My First Book Signing Experience

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AAA FestSo I did this thing this past weekend. I decided to step way out of my comfort zone and participate in the AAA Book Festival in Atlanta. Why would you do this, you might ask. Well, they say if you want different results, you have to do something you’ve never done before. Plus, I know that getting out and mingling with book readers in person is a great way to find new readers for my books.  Here’s the tea on what went down:

 

The Prep:

I spent weeks preparing for this festival. First I paid the fee to become a vendor and that’s when the real work began. I toiled and slaved trying to finish the sequel to The Mistreatment of Zora Langston to no avail. I was only able to get about 12,000 words written in her next story because my inspiration changed in the middle of writing. Instead, I turned my focus to another tale.

It started out as a short story for an anthology I was asked to participate in. That was short lived when I was told the maximum amount of words for the anthology was 200. I was like What? Who writes a short story in 200 words or less, but I digress. That would never do for the idea I had so I wrote a different short story for the anthology. I loved the story I was originally writing so much that I was compelled to finish it. The writer in me had to see where the story ended up. I ended up finishing the story, but the dilemma was I was too close to the book event to have it edited, published and printed. My solution was to offer it as a pre-order at the book signing, along with the sequel to Zora’s story. That worked because I already had the artwork for both covers.

In between writing, I took inventory of my stock of books, ordered more to be sure I

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©Emory Rose Photography used with permission

had enough for the event. I also ordered bookmarks, postcards and a ton of other swag to display on the table. I even tried my hand at hand painting coffee mugs. A couple turned out great, but the one mug… let’s just say it would ruin my brand if anyone ever saw it. I have decided I am no artist, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. However, I am pretty crafty so I was able to make a few bracelets to sell at the show. The bracelets turned out great!

The Plan:

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©Emory Rose Photography used with permission

I decided I was going to go all out, this being my first book signing. I wanted to buy a nice new outfit, get my hair braided and spend a ton of money that I didn’t have on this thing. I quickly came to my senses. I went shopping, but apparently the universe was telling me to sit down some where because I couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear. I took a look in my closet and decided on a nice summer dress that has been hanging in the closet for a few years. I have worn it a few times, but not often. Wardrobe – Check! As far as my hair, I simply washed it and twisted it so it would look good on the day. Hair – Done!

I also had the big idea that I was going to take 10 of each book to the festival with the goal of coming home without any books! I knew it was an ambitious goal, but hey I aim big. lol Anyway I think it would have been doable.

Reality:

So there I was all packed and ready to go. My husband, who has been amazing through this whole process, loaded the truck and we headed to Atlanta. It is only a two hour drive so it wasn’t that bad of a ride. We got there a day ahead to make sure there weren’t any time issues.

Saturday was the big day and we had to be at the venue around 8:30 AM for setup. I knew it wouldn’t take an hour and a half to setup my table so we arrived around 9 AM. The check-in was smooth. I got my assigned table number and we were off. Things were well organized and some of the other authors were very curious as to how I was setting up my table. I was in go mode so I didn’t make a lot of time for chatting until after I was finished making sure everything was perfect. As soon as I was finished wiping the sweat from my brow, it was go time.

First order of business was to locate fellow author Yecheilyah Ysrayl and finally meetEC her in person. We have been online friends for about three years, supporting each other’s work and helping each other with marketing and promotions. I was thrilled to finally hug her. She is such a special lady. Someone came to her table inquiring about her book so that was short lived.

Soon after that I had two visitors at my table. One was a gentleman named Keith who looked at my display and purchased two books immediately! I was thrilled thinking the day was going to go great if this was any indication. I signed his books, but he he was camera shy so I didn’t get a picture.

AAA Book Event Aleatha Banks - CropRight as I was finishing up that sale, one of my avid readers appeared all smiles. Aleatha is a member of my reader’s group L’s Lovebirds that I have for my L. Loren pen name. She is always very active and has made friends with several of the other members. I was happy to meet her in person. She is from my home town and attended my high school, but I am a few years older than she is so I hadn’t met her yet. I was thrilled to say the least. Because her birthday is the 17th of July and mine is the 19th we share a special bond. Aleatha purchased two books as well.

 I was off to a great start! 4 books in ten minutes! Woo Hoo!!! Well that excitement wore off after sitting and waiting for people to show up. Customers were few and far between. I was disappointed to say the least. you can’t sell books if no one is there. A few people trickled in and started coming through the aisles. I talked to everyone who passed by and tried to get them to come t my table. People stopped and inquired. Most of them were looking for children’s books, thinking that Zora was one. I made sure to explain the true content of the book and made sure they knew it wasn’t for a young audience.

