A Recap on Wednesday’s Author Visit & Tips for Doing Your Own

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Last year, I hosted several author events during which I met readers behind a booth. On Wednesday, I was wrenched out of my comfort zone when asked to speak to a group of students at Peru High School about writing and publishing.

I honestly didn’t know where to start. Do I talk about the writing process? Do I focus on indie publishing? Do I promote my published works?

Thankfully, one of my favorite indie authors, Adam Dreece, had recently spoken with a group of students and had some awesome advice:

One of the mistakes I see a lot of author speakers do locally, is they are giving a speech for them, instead of thinking of their audience. If the audience wants more about the series, give it. But start from the position of what are they likely writing, and that your goal really is to inform and encourage

Adam,I hope you don’t mind me sharing that verbatim but the advice was just too good to keep to myself! Actually, he shares more advice on his blog. Follow this link to check it out.

I’m glad I read his post first. Going into the event focused on the audience helped me create a better presentation. Audience interaction was fantastic! I could tell the kids had a really good time. Plus, I even sold a few books (at a special discount).

Why Should Authors Visit Classrooms?

Besides offering a break from the regular routine, an author visit introduces students to the writing process, publishing world, and gets kids excited about books. Most importantly, we as authors have an opportunity to encourage young writers.

Tips for Making Your Author Visit a Success

Be yourself. Kids can spot a wannabe and a fake in an instant. Tell jokes, juggle, and do tricks as part of your presentation if that’s your style. If not, that’s okay. Whatever you do, just be honest.

Be prepared. You don’t have to create a PowerPoint presentation like I did, but at least think about what you’re going to talk about. Prepare an outline if that helps. Practice at home and take along note cards if need.

Be aware of your audience. Find out what grade the students are in, how old they are, and what their interests are. I spoke to high school students from a writing club so I tweaked my presentation with that information in mind.

Plan activities as part of your presentation. Kids don’t enjoy long lectures. Keep their attention and engagement by including them in activities. At least involve them in the discussion. Students love  to share their experiences and knowledge.

Bring copies of your published works. Keep in mind the point of the event is not to make a profit, but some kids might want a signed copy of your book. If nothing else, provide them links to buy your books.

Bring marketing materials. I gave every student who attended a free bookmark and a business card. I encouraged them to follow me on social media.

Have fun. I shouldn’t have to say this, but author visits are supposed to be fun. Kids are fun. So lighten up, relax, and enjoy the experience.

Now go schedule an author visit. It’s totally worth your time!

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A Recap on October’s Author Events And Why I Think Authors Should Put Themselves Out There

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October was a busy month for me as an author. Not only did I release my latest title, The Wizard’s Gambit, but I also participated in several author events as well.

On October 17th, I hosted an online book launch party to celebrate with long-distant friends the release of my new book. During the party, I served virtual cake and drinks while sharing information about my new book.

The following week, I hosted a physical book launch party for family, friends, and fans at Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery in Kokomo. Almost twenty people showed up, I believe, several more than I expected. I actually ran out of room at the table and had to request more chairs!

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Dr. Who endorses this produce or service.

For those who were unable to attend the book launch party on Friday, they were invited to stop by my booth during Saturday’s comic convention. The event was held at our local community event center. Nearly 1,500 people walked through the doors that day. A small portion of them stopped by my booth and purchased a signed copy of my book. I made more than enough to cover my booth fees and any related expenses. Plus, I got lots of people to sign up for my newsletter. My book found itself into the hands of new readers as well as returning fans, who told me how much they enjoyed my first novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. One fan, a high school student, informed me that she’d used my debut novel for a book report on comedic fiction. I was thrilled. Of all the events, this was probably the most successful, and I think it has a lot to do with the event I participated in the week before.

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Go geek or go home!

The week before Kokomo-Con, my sister and I were invited by one of our area school’s librarians to speak to her “geek group” about cosplay and Kokomo-Con. For many of these students, Kokomo-Con would be there first convention and cosplay event. So we created a fun powerpoint with information, photos, and advice for new cosplayers and presented it to the students after school during their club meeting. We talked about our own cosplay experience, the ups and downs, and offered some advice to new cosplayers and congoers. My sister even wore her new walking centaur costume. Of course I squeezed in some shameless self-promotion during the presentation.

