September 15: Agatha Christie’s Birthday

Agatha-Christie-publicdomainDame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, (née Miller) was born on my birthday, September 15, although she made an earlier appearance than I did, in 1890. I always thought it was interesting that we shared a birthday and a vocation, so in honor of that special day this year, decided to find out more about her.

Most people know that she was a crime novelist, her books spawning such protagonists as Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Her work as a playwright is also well known, especially her play The Mousetrap, the longest running play ever produced. Less people know that she also wrote short stories and even romances. These last were under a pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. Perhaps there is something to the mutable nature of Virgo, because I, too, write across several genres: action/adventure, fantasy, romance, paranormal, spiritual and satire. Continue reading “September 15: Agatha Christie’s Birthday”

Making Indie Inroads at Libraries

Author Aron JoiceGuest Post
by Aron Joice

I just had my first book signing, and it was a bit different from the signings and launches previously shared by some of the IU family. The signing was held at one of my local libraries.

So many changes are taking place on a daily basis for writers that I decided to go back to a grass roots mentality. Chewing my cud (now there’s a disgusting mental picture), and thinking things over, I went back to the place that I called home: the library. I used to practically live there, doing research, using the computer lab, and receiving help from an unbelievable staff. This particular day, my objective was to see how many bookmarks they would allow me to leave. Free promotion, right? The assistant director expressed more excitement than I could imagine, and kept asking me for more. She put them everywhere. It was then that my old gray cells told me to hit every library around. Eureka! I hit gold, well, at least fool’s gold. Now I was ready to put my plan into action.

I called each library asking to speak to their children’s director (my genre), explaining that I was a local indie author and asked if I would be able to leave my bookmarks and posters at their center. Lucky for me, my community supports their own. After one of the requests, the director asked me if I would consider doing a book signing in conjunction with the teen readers program. Would I? Heck yeah! Now what to do? The date of the signing was left up to me. I allowed myself three weeks for promotion, and the library made sure an announcement was in their newsletter and calendar ahead of time. I knew I wouldn’t be in a bookstore where someone could conveniently buy my books. So, I ordered a small amount of books from Createspace and they politely reminded me they were not returnable (I use their ISBN). My concern was for naught.

At this point you may be thinking, so where is this going to get you? Offers I never expected came from this little signing. I did sell some books; the library ordered the first two of my trilogy for their shelves and asked me to join a published writers group. I stopped in at my original library to share how the day went, and they ordered the books in print and digital for their shelves. Then a biggie…the 100-year celebration of that particular library is coming up, and the assistant director asked if I would be a guest author. I about dropped on the floor. I said, “I really don’t sell a lot of books.” I would rather be honest than a fool. It didn’t matter, it was where I started, made friends and they were proud of what I had accomplished. I can’t wait to see what happens next; life is definitely full of surprises. So don’t count that little library out. As Melissa Bowersock found with her town shop, there are many exciting ways to put yourself out there. All in all it was a fun day. I brought cookies for the staff room and a big exotic bouquet of flowers for the readers’ room. I handed out postcards with one of my book covers and a few links printed on the front. I left the back blank for autographs. I imagine since we are a creative lot, all we have to do is look right in our backyards and maybe, just maybe we can take three steps forward instead of one.

Fueled by that success, I decided to search online and found 30 Indie bookstores within a 50-mile radius of where I live. I intend to contact each one to see if it would be possible to leave my books on consignment and provide posters as well as bookmarks with my sales channels. I believe this is just another avenue to promote your brand. Something of interest: 100 faithful readers/buyers will pyramid into about a $60,000.00 annual income from sales. Yes, you still must continue writing. This isn’t my formula, but one stated from an author who became an actual full-time writer after reaching that level of consistency.

Martin Crosbie has had a wonderful experience with his local library. How is yours?

Aron Joice is a published songwriter, and the author of The Lost Children of Managrail trilogy. Aron is passionate about the arts and rescuing animals. You can learn more about her on her website and her Amazon Author Central page.

How Do You Define Credibility and Legitimacy as an Author?

approved-29149_640I read an article recently where an author discussed the benefits of purchasing a review from Kirkus. He felt it lent credibility to his work. He claimed that there was no boost in sales from the paid review, so it did not help him connect with any new readers, but he thought it gave him credibility. Yes, credibility. Stay tuned, I have more; it’s been a busy month.

I attended a meeting a short while ago at a major library. The library management invited a group of local authors to participate in a think-tank and discuss how the library could connect with the self-publishing community. It was a really powerful meeting. Some of the authors were both self and traditionally published and I overhead a couple of them talk about how they felt legitimized by signing with an agent and being traditionally published. I heard the same comment when I taught a workshop recently. There were authors who felt they needed to be legitimized, and having an agent or publisher would deem it so. Continue reading “How Do You Define Credibility and Legitimacy as an Author?”