Time passed and as I looked around the room, I could tell the other authors weren’t Lisa Williamsfairing any better than I was. We visited each other’s booths and chatted, but still no public. Thank God I send invitations to people I knew in the Atlanta area. I had a few friends come out just to support me. I was very surprised to see a high school classmate, who I had not seen since we graduated, come out just to buy my book! She actually purchased two and promised to go online and look at the rest of my catalog. I was so happy to see Lisa Williams and her beautiful daughter come out to support me.

DreMy now grown nephew, who is quite the looker, surprised me by showing up with another former classmate of mine. I was over the moon to see my sister’s youngest son Andre. I still can’t believe he is a college graduate and living his best life on his own in Atlanta. Where did the time go? My high school classmate was good friends with Andre’s father and decided to come out to show some love as well. Mark is a veteran who was serving in Afghanistan and is now home safely, thank god!

My good friend Roni and her husband also stopped by and The Williamspurchased a total of four books! She always shows up and shows out. I am lucky to have a friend who supports my dreams. I had a few more sales that day from people I did not know, but the bulk came from friends and family.

As I was packing up for the day, the daughter of a good friend came by to show love and support. She wanted to buy, so I opened up the crates and she purchased three books! Thanks for coming out Lai.

LaiOverall it was an amazing first experience. I sold a few books and got to see some people who I haven’t seen in a while. I also made some new author friends in the process. Even though I didn’t make my sales goal, I enjoyed the day and am looking forward to my next event.

Indie Shine – Candis Johnson

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In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to ‘Shine’ the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome writer/publisher Candis Johnson!

 

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©Candis Johnson used with permission

 

Bio: 

My name is Candis Johnson. I am thirty years old from Camden NJ. I attended public school and graduated from a performing arts high school in 2006. I attended Delaware State University and graduated in 2010 with a BA degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Political Science. I published my first poetry book in 2008 via Lulu.com called “Splurging on Poetry” and a second in 2009 entitled “Somebody had to say it” Currently, I am in graduate school obtaining a MA in Business Administration. I have also created my own literary magazine called “SOUL” (Say On Universal Languages). So far I have released four issues and many more to come. My future goal is to ultimately own and operate my own publishing company.

Q & A

What do you do and Why do you do it?
Currently I am a freelance blogger and editor of SOUL magazine. As cliché as this might sound my response to this question is simple. I do it because I love it. I found my passion at age 10 or 11 and have been hooked ever since. Also, as it pertains to SOUL, the goal is to help other artists have a platform to use their voices to speak about any and everything they feel is important. Particularly unknown or undiscovered artists, writers, and poets.
SOUL Mag4Tell us about your most recent work.
My most recent work is SOUL issues 1-4. It is a literary magazine that caters to creativity such as poetry, short stories, blogs and any other creative format one wishes to use. I created soul because I felt like there was a need for undiscovered artists to have a place to use their gifts.
Who inspires you?
God is truly my greatest inspiration.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
At this time I would consider SOUL my “Masterpiece”
What is your motto in life? 
“Life is what you make it, so make it epic!”
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
This is a difficult question because I have so many dreams. However, I want to say winning a Pulitzer Prize for my work.
What is your favorite quote? Jan quote
“In complete darkness we are all the same. It is only our knowledge and wisdom that separates us. Don’t let your eyes deceive you.” Janet Jackson
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for the passion I have for my gift and for my ability to help others achieve their goals.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
Currently, I am working to create a website for my books so that readers and writers can get to know me better and have access to my work.
Where can fans purchase your work?
My work can be purchased from Lulu.

Social Media

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©Candis Johnson used with permission

Twitter: @_harlems_child

Instagram 1: _s.o.u.lsistahmagazine_ 

Instagram2: soulliterarymagazine

Facebook: Candis Johnson

Snapchat: candythepoet

Couch Convos featuring Author A. Renee Hunt

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Welcome to another episode of Couch Convos! Today we welcome A. Renee Hunt, author of ‘Puddle’ to the blog. Let’s get started.

Part I

LWT: How did you get into writing?

A. Renee Hunt

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: I began writing back in elementary school. I was a military brat, so I was alone a lot. My thing was to hide in bathrooms and write stories. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with journals, so I used to buy them with my allowance. I would then calculate a story, with illustrations, and write so the tale fit perfectly inside. I would either keep them for myself or give them to my friends. Everyone loved them so I asked for a typewriter and the end result: me today!

LWT: In this book you take a silly childhood pastime and turn it into something sinister. How did you come up with this concept?

