This week the writer’s links feature marketing information geared toward authors, recommendations about writers’ conferences, and a few research links. I particularly thought the longsword fighting video was excellent for all you fantasy writers out there. Enjoy!
Author readings are a great way to present your new book to the public. It allows you to give a personal sample of your writing, interact with potential readers, and can turn into a sales event. There are many venues to set up a reading location: bookstores, libraries, seminars, book clubs, restaurants and even private homes. In my area, the writer societies have “salon readings” on a semi-regular basis. If you are a paid member of the society, you can usual find a space in their advertised reading events. I am finding that these events are well attended, with 20 to 30 audience members and some record the readings and turn them into podcasts to go onto the web. It is a win-win for both the writer and the readers because it is a great way for writers to present themselves to new fans and for fans to find authors that interest them.
I have prepared a few tips on getting ready for a reading based on my former experience as a talk show television host. These are some of the things I’ve done to get ready to go “on the air” during my younger days when I hosted “Flowers by Rod”, a how-to program about flower arranging and “Class Act”, an interview talk show.
Remember that a reading is performance art. You are “on stage” the moment you walk into the venue. No matter how many people are there, you want to make a good impression. Choose three or four short passages from your novel. You may only read one or two at the salon, but it is good to have alternate options available if needed. Read your selections out loud while facing a mirror in the privacy of your own home. If you own a video camera, consider video taping your reading performance so you can view it and make any corrections necessary.
Yes, it is difficult to watch one’s self on television, but remember no one has to see it but you. This is also a good time to select wardrobe. You can see for yourself how you will appear to the audience if you record yourself in your wardrobe choice. Does the fabric move with you? Does the outfit reflect your mood as an artist? Most authors wear clothing that is dressy casual and have something that pops that members of the audience might remember. If you are female, an artistic piece of jewelry is often a good idea.
You should prepare a written bio to take with you. Often times you will hand this to the moderator, who will introduce you to the audience before your reading. However, sometimes you will be expected to introduce yourself. Keep it short and if possible, humorous. Practice your bio information so you can recite it naturally when needed. As a television host, I would often sit and chat with my guests for a short time before the program and base my introduction on this, but I feel that it is best to be prepared with something in writing too.
Do not read too long. I would prepare no more than ten minutes of prose to read. When you practice your readings at home, make sure you time it. Ten minutes may not sound like a long period of time, but for a performance, it is substantial. Think about how long a typical television segment on a television program is. That is what you should be aiming for.
After your reading, you should be able to take questions from the audience. You will get typical questions such as:
Where do you get your ideas?
What do you use to write with?
Who are your favorite authors?
Why did you become a writer?
What inspires you to write?
Be prepared to answer questions such as these ahead of time. The readers are seeking a more personal connection with you as an author. They want to know what is behind the story you’ve written, the deeper meaning that is not readily apparent.
Do your best to relax when reading your work. Stand comfortably and speak clearly. Do not bury yourself in your words, try and look up from time to time and make eye contact with the audience. During question and answer sessions, talk directly to people, remember to smile, and just be yourself.
If you can calm your nerves, your performance time is a wonderful way to gauge how your audience reacts to your words. It is similar to when you are in a critique group and have someone else read your story out loud and then you the author can sit back and gauge the reactions to the story. What is great about a reading is that the audience are not always fellow writers, they are the true public that reads your work. Seeing their reactions can be a golden opportunity.
Before your reading date at the Salon, make sure you announce it via your social media platform. Post on your website, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Send out a press release to shopping guides with calendars of community events or to your local paper.
Bring a box of books to sell at the event, fliers or cards with links to your ebook seller sites, or if you are in a bookstore, make sure your book is stocked on the shelves. Double check with the bookstore about their policy of who sells the books to the audience. You want to be able to return to this location, so keep the store happy. If you do bring books, make sure that you sign them, even ones that the store may purchase from you to sell later. Some stores like to keep autographed books on a front table after your appearance is over for book collectors.
When I asked CeeCee how she might describe herself, she answered: “Never forget where you have been, so you can remember where you may not want to go again.” Experiencing the unique insights and thoughts of the author is one of the reasons we read. I am glad to introduce this southern fantasy author to you here on No Wasted Ink.
