Author Events – Lessons Learned as a Signing Author

This year is the first year I have been able to attend any author events. To date I have attended both large and small events, and will be hosting one in my home town in less than 6 weeks. For my first event, I count myself lucky because it was a very large event. The final ticket count to the public, prior to the event, was over 300 tickets sold, and that’s not counting the ones who strayed in because they were already at the venue and saw the signs. One of the smaller events I attended only had around 100 tickets to be sold. All in all, it’s been quite the learning experience.

Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to set some realistic expectations. If you think author events are all about selling books, I hate to disappoint you. It’s not about selling books, it’s about exposure. It’s about meeting readers, engaging with them, and hoping to connect with new fans. Most readers who attend these events aren’t looking to purchase books; they are looking for new authors and reading material for their kindles. They generally grab swag off your table and will look you up weeks or even months later to see what you are all about.

Most authors only sell two to four books at an event, I somehow managed to sell 8 at my first event (over 300 tickets sold) and 6 at the smallest event (only about 100 tickets sold). The girl whose table I was sharing at the largest event sold something like 28 books. That is not the norm. I repeat, selling that many books at an event is not the norm. And when taking into consideration I spent approximately $800 to make $16 in profit, selling those 8 books doesn’t look quite so impressive. Let me repeat that, I spent over $800 in books, swag, hotel rooms, food, and gas on just one event to make a measly $16 in profit. And I count that as doing extremely well for one of these events. Thankfully I had enough swag left over to carry me over for two more events, but that is still a lot of money to spend on handful of events every year. In total, I have spent over $1k between books, swag, hand-made swag, hotel rooms, food, and gas to attend just 3 events. So if you are going into these events thinking you are going to make a lot of money, sell a lot of books, or even break even, you are going to be very disappointed. I will say that I met a LOT of really great people, I made a lot of connections, I gave away a lot of swag, and I had a lot of fun with my fellow authors and readers. Hopefully in the coming months, all those people who took pens, bookmarks, and rack cards from my table will eventually look me up on Amazon and buy a book.

So if you are not scared off by now and still want to do this thing, let’s get started on what all I learned from the events I have attended so far this year.

 

  1. Be Prepared Part 1 – Table Presentation Makes the Difference

Upon setting foot inside my first event for setup, I quickly realized I had not prepared nearly enough. Even though I had spent months crunching numbers, deciding on what swag to purchase, and buying it a few pieces at a time, I still was not prepared.

When I went into this, I had only ever seen a few pictures on other authors’ Facebook pages in regards to what their tables looked like. Most of them just had their items spread out on it, and so I assumed that’s how all of the events looked. Man, was I ever wrong.

Nearly every table at this event was seriously decked out, like the authors had hired a professional party planner or table decorator to do their spread. I cannot possibly stress how important it is for your table to stand out in these events.

I suggest doing a dry run prior to going. Practice setting up your table, arranging your books and decorations so your table looks eye-catching. And don’t just depend on the event to supply a nice table-cloth. I suggest bringing another one as well. I didn’t make the same mistake twice. The next events I attended I asked the coordinators how large the tables were and measured that space out on my dining room table. I did a dry run with my table, and it paid off. I also brought a maroon table-cloth with me and used it, making my table at one of the events the only one with a table-cloth which was some color other than white. I’m glad I did this as at one particular event I was stuck in the very corner where no one could see my sign. I think the bright color drew people in.

Remember you are trying to pull in new readers and the best way to do this is for your table to be eye-catching and inviting. Think of a theme that surrounds your books and get to decorating! This is why I chose a maroon table-cloth, to go with the vampire and paranormal theme running through my books, and it also matched the color scheme of most of my books. Trust me, waiting until you get to the event to decide on table layout and theme is not the answer. I wanted to cry when I got to my first event and realized I had not really planned out my table appropriately. Thankfully I had so many things on my table I still drew people in at that first event, but you definitely want to have a theme and a plan for your table layout prior to the event.

