Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Winter Events and Book Signings

As it may be with many of you who write and sell books, fall and winter are loaded with opportunities to plan and/or participate in book signing events.  The holiday season begins as early as October when Halloween brings out early shoppers looking for crafts and gifts for Christmas. Writers are putting the finishing touches to their new works as crafters prepare the items they plan to sell. The snowbirds trickle in with their RV's and campers while the temperatures slowly fall like the leaves on the trees.

Lake Havasu revs up with craft shows and fairs to entertain the locals and visitors during the chilly months ahead. A smart self-published author will check ahead to see what kind of events will be in and around the city. Unfortunately, I misjudged the amount of time I would require to finish the rewrites of "Legend of Fayre Sea" and the reformatting of "The Priestess and the Ravenknight". So I missed out on a few of the Christmas Fairs early in the season. At least I was able to take part in our first Renaissance Faire for 2.5 days. (See my previous post.)

Let my mistake be a lesson to you. If you plan to have your book edited and proof-read (which will require rewrites), remember that life still goes on and you'll need to start as early as possible before the holiday season.  Months early, in fact. If you're like me and have a husband, dog, family, house and other commitments, you'll need to plan way ahead to get your new book ready on time. And don't volunteer anywhere unless you are ready with your books in advance. BIG BIG Lesson for me! =)

Most writers cannot lock themselves away to work and put off housekeeping, errands, and family for long. It's not even healthy for a writer to sit so many hours at one's laptop or computer without taking breaks to stretch, eat and sleep. I gained 30 pounds in the three years it took to write "Realmwalkers". So last year, after adopting a dog from the animal shelter, I made a point to stop writing every 2 -4 hours and go for a brisk walk daily. Each walk was between 15 - 45 minutes long depending on the weather. If it was too hot to walk, then we went swimming. The result was that I kept myself from gaining weight this year and last. In fact, I lost about 20 pounds.

Moral of the story: Get a dog. They are wonderful for helping to keep you healthy.

Now that my books are done and I have obtained an ample supply to get me through the winter and spring, here are a few events I plan to be in.  Stop by and say hello!

Book Signing Event in the store on 
 Jan. 24th from 1 - 4.


Book Signing at Ann Chamberlin Books at the festival on
February 12 from 11 - 3. 

Look for the Lake Havasu City Writers Group tent. I'll be there both days.
 Feb. 20 - 21 from about 1 - 4.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The London Bridge Renaissance Faire

Lake Havasu finally had it's first renaissance faire on January 1 - 3. I decided this would be a perfect venue to promote my books. I had just completed "Legend of Fayre Sea" so I ordered some book shipments and volunteered my sewing and drawing services with the organizers of the event. It was a lot of work and hours making flags and signs, but I really believed in this event.

If you are an historical non-fiction, historical fiction or even an historical fantasy fiction writer like myself, renaissance fairs are good places to have a book signing. I have done this before at the Phoenix Renaissance Festive with some amount of success, and that book signing was only 4-6 hours long, not three days.

Oh yes, the three days. It was a bit daunting and I tried to get some fellow writers and friends to help with the cost of the tent and sell their own books, but ended up having to do this solo. Fortunately, my dear husband helped me set up and stop by during the day so I could have a lunch break. Another friend came by to visit a short while on the last morning.

My budget dictated a homemade carboard sign this year. Next time it will be better.

The tent was a loan and it was comical trying to figure out how to set it up and take down without any instructions. At it we managed to get it right and well anchored to keep the wind from blowing it away. Yes, the wind in Havasu was terrible that Friday.

 Despite the chilly windy weather, fair-goers came and enjoyed the food, entertainment and shopping.

After three days of selling at my tent, I had met several nice vendors and met some new readers who bought my books and beaded book markers. I was also very very tired. I didn't think I could do three days, but I did. It was hard, but it paid off in sales.  I didn't get to see the jousting or the entertainers. That's the biggest drawback to working at a renaissance fair.  The weather was another drawback. If you don't have a tent with sides/walls you may freeze from the cold and wind. I was wrapped from head to toes with the changing weather. 

Something else to consider at a fair. If you have a secondary talent or skill like crafting, take advantage and bring your creations along. I made some book page roses, beaded bookmarkers and packaged beads to sell. And sell, they did. 

It was a great experience and I plan to do it again next year. I understand there will be a London Bridge Ren Faire 2017 due to the success of this one.

My next book event will be at Hastings Books & Music in Lake Havasu on Sunday, January 24th at 1 - 4pm. I will be promoting all three books then. Stop by and say hello!