I am Cheryllynn Dyess. I am a forty-two year old woman born and raised in the southeastern part of the United States, mainly Georgia and Florida. I was raised loving the outdoors and being crafty. I enjoy fishing, crafting, reading, and football. I graduated from the University of Phoenix with my BA in Healthcare Administration/Health Information Systems. I have about twenty years of healthcare experience from reception to health aide to dental assisting in oral surgery to management. I have always had a drive to take care of others.
I am a mother of four and two grand-babies. I have three fur babies. Two Chihuahua’s and one Chihuahua and one mini Australian Shepherd mix. Currently, writing is one of two occupations I have. Avon is the other. Yes, I am the Avon Lady! I have been in Avon for two years and it has been very successful for me. The earnings from Avon have paid for all the publishing and marketing costs of my books as well as many household bills. Actually, I started Avon to pay for my writing expenses and the business has grown immensely.
When and why did you begin writing?
In the mid to late 1980s, I began scribbling away thoughts and pieces of crumbs to whole dishes that are now poems. I began writing for no reason other than I felt the drive to do so. My hand met the pen and the pen met the paper, creating many pieces of work that are still on the original paper from decades ago.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Two years ago I began writing as a serious notion to be a writer, but only when I saw my first book published in my hands did I acknowledge that I was an actual writer.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
My most recently published book is Kyluna, Jein’s Journey Series Book 3. In Kyluna, Jein has been accepted as the type of woman she wants to be and now is allowing herself to accept her destiny. Accepting love and fate has always been a struggle for Jein, since meeting Rohm she has had little choice but to accept and enjoy what life has meant for her. She finally finds a land worthy of her people and is visited by…well, now you will have to read the book to learn that part.
What inspired you to write this book?
I am not sure that inspiration drove me to write this series to be honest. It’s hard to explain, I was told I should write a book because I had talent. So one day I said, “Okay I will.” I sat at the computer and Jein’s Journey started to unfold. In many ways Jein is a reflection of myself, so in that case I am my own inspiration.
Do you have a specific writing style?
When I write I typically grab an idea and start writing, editing and rewriting. I do not plan much although I do research when needed.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
Jein’s Journey was a given title when I knew it would be more than one book about Jein. Jein’s Journey is not only about where she goes to look for a home for her people but also about her journey with life.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The underlying message in my novel is to accept who you are and to always be true to yourself no matter what. Too many times people change who they are to fit others desires and needs and this is not how we should be at any time.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The events are not comparable to any in my life or any others that I am aware of, but as for experience, yes. The general feeling of being an individual different than what others deemed acceptable, always struggling with being true to oneself, is in reference to me. I grew up in a home where I could not be myself and when I did, I was chided greatly for not being what I was expected to be.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Writing influences most comes from Edgar Allen Poe, others include more recents like J.K.Rowling, T.M. Nielsen, Jennifer Malone Wright and N.K.Jemisin.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Kristy Charbonneau did the cover design on all my books, not just this one. I was refered to her from a fellow author and was greatly impressed with her work from my first self-published book and had to have her to repeat her magic for me.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Advice for writers, well I would say first if you chose to write know that your work does not end at the ending page of the story. Whether you are self-published or published through an agent the work does not end with the hit of the submit button. Martketing, marketing and marketing are forever a job. I would advise that a writer take time to read about several paths that are available for editing services, cover designs, formatting professionals, publishing venues and most of all marketing. There is a lot of work to write a book but if you do not do the proper amount of work to get it in the hands of readers it was all for not.
My second huge piece of advice is to remember that you will not please all readers. If you have a style of writing and a genre you prefer then stay true to yourself and your writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
To all my readers and to any readers, really, remember that the author you are reading the work of has poured their souls out for the world to see openly so do them a kind favor and leave a review of that book you just read. Let us authors know how you like the work or follow us on one of our social media networks. We love to hear feedback and to have interaction with our readers. As always, I would love to say thank you to my readers for taking the time to consider my work, purchasing it and reading it.