Also, be sure to bring something you can prop up your books on, like a mini-easel or one of those little things you use to display decorative plates. If you have a lot of books, investing in a small, table-top book display is a very good idea. I didn’t have any of these things at my first event and so people couldn’t see my books unless they walked up to my table. I lost potential buyers and readers because of this. For my next events, I had a table top collapsible book shelf which people seemed to like. They didn’t have to worry about knocking over the books on display. I had a lot of people picking them up and actually looking at them and reading the blurb. At my first event, people acted like they were scared to touch the display.

 

 

  1. Be Prepared Part 2 – Book Sales

Thankfully I had the good sense to take my Square card reader and to get my account set up prior to the event. If you don’t have a Square account, you really need to get one, or some other type of POS service. There are no monthly fees for using Square and they charge just 2.75% of the sales to swipe the card. It is automatically deposited into your bank account each night.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough sense to think about all the people who would be paying with cash and would need change at my first event. Thankfully I only had to make change a few times, but coming prepared never hurt anyone. The author sitting at the table next to me came equipped with a locking money-box. Smart man. But if you can’t go all out on locking cash drawers, I do recommend you bring change for $100 to include ones, fives, and tens. For my next events, I invested in a small locking cash drawer ($16 at Wal-Mart) and brought change. I was glad I did. It made it a lot easier than digging through my wallet under the table.

 

  1. Be Prepared Part 3 – Information on Swag

Swag has to pack a big punch in a small size, so think long and hard about what you want to include. The most popular swag at my table was my business cards, my rack cards, and my bookmarks at my first event. I had postcards too, but people did not seem as interested in those. So when preparing your printed swag, keep in mind you want to make it super easy for potential readers to find and connect with you.

For my second event, people were more interested in the hand-made magnets and my bookmarks. I had business cards, business card magnets, and two sets of post cards as well as rack cards at my table, but the only thing anyone took were the hand-made magnets and bookmarks. You never really know what will be a hit at each event, so I suggest buying small numbers of various items, just make sure it includes some way for customers to find you. The hand-made magnets I had were just a tiny bit larger than a quarter and was one of my logos which had my website address on it.

For my rack cards, I included a list of all my book titles, all my social media links, and my website address. Unfortunately I didn’t have sense enough to put my Amazon author page link on it, but with my book titles and my name, I at least made it easy for them to look me up at Amazon.com.

For business cards, you have to include even less information, so besides your name and your tag line or “brand” (for instance, all mine have ‘paranormal fantasy author’ on them), I included my website address. It’s the one place where all my stuff links together – social media, my blog, my amazon author page, etc.

For bookmarks, I suggest creating a brand logo, like the one displayed at the top of this site. People really like the logo and it is why they kept picking up the bookmarks at all the events I have attended so far. I had several people tell me they loved the eyes and asked if they could take extras for friends or giveaways for their blog. Bonus!

As with your table, you want your swag to be eye-catchy and to stand out. Bright colors, unique logo, and an awesome brand or tag-line is a must. It takes some doing, and I’ve wasted quite a bit of money on items that I ultimately didn’t use because I came up with something better. I often use the pre-made designs at Vista Print and add my own little flair such as my tag-line or a small logo. Just don’t give up and if all else fails, remember to keep it simple. So long as the swag stands out on your table, you’re good to go.

I would like to add that proofreading the information on your swag is even more important than making it catchy. I had a typo on the back of my rack cards that I didn’t even notice until weeks later – after I had already given out several hundred of them at two different events. There’s nothing more sobering than having to trash a few hundred pieces of swag all because I didn’t take two minutes to double-check the sentence I typed. Yes, it matters, and if you are one of those who thinks something like that doesn’t matter, you have no business being an author. Sorry, but it’s the truth. Your swag is an extension of yourself as an author, just like your books. It all has to be perfect, even though perfection isn’t achievable. Double standard, and indies are held to an even higher standard than trade authors.

