Sunday, April 2, 2017

Helping Each Other Out

dark man alone thinking light lonely rest shadow people guy
This is how I often felt at author
events and how my new friend
must have felt.
If you stopped by this blog yesterday to read my weekly post, you no doubt saw the short note telling you I was off selling books. In terms of sales, it was a positive day. Have I mentioned teachers love books? Did I further mention this was an event about teaching writing? That means that most of these teachers were English teachers. They love books the most! But the most positive part of that trip, for me at least, was getting to make contact with other writers. I got to spend part of the day with a wonderful lady named Cheryl Stahle, with whom I teach at, but hardly ever get to actually talk to because our school is just so darn big.

But there was another author there. To be honest, I've lost her name. I gave her one of my cards, though, and asked her to get in touch with me. She asked a hundred questions because she seemed to really be struggling with getting herself out there. I think she only sold one book and when people asked for a card, she didn't have any. She was just there with a box of books. No way for people to sign up for a mailing list, no display of any kind--just her and books. And that wasn't the crux of the problem, in my opinion. It was the way she came across. Her lack of preparedness made her exude a dearth of confidence. People didn't stop and talk to her nearly as much as they did the rest of us. She was distressed by it, but didn't seem to be able to do anything about it.

As we talked, she told us that she was just an introvert and didn't enjoy talking with people that much. So the rest of us, who had been to several of these kinds of things, talked with her about how she could get past that and things that would help draw people in. Little things, like having a dish of candy at your table, or having something free to offer (I give away bookmarks with my contact info and website address). As soon as they stop, they're basically asking you to engage them. And if they ask a question, that's even better. By the end of the day, she seemed to have some ideas for how she was going to handle future sales events. She and I are even hoping to share a booth at the WV Book Festival in the fall.

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage and indoor
The incomparable Corey Shields at his
album debut concert. To his left is a
lovely young lady named Kaitlyn
Bowles, a former student of mine and
someone you'll be hearing big things
from musically. 
My encounter with this woman reminded me of when I was first starting out. I'm by no means an expert. I'm just a tiny little author who hasn't sold hundreds of thousands of books (or even thousands of books), but I've come so far since that first event where I was basically in her shoes. Completely unprepared, completely lacking confidence, and yet disappointed that people didn't flock to buy my books. It felt even better to be in the shoes of all of those other authors that have helped me over the last few years. So many people gave me advice, tips, and opportunities. It's important to find ways to pay that forward.

And then last night, I got to help out an indie artist of a different kind, and enjoy some great music in the process. Corey Shields, a guy who is way too young and way too cool to be my friend, is kind enough to be my friend nonetheless. And last night he had a concert to celebrate the debut of his latest album, Antioch Road. It was just so exciting. The energy and love and fun just oozed out of every corner of The Daily Grind on Market Street, where the concert took place. I, of course, bought one of his CDs. I encourage you to do the same. Just go to and tell them I sent you. You won't get anything special from it. I've just always wanted to say that.

PS--This is the last week my blog will be on this website. Starting next week, it will be housed on my website, I hope you'll continue reading my weekly posts, and while you're there, you'll look around at the other fun things on my site.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

At An Author Event

I'm in South Charleston at a teacher training event, but as an author. I'm one of six authors selling their books during breaks. So, I'll do a full post tomorrow, but I wanted you to know that I didn't just fall of the face off the earth!