ARH: That’s a fun story I share; I’m a home school mom who believes in morning walks. When my son was in sixth grade, we took a walk on a rainy day. Normally we stomp puddles, but this storm snuck up on us unprepared. On the way home, I was struck with the idea of stomping a puddle, but instead of making a huge mess of a splash, we fell in. I could see the opening above me, while beneath the rainwater and everything! So we got home and I grabbed my umbrella and camera and snapped a bunch of photos. That day, I wrote the tale in about four hours. The current version has been revamped, but still the original story.

LWT: I read the 2nd Anniversary Edition of ‘Puddle’. Were there any significant changes to this edition?

ARH: Yes I’ve made some changes, that I felt were significant, but only to lend the urban legend more substance. At the time, I was living in DeSoto, MO, which carries a lot of history, both black and white. I wanted to add more into Puddle, without taking from the original myth. Some of the events mentioned are from true, but as far as which ones… I won’t say. “wink wink”

LWT: When I write I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who were the muses for Quinn and Maxine?

ARH: When it came to Quinn, I saw my middle school self, because I was always new. Many times, I was the only black kid or one of a few, as well, so it just worked. I saw a friend of mine named Nicole as Maxine. She and I became besties, years after she’d beat me up for being new.  Another crazy story I may share in a novelette.

LWT: Did you allow your son to read this story or was it too scary for him?

ARH: Whenever I decide to write a short story on children, I always want it safe for my son to read. Reading is a huge deal for me, passed on by my engineer of a father, so if I’m writing on kids at a certain age, I want my son to be able to read it too.  Thankfully, this one wasn’t bad for him, but he’s not really in to horror… yet.

LWT: I see you have written a couple of Halloween tales. Do you only write short stories for children?

ARH: Those Halloween tales were actually written for my son. He was the inspiration- he’s even on the cover of the In The Walls short stories. I’ve had a lot of friends enjoy them but no, children are not my usual focus. I usually write with New Adults in mind. I guess because that’s how I still see myself.  And I’m not!

Part II

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LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?

ARH: Ever since my first experience with traditional publishing and moved Indie, I’ve always done things backwards. When I get a story idea, I create my book cover. Either I will make it all from scratch myself, or I will reach out to a really fabulous artist I’d originally found on Fiverr.com. Now we’re friends and he’s my Go To man for artwork. I draw it, but he creates what I want to see, like a true visionary.

LWT:  Do you use social media and does it help with sales?

ARH: I love social media, but as far as it helping me, I can say about half. By no means do I feel I’m a big selling author, because that’s no why I write. I just love the idea of getting a story out of me and sharing. When I use social media, it helps but I mostly use it to help others.  Crazy I guess.

LWT:  Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.

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©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: LOL Spill the tea; I like that! My process is as such: I gain an idea and purchase a new journal. I then create my characters in such a way’ they practically come to life. When I can see them clearly, I have them drawn by my concept artist. I then add their pics to my journal and as I write, they’re either on my computer, beside my document, or open in my book so I can see them. To me, they’re real- conversations, quirks, jobs- I need to see them. I can write any place at any time, on my Mac, iPhone or iPads. I also take lots of notes and add them to the journal. By the time I’m done with the story, that journal is a wreck!

LWT: What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?

ARH: My worst challenge as an indie author was when I took my traditionally published, first novel back from the publisher. It was crazy, I was foolish and I didn’t have the control I was promised. Now, I can do what I wish when I want, and when it flops, I have myself to blame on my choices- not someone else’s.

LWT: How does your editing process work?

ARH: Oh my goodness, my editing process is very redundant. I run through it a few times, making changes. Then I read it again with changes. Then again, before passing it to someone to read. I make appropriate adjustments and read it again. Then I find a team of at least 6, then make adjustments and read again, before sending it to an editor. I then read it again. By the time it’s published, I’m sick of it!

LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?

ARH: My three tips are: (1) Don’t ever pay to be published! (2) Make yourself sick of your story by reading it so many times, you can find nothing wrong. Then hand it to others for editing. My final tip, (3) Always keep a thesaurus on hand. It should become your best friend.

LWT: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

ARH: I believe the most unique method of marketing I’ve ever had the pleasure was marketing inside a comic book. A friend of mine was releasing his first graphic novel, and he gave me a half page, FREE! Best move I ever agreed to.

LWT: Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

ARH: I’m not even going to lie- my best resource are other authors! I read more than 200 books a year (physical, ebook & audio), and because of their styles, I developed my own. As an author, the best thing you can do is glean successes and mistakes made by other authors.

LWT: We met on Instagram, where you are very active. How important is a site like Instagram for indie writers?

