A Time to Write

November is National Novel Writing Month. This year, I think I'm ready. I've blogged about my quilts in the past. I love the puzzle of putting them together and creating something wonderful, albeit not always aligning exactly. It's another part of my creative side.

During my last quilting retreat (2 of 2), I wrote a story when I took my walks to stretch my legs. Looking back on my past blogs, I see that I mentioned before that a quilt cozy mystery was definitely a possibility. This year I expanded on that thought to actually outline the story. I heard the dialogue in my head (sounds better than saying I hear voices). As I walked the grounds of the retreat center, I could picture the ladies as they ran through the woods in the rain, trying to find shelter. The story came alive, and I was excited.

That was two months ago.

I have yet to get anything on paper. But I will this year. Tomorrow is the beginning of November. I pledge to write 1,667 words a day toward my cozy mystery. Maybe I will reward myself by making a quilt to complement it.

What are you going to write about? Put some thought into it and get excited. Who knows what wonderful story you may create. Need motivation? Check out the NaNoWriMo.org website. If you are near Williamsburg, VA, stop by on Saturday, 4 Nov from 10-5 for our kick off at the James City County Library. Talk to other authors at various stages and get some pointers. We are also gathering every Monday night in November from 5-9 for dedicated writing time.

Good luck and happy writing! (that’s 280 words so far…)

Making Book Signings More Comfortable

Do Book Signings make you uncomfortable?

It is sabook signings, talk, author, write, marketingid that many writers are introverts. (I’m an exception to that rule.) That makes it hard for them to do direct marketing. They tend to rely on the safety of hiding behind the electrons on the internet, or better yet, behind a person that will DO the marketing for them with electrons–a double layer of protection.

It is inevitable as a writer that you will have to do some public appearances. So start where you are comfortable. I love softball. You may have noticed from the 4 books I’ve written so far on the subject. I’m comfortable on and around a softball field. A natural place for me to set up book signings is at the ball park. I have a canopy, table, and sign. I’m ready! After getting permission from the park, of course, I set up shop where I can watch the games in between talking to readers. It makes me feel less vulnerable. I can talk to the folks that approach my tent, not just about my books, but about the ball games. It gives them a chance to talk about what they’re interested in, rather than just listening to a sales pitch.

When I do book signings at a store, I prefer to have another author with me. It’s more encouraging and you have someone to cover your table when you need a break. Some stores don’t like this, but with a little work, you can probably convince them. If someone approaches your table, looks, but doesn’t purchase, give them an easy escape. Don’t make them feel bad. I start by asking what they like to read. If they say history books, I say I don’t have any but have you tried such-and-such author? Even better if your table partner has a different genre than you do. You can cover more ground. I’m surprised how many people purchase my books as a gift, even after they tell me they aren’t interested in mysteries (or softball, etc). If you skip the hard sell, folks feel more comfortable talking with you. If they like you, they may buy simply for that reason.

Nothing seems to draw people to a table more than a giveaway. Create a basket filled with goodies that compliment your book. Romance? Try candles, a music CD, and lotion. You don’t necessarily want to put a copy of your book in the basket though. You want folks to BUY your book, not wait and see if they win it. Make it free to enter, but perhaps they get an EXTRA chance to win with a purchase. You can use the emails you collect for your own advertising, but I would HIGHLY discourage selling your lists. It’s poor form. Make sure to put it on the sign up form that you won’t share their information–then DON’T!

Do you have any ideas for book signings or marketing that you would like to share? Please do!! As authors or consumers, your input could really help a struggling introvert.



Strictly Business is a lot of fun!

Last night I attended Strictly Business, a networking event presented by WYDaily, 107.9 Bach FM and 92.3 The Tide at the Williamsburg Winery. What a classy event! The food was great, the wine fantastic, and the people loads of fun.

I met the owners of a new, custom furniture store called Lock & Key (3705B Strawberry Plains Rd). They have only been opened 6-7 months, but are excited to share their story. I can’t wait to go see the shop.

Chesapeake Bank was out in full force with a fun group that really knows and cares about their customers. I was pleased to find that I had Montessori in common with a few of them (one as a parent and others as bankers).

Learning about the Peace Operations Training Institute opened my eyes to another side of serving (vs my own Air Force experience). Many countries take advantage of the skills offered with POTI to prepare them for Peace Operations around the world. Keep it up!!

The Melting Pot of Peninsula is having ladies’ night on 24 and 25 April. It should be worth the drive to Newport News (12233 Jefferson Ave) to try their fondues.

I have worked with Williams Landscaping and Design in the past and have always been impressed with their professionalism. This gentleman was so kind that he emailed me today because our conversation got cut off yesterday and he wanted to hear the rest of what I had to say. That made a great impression!

Near and dear to my heart, I met the special projects coordinator from the Williamsburg Regional Library. I love to talk about books anytime, but I especially love to hear about new and exciting plans to get people interested in reading. Make sure to sign your kids up for the summer reading program! My girls looked forward to it every year.

I never knew there was so much that goes into making the Williamsburg Farmers’ Market such a huge success. I will look at it with a whole, new appreciation when I attend the next one–tomorrow, Sat, Apr 15 from 8-noon. And now I have been challenged to come up with a story that involves a farmers’ market. I’ll let you know how that goes.

The point of this post is to encourage you all to go out and meet someone new. Exchange cards. Don’t do it just to buy or sell something. It’s a great way to meet new people in the community and learn what wonderful things Williamsburg has to offer. I can’t wait for the next one!