Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Last Friday was an interesting experience. Unlike any book signing I've done so far. I've never been treated so well and ignored at the same time.
I was offered a drink from the Hard Back Cafe. I told the guy I would take his own personal favorite flavor of smoothie. Orange Cream.
Now I'm sitting at the entrance of the store at a table they set up for me with a big old smoothie filled all the way to the top of the coned lid with whip cream. How cool is that?
Then the batteries run out of my little computer because, like the idiot that I am, I forgot to charge it. So there goes my writing time. What to do? Only thing I could do- read. I picked up the latest Percy Jackson story that I still haven't bought yet.
Most people walk into Hastings on a Friday night to rent a movie. When I say most, I mean every single person who walks into the store and has money.
They're not thinking about books.
The weirdest part of the night was how I didn't have to talk people into buying my book. If they wanted one, they came right up and asked me to sign a copy. Just like that. Which is fine, great really, but it meant that I didn't get to talk to very many people. I'm used to talking people into it.
There, I think that practically everyone who bought a copy did so because I lived right here in Boise. The idea that someone who lives in Boise could actually write a book was so novel that they had to get one just to see.
One guy picked up my book and went straight to the biography. "What does it mean to have your own set of boy/girl twins?" I must have passed the test, he bought one.
Record number reached for the most people who would have bought my book if they had enough money on them. Hastings charged full price, which, in Idaho with tax cost $19.06. I know, ouch.
One non-buyer made things interesting.
"I see you have a whole line of people waiting for you to sign a copy."
The entrance of the store was vacant. Ha ha.
He asked a bunch of questions- how long did it take me to write, how long did it take me to find a publisher, etc., then-
"Wow, I'm sorry. I can tell I'm really holding up the line."
Store still vacant.
"Yeah, I wrote a western. If you turned and walked out of the store right this minute, what's left on your table is more than I ever sold."
Oh. Now I understand the sarcasm. And, after talking to me for ten minutes, he doesn't buy a book. Oh well.
Someone else thought I got paid to sit at a table drinking a smoothie and reading a book. "Good job if you can get it," he said.
I know. Totally.
Hastings was a great host, but after being there for three and a half hours, I still didn't know who was in charge or if a manager was even in the store.
As weird as the night was, I sold a decent number of books, read a quarter of Percy Jackson's last book and sucked down most of an orange cream smoothie. It's a good job, if you can get it.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
A few random thoughts to keep the wheels spinning.
My optometrist thinks that writing is simply a matter of inventing imaginative names and replacing them in a story. Example: Sorceror Sculy goes to the magic school and meets Henry Patter.
Turns out not all the world thinks writers are brilliant. Actually, I think my eye doctor demoted me to a professional idiot. At least I can make money doing it. A little anyway.
On Monday my twelve year old spent the morning with some kids and made a music video for John Jigitz/Morgan Laurence video contest, a new song writer. It wasn't until I saw their video today that I realized it would have been really hard for them to make the video without him... he was the only guy.
Check it out. It's cute. Fun little song. It gets stuck in your head a little, but in a good way. It's called Come On Come On.
I don't know, I think it's just been a weird week. I've decided that booksellers in general have more respect for authors who live out-of-state than local writers. If you live in Boise, you must not be very good, definitely not special, and most likely a waste of their time.
But if I'm on tour, it means more. My husband told me to start telling Boise bookstores that I'm doing a tour in the area and I want to sign in their store. You know, the crazy thing is, it might work.
In all fairness, not all bookstores are that way. Just some. Just enough to knock some of the wind out of my sails.
So come on come on, we'll keep a runnin' till we burn up the sun.
It's time to move on. Write some more, try some more and care a little less when I get the shaft. That's what life's all about.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I was at Confetti Books and Donnie, the owner, gave me the DVD of the TV interview they did at his store last month.
Just for the record, I had no idea we were going to do a TV interview when I went to his store that day and I had no idea what questions they were going to ask.
That said, I have a few pointers for anyone hoping to break into television.
