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“It Was All So Different Before Everything Changed.”

Last night I was scanning through the posts written last spring and in the early summer. At that point, I was deeply focused on edits–doing them myself, waiting for the results of someone else doing them, blogging about the importance of submitting our work to professional editors, reviewing the edited proofs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera–for both Separation of Faith and the re-edited version of The Truth About Cinnamon (which is still in the final proofing stage, by the way). And my words were directed a few times to the fact that I was growing tired of that part of the writing process and feeling anxious to move on to the next stage.

Well, here I am, in that next stage. And with my book launch party less than a week away (Thursday, September 23), this is what I’ve been doing this week:

  • On Monday, I met with the printer about the T-shirts and shopping bags I’m having made for the book launch party and subsequent book events currently being scheduled in the area. The shopping/book bags (canvas) will have Separation of Faith‘s cover printed on one side. The T-shirts will have the cover on the front and the following excerpt on the back (except the paragraphs will be properly formatted, single spaced, indents on first line, no extra line space between paragraphs, none of which can be done in this blog format): 

… “Chronological order, huh? Well, that might not be as easy as you’d think. But I guess the front end musta been on Saturday, October 23, 1948.”

Isaiah put his fork down on his plate and studied Zeke’s face. “You remember the date and the day of the week?”

“That’s what I said. You got a hearing problem?”

“Is that when you met Abby?”

“Yup. Everybody’s got a fork-in-the-road story, you know. And that was mine. Got up that morning, just like always. Ate breakfast just like always too. Didn’t wear my overalls, though, ‘cause we was going into Charlotte. Put on my go-to-meeting jeans and a clean shirt that I even ironed. Guess I should a seen it coming, but I didn’t. All I know is that nothing ‘bout my life—and I mean nothing, not even the color of the damn sky—was ever the same after that day.”

  • The T-shirts and bags will be for sale at a very nominal fee, but I’ll also be giving a number of them away in raffles at the book launch party. And anyone who buys three or more books will automatically get a book bag. (I’ll also be giving away a lunch with me, so we’ll have to see whether or not that’s a particularly exciting prospect for anyone. 🙂 …)
  • At the local Party City store, I bought rolls of raffle/50-50 tickets. In addition to the T-shirt/book bag/lunch giveaways, I’ll also be holding a special 50-50 at my book launch party to benefit my Rotary club’s scholarship fund.
  • While at Party City, I picked up a helium canister to fill the 50 balloons that will be anchored at each table. So, of course, I also had to buy the balloons and balloon anchors. The anchors are sort of a sea blue, shiny with ribbon fringe on top. The balloons are powder blue, cobalt blue, and white, all of which coordinate with the book’s cover. Three balloons (one of each color and secured with white ribbon) will be tied to the anchors on the eleven round tables plus the reception table, the book sales table, the T-shirt/bag table, and the table where I’ll sign autographs. (There will also be a podium where I’ll do a couple of quick readings at some point.)
  • I picked up a big container of glitter too, to sprinkle over the white tablecloths. At the book launch party, which will be from 4:00-7:00 on the 23rd, we’ll be serving cocktail appetizers. There will be a cash bar, but every book purchase will get a free drink. The video book trailer (www.YouTube.com/cherilaser) will be playing in a loop on a huge laptop screen at the book sales table. There will be other music as well throughout the room. My current music phase is doo wop, but we’ll see how I’m feeling on the 23rd. 🙂 Pictures and videos of the event will be posted on this blog by the 25th or 26th.
  • About seven hours this week were spent sending out announcement emails containing links to the video trailer and this blog. Because I’ve lived and worked all over the country and have only been here in the New York Metro area of New Jersey for ten years, the majority of people that I know personally all live somewhere else. And they’re all getting their own announcement emails, because that’s what the “experts” suggest is the best and most appropriate approach (versus a blanket email that goes out to everyone at once). Guess we’ll learn eventually if that approach turns out to be the most effective. But I must admit that it’s been giving me an opportunity to say hi to lots of folks I don’t get to talk with very often.
  • Today I have to meet with a new client about an editing job (oh yeah, that make-a-living thing too) that I’ll be doing for her, and then I’ll come back to my home office to do more emails. I also need to make several signs and posters for the book launch party–and I want to make them generic enough to use at other book events. Then there will be a few phone calls to managers/proprietors of various local establishments where I want to hold events over the next month. And, finally, I’ll need to start booking my travel arrangements for the trip to San Francisco and Kettle Falls, Washington that I’ll be making in October (the first stop for an IBM reunion, and the second tied in for a book event, because Kettle Falls is a key locale in Separation of Faith).

So, last spring I’d grown itchy about moving on into the promotional elements of publishing a book, impatient with the seemingly endless process of shepherding a book through production and into print. But you know what? I haven’t even held my first event yet, and my next book is clamoring to get out of me.

True, as writers in this new age of publishing, we are all responsible for promoting our own books whether we publish traditionally or not. But, in the end, the process of writing–the nuts and bolts of our craft where we pull ideas from our imaginations and weave them into stories that bring hours of reading pleasure (hopefully) to those who take a chance on us–simply will not accept second billing beneath promotion for very long.

The next challenge will be figuring out how to create a balance than enables me to create a brand new book from scratch while selling another (actually, while selling two others) at the same time. And you’ll be in the front row while we see how all of that works out. 🙂

Have a terrific weekend!  

 

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A Huge Exciting Discovery for Self-Promoters!

Hi and good morning! One of the key blogs that I follow is by Jane Friedman, strategic director of Writer’s Digest (http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/). She published a post this morning about a site called Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com), where anyone–writers, artists, you-name-it–can try to get backing on a project they’ve developed/are developing/are thinking about developing.

