Blank to 50K: How to DO a Book Signing

Once you’ve written your way to those first magical 50,000 words, then edited & polished to perfection, then published your book, it’s time to market. One way to get your book in front of people is to literally get in front of them.

Do a book signing.

NOTE: I did not say “host” a book signing. I did not say “have” a book signing.

I said DO.

A book signing should be interactive, involving your prospective readers. You will catch more customers if you are active and engaging. Carry through the theme of your book, either capitalizing on the title or a major component of your book. Here are some things I’ve done that worked, specific to my book, Denim & Diamonds:

Prepare: Take a flyer to the location so they can post it in advance of your event. Put your event on community calendars (think TV, radio, newspaper websites). Send postcards out to friends and family inviting them to the event. Notify local reporters – think of a hook they can use to create a story (give them a reason to talk to you!). Put flyers around the community and in your local library and local bulletin boards.

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/Presentation. This means use a table skirt (I bought sparkly denim fabric), have some sort of centerpiece (I used three glass jars covered with rhinestone mesh, which held LED candles), and a display of giveaway items (I often give away items that feature my book cover & website: postcards, bookmarks and bite-size candy bars – more on that stuff later). Of course, make sure your books are prominently displayed. A small banner with your name is also helpful. I used my diecutting machine to make a banner of blue and silver diamond shapes which spelled out my name.

D&D Lisa won penGame. Have a game to draw people in. I made a game called “Pick Beau’s Pocket” with a big piece of core board, with nine back blue jean pockets (thanks to friends who donated their used jeans! BTW – you can see it in the bottom right corner of the pic at the right, with my friend Lisa, who was the first winner of a pen!). I used my diecutting machine to cut out diamond shapes. Some of them were marked “Winner” and some were marked “Sorry!”, then I laminated them, and stuck them in the pockets. I had this set up on an easel next to my table. I stood beside it and asked everyone who passed by if they wanted to play – no purchase required. Simple game – all they do is pick a pocket and pull out a diamond. One of the prizes was a $10 gift certificate to the bookstore (this is a good way to say thanks to the store for allowing you in – and it instantly gives them good vibes when you walk in and buy a gift certificate before you even set up), and I also like to give travel mugs and nice pens (I usually buy from Vistaprint). For those who get the “Sorry!” diamonds, I offer a consolation prize – a full-sized chocolate bar wrapped with a custom wrapper featuring my book cover on the front and my website address on the back.  I created the wrappers myself, and am happy to send anyone who’d like it a copy of the template.http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/ Just shoot me an email and ask for it!

Celebrate Sales. I offer to take a picture of every individual who buys my book, and offer to let them wear my cowboy hat or my giant fake diamond ring. Then I snap a picture on my phone and post it to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #DenimDiamonds #LoriLRobinett. This creates interest on social media, and customers often end up then liking my social media accounts. You can even encourage them to post with a simple flyer on your table featuring the hashtags you recommend, to make them part of the action.Ericca - D&D signing

I create a Pinterest board for each of my books and I include things I want to do for book signings, such as foods, drinks, decorations and games.

Remember, a book signing is as much a celebration of your publication as it is a sales event. Think of this as a party.

Have fun, and success will follow!

The Ecstacy of The End

I finished the rough draft of Diamond in the Rough last week. This is the second in the Diamond J series, set in Missouri, featuring Aidan and Gina. If you haven’t read Denim & Diamonds yet, make sure you do before Rough comes out next year!

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/It was incredibly exciting and fulfilling . . . an adrenaline fueled push to that last scene. I knew what had to happen, I just had to get there. I took two days off work and PUSHED myself. I wrote over 10,000 words in those two days. Once I got going, the words were flying from my fingers so fast. It was . . . awesome. And I don’t mean that in the overused way that it falls from our tongues these days. I mean it in the true sense of the word. I was in awe of the way the words flowed through my fingers and appeared on the screen, as if I did not actually play any part in the creation of them.

It gives me chills just to think about it.

