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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Putting Yourself Out There

It's June again, and the start of my yearly 'tour'. I take my two self-pubbed books (I did a much better job on the second one, imho!) and go try to coerce-um, persuade people they absolutely must read my work. I also take my e-reader, now that Kenzie's published, to show the uninformed how to read her book.

I wasn't always this outgoing. No, when my first book arrived, I wanted to crawl into a cave a hide. I 'just knew' my parents would give me 'The Look', you know the one which tells you 'yes-we're-disappointed-you-chose-to-do-this-but-we-still-love-you'.

But I bravely decided, okay; I've spent this money chasing my dream; now let's get out there and see if people like my story. After all, I did have several people in my neighborhood who had read all five books and liked them:)

And lo and behold...I had a woman buy my book at a local festival on the first night. The second night, she came through, told me she had started reading and couldn't wait to get back to it. The third day, she marched over to my booth, slapped her hands down, and exclaimed, "I loved it! I could not put it down, and I'm going to recommend it to my daughter. When is the next book coming out?"

All I could do was stammer my thanks and offer her a 'sneak peak' at book #2. She went away and I've not seen her since.

That was in 2003. Book #2 was released in 2007, and I've not been able to return to that particular festival since 2005. But that summer taught me something valuable. If I want people to buy my books, I have to get over my shyness and actually talk to people.

Since becoming friends with many authors in the past three years, I've been fortunate enough to purchase not only their e-books, but some print ones too. Sometimes I've even won autographed copies. Now my booth includes a display which I've joked is my traveling bookstore....except the books are not for sale. Some authors send me promo items, such as business cards, postcards, or bookmarks. I display these as well, so if anyone takes interest in a particular book, I can tell them where to buy it, or encourage the person to take the promo item. And afterward, I email the authors and tell them potential readers are heading their way.

And this brings up another point:
Authors Behaving Badly

Acting like divas.

Thinking 'oh, I'm published...I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread'.

Bad-mouthing others all over the internet.

Telling someone a confidence and two days later seeing your words splashed all over the internet.

Whatever happened to common courtesy?

Not naming names here, but I've learned a past acquaintance is up to his/her old tricks. I'm actually saddened by this; apparently the fact s/he's lost friends hasn't deterred this person from changing for the better. If you're going to bash others, be prepared for a backlash. Don't be stunned if someone has the nerve to criticize you back.

In fact, let's try something radical. If someone criticizes you or your work, by all means, go off in a corner and have a good cry. But instead of retaliation, laugh it off. Don't sink to their level. It only makes you look small and insecure.

And who wants to buy books from a selfish author? I'd rather buy from a friendly author, one who admits his or her mistakes, rather than being vindictive about past wrongs.

Think about it.

Want the blurb and excerpt to the above book?

Love Finds A Way
Publication Date: November 2007
Buy Link: Click here.

Can a blind date turn into a romance? Amy Callahan wants to find out, so when she flies to California to spend a week with Matt Slagal, she discovers the ups and downs of a long distance relationship. Which one prevails..."Absence makes the heart grow fonder" or, "Out of sight, out of mind"?

"I'm not changing my life! If they don't like it, they can stuff it!" Matt returned hotly.

"Ssssh...I'm not asking you to change." Amy tried to be tactful. "All I’m asking is that you not, er, curse so much," she finished lamely.


"Please?" she pleaded. She rolled over and looked him in the eye. "All I ask is that you clean up your vocabulary for a few hours while we're with my parents."

"You want me to kiss ass," he commented.

"Not quite...I just want you to make a good impression." Tears welled up unexpectedly in her eyes, and she rested her head on Matt's chest. "This is important to me," she whispered.

"Oh, all right, I'll watch what I say next weekend. Can I smoke and drink beer too, or is that also taboo?"

"Stop it!" Amy locked eyes with him.

"What?" Matt asked, acting innocent.

"You know what I mean," she replied fiercely. "I'd rather you not smoke, but a few beers won't hurt. I'm not asking you to bend over backwards; all I want is for you to be civil towards them!"

"I'm always civil," he protested.

"I didn't mean it like that," Amy put her head down again. "I meant that sometimes, well, you have a tendency to act antisocial, as a know-it-all."

"I do what?"

Feeling herself losing ground, Amy groaned. The conversation wasn't going the way she'd hoped.

"I would feel better if you and my parents were to start off on the right foot," she said, choosing her words carefully. "They have the stereotypical California military officer in their minds, and I don't want them judging you in that way."

"Just out of curiosity, what exactly is the 'stereotypical California military officer'?" Matt was amused.

Amy thought for a moment. "Promise you won't get upset? He's the dedicated officer, but loud, rude, disrespectful when off duty. He's lazy; a womanizer; an alcoholic; not someone to bring home."

"So that's what your parents are expecting me to be," said Matt.

"But," Amy continued. "I've told them your good points, so they're not expecting Godzilla. Now, can we drop the subject and get some sleep?"

"No, we can't."

"Why not?"

"Because," he lowered his voice while sliding his hand down to cup her breast. "This military officer has a naked, sexy woman in his bed, and wants to take advantage of the situation!"


Amber Skyze said...

Have fun with the "tour". I hope you sell lots of books.

Love the excerpt.

Oh, BTW great addition to the post about Authors Behaving Badly. I agree 100%

Tina Donahue said...

Enjoyed your post, Molly. It's sad that anyone feels the need to trash a fellow author. But there's always karma, isn't there. :)

Paris said...

Loved the post and kudos to you for overcoming your shyness:-)You have a very intriguing excerpt and I love your characters!

Katalina Leon said...

Stay strong and enjoy your book tour. Timing is everything and perhaps now is your time. Personally, I would rather buy/read from a shy, talented author than a big jerk.

Paty Jager said...

Promoting is the hardest thing a writer has to do in my opinion.

Jean Hart STewart said...

Great post. I have lots of trouble coming out enough to promo but know it has to be done. Loved your hero....

Molly Daniels said...

LOL:) Growing up, my younger sister was the bold one. Two years ago, we were doing errands around town, getting everything ready for our parents' wedding anniversary party. We stopped for lunch, and suddenly she nudged me, wanting to know if the woman in the next booth was someone we knew. After five minutes of speculation, I stood up and went over. It WAS who we thought, and afterward my sister remarked, 'Boy have YOU ever changed!'

I also think my waitress jobs in college helped too.

And this scene was one of my favorites to write in this book! The line about the conversation not going the way she'd hoped? I was furious with 'Matt' as the argument was being written, and my roommate laughed at me when I told her, so I left that line in.

April Ash said...

Authors behaving badly...that old saying goes "what goes around, comes around".

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