The students loved us, and I saw many of them at my booth the following Saturday, eager to show off their costumes and learn more about my writing. I’m happy to say, I’ve been invited back to speak on writing/publishing/freelancing to her aspiring artists and writers. I can’t wait!

From my personal experience, I’d say author events are worth doing for one simple reason: to connect with readers. Writing is a solitary job and reading is a lonely activity. Put the reader and writer together and you get more than just a lonely reader and an invisible author, you get a connection.

Author events give authors a chance to engage readers in person, to see the reactions on their faces while describing their book. Readers get a chance to share their thoughts on the author’s work and to ask questions regarding the writing process. This interaction enhances the reader’s experience later on and inspires the author to keep writing. Plus, readers are more likely to purchase a book from someone they’ve actually met. Studies show that . . . somewhere. Just take my word for it.

For those of you who are planning on hosting an author’s event, I offer some simple advice:

  • Relax. Focus on having fun, not making sales.
  • Pump yourself up. Tell yourself this is going to be fun.
  • Lower your expectations. Face it, unless you’re Stephen King or George R. R. Martin, not that many people are going to care about your book, at least not right away.
  • Acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation or bring a friend along to lessen the embarrassment.
  • Drink a martini beforehand. Or take a Xanax.
  • Practice talking about your book BEFORE the event.
  • Offer free bookmarks and/or candy to lure people to your booth.
  • Smile and engage potential readers. Be social.
  • Decorate your booth with a tablecloth and eye-catching items to draw people’s attentions. Make sure your books are visible.
  • Provide incentives, like a giveaway, to encourage people to visit your booth and/or sign up for your newsletter.
  • Offer the book or books at a discounted price to entice them to purchase the book now rather than later.
  • Offer to sign books purchased in person.
  • Stay positive. Even if you want to die.

Authors, put yourselves out there. Schedule an event at your local library. Host a read-in at the popular coffee shop. Face down your fears so you can connect!

You Shall Subscribe … to My Sister’s Newsletter

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For those of you who want to stay informed about book releases, promotions, events, etc, just follow this link to my sister’s blog. Once there, click on the Gandalf to your left to sign up. (If you don’t know who Gandalf is you probably aren’t interested in signing up for this newsletter. LOL).

And because we’re twins, and share almost everything already, we’ll be sharing this newsletter, so you’ll be getting updates for two authors!

Sign up soon, because the first 20 followers will be entered to win a copy of my debut novel The Quest for the Holy Something or Other or my upcoming fantasy parody (your choice).

131211165605-the-hobbit-620xaSo go ahead, sign up. It’s free and easy.There’s no hidden print, conditions, fees, terms, or clauses. Just important updates about your favorite twin authors!

So, at risk of sounding like a broken record, sign up for our newsletter today!

Where’s the Most Unusual Place You’ve Had a Book-Signing?

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Author Judith Barrow

Earlier this week author and fellow blogger Judith Barrow posed the question “Where’s the most unusual place you’ve had a book signing?” Hers was at Kilgetty Pharmacy in Wales.

I know I’ve never thought to host a book signing at a pharmacy or retail store before, but now I’m thinking outside the box.

So far, I’ve attended a local library book fair and have signed up to host a booth at this year’s Kokomo Comic Convention. I figured a fantasy series would do well in a room full of fantasy and science fiction fans.

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It’s jolly good!

Today’s venue is probably the most unusual. During the First Friday event in downtown Kokomo, I’ll be doing a book-signing outside of Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe. Meanwhile a historical group will be reenacting a medieval jousting match in the restaurant’s parking lot. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun and crazy event. I can’t wait! I’ll be sharing pictures Monday morning on both my blog and Judith’s.

So, tell me, where is the most unusual place you’ve had a book-signing? Or better yet, go to Judith’s blog (where the conversation started) and share your experience (with pictures) in the comments section!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Upcoming Author Event – First Friday in Kokomo

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On the 7th of August, which is this Friday, I’ll be hosting a booth at Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe in beautiful downtown Kokomo during the First Friday event.

First Friday is a monthly event filled with food, family fun, shopping, arts, music, and more in beautiful downtown Kokomo! It’s an event designed to promote local artists as well as a positive sense of community.

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It’s jolly good!

