make it through a signing in Memphis, TN this weekend and my busy October will be complete. I had events every weekend. I'll be at home the next few weekends before heading to Baltimore for signings Thanksgiving weekend. The biggest shopping weekend of the year! Yep, I'm going to need some rest for that. Because it's going to be a challenge trying to shop in between signings. LOL


Thursday, October 20, 2005

I need to hurry and finish up a few little things. I'm expecting a guest today. That's right. My editor's assistant emailed me yesterday to let me know that First Fridays is on its way back to me and should be here today. That was quicker than I thought! I just knew I'd have at least two weeks to work on other stuff, but intead, my editor finished it in a week! So, I'm about to do the serious apartment cleaning and laundry that I've put off for what seems like ages. This afternoon, I'll be into the second round of revisions for First Fridays.

Ups and downs this week. For the first time this season, I went out to watch Monday night football. Last year, I lost a Superbowl bet and was to pay one of the guys $50. Last night, I just knew the Colts were going to win, even though the Rams are my team. But then, the Rams were up by something like 17 points. So, Mikey comes over to me and says, "Double or nothing?" So, I say yes, because I'm thinking there's no way the Rams can lose a 17 point lead. Then I say no, because I'm like, it's the undefeated Colts. Then, he's taunting me about being a chicken and my pride kicks in. So, I stick my chest out and say "It's on!" and I proceed to talk trash the rest of the night. Well, at least until the third quarter. That's when I got up and told Mikey that I'd pay him his #$%!&*! $100 later.

I went upstairs just in time to see Pujols hit a home run at the top of the 9th to win the game and bring the game back to St. Louis. Then I watched last night as we lost. But we had a good season! :-) Going to try to be there when they take the wrecking ball to Busch Stadium.

And, I didn't win Powerball. But then again, I didn't play either. Gotta remember to start doing that...


Monday, October 17, 2005

Back in for a moment. Had a bad mishap at my signing this weekend. I go to the store to sign, and I see no indication that I'm supposed to sign there. No store announcements, no signs on the door, no nothing. Worse yet, I see all this stuff for another author. I case the place and see a set up with his books on display. So, I approach the associates and tell them that I'm there for my signing that's schedule for a half an hour from then. They tell me that they have me nowhere on their event calendar. I'm so distraught. I've been advertising my butt off for this signing. So, she gets on the phone to find out what's what, and I call my agent in near tears.

So, she can't find me in their system, but says they can set up a table on the lower level (which is good) for a meet and greet. Problem is, the 50 books that my publicist said were at the store are not there. They only have 3 books in stock. It's 15 minutes before the signing. I tell her I have a few books at home (my author copies) and we agree on terms to sell these. I'd use the money made to replace them. So, I get in my car to go home to pick them up. That's a 15 minute drive, one way. So, I arrive back at the store at 20 minutes past the time I'm supposed to sign. There's a small line of people waiting for me to autograph their copies (how cool is that?!). So, we count in my book, she goes up to get an invoice, and I start signing copies. The first few people are people who read the self-published version and enjoyed it so much that they bought the new version. How cool!

So, the associate comes back down with the invoice and shows me were they're selling my books that are listed as $12.95 for $7.99 because that's the only price she could find in their system. I only get a fraction of what we sell the books for, so I won't even make enough money to replace the books. This would be a total loss for me because the books wouldn't count as sales anyway. I think things over and decide to cut my losses and just learn from the experience. So, after 45 minutes, I wrap up and take the rest of the books with me.

I get home and do some research and find out that my publicist mistkenly booked me for a Brentwood Tennessee. Instead of my hometown, St. Louis, MO. So, no doubt, this store had my 50 books, and probably signs everywhere saying I was going to sign. And probably cursing me out because they think I was a no-show.

