One Full Calendar!

It’s over halfway through 2019, and my event calendar is filling up fast! From horror conventions to brand new author conventions, my sister and I (MorbidSmile) will be traveling quite a bit over the next few months. Even the next few weekends really.

I admit, sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with all the schedule changes, all the confirmations, all the travel plans that come up so quickly. However I try to always list out the events I’m attending on my Facebook Author Page. Just click on the Events tab on the left to see all the Facebook events for the festivals I’m planning to attend.

You can also see all my events coming up on my newly updated Appearances page!

Most Writers are (Thankfully) Not Weavers

I’m a sucker for a book where the protagonist is an author, but add in the fact that they are also changing the world they’re living in, and I’m a goner.

That’s the kind of premise that Heather Kindt’s The Weaver has, and this book sounds incredibly unique. I’m the kind of person who has watched In The Mouth of Madness more times than I can count, and even though that movie is more about the author bringing about the monsters from his imagination into the world around him, The Weaver fiction brought to life certainly doesn’t sound pleasant.

Heather Kindt was kind enough to interview me a while back on her blog, and she has been super supportive of my work since Stolen came out. As soon as I read the synopsis for this book though, I knew it was going on my Kindle. Some books are just like that, you know?

I hope you take a chance on this incredible sounding book (with such a gorgeous cover!) and happy release day, Heather! Here’s hoping the villains in my book never become flesh and blood…

Author Vending: Finding Events [#AuthorToolboxBlogHop]

Today’s post is part of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop, basically it’s a bunch of authors putting together helpful information for other authors. I was approached by Raimey a couple of weeks back because she noticed my tutorial videos, and thought I would want to join. This is obviously something I really enjoy doing, so I was happy to be part of their blog hop! You can find all the other posts for this month showing up over the next couple of days here.

When you first started out in the author business, if you’re anything like me, you had highly unrealistic expectations of what the book business was like. You assumed that author tours were these magical series of events where a publicist setup the locations and all the author had to do was show up, sign copies, and talk about books. That’s so far from the truth, it’s no wonder people get overwhelmed when they learn that much of this lands on the author’s shoulders to organize, stock, and attend.

My very first author signing at Story On The Square in April 2018.

As part of my ongoing Author Vending series, I’m talking about tips and tricks that up and coming authors can use as they attend festivals and shows to promote their books. There are a lot of steps that an author might find themselves struggling to figure out. I want this series to be a guidebook to those authors just getting their feet wet.

Whether you are an indie author or traditional, working with a small press or the big five, unless you’re a big name author, chances are you are going to be responsible for setting up your own book tour. The words book tour sound intense at first, but really you just have to think of it as a series of places where you’ll be doing readings and signings. It’s an opportunity for your friends and fans to see you and buy copies of your books. Even if you only do a couple a year, they can be huge promotional tool to get your name out there and to get people talking about your work.

The first major step is finding events to attend as a vendor. Ideally if you’re just starting out as an author, you’ll want to find a venue that has the following requirements:

  • Low cost – This may seem like a no-brainer, but this is essential for a first-time author vendor to choose their first events at places where they have the ability to break even. A $50 author booth, where you’re selling your books for $10-15 a piece is more likely to be successful rather than one with an initial cost of $100+.
  • Local – Try to find a venue that doesn’t require you to drive far. That not only makes it easier for you to get a return on investment, but means that if you get there and realize you forgot an essential piece of your setup, you can still run back without stressing out.
  • Not necessarily author focused – Sometimes if you’re the only author at an event, it helps you stand out. Your booth will attract the readers, and you’ll be surprised how often people will want to buy a copy for themselves but also one as a gift.
  • Support group – If you have a hard time talking about your books or your worlds or characters, don’t be ashamed to bring a friend or family member to help out. Ideally having someone in the booth who has also read your book and loved it will help to champion your work when you’re too nervous to do it yourself. The more you encounter these situations though, the easier it becomes to figure out how to describe your work.
A book signing from earlier this year, April 2019, at Book Warehouse.
I had so much more confidence (and book swag!)

So now that you have a good idea what to look for, how should you find events in your area?