 

  1. Be Prepared Part 4 – Bring Your Wheels!

I thought about this the week of my first event, and by that time it was too late to really do anything about it. So my husband and I ended up making two trips to my car carrying very heavy boxes a half-mile and up two sets of elevators to the event room. Needless to say, after doing that for both the setup and the break down, my shoulders and back were killing me. So be sure to take something with wheels that is large enough to hold everything for the event so you are not making multiple trips. I saw authors with everything from large wheeled suitcases to large wheeled Rubbermaid containers. If you have tons of boxes, I strongly recommend a collapsible dolly as well. Whatever you choose, your back will ultimately thank you.

On that note, be sure to find out if the room where the event is being held is on the ground floor, and if not, if the place has an elevator. After my first event I invested in a wheeled repurposed tool box which I absolutely LOVE. It holds all my books and swag, leaving me to carry just my banner and stand, my new collapsible book shelf, and one more small container with my purchase bags and table decorations. Unfortunately, one of my events was on a second floor of a place which did not have an elevator. Getting my wheeled box up the steps was quite the challenge. It had to be carried down the steps once everything was over, and I wasn’t physically able to do it, which meant one of my fellow female authors carried it for me. Yes, I was embarrassed and forever grateful.

 

  1. Location, Location, Location – and yes, be prepared to feel like you are back in high school.

Understand your table location at the event is going to be mostly out of your control. Let’s face it, someone has to have the shitty spot no one wants, so if you are just starting out and are not a “big name” in the indie world, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the back of the room or shoved off into the corner somewhere. Like I said, someone has to end up there. If it’s not you, it will be someone else. It’s just the way things are.

The room I was in for my first event was oddly shaped and my table was almost in the corner. Thankfully the author whose table I was sharing was attracting a lot of readers, as was the table next to me, so I got lucky and got run-off traffic. Despite this, because of where we were located, I did notice a LOT of the attendees did not come down far enough to get to our table, resulting in possibly missed sales and people who did not pick up any swag to remember me by. I really believe the really bad table placement combined with me not being very well-known in the area attributed to the dismal number of book sales, especially considering I sold just 2 fewer books at an event with 1/3 of the ticket sales.

At another event, I was shoved off into a corner by the door. No one could see my banner, and the only thing I had going for me was the author whose table I was sharing seemed pretty popular and the fact I was sitting beside the door so those who came in that door stopped at my table first. With that in mind, this is why having a very eye-catchy table is a must. If you are unlucky enough to be seated where the foot traffic is not going to come by you by default, then you definitely want to give them a reason to be drawn to your table. For the event where I was shoved off into the corner, I was the only one with brightly colored table-cloth. I believe it caught a lot of people’s attention and set me apart from the rest.

 

  1. Smile – No One Wants to Meet a Grouch

I’ve never smiled so much in my life as I do at these events. Yes, I know by our very nature writers tend to be introverts, but at these events, those who are not friendly and outgoing will lose potential readers. At my first event, my table mate and I went so far as to wave people over to our table and ask them to come chat with us. If you see someone standing close by eyeballing your table like they are debating on whether or not to visit your table, give them a big smile, wave at them, and ask them to come chat with you. Seriously. Just smiling at them is not enough, but when you are chatting them up about their favorite authors and genres, then it puts them at ease and more willing to look at your titles. If nothing else, invite them to take swag from your table and remind them all your items are on Kindle/Nook/iTunes etc. Even if they don’t buy a book that day, hopefully they’ll go check you out at a later date.

On that note, I’d like to discuss a big key difference between large events and small events. For my first event, there were over 300 tickets sold. For the first two hours it was like Grand Central Station. People were zooming by my table so fast I barely had time to speak to them. I noticed some people bypassed my table completely because there were already people at it. And because there were so many people, everyone was lined up waiting to get to all the tables, so my time to chat with each person was severely limited. I got the feeling a lot of people may have felt rushed because of others waiting in line, which meant my time spent engaging and interacting with potential readers was greatly compromised. At that first event, I only sold 8 books, and I believe that low number was the result of many factors, not only due to the high amount of traffic, but also my table spread and location.