Cover Artist: Kristy Charbonneau
The topics for this week’s link roundup are a range of subjects, they feature more about handwriting, marketing as an author, and general writing topics. I’ve also included an article about slide rules. Why? Well, Robert Heinlein’s science fiction is filled with references to this mathematical tool and I’ve been fascinated about them for that reason. Call it a quirk!
Book Name: To Kill A Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
First Published: 1960
Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She studied at Monroe County High School, where she became interested in English literature. She then enrolled in Huntingdon College in Montgomery.
She is best known for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Similar to the book’s character Scout, the young Harper Lee was a tomboy who observed racism in her small town in Alabama. Her father was a lawyer who once defended two black men accused of killing a white man but the two black men were later executed. Dill was based on Lee’s friend Truman Capote.
She began her writing career with several long stories. With the help of the editor Tay Hohoff, she spent two and a half years rewriting the draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel was published on July 11, 1960 and quickly became a critically-acclaimed bestseller. In 1961, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and in 1999 was voted “Best Novel of the Century” in Library Journal’s poll.
Lee has done few interviews or public appearances since publishing To Kill a Mockingbird. She has not published another novel. She worked on a second novel, titled The Long Goodbye, but did not finish it. In the mid-1980s, she began writing a nonfiction book about an Alabama serial murderer but also filed it away unfinished. She was, however, satisfied with her book’s Oscar-winning screenplay adaptation by Horton Foote. During the filming, she became good friends with Gregory Peck, who won an Academy Award for portraying Atticus Finch.
On November 5, 2007, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. This is the highest award in the United States for civilians, awarded to people with outstanding contribution to culture, world peace, security, and national interests.
In a 2011 interview, Lee’s close friend, Rev. Dr. Thomas Lane Butts, shared what Lee told him as the reason why she never wrote again, “Two reasons: one, I wouldn’t go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill a Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say and I will not say it again.”
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. – Harper Lee
Atticus Finch is a middle-aged lawyer and a widower who lives in Depression-era Maycomb, Alabama. He has two children, six-year-old Scout and her older brother Jem. The two children are terrified of their reclusive neighbor Arthur “Boo” Radley, yet they are also intrigued by him. Together with Dill, a boy who stays with his aunt in Maycomb during the summer, they obsess about Boo’s appearance and how they can lure him outside, despite Atticus’ warning to leave the man alone. The children sometimes find gifts in a tree near Boo’s house but never see him.
One day, Atticus takes on the case of a black man named Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping and beating up a white woman named Mayella Ewell. Most of the people of Maycomb believe that Tom is guilty and are beginning to resent the attorney for defending him. Scout and Jem are harassed at school because of their father’s actions. Their father tells them not to fight with the other children but it becomes hard for tomboy Scout and even the more levelheaded Jem to not lose their tempers.
Atticus stands up to a lynch mob out to kill Tom and the mob disperses after the children shame them. The lawyer does not want his children to attend the trial but they are able to, sitting in the area designated for black people. In the trial, Atticus is able to prove that Tom could not have beaten up and raped Mayella because of his crippled hand. It becomes clear that the lonely Mayella made advances toward Tom. Nevertheless, Tom is convicted, making Atticus’ two kids realize their town’s prejudice against people of color, even in a court where truth is supposed to win over bias. Soon after the trial, Tom gets shot and killed for attempting to escape while in prison. Tom’s conviction and his death shake the Finch family’s confidence in justice.
My first exposure to this novel was via required reading in secondary school. I was taken by the book, not only due to the literary themes, but because the story was told by a little girl that was not much younger than myself at the time. I was a tomboy like Scout and I could feel what she felt as events happened in the story. I also felt a great deal of admiration for Atticus Finch. In many ways, this character has become my role model for courage and justice. I have enjoyed seeing the Oscar winning film starring Gregory Peck and highly recommend seeing it if you have not done so.
Ms. Lee has been in the news as of late. She is an elderly woman that was in need of funds to pay for her medical care and was in a legal battle over the royalties from her single best-selling book in order to find the money to pay for her doctors. I understand she has had some success with her suit and I certainly wish her all the best and a peaceful life.