Awesome Readers, A Boxer, and Sold Out at B&N in Salem, NH

Yesterday I did a “meet & greet” at Barnes & Noble in Salem, NH. The setup?

Me. A small table with a lot of copies of THE ART OF FLOATING at the entrance to the store. Goal? Talk to folks & sell those books!

And so…

At 2:00 pm, this:

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At 3:45 pm, this:

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Huzzah! So much fun there. Awesome customers/readers, great staff and managers, and so many wonderful books! Big thanks to all!

 

 

My New Facebook Author Page! (finally…)

the cover for my new novel THE ART OF FLOATING (Berkley Books | Penguin Random House, April 2014)

the cover for my new novel THE ART OF FLOATING (Berkley Books | Penguin Random House, April 2014)

I know, I know. It’s been a crazy long time since I last posted. Hope the world and the new year are treating you brilliantly! Happy 2014!

Publicity and buzz for my soon-to-be-released novel THE ART OF FLOATING (April 1, 2014) is starting to build, so I finally built an official author page on Facebook.

If you’re interested in seeing what I’ve built (and hopefully LIKE it), visit the page here.

Cheers!

 

 

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5 Tips for Authors on How to Engage Book Clubs from Midge Raymond

Hey, folks,everydaybookmarketing_high

The marvelous, brilliant, book savvy Midge Raymond is back at Writerhead. This time she’s written a terrific book about how to market your book!

Read, buy, share!

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Book clubs are not only fun as a reader, they are an author’s dear friend. Having your book chosen by a book club is an honor, and it creates word of mouth that often keeps building. The big question is: How do you get your book chosen for a book club?

When my story collection, Forgetting English, was published, I was delighted to be invited to several book club meetings in my then-hometown of Seattle. Being a part of book clubs was something I’d wanted to do but wasn’t sure how to go about doing it—especially with a collection of short fiction, a genre that is less popular among book clubs than novels and memoirs.

I was fortunate to have writer friends in book clubs, and they got me started by suggesting my book to their own clubs. And in fact, when I talk to other authors about their experiences with book clubs, they all seem to start in the same way: Someone they know chooses their book and invites them to a meeting, and a club member who enjoys the experience tells someone in another book club—and everything grows from there.

So this leads to my first tip…

1. Tell your friends that you’d love to join their book clubs (either in person, or via phone, FaceTime, or Skype). This is the most important first step of all; from there, you’ll have readers who then tell their own friends about your book and how fun it was to discuss it with you at their meeting (and don’t be afraid to let them know you’d appreciate their sharing their experience—often readers don’t understand how helpful this is to writers, and they are usually so happy to help). Also, bring up your book club availability not only among friends but everyone you meet. So often we’re in a position to reach new readers—whether it’s when we go to a new hair stylist or when we meet people at a party—yet we don’t take advantage when we’re asked, “So what do you do?” You don’t have to shamelessly sell yourself; just mention your book, let people know that you love chatting with book clubs, and invite them to contact you (or visit your website) if they’d like to learn more.

2. Use social media. Facebook is a wonderful way to reach out to book clubs, as this is a national (or worldwide) network of your own friends and family, all of whom have an interest in you and your book and can then share whatever you post (and do encourage people to share links). Twitter and Goodreads are also great for letting readers know about your work with book clubs—remember to use social networks not only to offer your availability but to post photos and comments about past meetings, which will show your enthusiasm and generate interest from other readers and book clubs.

3. Be local. While there are many ways to join a book club long-distance, it’s always most special when you can be there in person—so take advantage of what your hometown has to offer. Visit local bookstores, your local library branches, and other organizations to let them know about your book and your availability for local book clubs. Create a flyer with all the relevant info (your book, your bio, reviews, testimonials from other book clubs, contact information) and ask folks to post it and/or share it with readers.