Now, that manuscript is on the back burner. It needs to rest for a bit. I’m too close to it now. I’d never be able to see the flaws that I know exist, because in my mind, that manuscript is perfect as it is right this moment.

And, in a way, it is.

Simply because it exists.

So, for the month of November, I will escape into another Widow’s Web novel . . . The Danger Within. Sophie Kendrick will be chattering away in my head, as she goes on the run and tries to escape the clutches of Blake Chaney. First, I need to decide . . . will this happen in Maine, Colorado, or Missouri? What’s your vote? Reply to this post (or comment) and let me know where you want it set.

Oh, I can’t wait!

Blank to 50K: What if I want to do NaNoWriMo?

http://lorilrobinett.comGreat! Good for you for making the commitment! Participating is easy.

  • Go to www.nanowrimo.org and sign up
  • Look for your local region (I happen to be in NaNoWriMo::Missouri::Fulton – and we have a Facebook page (that is woefully outdated at the moment!)
  • Check with your local library for a kickoff or informational session. If you’re in central Missouri, check the library calendar here.
  • Keep an eye on the regional forums of the NaNo site, check your NaNo mail, and keep an eye on your email so you can stay informed about local events, like write-ins and parties.

And if you decide NOT to participate officially in National Novel Writing Month, no worries. You can still participate in Blank to 50K and learn tips to help you finish your first draft.

Fatal Impulse

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Impulse-Widows-Web-Novel-ebook/dp/B00UB2U7WS/

Fatal Impulse (a Widow’s Web novel)

by Lori L. Robinett

Chad and Andi Adams are the perfect couple. He is a successful dentist with a winning smile and a penchant for perfection. She is the perfect suburban wife who supports him totally and completely.

Until the night she kills him.

Sneak Peek at Fatal Impulse

The two celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary the previous May, and she was determined to make her marriage work. Her parents raised her to believe marriage is forever, ‘til death do you part, so she would not leave him. No matter what.

A sharp bang interrupted his tirade.

The SUV swerved on the wet pavement, throwing her sideways into the door. The seatbelt grabbed and held her in place, and she braced herself against the dash with her hands. Her head jerked from side to side as the vehicle fishtailed back and forth until Chad slowed the Grand Cherokee. He held the steering wheel with an iron grip and guided the vehicle to the side of the road, the blown tire thumping. He set the emergency brake with a sharp yank, then turned to look at her, his dark eyes narrowed. He looked evil in the amber glow of the instrument panel.

The interior light blinked on when he opened his door, bathing the inside of the vehicle with harsh light. He started to get out, then paused, one foot in, one foot out, and turned to stare at her.

“I had control. There is no need to grab the dash like that. As you may recall, this vehicle is equipped with airbags. Had they deployed, your arms would have been broken.” That low, smooth voice that had once impressed her now gave her chills. “Snap.”

If you like what you read here, sign up for my newsletter (pssst . . . . look to your left, in the sidebar) and I’ll send you the first two chapters of Fatal Impulse free.

Want the whole book? Click here!

 

 

Blank to 50K: Why write your novel in 30 days?

http://lorilrobinett.comIf you’ve always wanted to write a novel, but can’t seem to get it done . . . National Novel Writing Month may be for you. But there is a caveat to that. You don’t HAVE to sign up for NaNoWriMo. You don’t HAVE to do it in November. The things that make NaNo work for so many people can be tweaked for your personal situation to help you reach your goals.

Quantity over Quality

Don’t get hung up on this point. The idea is to take one month to get your first draft finished. Your goal is to have a beginning, a middle and an end. If you get too focused on crafting perfect sentences, you’ll never reach those two magical words: The End.

Write Wherever

NaNo teaches you to write wherever you’d like: at your desk, at a write-in, or in short little bursts wherever you happen to be. I’ve been known to work through lunch at work . . . but take 15 minutes to send myself an email with a few hundred words for my work in progress.

Support

If you sign up for NaNo, you’ll have overwhelming support from the entire NaNo community – from the Office of Letters and Light, your Municipal Liaison, and your Region. If you don’t sign up for NaNo, you still need to elicit support from friends and family, as well as the writing community. Find a writing group or at least a critique partner.