Well, aspiring writers, this just "shows to go ya." Sometimes, things can go wrong when you least expect it. Hey, crap happens. You just gotta pick up and move on to the next thing. So now, I'm preparing for another St. Louis event this weekend at the St. Louis Book Festival at the Muny in Forest Park. The following weekend, I'll be in Tennessee, for real, this time! LOL In Memphis.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Popping in for a brief moment. I'm still working on my edits for First Friday and I might possibly be able to finish up today. Spent all day working on it yesterday. Can't tell you how many hours because the day is a blur. All I can tell you is that I was in my pajamas all day and I listened to the television as the Cardinals won the first game of the Championship series (you know I had to get that in, right?) LOL

Anyway, my Twin posted a comment yesterday that I thought would make a great post for today. Here's his comment and question:

I've been noticing that you've been doing ALOT of legwork on your own lately . . . aren't you with a major publishing house? I know that you can't afford to let up at all, but why are you working yourself into 25-hour stupors constantly doing things that they should be handling with ease? Am I missing something?

Well, Twin, and all, :-) Yes, I'm with a major publisher, but I'm also a new writer. Most publishers may not do a lot of promotion for new authors. And these days, any author should expect to have to promote themselves. As a matter of fact, my agent said my marketing and promotion skills were an added bonus in picking me up. My publishers came right out and told me this over dinner too. That in addition to loving my story, they were attracted to the fact that I was a self-promoter. I'm hearing that a lot of publishers are looking for new authors who are also self-promoters.

So, that's one piece of the answer. The other is that I'm neurotic, anal, somewhat controlling, and have perfectionist tendencies. I like to give it my all. I have a tendency of going overboard. For advertising, and promotion, my mind is going 24/7. I'm trying to think of ways to reach the readers who might enjoy my story and my writing. I'm trying to think of ways to reach the people who don't normally read, but would read or buy my book because they are related to me, they know me, they know someone who knows me. etc. I'm thinking of ways to expose myself to people who wouldn't hear of me otherwise and I'm trying to get to where they are. Even if they don't buy my book the first time around, I'm working on name recognition so that they'll be familiar and want to give it a try when First Fridays come out.

Even if 5 or so years down the line, I ever reached the point where readers bought my book instantly at release, I don't think I'll ever be able to sit back and relax. I think that's just me. I think the focus would change, but I think I'd still be out there. Because I do enjoy emailing and talking to people who read my book. I enjoying going out and introducing myself and my book to readers. I enjoy thinking and carrying out new ways of promoting. I enjoy the hand-to-hand promotion.

I do get tired, but I think I enjoy being a busybody. It'd be great if my publisher put tons into promoting me (and hopefully we will get to that point). But I still think I'd be on the go and working myself to the bone. I'm unstable like that. :-)


Monday, October 10, 2005

I took the day off yesterday and I must have slept 25 hours. :-) Okay, maybe just a good part of the day. But I did feel exhausted. I had a whole day planned, but decided to just sleep, and watch football in between naps. Apparently, I needed it because I barely moved all day. LOL I even read a couple of chapters of the short book I've been reading for the past month or so, Soul City by Toure. And I feel refreshed now. Energized! Which is good, because I'm going to need all that energy to get caught up. Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I took an entire day off.

More of the same. I have mailings and announcements for this week's signing; make arrangements for books for an end of the month signing; finalize an additional signing for next month, prepare and mail shipments, sell sheets to stores to request they order my book (if they haven't already) mail receipts to my publisher, put together my final email campaign, and do promotions. And then I have to squeeze in editing First Fridays. :-)

Well, let me get started. Ain't nothing to it, but to do it!


Friday, October 07, 2005

If you're a frequent visitor to my blog, you've probably noticed that I'm becoming a little scarce. And you can probably guess why. Yeah, things are hectic right now. But it's a good kind of hectic. From what I can see, things are going to be busy like this at least for the remainder of the year. Within the last couple of days, I came to this realization, and made it a point to calm myself and just do the best that I can. I create my daily to-do list and get through as much as I can. If I don't get to something, I'm not going to stress out, or die, I decided. :-) I've come to terms with the fact that I may not hit everything 100% and everything doesn't have to be perfect. Each morning, I look in the mirror and tell myself that the most important thing is that "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it...people like me." LOL

I spent the last few days trying to get everything prepared for my upcoming signing this weekend and putting out a major fire associated with it. The unexpected. Good thing is, my publisher step in and got some things squared away for me. I'm still working on trying to get edits done and I'll admit that I haven't had any of those 10 hour days because there just aren't enough hours in the day. This time around, promotion and preparation is a must if I want to avoid having signings where zero people show up. The editing is coming along a little slower than I'd like, but it's getting done. At worst, I'd probably have to ask for a few more days. But we'll see if it comes to that.