From 5 pm to 9 pm, I’ll be hosting a booth whereat I will be available to discuss my writing, meet and greet potential readers, and sell copies of my published works. There will also be a reenactment group dressed as knights jousting in the parking lot. (Ironic, considering my current title features knights and such). It’s going to be a fun event!

The event is open to anyone and everyone who’d like to join. Please visit this link to learn more about the restaurant. Hope to see you there!

For those of you who can’t attend the event due to proximity, don’t worry, you won’t be excluded. I’ll be sharing photos and thoughts on the event in Monday’s blog!

7 Essential e-Publishing Tips: A Guest Post by Author M.J. Moores

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What day is it? C’mon! Say it! Say it! It’s Hump Day! Whoo-hoo! And I have a treat to get you through the mid-week hump, a guest post by author, editor M.J. Moores, OCT. Today, she’s going to share with you 7 essential e-publishing tips. Take it from here, M.J.!


It’s hard to imagine being an author today and not having an e-version of your book available for sale. In fact, with ½ of all books sold (on a yearly basis since 2012) being eBooks, that’s a market you don’t want to be left out of. However, I still come across many self-published authors who haven’t taken that next step. And whether you’re just starting into the e-publishing game or you’ve been making your way alone through the quagmire here are 7 essential tips to consider.

ONE – Get to know the players.

Kindle generally claims ½ of all eBook sales and the other half go to a variety of mid-sized and small niche markets: Apple’s iBook, Barnes & Noble’s nook, Google Books, Kobo and many more. Depending on your prowess and comfort with being a small business owner and managing your books, there are 3 standard options to consider: Just going with 1 platform (e.g. Kindle Unlimited); going with 2 or 3 distribution platforms (Kindle Direct & Smashwords or Draft2Digital); or going direct with as many companies as you can (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Google Books, etc.) and then finding 1 or 2 multi-platform distributors to get your book into the smaller niche markets. No one option is the right one and none of them are wrong.

TWO – Do your market research.

Check out what demographic buys where, to hit your optimal sales figures. If you’re writing for the teen or YA market (we all know that adults love YA just as much as teens!) then putting in the time and effort to have a solid presence on WattPad could be a substantial benefit to your e-industry. You need to realize that getting into this business on a wing-and-a-prayer may work some of the time, but more often than not first-timers get discouraged and frustrated when their expectations do not become a reality.

THREE – Make sure your eBook is as nicely formatted as your print book (if you have one).

The ease with which anyone can publish online today often leads to hasty uploads to the marketplace. Either do your research and study the style guide for your chosen distributor(s) or hire a professional to simplify the process. There are a number of authors who offer services like editing and formatting at discounted prices to supplement their income. Chat in writing forums online or ask around at a local writers meeting to see who might “know someone” to help you out. You want your readers to have the best possible experience with your text so that it disappears from the screen and simply becomes alive in the mind.

FOUR – Get yourself a nice cover image.

If you happen to be a graphic artist and you’d like to build a book cover using a design program you’re comfortable with, go for it. You can easily find the dimensions for the cover that your preferred distributor uses and then get creative. If you happen to dabble with graphic design or you’re using a cover page template provided by your distributor (or a 3rd party) then you’ll need to do your research. There are proven complimentary visual elements of style that are necessary for you to understand about the art of cover art and how that differs from print to digital imaging the size of an icon or postage stamp. You also need to know what your target market likes. If your cover looks amateur and doesn’t accurately represent your niche genre then you’re trying to hit a home-run with a Nerf baseball bat at Fenway.

FIVE – Make sure the price is right.

Yes, you have your print book listed at $16.99 but that doesn’t mean you automatically list your eBook for that price. For print you have to consider the cost of physically creating and then shipping your book to your reader. On a 350 page book you’re looking at costs between $8-$12 on average. Immediately take that away from your $16.99 price tag – eBooks are published with the click of a button and sold with one too. Suddenly your book is sitting around $4.99-$6.99 – much more comfortable numbers… but are they your numbers? The facts are that most eBooks gain their highest sales (depending on your genre of course) around the $2.99-$3.99 price bracket. If you’re a relative unknown in your publishing market then the better bet is to start on the lower end. If you’re well-known then go with the mid-range pricing since you already have a solid readership. And if you happen to be Stephen King, go for broke and sit at the high end as you continue to rake in the cash for your literary offerings 😉

SIX – Work the system.