Take the Time

The biggest hurdle writers face is finding the time to write. Give yourself a deadline, tell others you are writing a novel . . . then DO IT.

If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

Both of my novels were drafting during National Novel Writing Month. Check them out and see what is possible, and support a fellow writer at the same time:

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/

Denim & Diamonds

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Impulse-Widows-Web-Novel-ebook/dp/B00UB2U7WS/

Blank to 50K: Write What You Read

WHAT do you want to write_(1)Obviously, you want to write a novel. And you know WHY you want to write a novel. Now the question is: What do you want to write?

Well, what are you reading? And don’t EVEN tell me you aren’t reading anything because, let’s face it, you can’t be a writer if you aren’t a reader. I tend to be a bit of a book slut. Right now I’m reading a thriller (An Unlikely Hero by Tierney James), just finished a rom-com (Frisky Business by Tawna Fenske) and before that, I read horror (Dr. Sleep by Stephen King). But there are still commonalities in what I read, and I tend to go to a particular section of the library and the bookstore every time I go in – the mystery section.

So, think about your habits. What section first draws your attention?

What about the characters that appeal to you? Do you like strong female protagonists? What about those characters we love to hate? Sometimes I find myself rooting for the bad guy, like in the movies Gone in 60 Seconds and Ocean’s Eleven.

In essence, write the story you would want to sit down and read. Write the words that would draw you in and keep you reading into the wee hours of the darkest night.

If the idea of getting a second chance appeals to you, pop over and check out one of my books.

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Impulse-Widows-Web-Novel-ebook/dp/B00UB2U7WS/

http://carypress.com/denim-diamonds-by-lori-robinett/

Denim & Diamonds by Lori Robinett

 

#Relationships

http://lorilrobinett.comBooks are about relationships, right? And those relationships aren’t perfect. In my first book, Denim & Diamonds, Beth has been estranged from her father for years. Her parents divorced when she was young and she didn’t see her dad much when she was growing up. As an adult, she didn’t have to see him, so she didn’t. But after he died, she mourned the loss of that relationship. She wanted to get that feeling of home back . . . and that’s what she spent the book doing. Searching for “home.”

  • Forgive. This is easier to do when the other person leaves you a lot of $$.
  • Realize there’s more to the story. Beth finds out that both her parents had secrets.
  • Breathe. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Breathe in, breathe out.  Fresh country air is the best medicine.
  • Communicate. Be open to words from beyond the grave. Old letters can say an awful lot.
  • Give it time. Go on about your business, do your thing, live your life.
  • Move on. Literally. Beth moves to a ranch. So, it’s her daddy’s ranch . . . but the change of scenery is just what she needs.

If you want to read a light story about a woman searching for home, pick up a copy of Denim & Diamonds.

#FiftyShades of Reality – Part 2

That movie just opened last week and it’s still everywhere – on blogs, on Facebook, on TV, and on the tongues of women everywhere. I just watched a short trailer, and the scene showed the two characters sitting at a long dining room table, one at each end. That got me to thinking about reality vs. TV.

When I got married, I had all sorts of ideas about what married life would be like. It was all romanticized, influenced by movies and TV and books. Even though marriage hasn’t been exactly what I imagined, I’m quite happy with the reality:

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/

Gracie & Peanut

We sleep in a king-sized bed, but with a miniature Beagle and a miniature Schnauzer wedged between us.

No long dining room table for us – we eat in the living room on our coffee table. At least it’s one of those that swings up to table height.

No gourmet meals at our house. Most nights it’s soup out of a can or grilled cheese because we’re both tired from work.

Jetting off to an exotic location isn’t in the cards, but we did spend Valentine’s Day browsing a really cool antique mall.

While TV romancers send huge bouquets of flowers for Valentine’s Day, my hubby surprised me with a drawer to hold K-cups – and my Keurig sits right on top, so there’s no lost counter space. THAT was a perfect Valentine’s Day. For me.

As I read back over this list, I realize just how lucky I am. This marriage thing may not be straight out of a romantic movie, but it makes me incredibly happy.