At one of the last events I attended, there were just a handful of authors and less than 100 readers who attended. It was very relaxed and I was able to chat with a lot of readers and pitch my books to them. In other words, there was a lot of author-reader interaction. I sold 6 books which was phenomenal considering the low number of attendees when compared to the number of books I sold at my first event and the number of readers who attended. People did not take as much swag from my table at the smaller event, or at least it didn’t feel like it.

 

  1. Sometimes Less is More

I will say that I went overboard with my swag at my first event. I ended up with pens, rack cards, two different types of business cards, bookmarks, and postcards. For my next events, I added in another set of business card magnets, hand-made magnets, and another set of postcards for my new release. Everyone was really happy to take them off my hands, but to be honest, it really wasn’t needed.

Case in point, my table mate at my first event was only giving out small bookmarks and a piece of hand-made buyer swag for anyone who purchased a book. Despite this, she nearly sold out of the 30 books she brought with her PLUS she gave away all the bookmarks she had. If it’s on your table, they WILL take it, but it’s a lot of money to waste on something that they may or may not keep up with. As someone who has walked around at these events, when faced with tons of swag choices, I feel really bad about taking one of each. I know that is what it is there for, but there is something about authors sitting behind those tables eyeballing you that is just unnerving. It’s why I try to talk to people and invite them to take things off my table. I want them to take it, it’s why I bought it, but I don’t want them to feel guilty about it.

My suggestion is to keep things simple. I like pens because it’s something the readers will actually use. And if they use it around others, even better. However, most people are really particular about their pens, so the cheap ones generally get tossed out pretty quickly. Unless you are splurging on really expensive, gel pens, skip them. Bookmarks, however, seems to be something people love picking up, but then again, why wouldn’t they? They need them for the books they are buying, they like using them, they like sharing them, so bookmarks are a staple product to have at your table. My next favorite thing is rack cards. You can pack a LOT of information into a rack card, and they double as bookmarks as well. Business cards are handy and they are fairly cheap, so I would definitely keep those around.

Postcards, in my opinion, were a waste of money for me. Sure, I like them, and they can be used as a bookmark or even mailed. But let’s face it. Readers who go to these events collect these items, which means it goes into a scrap-book or a bag or a drawer and they never look at it again. Bookmarks and rack cards, however, tend to get used. Despite this, I still have a weakness for them, and tend to purchase them when I can get them cheap.

In all honesty, I spent way too much on swag for all of my events. The only good thing is I won’t have to buy more swag for the other events I’m doing later in the year. I had enough of it left over I was able to donate some to my co-author for her event, and may even have some left over to donate to a few other event VIP bags. But if you are starting off, I suggest finding out how many tickets have been sold to the event previously and use those numbers as a basis for how much swag to order. One or two pieces of swag, along with a special “buyer” swag for buyers is really all you need.

 

  1. Pricing is A Factor

The first event I attended had a FB group just for the attending authors. Someone had asked how much everyone was charging for their books. It’s a great idea to get a feel for this and if it is possible, ask the other authors who are going how much they are charging. You do NOT want to over-charge or under-charge when it comes to your books. However, selling them at a loss may not be an option either.

I’ll be honest. My books were priced where I lost money on the one through my publisher because it costs me so much to order them. The rest I had priced at the same price as they were on Amazon. Despite this, my table mate at my first event was offering huge discounts when buying both of her books together, and these weren’t small novellas either. To be honest, there is no way I could have sold my books for the same price, not without taking a hit on them. I feel it put me at a disadvantage as those who visited my table thought I was over-priced. Despite this, I feel my books were reasonably priced for their size and the lack of sales could have been from a variety of different reasons. However, I do strongly recommend anyone attending the events to ask what others are charging and plan accordingly. Even if you have to sell them for what you have in them, it’s better than having to drag all those books back home and missing out on a potential reader leaving with one of your books in their hands.