4. Create a reading guide for book clubs, and be sure this is easy to find on your website. (Note: If book clubs are a big part of your marketing plan, you might even want a special link on your website to a page devoted to book club info.) A reading guide not only provides a starting point for discussion with clubs you’re scheduled to meet with but it also generates interest among those who are considering choosing your book. Think about what is most “book clubby” about your book—i.e., what aspects of it make for good discussions, not only about the book but beyond it? Forgetting English, for example, is interesting for book clubs in part because its ten stories means there’s something for everyone, and among all those stories there are a lot of topics, characters, and settings to discuss. At the same time, its common themes—love, travel, life-work balance—allow for the conversation to expand beyond the book itself. Often the best book club meetings end up being more about the participants’ stories than about the book—but this is part of what makes it fun: seeing people respond to the book in ways that open them up to reflect on their own lives and experiences.

5. Offer incentives. If you can, offer a free copy of your book to book club hosts (if you don’t have a lot of spare copies, you can do this for a limited time or for a limited number of books). And find ways to bring something more than yourself to the meeting—for example, if your book features a chef, offer to bring your character’s signature dish to the meeting.

Most of all, enjoy the process—think of this aspect of marketing not as work but as a privilege. As bestselling author Jenna Blum tells us in Everyday Book Marketing about her first book club meeting for her first novel: “A chance to talk about my baby for three hours with kind strangers and drink all their wine? What writer wouldn’t go?” And remember that the more you reach out, and the more book clubs you meet with, the more readers connect not only with your book but with you as an author—and this can lead not only to new readers but to new friendships as well.

 

MidgeRaymondBIO: Midge Raymond is the author of the short story collection Forgetting English, which received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. She is also the author of two books for writers: Everyday Writing and Everyday Book Marketing. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, and many other publications. Visit her online at www.MidgeRaymond.com.

 

Redesigning the Traditional, Boring Reader’s Guide for The Art of Floating

Flüchtlingsfrau mit WägelchenA few weeks ago, I decided to write the reader’s guide to THE ART OF FLOATING myself. Sure, I could have handed off this task to the editorial team at Penguin Random House | Berkley Books, but who knows the book better than me, right?

Anyway, while working on the reader’s guide yesterday, I realized that most reader’s guides included in novels read like those terrible, boring, kill-me-if-I-really-have-to-answer-this-question literature guides teachers used to pass out in high school English class. Ugh! As I read through example after example, I tore most of my hair out.

Books rock! They’re fun, funny, heartbreaking, scary-as-shit, chock-full of words, energy, crazy-ass characters, unusual plot lines, death, birth, love, sex, and all kinds of great stuff. Right?

So why in the world are the reader’s guides that accompany them so damn boring? Most sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher reading obituaries out loud.

Therefore, I am writing a new kind of reader’s guide for THE ART OF FLOATING…one that matches the voice, tone, and verve of the book. I want book groups and classes and individual readers to have an f’in blast hashing out the whys and wherefores of this story I spent nearly 5 years writing…whether or not they love the book (fingers crossed) or hate it (inevitable for a few).

Boo-yah!

No idea whether my editor will buy into my creation, but fingers crossed for that, too.

 

 

Confession: I am officially THAT writer…

Confession: I am officially THAT writer…a strung-out mom who is working a fulfilling but demanding full-time job who has a book coming out and who is trying like hell to get the next one written.

But you know what? I love it. I’m loving my new daytime gig (director of publications & editor of the alumni magazine at Phillips Academy); I love (LOVE!) that Penguin Random House|Berkley Books is publishing my new novel (THE ART OF FLOATING) in April 2014; and despite the fact that writing another new novel is like venturing into the jungle without shoes, water, a match, a map, or moisturizer, I’m loving that, too.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, my hair looks like hell most days because, honestly, spending an hour taming my crazy locks is the thing that gives. And, no, I don’t sleep a whole lot (thus, the sizable bags I’m dragging around under my eyes). But you know, I wouldn’t trade a piece of it.