How about you? How different is your life than what you imagined?

Strong Women: #divorce

When I was trying to think of a tag line for my blog (and for my writing), I realized that something that most of my writing includes strong women, often dealing with scandal of one sort or another, and, last but not least, second chances. In Denim & Diamonds, Beth finds herself with a cheating fiance and a dead daddy. In a nice twist, her dead daddy leaves her his horse ranch, with a provision that she has to run it to get her inheritance. She takes the challenge, relieved at the chance to escape the chaos of her life and start over fresh.

broken-heartMost of my friends know I was married before, but it isn’t something I talk about a lot, largely because it’s not a part of my life I’m particularly fond of. It was flat out hard. My job was demanding and required a lot of travel (Kay & Ann Marie & Kim can back me up on that!). In hindsight, that may be the only reason the marriage lasted as long as it did. We were young when we got married. I was 20, he was 19. After five years of marriage, I came home from a business trip and a neighbor asked who the cute little green sports car belonged to that had been at the house while I was gone. Don’t get me wrong, there were problems before that. Arguments about money. Frustration about house work. He took a couple of late night calls from his employee, Chris. When I found out that Chris was short for Christine, and she drove a little green sports car, I knew. It cut like a knife. I confronted my husband, asked if the marriage was over, did he want a divorce. His reply? We can’t afford to get a divorce. NOT the answer I was looking for. In an odd way, I was relieved. The decision of whether or not to leave was no longer a difficult one. In spite of having a challenging job that I enjoyed, a home that I loved, and neighbors that were good friends, I picked up and moved. In order to make it on my own, I needed the love and support and security that home provided. I didn’t move home with the parents, but to a nearby town.

It was hard. Flat out HARD. Leaving behind the life I’d built was difficult, but the hardest part was admitting failure. My marriage had failed. The how didn’t matter. The first night in my new apartment (in a bad part of town – it was all I could afford), I curled up in the fetal position and cried myself to sleep. I allowed myself that night to mourn the death of my marriage. Then I made a conscious decision to look forward. I felt like I’d wasted five years of my life, and was ready to get on with life.

Second Wedding (and my stepdaughter!)

Second Wedding (and my stepdaughter!)

I reconnected with friends from high school (hi, Denise!). After working as a professional at a college, I found myself working nights at a telemarketing company selling children’s books and encyclopedias. Quite a fall for me. Finally got a job as a receptionist at a law firm, which led me to the career that I love. Met my now-husband. We just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary (we all look real happy in that pic in the upper left, right?). My life is sooooo much better than it was. I’m so much happier than I was. And I am stronger than I thought I was at the time.

In my writing, I often draw upon those feelings – the fear of being alone, feeling like a failure, the sadness, the anger, the hurt, the betrayal – to make my characters more real. I’m drafting the second novel in the Diamond series, and it features another strong woman as the main character. I hope she turns out as strong as I think she is. I want my readers to experience the fear, anger, and happiness of my characters. And I hope, in some small way, it helps my readers through their own bad times.

Because, dear readers — just like me, just like Beth, you are stronger than you think.

 

One Word for 2015: Focus

For the past few years, instead of doing New Year’s Resolutions, I have chosen a theme for the coming year. In the past I’ve chosen “Imperfect” (because I tend to get so caught up in perfection that I don’t do anything), and “Intention” (because I don’t want to live life passively, I want to live with intention).

A major weakness of mine is indecision. I review, plan, research, Pin (ah, yes, you know exactly what I’m talking about!), but I can’t make a decision and DO.

For 2015, I’ve chosen the word “Focus” because I want to allow myself to zero in on what I really want, and then take action. I am starting the year with a clear picture of what I want to accomplish, and who I want to be.

I will be healthier.

I will publish Widow’s Web.

I will make time for my creative outlets.

So, what about you? What do you want to accomplish? If you are looking to read more in 2015, might I suggest you start with Denim & Diamonds, my debut novel? I’d be honored if you’d check it out – the e-book costs less than your daily Starbucks!