Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book fair time

I'm spending much of this week at my kids' school book fair where I'm surrounded by catchy titles and bright colors. I can't forget to mention the oodles and oodles of Star Wars books available in all shapes and sizes (And I thought I was tired of all the vampire books!). It's endearing to watch the little ones get excited about books and reading. Their eyes light up when they spy their favorite television or book characters adorning the shiny covers. They grab their friend by the shirtsleeve and say, "You have to read this one. It is soooo good." Then there are the quiet kids who snag a book and try to read the whole thing before they have to get back to class. Part of my job is to take care of the kids' purchases, but the other part is to share my love for books. I hope they can feel my love.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Words of encouragement

Nice words. Kind words. Thoughtful words. I love words of encouragement. It doesn't matter if you're writing a book, refinishing a piece of furniture, or training for a marathon, certain words and phrases lift your spirits and keep you moving in the right direction. Whenever a reader tells me they loved my first two books and then ask when the next one is going to be ready, it warms my heart. It makes me want to continue to write my stories. It makes me want to strive to do better. I also try to do the same in return. I'll throw out a compliment here or there. I'll tell someone how wonderful they are at something. It especially works on my kids who because of my over-the-top encouragement do not lack self-confidence in the least bit. They pretty much think they are the most awesome people around. Sure, someone is bound to knock them down, but I would be willing to bet a better person will be standing by to pick them back up. So go ahead and dish out a few compliments. Make someone's day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My first selling experience, cont'd

After selling two books by about 10:30 yesterday morning, the rest of the day went rather slow. No more sales. I talked to a handful of interested readers. The show was over three hours earlier than expected because fewer dance teams signed up to compete. The upside was that I won the vendor raffle and took home a $50 gift card that covered the cost off being there. Was it worth my time? Yes. It gave me that first selling experience and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Would I do it again? Probably. It wasn't much of an expense, some people saw my name, and the entrance fee went to the dance organization my daughter attends. Do I wish it had produced more of a buzz? Heck, yeah. I wished the whole place had bought a copy, but like the first woman who stopped by, my books aren't for everyone. Next on my to-do list: find another venue to sell the remaining books. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My first selling experience

10:15 I'm here. People are all around, mostly parents with their little ones in tutus and other colorful dance attire. My heart is racing. One woman picked up a book and said, "Nah." I smiled. My books certainly aren't for everyone. I have six more hours of being bold. It's exhausting. Plus, I stayed up too late last night playing Bunco with a great group of women. Lots of laughs, which helped me not worry about today.

What are my expectations for today? Pass out all 100 postcards I had printed. Even if I don't sell a single book, people will see my name and the titles of my books. This event won't be a total loss if that's all I accomplish. The day will be a complete success if I sell just a few books.

10:25 Not to brag or anything, but I just sold my first book!!!!!!
10:30 I sold one more. I'll let you know how the rest of my day goes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Honing my craft

I picked up a few books on writing last week at the library. That's not why I went there, but that's beside the point. Okay, I went there to look up agent names to try that avenue once again. I've yet to do anything with the few names I found. I can't get it out of my head that it's a complete waste of my time. Also, writing those query letters is a daunting task. I'd rather write a 100,000-word novel than a one-page document describing my 100,000-word novel. Doesn't sound easy, does it? Back to the books about writing. I'm currently reading, "Words Fail Me," by Patricia T. O'Conner. The book doesn't necessarily tell me anything new, but it contains a lot of helpful reminders. It contains examples of good and bad writing, a list of words that take up space rather than add meaning, and tips on how to organize my thoughts. I also like that she thinks everyone has the potential to be a good writer if they put enough time and energy into it. Like anything else in life, it's all what you make of it. I thoroughly hate cliches, but it is what it is. Ha!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Be Dazzled

Be Dazzled is the name of the event I'll be selling books at this coming Sunday. It's a dance team competition at the high school in Byron, MN. I'll be in the hallway or entryway with the other mom's hoping to strike it rich with their home-based businesses. It should be interesting. I'm hoping some parents can't tolerate watching one more dance team so they'll buy my book for something to do. I've been a "dance mom" for almost eight years now so I know what it's like to watch a couple hundred ballerinas leap across the stage. It can drive you a little crazy after a while. If you're in the area, feel free to stop by! I'll be the one not trying to make you skinny or environmentally savvy. I just want to share my stories with you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

He almost did it again

My son almost did it again. His assignment last night for social studies was to interview two adults about their jobs and the responsibilities that went along with them. The evening started the way a similar conversation did four years ago, a conversation that was published in Rochester Women magazine. Four years ago I hadn't started writing books yet so in his eyes I was "just a stay-at-home mom." It hurt to hear him say I didn't do anything and that I didn't have a job. I got past it...sort of. To hear him say that writing wasn't a real job about killed me last night. I work way too hard to be told that. Just because I don't have publishers knocking down my door and I don't make double digits each month doesn't mean writing isn't a job. Anyway, he redeemed himself later saying that since James Patterson was a popular writer it must be okay. Whatever. I put on my fake smile and answered his questions. He, being a pretty good writer himself, used words and phrases to make my "job" sound more exciting. Obviously, I have some issues with my status in life for whatever reason. It's on my list of things to work on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My solitary life

I like my peace and quiet, don't get me wrong, but after a few days of just me and my netbook, I get a little crazy. I start looking around at all the things that are wrong with the house, the dog, my nose. I'll even talk to the dog. She just looks at me lazily from her spot on the couch though. I'll periodically yell at the cats for dropping dead rodents on the deck outside our back door. I'd wave to the mailman if I thought he'd wave back. Focus, Jen, focus. Write your book. Write your stinkin' book! Writing a book is not as easy as you might think. You spend your days making up weird scenarios between people that have conversations in your head. MY HEAD IS FILLED WITH IMAGINARY PEOPLE HAVING CONVERSATIONS. Oh, my. Maybe I should get some fresh air.

Friday, November 2, 2012

My first booth

On November 18th at the Byron, MN high school I signed up to have my first vendor booth. How exciting, huh?! Sure, it doesn't sound like a big deal to you, but to me it's another social engagement to peddle my wares. That doesn't come along every day, you know. I actually don't even know if I've been accepted so I should really keep my excitement to a minimum. Although, the poster I had made came in the mail last week and it doesn't look too shabby. Yesterday, I placed an order for books. Today, I had my hair cut and colored. She even colored my eyebrows, which is a first for me. I kind of like it. Oh, and a week or so ago I received the postcard advertisements I'll be passing out. As far as I can tell I have everything covered. All I'll need that day is a dazzling smile and some courage.