Raise your hand if you can relate!

(besides, I take a wee bit of comfort in the fact that on most days, despite horrid neglect, my hair looks slightly better than that of this poor woman)

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Hiatus: #38Write Writing Workshops

Last week I announced awesome-blossom news (novel!), and today I’m announcing some not so awesome-blossom news. Due to current insane life pressures (mamahood, job, writing, book coming out, tightrope-walker, etc.), I’ve decided to put #38Write writing workshops on hold for a while.

I know, I know! Boo on me!

I’m just having a hard impossible time not falling off the tightrope, and I need to get a little balance back in my life. As all of you know, helping writers grow, sharing my love for culture and place, and connecting the world via story is one of my great passions, so I’ve not come to this decision lightly.

But don’t worry. I’m hoping to be back in kick-arse workshop mode soon!

In the meantime, get into writerhead as often as possible, write your bloody hearts out, and then write some more.

 KO15

 

 

I Eat Fear

As I incorporate big changes into my writing/speaking/creating/teaching/cultural-spelunking/global-niche life and prepare to take some delightfully serious risks, I’ve been doing a good bit of thinking about change and fear and going for dreams and building and deconstructing and all that good stuff. I knew that by eliminating Writerhead Wednesday from my weekly blog lineup, I’d lose some followers here, but yeesh, I wasn’t ready for the flurry of unsubscribes that would result. Yesterday, as the unsubscribe notices littered my mailbox, I got scared. Super-duper cowering-in-a-corner-behind-a-curtain scared. Scared that I was making a mistake by ending (at least here on the blog) Writerhead Wednesday. Scared that I couldn’t/wouldn’t achieve my vision. Scared of failure. Scared of, well, all kinds of ridiculous crap.

Scared Dog_MorgueFileFree

I got so scared, in fact, that I almost…almost…did a knee-jerk turnaround by reinstating the structured blog post lineup. I almost…almost…got on all the social media channels and yelled, “Wait, wait, don’t go! I’ll bring Writerhead Wednesday back!”

But then, I was reminded of the great wisdom imparted by Neil Gaiman:

…I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.

And it’s this.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

~Neil Gaiman

So I got centered, remembered why I’m doing this, mustered my mojo, and came up with yet another new anthem for 2013:

I EAT FEAR!

Eat Fear_MorgueFileFree

Happy Thursday, folks! See you tomorrow.

 

Mojo Monday: Boo!

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.


A little something to help you get your Halloween mojo on!

Boo!

 

Women Read | Women Write: A Pittsburgh Book Event

So, so, so excited to share this event and its founders/curators with you today!

This coming weekend—on Saturday, October 27—I will have the honor of joining a spectacular lineup of women authors at the Women Read/Women Write event being held at the Galleria Mall in the South Hills of Pittsburgh (my hometown…whoop! whoop!).

If you’re not yet familiar with Women Read/Women Write, it’s a very cool forum designed to bring readers and writers together. And it’s the brain child of two very talented and funny Pittsburgh writers, Gwyn Cready and Meredith Mileti (whom, you may remember, was featured on Writerhead Wednesday in August 2011 when her novel Aftertaste was first published).

Gwyn and Meredith (and I and all the other marvelous writers who will be talking at this weekend’s Women Read/Women Write event) would love for all of you book-passionate people in Pittsburgh to head to the Galleria on Saturday.

Want more?

Thought you might.

Here’s a Q&A with Gwyn and Meredith that will tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful forum.

Q: What is WRWW (Women Read/Women Write)?

Gwyn: Women Read/Women Write is a forum to bring readers and writers together to celebrate the books women love, but it is essentially our attempt to capture the magic of book clubs and blow it up into a book festival.

Q: Why (& when) did you create WRWW? What was missing from the reading/book culture in Pittsburgh? What niche do you hope to fill?