They thought I was too short, so they had me sit on a stack of books. Word to the wise, when sitting on a stack of books, one must have something to either lean on or rest your foot on, otherwise you end up looking hunched over. Unless, of course, you intentionally arch your back, and then you would probably still end up looking weird.
I watched the video for the first time last night. I couldn't believe it. I'm a dancer- I don't hunch. That is, unless I'm sitting on a stack of books and my feet don't reach the ground very well.
Yeah, I look like posture's worst enemy. For those of you who are wondering what I'm talking about, check this out.http://www.confettiantiques.com/news/confetti-antiques-books-held-a-book-singing/
I have super slow dial up, so I didn't put the actual video on my blog. All you fast Internet users, click on the site and have a good laugh. At least I won't be there to hear you.
I learned my lesson. Refuse the stack of books. Look short, it's better than looking like a hunchback. And, for goodness sakes, look at the camera instead of the interviewer. I guess that means my chances of becoming the next newscaster are pretty slim. That's okay. I'd rather be a writer anyway.
Barnes and Noble at Gateway mall was a blast. Weirdest thing that happened there was getting stuck in between a college guy and girl meeting up for the first time in years. You know, the awkward conversation... What have you been doing? It's summer. Neither one of them knew what to say. And, Can I have your number? She says, Do you have facebook? He says, Yeah, I'll look you up.
He was on one side of the table and she was on the other. Lover's conversation. Well, would be if he had it his way, and most likely not if she had it hers.
Good news is I sold a book to both of them. Maybe they thought it would look better if they bought my book after standing in front of my table catching up on lost time for ten minutes. I didn't care. Had no idea what to say either. Mostly I just listened in like the involuntary eavesdropper that I was.
There was an attorney there later who brought me some of his favorite books. Interesting guy. He did a great job of selling me books, I could learn a thing or two from that.
Now I'm back in Boise. This Friday I'll be at Hastings on Fairview and Cole from 6-9 PM.
Then, I'm going back to Utah in less than three weeks for more book signings. Crazy. Cool. You should see the pile of laundry waiting for me right now.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
And, I went to Cascade. It was the first spontaneous thing I've done for years. Ouch. I used to be fun. First mosquito bites of the summer-that has to mean something.
I drove there with my five kids. Didn't sleep much, but we had a great time.
And, I had the greatest chat with my teen editor, aka my niece, who I haven't seen forever. She sat in the front seat while I drove up the mountain and we talked. I caught her up to speed with the second Alvor book, and she helped me figure out some of the pieces I needed to finish the novel.
Never underestimate a teenager. They are smart, imaginative and genius given the right set of circumstances. It's in nearly all of them, even if they don't know it themselves. I am constantly amazed at the clarity of perspective and understanding so many teens today have.
Maybe not all, I know, but I have such a respect for a whole lot of really smart kids. I love to listen to their thoughts on so many different things.
I'm leaving first thing in the morning for Utah, which explains why I'm sitting here writing instead of packing or washing the dog. This is the little blue truck part. We're leaving the minivan at home and taking the mini-truck instead. We have a miniature dog, three miniature horses, a minivan and a mini-pick-up. I'm starting to see a pattern. I wonder if I should be developing some kind of complex, or if I already have. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that one.
If you're in Utah, I can't wait to meet you. Find me at American Fork Library from 3-4 PM, Barnes & Noble at Gateway Mall 7-9 PM both Friday, July 17. Then Saturday at Confetti Books from 10-12 morning shift.
Until then, signing out. Hope you found something wonderful to do with your weekend.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Saturday July 18th: 10-12 pm: I'm going to be there signing with Dennis Mangrum, author of The Mystic Cipher
Monday, July 13, 2009
Focus on how you found your agent and/or publisher, what you submitted to get them to take a look at your manuscript and how the editing process went.
I'll come up with something, but most of it will be from things I've learned at writers conferences and books. My own experience probably isn't worth that much.