At my other events, I knocked the price way down. Books I had been selling for $10 were knocked down to $8 and those which had been $12 were knocked down to $10 and when buying them together I offered large discounts. I had went through and changed a lot of the covers, so I wanted to get rid of them. Pricing may have been a huge factor on why people were buying more at this event.

With that in mind, I strongly recommend having your book prices in plain sight. It took me two events before I realized I should have had the price on them. Most people ask, but there were some who may have not purchased simply because the price wasn’t posted anywhere and they didn’t want to ask. And if you are selling other items such as mugs and tshirts, always have the prices of those items clearly marked.

 

  1. Take Photos

Seriously, take photos of not only your own table, but the tables of authors who have a really catchy table spread.  Learn from your peers, and take photos so you’ll have something to look back on later to improve your own design layout.

 

All in all, being prepared is the number one thing. You have to think about the event from start to finish, what all is happening, and what items you will need. Learn from others, ask questions, don’t be afraid to fail, and most importantly, have fun! You can’t expect readers to come to you if you don’t look like you are having an absolute blast.

Pre-Orders Set for the Booking in Biloxi Author Event

Are you attending the Booking in Biloxi Author Event on 3/19/16? Be sure to pre-order your book! Cut off date is 2/6/16. I will have a very limited supply of books to sale at the actual event so if you want to ensure you receive an autographed copy of a book of your choice, pre-order now.

 

 

Books, Prizes, and Swag, Oh My!!

Full Paperback Cover Wrap

Looking for a new book boyfriend? Love paranormal fantasy, sexy rock stars, and looking to have a good laugh? Then come join us on the page!

This month, I will be posting dramatic reading videos (yes, I know I have a really bad southern drawl, you guys know you love it!) as well as excerpts from The Taming of Andy Savage throughout the month of December. At the end of the month, I will be hosting a contest where you will have to answer trivia questions taken from the videos and excerpts. There will be 3 winners chosen at random who answer the questions correctly.

One grand prize winner will receive an autographed copy of The Taming of Andy Savage and a swag pack filled with postcards, bookmarks, and other goodies.

Two additional winners will be chosen to receive a swag pack.

To enter, be sure to like my Author FaceBook Page and check back as the excerpts and videos are posted this month.

Happy December all my beautiful book divas!

Peace, Love, & Books Y’all!

Interview: Underground Musician Detour169

D169-1

Today The Alternative Underground sat down with Russell Pluss, the mastermind behind the underground cult sensation, musical artist Detour169. For those who have not heard of D169, you are missing out of some of the most unique, cutting-edge music in the industry today.

Russell handles absolutely everything for his projects, the original “one-man show” if you will, from conception to completion. All of the photos included in this piece were taken and created by Russell. He is his own makeup artist and graphic artist. He creates, writes, records, and mixes his own music, markets and promotes, and even performs live shows.

In addition to being his own marketing manager, he founded Dead Nation Records, an independent label dedicated to helping market and promote other underground artists. It’s amazing everything he has learned to do over the years, and we are very lucky to have him carve out a few minutes in his tight schedule to speak with us.

Russell, I’d like to thank you for taking a few moments to discuss your career and your new release. Sore Thumb is scheduled to be released soon. How many albums have you released to date?

Sore Thumb is still to be announced for the release date. I have (technically) four albums available currently. “Vizionz” is my first. It was my debut in the horrorcore rap scene. “Book Of The Dead, Vol.1” is my second. It’s about the time I first started to experiment with different styles, and genres. The Third/fourth is “Mind of a monster.” It is a double disc album that featured a cd of all rap, and the other being all rock. These albums are going to be released separately, and the double album is only available at live shows. I am also part of a horrorcore rap group called “Tha Jokaz”, and have been for 8 years.

