Sunday, July 31, 2016

Busy #amwriting Summer - #Book Signings, #BFest, #NewRelease Promo, + A Shanty

Me, Katie O'Sullivan, and K.R. Conway in our Shanty!
I don’t think I can remember a time in the recent past when my life wasn’t fairly busy, but this spring and summer have been an absolute whirlwind of activities, many revolving around my new release – HAUNTED SOULS.  Any writers reading this can understand how difficult it can be to launch a new novel in the current publishing market…so to gain visibility for my new title, I tried to explore every promotional opportunity I could think of—some very much “outside the box”—and take part in every event I could fit into my schedule.  So this week’s post serves as a recap, while also hopefully serving as inspiration for others in terms of creative marketing ideas.

After brainstorming with some other local authors, three of us decided to apply to rent one of the Artist Shanties along Hyannis Harbor for a weekend in the spring.  These adorable little shanties are made available for artists, writers, photographers, and crafters to use as a little storefront for a few days.  The rent was incredibly low for such great exposure—the difficult part is making sure your shanty is open and attended each day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  With three of us for just three days, this wasn’t too difficult…but when the rentals move to full weeks in the height of summer, I imagine a renter on their own might experience a bit of exhaustion by the end of their time!  Then again, everyone is so excited to share what they’ve created, chatting with visitors, shoppers, and other crafters provides its own energy.

We hung pages of our books from the ceiling and matted quotes on the walls.

The original post about our preparations can be found here, and I’ve included pictures of the final product—our decorated shanty, which came out great and attracted lots of readers and visitors to Cape Cod.  We had so much fun just sitting around and chatting all day as well, and as three authors, we often discussed writing amongst ourselves.  This led to more networking ideas, and one of my fellow authors who was participating in the Barnes and Noble B-Fest Weekend recommended me to a B&N looking for an author to run the Sunday Teen Writing Workshop event during the B-Fest book festival.

Teaching a teen workshop
at Barnes & Noble B-fest.
Since most of my novels are meant for an over-18 reader base, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to highlight my one Young Adult novel, DIVINE FALL.  It was great fun to teach some elements from my writing classes to teen writers, and many of them took home signed copies of my YA Paranormal Romance.

On June 1st, my fourth novel HAUNTED SOULS came out, and I did a lot of the usual online promotion.  I had a fantastic Release Party on Facebook with many author friends posting as guest hosts.  Social media promotion led to another fantastic opportunity—the manager of a local bank offered to display and sell all my novels in their lobby for a week, plus host me for a signing on Friday, as part of their emphasis on community and reading over the summer.  It was another out-of-the-box promo event that worked really well, and I received a message from a teen who purchased DIVINE FALL that made my week…it included the sentence “It was one of the best books I’ve ever read”!

My books on display at a local bank!

I spoke about the
haunting and historical
inspiration for my new book
at the library event.
I spoke at a local library as well in June, as their Author of the Month, and the Assistant Librarian who introduced me told the group she’d read my first three books and had literally not been able to put them down, which was thrilling—reading is my favorite pastime, and if I can give others exciting stories to get lost in, I’ve done my job as an author.  That is the reason I write: to create engaging reads that offer entertainment and escape from life’s hectic pace.

Speaking of hectic paces, I’m gearing up for my August schedule of events, which include an interview with the local paper, a signing at our local bookstore, speaking at the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and signing books at the Cape Cod Museum of Art for the Art, Wine, and Words Fundraiser to benefit a children’s charity.  

Of course, all the promotion I do does cut into writing time, but for me, connecting with readers and the community is just as important.  Hopefully, readers visiting my blog today will consider reaching out to authors when they love a book—it means SO much to us!  And for fellow authors visiting, I hope I’ve sparked some ideas for promotion and networking--and with the exception of the very low Shanty rent (my part was $25)--all of these events cost nothing!  For more ideas, here's an older post I did on the same topic.  Happy reading and writing!

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