What have I been up to for the past week or two? Prepping for the busy spring season of book presentations and all-out fun. By far, spring is the busiest time for my kind of indie author journey. It's filled with all sorts of opportunities to give a talk to a library book club (such as the Sheridan Readers), participate in a book discussion (and lunch!) with a home-based reading group; present a program and sign books in my hometown (Saturday, April 1) and speak at mother-daughter banquets. Also, work in a Red Hatters group, women's groups, and a state conference, and there you have my spring.
The prep involves writing new programs or tweaking others, gearing each to the particular audience or purpose of my invite. Between now and the start of summer, I have 14 gigs of various kinds. Each is an opportunity to interact with readers and to look for the blessing--because there always is one or many.
Prepping for a program involves more than script writing. It includes assessing what the host expects from my visit--not only in terms of content, but publicity--and what special needs are requested, such as a table to accommodate themed props that complement the book, copies of the book, a lectern, sound system, and other tech needs.
This morning I sent out three press releases for an upcoming venue. I view the releases as both a way to invite the public, but also a means of publicity for perhaps future invites. It's akin to throwing out a line and waiting for a nibble.
Every author approaches a book launch differently. Some might rent a facility, book a caterer, and mail out invites to guests for the official "launch." I would find that intimidating and prefer more of a soft launch approach in letting my various venues become my "launch."
The word "launch" is a bit of an unsettling term for me, personally. It feels as though there will be a big bang involved, the ground will shake, the earth will move. I'm not up to the pressure of that level of hype. I see "home-based" launches on programs, maybe C-Span at a rich author's Martha's Vineyard summer home or something. They sip cocktails and maybe someone plays the grand piano. That's not me.
So I move about the state when invited, and enjoy the journey, a soft launch.
This spring, I'll be in Sheridan, Springport, Liberty,, Fishers, New Castle, Knightstown, Selma, Hagerstown, Richmond, and Brookville--some, multiple times.
Meanwhile, here's a couple photos from what I've been up to recently.
March meeting of Writer Chicks Society met in the Fairmount Public Library. Shout out to Linda, the accommodating librarian who has permitted us to meet in her cozy library twice now. March hostess was Cathy, who arranged for our venue, a pitch-in chili meal, and guest speaker Gloria Doty.
Gloria's prolific work spans genres that include cowboy romance, devotions, children's books, and a memoir. Gloria has developed a loyal team that handle editing, cover design, and interior layout so that Gloria can focus on her writing.
She's a speaker, and is comfortable with what works for her. Learn more about the Fort Wayne-based author at www.facebook.com/gloriadotywriter or on her website, www.writingbygloria.com.
As indie authors, we're all about creative ways to get our books out there. I put it on social media when I'm headed to Henry County. I spent 31 years working in the communities there covering people's stories--and lives. I still write a twice-monthly column for the New Castle Courier-Times, two other daily papers, and for a news and sports blog.
When long-time reader Phyllis in Henry County called to tell me she would like a couple signed books, I promised to stop by that week on my way to New Castle. We had a nice visit, and she wanted to show me something.
When she opened the doors to her pie safe, inside were a variety of files ... at first I didn't understand what I was looking at. Look closely, and you might see that my name is on two thick, blue volumes. Those contain clippings from stories I have written over the decades.
Can I tell you that I was stunned? It fills a special place in my heart to know that my articles and columns have been clipped, saved, and preserved by a reader! Phyllis! I'm touched deeply. When I got into the car, I found she wrote the check for more than required. When I went back to the house to tell her and refund the excess--Phyllis said the $5 was a tip for delivering the books. Can you believe it? It was beyond a blessing to chat with her that day. Thank you, Phyllis.
The journey continues. Can we write the obituary for COVID? I think I shall give it a stab (pun intended) for my next newspaper column. It sure is good to get out and see everyone.
Pre-spring blessings to you all. See you down the road.