- Never found an agent. At the time, I didn't even try to. Now that I'm looking for one, I'm still not finding one. Or, rather, they're not finding me the perfect author.
- I found my publisher originally by looking at the back of books. Since I figured a small press was my best bet for a unknown author, I found them online and sent in my manuscript.
- What I submitted to get them to take a look at my manuscript... I sent them exactly what they asked for. That's it. Probably had a query letter and a brief synopsis to go along with the manuscript.
- The editing process. I think I did most of the editing before my publisher received the final manuscript. Fortunately, I had some time between my original submission and the final submission to polish my work. The actual editing done through my publisher was minimal and included no revisions. I'm probably not qualified to teach a class on how to work with an editor. I never did. A week before my book went to press they sent me a proof to look at. I read it in one evening and sent it back. For all you grammar gifted people, I hear there are two places that are grammatically wrong. Find them, and let me know where. The first person who told me couldn't remember.
But it's all the stuff that almost happened that makes my process more interesting. Or frustrating, depending on how you look at it.
I was waiting on a response from two New York publishing houses- big ones- when I received my contract. Ouch.
Long story short, I went with the small house. Here are some good reasons to go small, in case anyone out there is facing the same issue.
1. You'll get your book published a lot faster.
2. You can't sell a book that you don't have.
3. In the end, you can make just as much money on a small press as a big one, especially if you are a new/unkown author. It's math. Instead of an advance against your royalties, you get royalties on actual sales. In the end, you might not get money up front, but you can still make the money. It's more spread out, but the more books you sell, the more you make. See reason #2.
4. No pressure. I mean, the opposite of pressure. There is absolutely no deadlines for me to meet, no expectations of my marketing abilities or future work. The only pressure I have is the pressure to excell that I create. If I want to make something happen, it's up to me.
5. Just because you were published with a big house does NOT mean you will sell more books. In fact, depending on how things pan out, you might sell less. Big houses promote the books they think will be winners. The smaller titles get less marketing time. Sometimes authors from big houses do almost nothing on their own to promote their own book, it's not the author's job, right?
6. An author from a small press is forced to learn the business. If I want to get my book out there, I have to do a lot of work. Not that my publisher isn't working, too. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have a chance. But I have to understand how the system works. Ingram Distributers is a big one. Getting out in the real world and meeting people, especially bookstore owners and managers is another.
7. It's going to be easier to publish a second book now that my first is a reality. That's the plain and simple of it. At the end of the day, no matter how much I still have to do, at least I know I'm at the beginning of my career as a writer instead of the end.
And for the record, my goals include finding an agent and publishing at a big house. I just don't think sitting on my hands is going to get me there faster. Going small turned out to be a big step in the right direction.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
|Our rating |
(0 - 10 scale)
Flamingnet Student Book Reviewer (KAnde)
Twins Erin and Bain were out exploring in the hills by their home when they found a mysterious cabin. They slowly went inside to investigate the beautiful cabin. Once inside they are introduced to many creatures that people never thought existed! Erin and Bain discover that they were picked to be the chosen ones for the land called the Kingdom, and they needed to start training right away. After they train they discover they have many gifts that allow them to do various things, that's when they find out about the evil forces in the Kingdom. Bain and Erin must decide whether to leave their normal life or their new magical life, it's a hard decision, what will they decide....
In Alvor, the setting is in the summer time in the hills of the North East, Bingham described this setting with such words that made it seem that she was there herself to experience the beauty of this region. Mrs. Bingham also made the mood of the book very user friendly so that it was hard to not stop reading the book when I should've returned back into real life. Erin and Bain are some of my most favorite characters in the world! They are so real and vivid that I thought I could call them up and talk with them, but they are fake so they don't have a number. The voice of the narrator's voice had a tone that was very magical in it's way of sharing the story. It was really cool that the voice was like this. I thought the author did everything that this book was ment to do. Bingham described the world of Alvor with such detail that I couldn't hardly believe that is wasn't true. Alvor has many strong points to it, such as the amazing characters and the bond that Bain and Erin share. But this book had very minimal flaws, the plot seemed that it wasn't done when she finished writing the book. Bingham was hopefully leaving it off so she could write a sequel, hopefully! I've read many fantasy books and this is one of the best I've ever read! I thought that Mrs. Bingham could've given Bain and Erin more powers and explained them. I would definitely recommend Alvor to anyone that loves a wonderful fantasy and that enjoys just a good book. This has been one of my favorite books to read and I can't wait for a sequel!
Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, MN United States of America
But I've got a new list. Several, in fact. Here's what I'm working on:
School Visit Presentation Ideas-needs to be inspirational, educational, interactive and funny. No pressure...
Marketing Ideas- (besides having my two year old stand on the corner with my book saying mom mom)
Stuff I need to finish writing, writing I need to finish editing, and totally new book I'm planning on writing this year.
Agents and Editors- sending new work to everyone I can. Some one's going to love me one of these days.
I've found that people don't like to give away their ideas. It's been hard finding school presentation ideas. So far, most have come out of my head. And for marketing, I'm looking for things that don't cost too much money. I'm an author without an inheritance, therefore I am not rich.
My favorite list is my writing list. It's delicious, like looking at a selection of delectable cookies and deciding which one to eat. Problem is, I can only eat one at a time. I can only write one thing at a time. I'm not so good at cross-writing.
And for the agent/editor list. I look at it like this. I've had a lot of practice getting rejected, so how bad can it be? The trick is to never run out of things to send. As long as I've got something new, I'll never run out of opportunities.
And, for the record, here are some things I DON'T write lists for...
Housework I need to get done
Meals I'm going to cook this week
Number of times I'm planning on stubbing my toe
They all have something in common. They're all things I don't like, but do anyway.
Next week I'm going to Utah again. This time my publisher invited me. Makes me feel so special. Friday, July 17, I'm going to be signing at the American Fork Library. Still don't know what time, but I'm sure they'll figure it out soon.
That same day, July 17, I'm going to be at the Gateway mall in SLC at Barnes and Noble from 7-9 PM. So cool.
Then Saturday, July 18, I'll be at the Confetti Bookstore in Spanish Fork from 10-12 in the morning. They're having a Fiesta Celebration.
July 24, the following Friday, I'm back in Boise and doing a signing at Hastings on Fairview and Cole from 6-9 PM. Super nice people there. I love it when the managers are nice.
And, for all you list lovers out there, good for you. You represent the most organized people on the planet, a title I don't envy.
And finally, if anyone has a good idea for marketing or school visits, please pop it on a comment. Seriously, I need all the help I can get. I promise to write it on my list, and for me, that's saying something.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Here's a piece of her advice:
"You have to be published in order to get published." Which seems impossible but really makes a lot of sense.
Then they followed it up by saying, "Everyone has to make the original 'bad deal' in their career." They were just talking about how everyone starts out at the bottom of the totem pole.
The last thing they said that really struck me was: "You have not yet written your best story" and "You have not yet had your best idea."
And, as if I needed a topper to that, she gave me this...
You're not just telling stories. You're changing lives. Now that the choice is made, move forward and work hard. Sure footing depends on the direction we're looking in. While it's okay to look back, do so briefly and then turn forward.
Everyone needs a friend like her. Everyone needs someone to remind them that even though life is hard, we can work harder. Move forward instead of looking back. Who doesn't need that reminder?
And, you haven't written your best story or had your best idea. Wow. I love that. It means that anyone who has the gumption to try writing in the first place can only get better if they keep working at it.
You're not just telling stories, you're changing lives. That's why I write. I know how much influence other authors have had on me. Imagine writing something that sunk into the readers minds and hearts and helped them want to be better. Is there a better career in all the world?
Okay, don't answer that. I know there are lots of ways to change lives. I just happen to love writing- and teaching. I'm so looking forward to the school year when I can go into schools and talk to kids. That will be one of the pinnacles of this whole writing journey. I love teaching just as much as writing. School visits are like all the best parts of teaching- a captive audience, fun stuff to talk about, funny moments and stories- without having to grade papers at the end of the day. What could be better than that?