How would you describe your music? Is there any specific genre you feel your music fits into more than others?

I describe my music as “dark rap meets synth rock”.

D169-2 

Who are/were your musical influences?

My influences range from Marilyn Manson in his mechanical animals era, to Orgy, Power Man 5000, Nine Inch Nails, to Wu Tang.

What all types of instruments do you play?

I play guitar on stage sometimes, and I produce my own music, so I play everything from keyboards, guitars, to drums and more.

How long have you been writing and producing music?

I have been producing my own music from the start, which started 15 years ago, tho I was known back home in Connecticut as a guitar prodigy.

D169-3

Dead Nation Records is your own label. What is the story behind its creation?

Dead Nation is a label I started because I had to find a place where I actually belonged musically, and my story has been a tough one, and I want the label to be a place where others who have a unique sound and look can fit in, a place where the dark beauty of music goes unjudged, and appreciated!

Do you have any plans to sign with a more traditional record label?

 I would love to sign with a major label, but Dead Nation Records will always be there, and will grow.

What motivates you to keep going in the industry?

What motivates me into continuing what I do is that I love the beauty of the art. Music is emotional, and can be created to tell any and every thing! I am a story teller, so in a way, I view my songs as an “audiobook”, because I can give the listener a mental image of what I am singing about.

Most people wonder why I look and sound the way I do. My answer is is: I am Detour. I go in different directions all the time. I don’t listen to the radio. If I want to hear a song, I just make it. There is a beauty in writing all different types of styles. I am versatile.

D169 Show Flyer

Catch Detour169 at THE JAM SPOT on October 30th.

For all things Detour169, check out Russell on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, & catch some cool tunes on Reverbnation and Soundcloud.

www.facebook.com/detour169
www.facebook.com/deadnationrecords
soundcloud.com/detour169

reverbnation.com/detour169
Twitter/Instagram-Detour169

Indie Author Explosion! Author Chat Hour Event

flyer

X-Isle Promotions in association with X-Isle United Press is proud to announce the first ever

INDIE AUTHOR EXPLOSION! AUTHOR CHAT HOUR EVENT

This hour long on-line event features some of today’s hottest authors, up-and-comers, and Amazon bestselling authors. The open platform Q&A is scheduled for Friday, March 13, 2015 at 7 pm central standard time and is being held on the X-Isle Promotions LiveStream Channel. This is your opportunity to hang with some of the best new authors in the business, ask questions, and get to know the artists behind the pen.

The lineup for this event includes:

Nicola C. Matthews (hostess)

Michele Wolfe

Isabella Tredway

Purple Barbi

M.L. Steinbrunn

Shirleen Davies

Melody Dempsey

Jolie Mae Miller

Elle Vaughn

R.L. Moatz

D.M. Earl

Fallen Kittie

Dave Riese

We look forward to chatting with everyone and hope to see you there!!

X-Isle United Press Daily News

Today X-Isle United Press (www.facebook.com/xisleunitedpress) announced the release of its daily news publication dedicated to book reviews, new releases, cover reveals, author interviews, writing tips, and the publication industry as a whole. You can view and subscribe to this daily newsfeed by going to https://paper.li/f-1407014854#

If you are an author with a new release, a cover reveal, or an interview/review on a blog and would the article to be featured in the next edition of the X-ISLE UNITED PRESS NEWS, please visit the X-Isle United Press FB page or the paper for details on submitting the article.

Bret Michaels, THE RED FANG, and a Totally Rockin’ Gift

Bret Michaels with his autographed copy of THE RED FANG.

Bret Michaels with his autographed copy of THE RED FANG.