Author A. Renee Hunt

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: I am just now easing up on how much I’m on media, but I LOVE Instagram more than any other site. People share and interact more there, than any other for me. Plus, there’s no drama.

LWT: What does success look like for you?

ARH: Oh that’s an easy one! Success is when my mom called me last week stating, my aunt had mentioned to some friends that her niece was an author and stated my name. They said they knew my name and title- even the story’s theme. They’re in Philly! Needless to say, I was elated. To me, that’s the best form of success; someone knew my name and my story. The sales can come later.

LWT: What’s up next for you?

ARH: I am currently writing my first serious novel, as an Indie Author. The Malignant Soul is my toughest project yet, because I have to go deeper than I’ve ever gone emotionally. With a novel of this capacity, I need more description, more personality and more of a plot. It’s a complex story, but I believe my research and imagery will push this novel to great heights.

A. Renee Hunt, Alyssa by those who know her, is a home school mother, London Lover, Book & Funko Pop Hoarder, Tea Drinker, Reader & Reviewer. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and son.To connect with A. Renee please click the links to her Social Media sites below. To purchase her e-book, Puddle, click here to go to Amazon

Author Website: http://www.areneehunt.com

Instagram: @bookzbookzbookz

Twitter: @AReneeHunt

Tumblr: areneehunt

Pinterest: @AReneeHunt

Google+: AReneeHunt

Linkedin: areneehunt

Facebook: AlyssaHunt40

Goodreads: Books_Books_Books_

Bookstr: BookzBookzBookz

Past Author Interview – Lit World Interviews

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Here’s another interview I did about ‘Zora’ on Lit World Interviews. I thank Colleen Chesebro for this wonderful interview. She was a huge supporter of my work then, and continues to be now. At the time she was working on her first book, The Swamp Fairy and now she is a published author too. I am so proud of her. Click here to read our interview.

192 Publications That Actually Pay Freelance Writers

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Originally posted on Silver Threading: Have you ever thought about freelance writing? Here are some options! ❤ Want to get paid to write for your favorite publications? Start by learning from these stellar lists. Source: 192 Publications That Actually Pay Freelance Writers

http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2016/03/17/192-publications-that-actually-pay-freelance-writers/

Thunderclap NOOOOOO!

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Hi guys,

You may recall a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post introducing my Thunderclap Campaign. Read it here. I was extremely hopeful when Colleen of Silver Threading suggested I try this medium to help spread the word about my book. I am always looking for new ways to market so I decided to give it a try to see if it would generate any sales.

The Results:

SUPPORTERS

63 of 100
63% of goal supported
SOCIAL REACH
96,142
People
TIME LEFT
Complete
Ends May 05, 12:00 AM ED

To the 63 lovely people who took time out of their busy days to help with this campaign, I THANK YOU! Your support means more than you know.

What Happened?

Now comes the confusion… I have over 900 followers of my blog, not to mention my Facebook Friends on my personal account, my followers on my Facebook Author page and Twitter accounts. With all of these people I thought for sure I would be able to convince a minimum of 100 people to support my campaign, but I was wrong. I wrote about the campaign on my blog, which automatically posts to my social media accounts. I did separate tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook as well. In addition to my efforts, several people shared this campaign on their sites several times and still I only reached 63 people who were willing to help.

Survey:

To help me and Colleen understand what went wrong with the campaign, I am asking that those who did not feel compelled to support the campaign provide feedback. Please take the below survey. For anyone reading this post, please comment and let me know what you think about these types of marketing techniques. Thank you for your time!

Your Help Needed!

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Hi Guys,

This marketing thing is a strange undertaking for me. At the wonderful suggestion of Colleen from Silver Threading I started a campaign with an organization called Thunderclap.

Simply put, Thunderclap is an organization similar to crowd funding, except there is no money involved for the basic package.

Supporters need to:meme12

  • Click a button to support my campaign.
  • Choose a Social Media Forum to help spread the word
  • Share news about my campaign on your social media

That’s it! No fuss, no money exchanged, simple and easy.

The point of it all:meme 7

  • If I secure 100 people to share my campaign
  • Thunderclap will share my book throughout their members and reach thousands of people I could never reach
  • Hopefully these members will purchase my book or tell a friend who will

What I need:meme17

  • CLICK HERE and support my campaign! It takes less than a minute and can be invaluable for me as an Indie Author.
  • Re-Blog this message to tell your friends!

meme18I am currently at 39 of 100 clicks and only need 61 more people to help. I have over 900 followers on this blog alone so it is doable. There’s not much time left. The campaign expires on May 5th so please act now!

To those who have already helped and those who are going tomeme13 click, Thank you so much!