Whatever e-publishing platform (or distributor) you happen to go with, they will have a means by which you can place your book on sale, do a limited time discount, participate in %-off days or other promotional opportunities. Bottom line – if someone thinks they’re getting a good deal, they’re more likely to buy. This goes across the board with print publishing too, but take advantage of sites where you can list your book for free (because it’s discounted or naturally sits at a certain price range) as there are always bibliophiles on the hunt for a great buy.

SEVEN – Give it away for FREE.

Yes, this is a controversial topic in-and-of itself but hear me out. There are three ways to do this and I’ll guarantee you’ll like at least one of them 😉 The first and most widely practiced is having a “free day” or days for your full-length book. Why go free? The general rule of thumb is that for every 30 books sold you’ll gain 3 reviews. If your book is downloaded 300 times on its free day, then you’re looking at a potential 30 reviews to help hype up and sell more books for a profit. However, there are other ways to get reviews (reaching out to book bloggers one-by-one or paying review services like NetGalley or ChooseyBookworm to make your book available to their network of reader-reviews – this is not the same as paying for reviews, which you should never do) which leads me to option two; free teasers. By making prequel chapters available for free or writing ‘extra’ material that can act as a reference or introductory text of some kind you are providing a hook for potential readers to get to know you, your style and content. Options three is making use of giveaways during your pre-launch and launch days to help spread the word about your new book. Who doesn’t like winning something for free? Goodreads is a great platform to help with this or you could go solo and work with Rafflecopter and run your own giveaway.

Getting into the eBook game might strike you as anything from exciting to nauseating depending on how self-assured you are when branching out and trying something new. Just remember, the writing and publishing community (both on and off line) is here to help you. Yes, we’re all in competition for that almighty buck but ultimately we know that if we can help you succeed there’s a chance for us out there too.


picM.J. Moores began her career as an English teacher in Ontario, Canada. Her love of storytelling and passion for writing has stayed with her since the age of nine. M. J. relishes tales of adventure and journeys of self-realization. She enjoys writing in a variety of genres but speculative fiction remains her all time favourite. M.J. is a regular contributor to Authors Publish Magazine and she runs an Emerging Writers website called Infinite Pathways where she offers editing services and platform building opportunities. Her debut novel Time’s Tempest is currently available in print and e-format.The 2nd book in the series will be coming out early in September!

Connect with MJ on her website, her blog, or on Facebook.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Industry Sins: A Guest Post by K.D. Rose

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It’s been less than two days since I made my request for guest bloggers, and already I’ve had an overwhelming number of responses! I want to start off by thanking everyone who answered the call. I will do my best to respond to you all in a timely manner and plan your post dates.

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Meet K.D. Rose

My first guest blogger is a real hoot. Meet K.D. Rose, poet and author of currently published works, Heavy Bags of Soul, Inside Sorrow, I AM, Erasing: Shadows, Anger’s Children, A Taste for Mystery, and her newest release, The Brevity of Twit.

Her poetry has been published in Candlelit Journal, the Voices Project, and showcased in the Tophat Raven Art and Literary Magazine. K.D.’s book, Inside Sorrow won the Readers Favorite 2013 international Silver Medal for Poetry. With fellow authors around the globe, KD was also a founding member of the e-magazine, INNOVATE. Check it out!

K.D. has an eclectic mind and loves language, physics, philosophy, photography, design, art, writing, symbolism, semiotics, spirituality, and Dr. Who. KD Rose is an avid supporter of music, the arts, cutting edge science, technology, and creativity in all forms. K.D also has a chronic illness but doesn’t let it get her down. K.D. considers herself a “Spoonie” on the lam.


Today, she’ll be discussing innovative e-readers. Take it from here, K.D. Rose!

I am a small-time author. By that I mean no best seller lists, small sales, etc. On the other hand I am also an immensely curious, well-studied, and eternally optimistic human being. Through-out my journey, both as an indie author and with publishers, I’ve noticed something. Indie and small-press authors should relate. What I noticed is how difficult it can be to publish e-books that consist of anything other than generic words in a generic font and .. and well, that’s it.