 

Dedication page of THE RED FANG - dedicated to Bret Michaels

Dedication page of THE RED FANG – dedicated to Bret Michaels

 

Before I start this, I want to make it clear that this article isn’t really about Bret Michaels having a copy of my book. Bret does not endorse me, he is not affiliated with me, and I can’t say he’s a reader of mine, although it is possible he might become one, if I’m super lucky.

 

I suppose I should start from the beginning, but to do that would be to go back approximately twenty-seven years, back to when a gawky thirteen year old was living in hell on earth in an abusive home, back when she heard salvation on the radio, a voice, his voice, the voice of the man who would forever change the outlook a scared, abused thirteen year old girl would have on life.

 

I don’t want to rehash the past because it’s too painful, and I have come too far and wrestled with too many personal demons to start dredging up old pains. So instead, let’s just leave it with saying my home life growing up left a lot to be desired. But no matter how hard things got, my saving grace through it all had been Bret Michaels.

 

I have often posted about why Bret means so much to me, why he is my mentor. I see in him a kindred spirit, someone who won’t take “no” for an answer and is unphased by rejection. I see my love of music and the creative process mirrored in his eyes, the expression on his face. Because of him, because of his ability and willingness to look adversity straight in the face and say, “I will make it regardless of what you say or do to me,” I too have felt inspired to never waiver in my dreams of becoming a published author. It is through Bret’s courage that I have found my own courage to not only keep writing over the past three decades, but to take that step into the publishing world by creating my own publishing house and becoming a 100% independently published author.

 

So I know you are all wondering what any of this has to do with this blog article. Let’s fast-forward to January of this year when I came across the Bret Michaels FaceBook Fan Club community. I was already a member of so many groups and communities, but after looking through this one I wanted to be a part of it. So many smiling faces sharing photos of themselves and Bret over the years. It was awesome to behold, so many people who had been touched by Bret much the way that he has touched me over the years.

 

If anyone has actually read The Red Fang, you know that the book was dedicated to Bret. That’s a photo of the dedication page above. More than anything else, I wanted Bret to know just what he means to me, not only the ‘me’ that has grown up over the years, but the ‘me’ that is a writer, that part of me that can’t stop doing what I love no matter how many rejection letters I get and no matter how many bad reviews I get.

 

So I took a chance. I posted this photo in the fan club and pretty much confessed my desperation to get my book into Bret’s hands. I work full time, I have 3 kids and a husband, and I write whenever I get a few spare moments. The chances of me actually ever getting to meet Bret, much less be able to give him my book in person, just isn’t likely to happen. So I asked if someone was going to a meet and greet and would be willing to give Bret an autographed copy of my latest novel, the novel I dedicated to him. Would there be anyone out there who would be willing to take a book written by some independently published author, from Mississippi no less, to an uber famous rock star and say, “This book is dedicated to you and the crazy self-published author insists you have a copy”?

 

That is when I met super cool, totally awesome, I-am-forever-in-her-debt Bret Michaels fan, Connie Saucier-Peck.

 

Connie, the luckily lady that she is, has been to more meet and greets than I can count. She’s like a Bret Michaels connoisseur. And oh-so-lucky and over-the-moon-happy me, she was willing to use her meet and greet pass, her one shot to speak with Bret, her one time to interact with this man, to actually hand him MY book and tell him he has another crazy author-fan out there who dedicated a book to him. That in itself is absolutely phenomenal. It’s humbling to know that Connie was willing to share her precious seconds with Bret to speak about a no-name author who she met in an online fan club and hand him his autographed copy.

 

The real kicker is that she not only managed to talk him into taking a photograph holding the book, but that Bret Michaels is the kind of person who was willing to pose for such a photo. She didn’t have to ask, and he didn’t have to agree to it, but damn, when she sent me this photo I started crying, and I was shaking so bad that I had to sit down. There simply are not words to describe how excited, and humbled, and totally awe-struck I was at that moment. I still can hardly believe it. And when she told me that Bret handed over his own personal cellphone to one of the event staff members so he could get a photo of him holding the book as well…I am not ashamed to admit that I might have wee-wee’d myself a bit.

