Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Fun Facts

Today's fun facts? They revolve around book signings/appearances. Are you an author who's done some/a few/one? Are you a reader who's attended one? Leave me a comment and you'll be entered into my August blog giveaway: the prize is your choice of either a download of Diane Craver's brand new release Whitney in Charge, a download of my newest release One Night in Napa, or a print copy of The Write Ingredients, a cookbook of yummy recipes collected and organized by Lori Foster and featuring Samhain authors.

So anyway, I've had the opportunity to do a few different kinds of public appearances with my books, including straight-forward bookstore signings, conference presentations, readings, book club discussions, and craft fair appearances. Tips? Here are my top 10:

1. Bring your own books. Even in the cases where the store/conference/club has planned to order them for you, things might fall through (or you might sell out!!). Always carry at least 10 copies of your title(s) in the trunk of your car in case this happens.

2. Prepare. Know what you'll be doing. Sitting behind a table and greeting potential customers? Speaking? About what? Your book? Getting published? Romance sub-genres?

3. Following up on #2, bring good ol' swag. Always have bookmarks and/or business cards. Brochures, magnets, excerpt booklets, candy...whatever you're using for promo this time around, bring it and set it out in plain sight. Encourage hesitant browsers to at least take something small. Many times they'll linger long enough to pick up a book and read the back...and then you're halfway to a sale!

4. Arrive early. I mean, that's kind of a given, but know where you're going (especially if you've never been there before) and plan to get there at least 20-30 minutes before your appearance is scheduled to begin.

5. Smile and say hello. Be happy about your books! Talk about why you write, or what your latest book is about. Ask potential customers what they like to read. Be friendly. Be honest. Even if someone doesn't buy your book or take a bookmark. It's OK. They'll be back ;)

6. Enlist people to help you. I was at a book club discussion this week and I brought my sister along. While I mingled with people after the talk, she stood at a table in the back of the room and sold my books. 10 in less than 10 minutes. Not too bad - and it freed me up to sign books and speak with others. At a Borders signing back in May, I ran out of books -- and my hubby ran out to the car to get the back-up box I'd brought while I sat at he and stalled my potential customers (see #1).

7. Bring water (or something else to drink). I spoke a book club this past week and it was about 80 degrees in the room. I usually bring a bottle of water, but this time I forgot. Not good!

8. Be kind to the people making your arrangements. Bookstore managers, craft fair coordinators, librarians...they're all doing you a favor by setting up an appearance for you. At the very least, send a thank-you card or email after you're through. Or consider bringing a small token of thanks with you. Those people will be the ones who schedule future appearances for you...and the ones who talk up your work when you're not there :)

9. Send promo materials ahead of time. If you can, send bookmarks, or a poster/flyer advertising your appearance. Don't leave all the work up to the person setting it up for you (see #8).

10. Read. If you have the chance, and you feel comfortable doing it, read an excerpt from your latest (or favorite) book. I've discovered that people really do like hearing authors read their own writing. And if you pick a particularly juicy part (or a good cliff hanger) you may make a sale or two!

So...what else would you add to this list?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Christine Columbus

Welcome back to Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm happy to introduce a fellow Wild Rose Press author, Christine Columbus. You're gonna enjoy this one!

Christine, can you tell us a little about your background?

I have lived my entire life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am a Romance Novelist for The Wild Rose Press, with a number of short stories and soon to be released novel, The Perfect Country and Western Story. My latest poem appeared in the Bloomington Art Center’s Literary production Reflection. My flash fiction appeared at Other publishing credits include creative non-fiction, poetry and children’s fiction stories.

Yes, Christine Columbus is my real name, but when my Mom agreed to let my Dad name his 6th child Christine Columbus she thought he would have been smart enough to spell Christine with a “K.”

My favorite comment from a teacher was Patrick at the University of Iowa who wrote that he looked forward to reading my work because I was a glitter of gold in a box of sand. For some unknown reason I always visualize a kitty litter box.

LOL...Okay, tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

My novel The Perfect Country and Western Story… was just a blast to write and is a very fun read – even if you don’t like cowboys or music. – Remember the story of Cinderella – Well, instead of a prince and a glass shoe… There is Alexandria who is going to a country festival with an autographic Toby Keith cowboy hat and she is trying to find the cowboy that the hat belongs to.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Everyone says, “Write what you know.” Which I found very intimidating- because all I know is working full-time, being a single parent and raising 2 children and training 1 dog…or was it training 2 children and raising 1 dog.

So, I say just write… write anything that you think someone might read…because for me I write because I love to have people read my stuff…And when I wasn’t published I took classes because I knew the teachers would have to read my papers – or I write letters – or emails…as long as someone is reading – I am happy.

I like that advice! Now, how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

I am really lucky… I hate watching TV and I hate cleaning. So, when I get home from work – after taking a long walk … I have to entertain myself. My kids are 20 and 21 and are in college – so they are only home for the summers. So, I write because …I don’t have anything else that I would rather do…

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

No, writer’s block…just dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets..block…and occasionally I don’t want to exercise block…

Describe your writing space (or include a picture!)

Nice! Can I join you sometime? (just kidding) All right, what do you like to do when you're not writing?

Pretend I’m a Harley Chick….

Chrstine, thanks so much for being here today. Anything else you’d like to mention?

Don’t be afraid to Live Your Dreams… instead of holding on… let go. And thank you for reading.

Readers, you can find out more at Christine's website,, and her Wild Rose Press author page. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday's Mentionables: Royalties, a Car, and a Reunion

"Never go to your high school reunion pregnant or they will think that is all you have done since you graduated." ~Erma Bombeck

Let's see...what's worth mentioning today??

I made my second highest (ever) earnings in royalties for July -- not saying this is a lot, don't get me wrong, but with the release of One Night in Napa plus the little hit my backlist of titles got, there was an actual plus number on my royalty statements this time :)

I'm in the process of buying a new car (and this is a totally separate story which deserves its own Monday Mentionables post, I'm hoping next week when I actually own it...) and finally,

I attended my 20th high school reunion over the weekend and had an AWESOME time. Here are some pics:

With my husband at the Friday night mixer (he was helping me hand out Mardi Gras beads to our classmates...until I told him that no, the women did not have to flash anything to get the beads LOL)

Reunited with some gymnastics teammates & trying out our old moves

With my sister at the Saturday night dinner (she was taking pictures for us...she will have you know that she is 3 years younger than I!)

With 2 of my planning committee members at the dinner