  • Look for libraries and independent bookstores. Many indie bookstores will already be planning an author signing event, and libraries are always looking for more exciting events for readers of all ages.
  • Look for events you’ve attended before. Even if it’s a craft-focused show, you may be surprised at how well you do, especially if you’re familiar with the layout and guests.
  • If you’re struggling to find local events, or want to branch out, Facebook is a great place to start. Start an Author Business Page and make sure you list your hometown there. You may have festivals reach out to you to attend their show. Look around for events your friends are attending, or events a few months out. You’ll be surprised how quickly you find places looking for vendors.
  • If costs are still too high for you, see if you can find an author/artist/crafter who is willing to share a booth with you. You get less display space, but it’s much easier to break even with half the cost of the booth. This may help you get into some high traffic venues too like fan conventions.
  • When attending events, make sure you walk around and see what else is there. I’ve found a few author festivals that way. You’ll be surprised how often other authors will use those events to promote an author-specific event.
  • Join an authors group near you. I’m part of the Atlanta Chapter of the Horror Writers Association, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned in just the 1.5 years I’ve been part of the group. Some people have been doing this for decades longer than I have, and there is always more to learn.

I hope this helps you in finding that first event, and in getting the nuts and bolts down of what is required for it. Usually it’s just having the confidence the first time, and with each event afterwards it gets easier and easier.

Although online promotions can help really get your name out there, I’ve found that it still doesn’t beat a local event. You get the chance to talk about your work, to talk with fans, and to sign books in person. You ultimately are creating a unique experience for your fans, and even though at times they can be a lot of hot work, it’s totally worth it.

Beware the Goats!

I first met Sarah through the Authors For Families charity drive. If you’ve followed my blog for the past year or so, you’ll notice that I’ve participated in this multiple times. Basically authors donate books, edits, read-throughs, etc. in exchange to donating to a select charity. I’ve seen the organization and coordination this takes behind the scenes. She works hard for a fantastic cause, and now in a few weeks we’ll be sharing a booth together at Decatur Book Festival!

Today her debut novel gets released, Double Crossing the Bridge. Although I haven’t gotten the chance to read it completely yet, I did read through the first chapter that got posted yesterday on the Parliament House Blog. This is such a fun and unusual world already and I’m really curious to read more!

Trolls, unicorns, and humans all exist – and somehow those dang billy goats always find a way to cause trouble! Congratulations on the book release, Sarah!

I’ve nabbed my copy already, have you?

(By the way, isn’t it weird that we’ve both written about trolls??)

Review: Henry Franks

After reading his fantastic novella, Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds, I was eager to hop into more of Peter Salomon’s work! Fortunately he’s got a few other books that he’s written, and this book, Henry Franks, was his first!

Instantly you get the kind of dark book this will be…

Finished: 6/26/2019

Henry Franks is a novel about a teenage boy with scars that are always itching and a terrible case of amnesia. He doesn’t remember anything that happened before the accident, and he suffers from not recognizing his own name or his own father. As Henry slowly unfurls out of his shell around his talkative neighbor, Justine, the newspapers are full of murder reports happening all across the quiet island of St. Simons island.

So first off, having grown up in Georgia myself, I love that this happens in a known Georgia location during specific years and during a very specific weather pattern. I think it’s incredible the amount of work and research it takes to create a world within that space, but Peter does a splendid job with it.

Another piece I want to include, and perhaps the part that made this book glow for me, is the clear knowledge of cognitive science and the effects of head trauma. People forgetting who relatives are and sometimes, more importantly, not having the same feelings of warmth as they used to are known side effects of that trauma. Read up on Capgras syndrome for more information on this very real phenomena.

What makes life worse for Henry is that his father seems untrustworthy. And you’re not sure if it is a case of head trauma or if he really is acting suspiciously. So you’re not sure if Henry’s lack of emotion for his father is truly from head trauma and amnesia, or if his father isn’t who he says he is.

Anyway, you get the idea of how tangled this story is and how much fun it is to unravel the mystery! I honestly love that about Peter’s books. The ending absolutely threw me for a loop too!

I am looking forward to getting to read more of Peter’s work!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  • Is it a fun read? I turned each page with growing concern, eager to unravel the mystery at hand, so yes, definitely a fun read!
  • Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely! I loved the twists and turns this book took, and the horrific encounters they had.
  • Does it stick with you? Definitely! It’s a storyline that you’ll find creeping into your mind again and again.

My overall rating: 5/5