I know that there are so few people in this world who have read my book, and even fewer who I have had a chance to talk to, but those kids who I have met personally have written on my heart. A fourteen year old girl came to one of my booksignings a while ago and sat down on the floor next to my table and talked to me for a half hour about writing and books. She had already read my book before she came to the signing. I don't know if I'll ever see her again, but the fact that she came just to meet and talk to me, a total stranger, really made me stop and think about what kind of influence a writer can have on young lives.
No matter how discouraging life can get, I know there are people out there that make it all worth it. It's a strange thing. Just when I start to wonder if any of it is working, worth it or going anywhere, someone steps in and makes a difference.
So to my new friend, thank you.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
It's about time.
And from the home front, my list of things to do is growing longer every day. I'm starting to realize that I'm only one person, and there's only so much I can do at a time. But that doesn't stop the list from growing.
What to do?
It's July, and I still haven't done any really fun summer stuff with my kids. I don't have time. By the time I get done with the house work and writing work, and I'm just going to pretend I've been keeping up with my clogging work, there's just no more time.
Solution? Something's got to give. If you were at my house right now, you would probably assume I already decided to cut some slack on the house work. That's the insane thing. I just can't keep up. My idea of cleaning now is clothes to wear, food to eat, and dishes to eat off of. The rest is fluff. Until something starts to really get on my nerves, then maybe I'll get to it.
I can't stop writing. I'm addicted. I like to write for about two and a half hours a day, but sometimes I only get in an hour. There are other days when I don't even write. Yikes. I hate those days. I need to write. I love it too much to leave it.
Hmmm. Got me. I'm just hoping that my kids don't notice that the summer flew by without any remarkable memories to write their summer essays on. Some of them are too young to remember last week, let alone last summer, so for them, I'm probably covered.
But, I don't want to go down in history as a bad parent. So, I'm thinking I'll make some family fun goals. That way if I meet them, I can tell myself that I didn't fail as a fun parent. Maybe we'll only get to have fun every other week, but that's better than nothing.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Of course, there is shipping. At B&N, you get free shipping if you spend $25 or more. Very good deal. I'm doing a book signing at Hastings July 24 from 6-9 PM in Boise, the one on Fairview and Cole. I'm hoping they're going to sell it for $14.39 there. That would be a super great deal. Holy cow, you can't get it for less.
Oh wait, you can get if for FREE. Well, for a couple of weeks at a time... I am working on getting it into the libraries, especially in Idaho. Working very hard. After this week, every library in Idaho will have heard from me- most of them in the mail, but that's a lot of libraries. For those of you who wonder about weird stuff like this, there's about 67 public libraries in Idaho. I say about just in case I counted wrong, which is entirely possible.
Ada County Library ordered some yesterday, I happened to find out. I'm sure by the end of summer, you'll be seeing it in more places, stores included.
Deseret Book and Seagull Book are finally ordering. Yeah! And, as you might have guessed, Barnes and Noble too. Walmart is supposed to be ordering sometime, but it doesn't seem to have happened quite yet.
I was invited to speak at the Idaho Writers League August 20 at 7:00 PM. If you're interested in joining the Idaho Writers League, they meet in Nampa every third Thursday evening. Which is why I'm not a member. Clogging night. But I'm really excited to meet with them and talk about books. I love talking about writing, publishing, and the whole mystical world of how books are brought from obscurity to your bookshelf. Mystical because I'm still trying to figure out how in the world it is possible that you read my blog and you still haven't bought my book yet.
Yeah, I know about you. That's why I'm trying to help you out by finding it for cheaper, or free, or whatever the heck it's going to take for you to finally read my book already.
If you're not familiar with my brand of sense of humor, I'm laughing. Ha ha ha. But I really do think you're going to love my book. I still love you, even if you are delinquent. But I do want to make it easier for you, because I love you that much.