People pledge money (doesn’t have to be much) to back a project, but no one actually pays unless the project reaches its pledge goal within the prescribed time frame. Project creators seem to offer give-aways for backers that are appropriate/relevant to the project, and you can see how the pledges are doing and how much time is left. The whole thing is really fascinating and really caught my attention.

And this isn’t just for writers but for anyone who’s trying to get a dream off the ground.

Perhaps this will be another avenue of promotion for Separation of Faith …?

I did pledge to back one project–a woman in Boston who’s trying to start her own publishing business (http://kck.st/9NwlvH). We’ll see if she meets her goal.

Just thought some of you out there might find this of as much interest as I did.

Later …

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Reading Update

Last night I did a lot of catch-up reading on all sorts of writing information I’ve come across over the last week. Not only did I find a bunch of stuff that I think will be of use or interest to you, but my to-do list has expanded considerably. So, thank you very much to me for all the extra work I’ve added to myself … 🙂 Hopefully those new tasks will help you as well as I chronicle them in this blog, learning as I go.

Giving Stuff Away for Free

Because I spent ten weeks posting a free chapter per week from my first novel, The Truth About Cinnamon (http://www.filedby.com/author/cheri_laser/2721580/documents/24081497/), an article titled “Giving it away for free: Obscurity vs. Making Money as a Writer” caught my attention immediately.

Pros and cons are listed in both the post and the comments. Let me know what you think: http://www.bradsreader.com/2010/03/giving-it-away-for-free-obscurity-vs-making-money-as-a-writer/.

If You Love a Little Controversy … 🙂

Since the whole experiment of this blog is to see if a high quality, meticulously edited, self-published novel can get the attention of traditional publishers, the article “Self-Publishing Pro and Con(temptuous)” jumped right off the page into my lap. And since I’ve already had a number of conversations with some of you on the subject, here’s another perspective. And the blog by Alan Rinzler (referenced in my post #30 on March 19) is also addressed again in the article.

If you check this one out, please read all of the comments as well to get the full picture being presented: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/03/self-publishing-pro-and-contemptuous/.

Using Video as Part of the Book’s Promo

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject because I will soon need some sort of trailer for Separation of Faithand I have absolutely no clue how to do one. I also have a video of a television interview done with me at a small, regional Connecticut TV station after The Truth About Cinnamon was released. There’s undoubtedly a way to fit that interview video into my plan as well, to help people find out who I am.

So the article titled “7 Reasons Why Writers Need To Start Using Video For Book Promotion” could not have been more timely. Not only did I pick up some great ideas, but I began considering which of my tech guru friends I can tap for assistance (in return for a case of beer or something … 🙂 …)

I might start experimenting soon with the interview video that I already have, maybe posting it here in my blog or on my FiledBy site (where I have the free chapters of Cinnamon). I also have a slick webcam on my mini, and the article said that YouTube has a recording site where you can create your own videos using your webcam.

This is where some of that extra work I mentioned at the beginning of my post is coming from. But I’m getting sort of excited about this video thing–especially if I can find yet another use for my mini.

Take a look at the article if you have a minute:  http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/03/08/7-reasons-why-writers-need-to-start-using-video-for-book-promotion/. And I’d love to hear about any of your own rookie experiences with the video element of this dream journey.

Your Own Writing Retreat

Here’s one I almost forgot to include. Several of you have commented on the difficulty of finding time for our writing as we juggle families, jobs, and life in general. So this article, “Create Your Own Mini-Writing Retreat,” might inspire some ideas: http://writersdigest.com/article/Do-It-Yourself-Writing-Retreats/?print=1.

I also discovered several other links on the subject by Googling “Create Your Own Writing Retreat.” I guess lots of us are in search of solutions to this dilemma.

Editing Update

Separation of Faith is still undergoing the copyedit at the publisher. I probably won’t see those results for another two or three weeks, so I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I have a client who’s asked me to edit two more books for him. Actually, one of the books is by his daughter, who is twelve and has already written a novel! I know! How can that be possible? I did a development edit on her book last August, and she is so tenacious that she’s now coming back for more. I’m so impressed with her! Not only impressed with her writing skill, which is quite amazing for one so young, but also with her drive, her courage about seeking input, and her willingness to write beyond her own personal experiences. When I was twelve, I was writing short stories but never even considered writing a whole book! The idea of doing research to fill in the blanks for things I hadn’t yet experienced hadn’t crossed my mind at that point.

I’ll let you know when this young lady becomes famous.

After I finish the edit for her, I need to get busy again with the reduction edit on The Truth About Cinnamon. Every time I turn around, something else seems to be getting in the way of that. So the moment has come to get firm and stay focused. (Of course, I also have to do my taxes and my dad’s before the 15th. Oh brother.)

Health Update

My appointment with the surgeon is on the 14th in Manhattan. I will, of course, be taking my mini. Not sure if I’ll be working on my book, my client’s book, or my taxes–but with the mini on hand at that sort of appointment, I’m surely going to be working on something.

Meanwhile, I’m too busy to worry about the details of the diagnosis. After receiving a copy of the pathology report, I took a half day to do research on the various facts and options. But I won’t really know the whole story until I see that surgeon. So I’m not allowing myself to fret too much until then.

Stats

Hits on this blog: 1796 (1625 at last report). Definitely moving in the right direction!

Take care. Hope to see you while I’m tag surfing over the next few days.

Cheri

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Hi again quickly. As I was tag surfing just now, I ran across this post, which is a great example of the various ways we can make a living using our writing as a base.

Since I just finished referencing that issue in my post a few minutes ago, I wanted to add this right away: http://marciewrites.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/i-am-finally-getting-paid-for-writing/.

Cheri

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