Generic words with a generic font are all we can seem to generate. By we, I refer to book distributors, meaning the big players of Amazon, and Barnes & Noble as well as the small presses. Then there’s Apple. The lone wolf of the technology world has some multi-touch books that have enhancements if you have an iPad. But Apple is rather useless to authors and publishing houses that do not have the time or money to put out complicated formats. These enhancements are not an innate part of the publishing process. Take it from an e-author. Even fonts are not up for discussion.

To make a living, authors and publishers need to be distributed by Amazon and other retailers who cannot yet accommodate these enhancements. Once an author has gone through the excruciating process of learning that his or her e-book must be formatted technically in multiple ways for multiple distributors, there’s relatively little money or energy left to fight for more.

However, I like to stay on the edge. And by edge I mean bleeding edge. You’ve heard of the cutting edge? Well the bleeding edge is where you’re so far ahead so people just look at you like you’re crazy. The concepts haven’t entered their mind yet. And it is so very important for concepts to enter minds—because how else do we create? We have to envision before we can create.

Yes, I want Dean Kamen’s clean water for the world!

Yes, I want Bill Gates’ next generation toilets in every third world country!

The point is, there are always pioneers, and as an author, I say that those pioneers need to get busy with books and more important; the industry should welcome these things with open arms. We know that e-books are “in” now and print books are still viable, but industry-wide enhancement of e-books is a murky, disturbed thought because it would require a way to bring together so many different types of formatting issues.

Here’s a few of the things I can’t do for large distribution:

  • I can’t use a smart pen to write on pages that my readers will see;
  • I can’t embed pictures easily into my e-book (or have them remain properly placed);
  • I can’t easily put links in my e-book for the readers to go other places related to the book;
  • I can’t place a video onto the page of my e-book for my reader to see.

Now, I can do all these things individually:

  • I can use my smart pen on my computer documents;
  • I can make a soundtrack to my book and share it using social media;
  • I can put a link in my book to go to a website where more links are available;
  • I can go to a vanity press and make a beautiful book full of pictures.

None of this helps an author. As an author my needs are simple. I need to be published and I need people to buy my books. However, as an author and someone who loves advances in every discipline, I want more. I conceive of more. I also know that in a few years, others will want more. Those babies playing with baby smart phones today are your e-book customers of tomorrow. They will expect more. The kids using smart-phones right now expect more. Now.

Here’s what I envision as de facto parts of an e-book:

  • An e-book that I can open and see pictures on any page. Pictures of characters, pictures of scenes, whatever, seamlessly integrated into my story;
  • An e-book where I can open a page and there is a video where all I have to do is click to see the video, because the video was important to the scene;
  • an e-book where I open up the page and see drawings by hand that the author wanted to show me, in between the print;
  • Multiple fonts used when needed for part of the story that I, as a reader, can enjoy; I envision buttons where all I have to do is click, as a reader, to hear the music the author is talking about to set any scene;
  • Multiple colors on text, not even used sparingly, as part of telling a story that I, as the reader need to see to ‘get it’;
  • A button on the e-book that will let me hear the book as an audio book if I so choose, rather than reading it;
  • A button on the e-book that will convert the format immediately to whatever mobile phone I happen to have so I can read it on there instead (because now I am out the door somewhere and don’t want to lug anything else). Or the other way around, because now I’m home and I want to read on something larger; I envision all these things available as an innate part of the publishing process.

Here are a few that distributors’ should care about:

  • Links that take me, as a reader, directly to the distributor site to buy the next book in the series, or any other book by that author;
  • Links that take me to an excerpt of that authors next book or any of that author’s books, which I can then click and buy if I choose.
  • Links that allow me to share a message of how good the book was on multiple social media accounts.

I’m sure there’s more. In fact, I am positive there is more because I am not a baby with a smartphone or a kid getting bored with e-books or reading in general because there is so much more at my fingertips on other devices. What do you envision? What can we make happen? Most important: when can we make it happen as a general industry practice?

I leave you with questions.


In the infamous words of Porky Pig, “That’s all folks!” Be sure to check out K.D.’s blog, website, and or connect with her on Twitter, Tumbler, Google +, InstagramLinkedin, Goodreads, and Facebook. And be sure to stay tuned for more awesome guest blogs!