Meredith: We came up with the idea in early 2011. My debut, Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses, was on the verge of coming out. Gwyn and I live in the same community, and we met through a mutual friend. I was looking for the support of other writers, and so was she. We started talking about the sense of community and shared passion one seems to always find in book clubs. Gwyn is a Rita award-winning romance novelist, so we both do a lot of book club visits. Even when women gather for events that aren’t book-related, how long does it take for the topic to turn to books? Not very long. There’s just some special effervescence that happens when you mix books and women.

Gwyn: So we said, hey, we should turn that into a book fest. How hard could that be?

[mutual laughter]

Gwyn: It was a considerably harder than we expected, but everyone we talked to as we were planning thought it was such a great idea. And then the turn-out at the first Women Read/Women Write astounded us. We had chairs set up for 30 people and over 150 showed up. It really made us see we’d hit upon something that hadn’t happened before, at least in Western Pennsylvania.

Q: How has the community responded to WRWW? Where have you found support and energy?

Gwyn: Women love the idea. So do the authors. It really feels like one big grown-up slumber party or something. And the media outlets here in Pittsburgh have really given us some great coverage. We are very, very appreciative.

Q: What plans do you have for the future? (big, global, pie-in-the-sky vision AND smaller events/schedule/etc.)

Meredith: We’d certainly like to continue to grow this festival into an even bigger gathering.

Gwyn: I’m thinking Super Bowl-esque.

Meredith: Whoa, that’s a lot of folding chairs.

Gwyn: We would like to begin to offer workshops during the festival next year. At last year’s event one of our most popular panels was the writing/publishing panel. There was so much energy and enthusiasm from the audience. People asked great questions. We definitely got the sense that there are other writers out there who are looking for support.

Meredith: For that reason, we’d love to do a writers retreat at another time during the year.

Gwyn: We just want women to feel like they have a place to get really get passionate about books and writing.

Meredith: And it would be like a slumber party.

Q: Please describe the upcoming October 27 event at the Galleria in the South Hills.

Meredith: It runs from 1 pm to 5 pm on the lower level of the Galleria. We’re offering a panel discussion every hour on the half hour with some of the best writers from Pittsburgh and beyond—Edgar nominees Kathleen George and Katherine Miller Haines. New York Times bestselling authors Madeline Hunter and Gaelen Foley. Sonia Taitz and Teri Coyne are coming in from New York, and Kristin, you’re coming in from Boston. We have Casey Daniels from Cleveland, and a whole bunch of others. The complete list is at womenreadwomenwrite.com.

Gwyn: The panel topics this year are great. In “Mining Your Life”—that’s the first panel, at 1:30—we’ll talk to authors about the risks and rewards of using tough personal experiences in your writing. In “Getting Published and Staying Published” at 2:30 we’ll talk about the shifting sands of the publishing world. So much new is happening. Then at 3:30 there’s “50 Shades of Blush” on the reverberations of the 50 Shades books. And we finish with a discussion of the modern heroine in “Lisbeth vs Hermoine” at 4:30.

Meredith: And the whole thing is free! If you’re anywhere near Pittsburgh on October 27, please consider joining us.

Gwyn: Keep that magic rockin’!

 

Thanks, Gwyn and Meredith! See you Saturday!

 

BIO: Gwyn Cready, a Pittsburgh native, is the author of six romance novels. Her latest, Timeless Desire, was released in July to high praise. Cready’s second book, Seducing Mr. Darcy, was awarded the RITA Award, the most prestigious award a romance novel can win. She has been featured in USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and Real Simple, among others. Visit her at cready.com.

BIO: Meredith Mileti is a long time Pittsburgh resident. Since its release last year, Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses has garnered glowing reviews. The New York Journal of Books called Aftertaste “a keenly observed novel that is…enough to make you want to hop on the next plane to Pittsburgh… Mileti’s debut novel is as thoughtful and poignant as it is wickedly funny…” Visit her at meredithmileti.com.