Monday, 28 July 2014

Should Authors Do A Book Launch For The Second Book In A Series? Yes!

A book is a book regardless whether it's the first, second or third in a series—it's a new story, often with new characters and a change of scene. That should be celebrated, and there's no nicer way to introduce your latest 'baby' into the world than with a book launch. It takes a lot of planning and fiddling, especially when there are swag bags (or as I call it, A Dantonville Goody Bag) involved. But it's all worth it.
As with my first book (Bloodgifted) my venue was a local bookshop/cafe—Ruby's Cafe and Books. My writers group meet there every Friday, and since we've developed a good relationship with the owners, they were only too happy to lend their establishment (free of charge) for the event. Got to love that. Guests buy a copy of my book, get a Dantonville bag filled with goodies and enjoy a delicious cappuccino with or without lunch. I sell books and they get extra customers—win-win.

The first thing I did was create a promo poster to affix to the shop window, large enough to be noticed by passerby, but not too big as to block out sunlight. I may write about vampires, but the customers sitting at the tables are human—they like their winter sunshine! (In Australia, July is midwinter.) 
Once that was done, I set about creating my Dantonville Goody bags. It's a nice way to say thank you to people who have made the effort to attend my launch (some travelled a considerable distance to support me, as an author) and obtain a signed copy of my book. That should always be acknowledged. 

So, what went onto my goody bag? 
- one Bloodpledge keyring to which we added a few charms: vampire teeth (of course!), purple/lavender/amethyst beading (to match the cover of the book), a coiled serpent (for the magical Serpent Ring) and a lavender eye. Those who have read Bloodgifted, know that the vampires in my story are distinguished by their lavender-coloured eyes.
In the clear holder I placed a double-sided picture of the book cover. It's amazing what can be done on Word and a good printer!
- one car bumper/window sticker. Using publisher, I created a catchy slogan and printed it on good quality, self-adhesive glossy paper that had been ordered online from Vistaprint. The result was fabulous - as you can see in the picture below.
- one bookmark and card with my author contact details. I had 250 of theses printed for the Bloodgifted launch, and since Bloodpledge is part of the same series, I couldn't see any reason why they couldn't be utilised for this one as well. They went into the goody bag.
- Lastly a purple lolly bag. A sweet treat for the drive home or to have with coffee.
Everything was placed inside a lavender paper bag (I found in a $2 shop) with the book's cover on the front.

Everyone who bought a copy of the book received the goody bag. And believe me, they went quickly. My wonderful helper (my bestie) had fun keeping the book table restocked. And it doesn't matter that not all books were sold. I always make sure I have more than I need, as some people purchase several copies for family and friends. The rest I'll sell through my website. It's also good to keep a stock handy at home to resupply local bookstores. Mine are currently selling at Dymocks (the Aussie equivalent of Barnes and Noble). 
Overall, it was a successful day, and well worth the time and effort to organise such an event and create the giveaway items. 
Will I do a launch for my third book, Blood Vault? Probably. Just have to wait and see.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Goodreads Interview—Everything You Wanted To Know About Me, And Were Not Afraid To Ask!

Recently I've been interviewed on Goodreads, and I have to admit, some of the questions were tough—made me think too hard for a weekend! Anyway, it's something new they're trialling. I suppose to help authors promote their books, but whichever, I thought to share that interview here.
As a debut author, I've experienced the mountains and valleys of writing and publishing, and the challenge of writing a series. The creative part is fun (the marketing sucks, but more on that in the next few weeks.)

1. How long did you want to write a book before starting it?
I began writing BLOODGIFTED the day the idea popped into my head—one quiet and sunny, Sunday afternoon. With fingers on the keyboard I typed out the first chapter within an hour. Ten months later I had a complete novel, but it took another nine months (like pregnancy) to edit, polish and perfect it.

2. What prevented you creatively (blocks etc. - not external influences)?
Thankfully, I've never had one of those—the ideas keep coming. But saying that, sometimes I can hover excruciatingly on dialogue or the description of a scene. When that happens I leave my desk, and my beloved laptop, and go do some baking, housework and gardening, until my house is spotless enough to be featured on Better Homes and Gardens. By that time my mind has cleared and everything is flowing again. Needless to say, I have cleaning binges.

3. How did you approach writing (on the fly, lots of planning), did it change, and did you write more or less as it did?
A bit of both, I'd say. I'm 65% planner and 35% pantser. Initially I planned the entire story, even the genealogy and backstory so I know how it ends, who the characters are and their little traits and quirks. In between, I allow them to dictate the next scene, but only as long as they behave and continue to move in the direction I want. Nothing much has deviated from my original plot, only little things like name changes and scenes.

4. 1.     If you were a planner or became one, what was your method?

I use the old fashioned A3 sheet with diagrams, arrows leading in all directions, which I then bluetack to the wall above my desk. It helps keep me focused. As anyone can see from the pic, it's not exactly high-tech stuff, and my handwriting can pass for Egyptian hieroglyphics, but hey, I can follow it. 

5. 1.     How did the process change over time (if it did)?

It didn’t really, as it works for me—I’m a visual person. To also save time, I refined my writing by setting deadlines, eg. 1,000 words a day as that’s achievable, and not stress over sentences and paragraphs that don’t do as they’re told. Editing will fix that later.

I also created profiles of each character—adding pics of actors I think would be prefect if ever a movie is made of my series. Hey, I can dream! I'm sure some of the faces are recognisable. Look closely and you'll see Thor, although in my Dantonville Legacy series he's Lucien.

6. Do you feel any changes/evolutions/adaptations in your writing helped or hurt your creativity? 
If anything, my writing is evolving and improving all the time, and that’s what a writer strives for.

7. What would you tell the old you to get that book finished sooner?

Lol! Good question. I’d probably tell her to get off social media and write! The old me is still learning.

Well, that's it for now. If anyone has any questions to ask me, feel free. You know what to do—leave a comment and I'll get back to you.