And, believe it or not, I'm making time for mysellf so I won't stress myself out. I made it a point to get back in the gym this week. I had gone from working out 4 - 5 days a week to not at all. It's been about 2 months and I was starting to feel the effects. It's strange because I was getting more tired. My energy was zapped. It's funny how that works. The less active you are or the more rest you get, the more tired you are. So, I've got to get myself back in the gym so I can tire myself out so I can have more energy. LOL Sounds backwards, but that's the way it goes.

Okay, gotta get to working. So much to do that it'd take me forever to list it here. The first local signing is tomorrow and I gotta make sure everything's squared away for that. :-)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another thing that I got in email this morning and I thought I'd share it with all my fellow aspiring authors:

Consider This

Pearl Buck's 'The Good Earth' was rejected fourteen times and
went on to win a pulitzer Prize.

Norman Mailer's 'The Naked and the Dead' was rejected twelve

Margaret Mitchell's classic 'Gone with the Wind' was turned down
by more than twenty-five publishers.

Mary Higgins Clark was rejected forty times before selling her
first story. More than 30 million copies of her books are now in

--Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Bud Gardner
From Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul
Text © 2000 Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Bud Gardner


This is a good book by the way. I have a copy. Great for when you need a little inspiriation. :-)


Monday, October 03, 2005

Back from the Pen to Paper Symposium in Dayton, OH. It was nice. It reminded me of the writer's conferences that I went to in my first year. They were small and cozy, and you had short sessions on various topics that were just enough to get you started and pointed in the right direction. Small conferences like these also allow people to speak freely and go in-depth about experiences. Attendees are able to pose any question that is on their minds. And you make contacts. If you're an aspiring writer, I highly recommend looking into this symposium for next year. They have a lot of good information to offer you.

So, yes, I had a great time at this event. I was invited to participate when another author couldn't make it. So, I had only a short period of time to prepare my discussion, but I managed it. I used this event to work on my speaking and presentation skills. I might have said before that I hadn't been good with public speaking in the past. I get extremely nervous to where my voice is shaking, I break out in cold sweats, my mind goes blank, and I ramble and talk at breakneck speed. LOL Well, I had planned to use this event to work on these things, and I think I did a good job for starters. Just the fact that I didn't feel nervous and my voice didn't shake was an accomplishment. Of course, I had a small crowd. But in the past, it didn't matter. I could be before 2 or 3 people and would be on the verge of passing out. LOL So, I'd say I made a step in the right direction. Pretty soon, I'll be an old pro at speaking in public. ;-)

Well, lots to do. I've already started working on the edits for First Fridays. We agreed on 2 weeks, and I'm going to see how much I can get done by then. My editor does love the story, but offered some recommendations that I think are going to make the story even better. I think we work well together. She's awesome. It's so amazing how she can figure out what I mean when I totally botch up a sentence. I noticed that sometimes, my brain and hands do not work cohesively together when writing. I can throw in an extra letter, transpose words, or add or leave out words in a sentence. I mean, huge chunks of words. Like I say the whole sentence in my mind, but only write down half of it on paper. My editor gets it every time. Sometimes I'm looking at the sentence and trying to figure out how in the world did she get it because it looks like mumbo jumbo when I read it. LOL Anyway, she's great.

So, I'm trying to do the line edits first. Then I'm still working on my mail campaign and trying to mail at least 20 - 25 mailings a day. I'm preparing for Saturday's first local book signing. Need to get my October newsletter complete. AND, I was invited to participate and write for another anthology! I already got the story in mind. So now, I need to finish up First Fridays so I can work on the short story for the anthology, which means I'll have to delay book #3 for maybe a month.

Hopefully, I'll get to unpack the suitcase before I go to Memphis at the end of this month. :-)