 

As I said, this article isn’t about the fact that Bret Michaels now has a copy of my book, which Bret Michaels might actually, accidently read it, maybe, hopefully, if I’m really, really lucky. What this article is about is the human spirit, those people who come into our lives and help out strangers out of the kindness of their heart. Connie did not have to waste her time taking that book to him, and she certainly didn’t have to get him to pose with it for a photo, and she didn’t have to send me that photo, and Bret didn’t have to agree to take the photo, but out of the kindness of their hearts, they both agreed to help this unknown, struggling author see part of her dream come true.

 

And from where I’m sitting, those dreams don’t seem so far out of reach.

 

XOXO

Nicola

 

 

 

 

I have to Wonder …

For the better part the past two years I have thought very seriously about ‘coming out’ as an underground novelist. As many may know, I have an Evil Day Job. That is to say, my writing ‘career’ is what I do on the side because I love to write and I love to share my creations with others. But it doesn’t pay, and I don’t do it for the money any way. Needless to say, I must have some way of making money, so I have an official ‘Evil Day Job’ that keeps me away from my home for about 11 hours a day. No one outside of my immediately family knows that I am a published author on the side. I fear that I might lose my job if I told my employer, considering the nature of what I write about and where it all has been posted over the years.

Recently, however, I have pretty much stopped posting on the XN forum and decided that any new material I decide to post will be posted either on my website or my blog. I’m sick of the trolls over on XN and at this point, since I am trying to build my name up more, I think it is best if I move away from the stigmata associated with XN and try to get my name recognition to stand on its own feet. I’m working with a small internet cafe and bookstore in my home town to get some of my novels sold there, and there may be some book signings in the future as well. For this reason, my status as an ‘underground’ author will soon be out the window.

This has gotten me to thinking and wondering if I should bother to start putting my face out there to go with my name. I somehow doubt it would make any difference. Let’s face it, authors are not exactly known for being ‘famous.’ Sure, I know what Stephanie Meyer and Anne Rice and Laurel K. Hamilton look like, but I wouldn’t give them a second glance if I passed them on the street. Authors don’t really get their faces out there like the other arts, so while I would instantly know Johnny Depp when I set eyes on him, chances are I wouldn’t give Stephen King the time of day if I saw him sitting at a diner.

So the question remains: should I begin to post photographs of myself on my Facebook, blog, website, and on my novels? Should I just reserve photo sessions for the rare times I might accidentally get to do a book signing? Should I even bother? More importantly, would it even make a difference?

Meet the Author Chat Hour with Erotic Novelists Nicola C. Matthews and Michael C. Laney

I am so excited to announce that erotic novelist Michael C. Laney will be joining me to help host “Meet the Author” chat hour scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2011 @ 6 pm central time.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael aka “Master Vyle” (of Literotica and Lushstories) on Lush Stories several months back.  His torrid tales of lust and love not only had me hot and bothered but coming back for more.  Our mutual love of the written erotic word and admiration of each other’s talent soon had us tweeting (follow Michael on Twitter @ Master_Vyle) and exchanging messages a few times a week.

Michael recently released his first erotic novel Heather’s Journey:  The Sound of Her MASTER’S VOICE available for Kindle through Amazon.  He has since released “Bunny Holes,” an Easter BDSM short story and “St. Patrick’s Day Scrumpin'” an erotic short story.  Details regarding these and more wonderfully erotic tales from Michael C. Laney can be discovered on his weblog.   I encourage anyone who loves a good erotic story to check out Michael’s work for themselves.  I do not think you will regret it.

Everyone is invited to login to the Chatter Box located on my personal website and spend an hour getting to know me and Michael better, our works, upcoming releases, etc.  This is our readers’ chance to get to know the authors behind the pen.

Hope to see everyone there!

Michael C. Laney speaks about the upcoming event: