My first book reading!

I have to admit something.  I don’t mind the networking but I hate the promotion side of business.  Yet, both will need to be done to share and sell your book to complete strangers.  When it comes time for an event I put on my smile and remind myself of why I’m there.  I didn’t come all this way to hide in a corner at an event or send off my smiling double to make my public appearances.  Not all artists and writers have to be introverts all of the time.  Talking about my work or myself feels awkward.   Selling?  What is that?  We can actually make some money while we dream about being on the best seller list?  I think back on my determination to finish my work and get it published.  I put my work out there for others to see and didn’t plan on stopping.  People reading a book like to know the authors and why they decided to write a book.  I will be honest.  There are ups and downs when it comes to events and sales.  Some events will have tons of attendance, while others will be so silent you can hear a pin drop on the floor.  You will soon become grateful for any noise even if they don’t stop at your table for a signature or questions on your book.  Some will only look.  I also learned the lesson of booking too many events close together.  I had to smile about it.  Mom and dad can only buy so many books 🙂  Ahh my biggest fans.  I think about my first book reading and how nervous I was.  I had no idea if anyone would even show up, and not many came but  I didn’t mind.  I was nervous.  It was my first book reading.  I also had no idea what I was doing.  I had been to other readings and events but it’s different when you’re the one facing the audience.  Luckily, the small group of little ears that listened that day didn’t seem to notice.  All those feelings and fears melted away as I stared at their smiles and answered their questions.  I even managed to engage my audience by asking what they thought from time to time.  I read their body language and remembered that children may not have the attention span of some adults.  When the reading was over I asked them who their favorite characters were and slipped in a few questions to see if they remembered anything in my book.  To my surprise they did!  They remembered cute characters on my book cover!  Miracles are possible!  Their father’s eyes warmed when he learned I was the author of the book and not some librarian.  He loved hearing about the story and had me sign the book.  His smile and meeting his children defeating any fears of reading to an audience.  The responses of those who ask for a signed copy and buy your book will far outweigh those who only look.  So, get your work finished and put it out there already!  – Mahieu

After you hit the print button –

I can tell you the work just begins as soon as you hit the approval button on a new piece of work that’s going into print.  Yikes!  I have events all weekend but I love it!  If any of you decide to use self-publish, then remember to look at the fine print in their information.  Spend time going over their process and reading reviews from other authors who have used their services.  I inquired into Create Space, which is associated with Amazon, and is love/hate for some authors.  I have to admit it’s an option to consider for those thinking about doing an e-book.  Expect differences for those who decided to get the print version to smell the fresh binding of their new book.  I learned I have to reformat my entire book if I want to create a second edition as an e-book.  This process will completely change the look of my first edition.  I also learned, like so many others who used a print-on-demand service that when you choose to buy (yes, buy) their distribution/marketing services it can take a while for them to get your copy into their online store – Lulu is this you?  Mine took a few months to show up in the listings of other big distributors.  Be patient and use the extra time to start looking for events or local book stores to have events.

There are businesses and book stores that would love to have your business as much as you would like to sell your freshly printed copies.  Join your illustrator if you know them at events!  I joined forces with some people I knew and created a new group when I couldn’t find one fit what I needed.  I made sure our group included a variety of artists, authors, photographers, musicians, and jewelry artists so we could travel together and help each other out.  Sending a few books with your friend to a show that has nothing to do with publishing wouldn’t hurt you!  Be as creative as you were when it comes to sharing your new piece of work as you were when you were typing away at your computer screen!  Finally,  for those of you out there who are too busy – get going on updating or creating your websites and social media.  You would be surprised who you can meet there.  Any smart business person of a bookstore or business should be actively seeking out people like you through google, Facebook, etc.  Small business want a boost just as much as you do.  Pick-up your phone or sending an email doesn’t hurt either.  Take a tip from the business world and start selling your work!  Get going and maybe we’ll see each other out there.  We recognize each other out there and we know the nod of those who decided to remove their manuscripts from the mountains stacked inside the publishing world that may never see daylight.  At least, I can touch my copy and see it on the Amazon (Yes, it finally made to sale) instead of wondering where it might be buried.  Do you ever wonder which pile they put you in?  That’s a conversation for later 🙂

-Mahieu Spaid

Author, artist, and illustrator

Mahieu Studios

Member of KAAt (Korean Adopted Artists Together)

 

 

Getting published! Finding the link!

After attending book fairs and classes with other authors, I heard a reoccurring theme when it came to finding a publisher or agent.  I asked those who didn’t self-publish how they managed to get an agent to look at their work.  Many of them answered by saying they found an agent or were approached by one after entering and placing in a writing contest.  The Writer’s Market and other reference books offer such listings.  It’s as simple as typing the word writing contest in the search engine.  In my support of self-published authors I found something this week that would help curb any critics to our decision.  You may gain more “credibility”, and I use this word carefully, with those who may turn their nose down at self-publishing by entering and placing in a contest.  I thought I would share the link I found this week during my own research – http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/writing-competitions.  It has references and contest links for non-published writers and self-published writers.  Remember to keep doing your search and look for opportunities.  There are many other authors and organizations that have programs or contests to help you get started.

~Mahieu Spaid

The world of Self-publishing!

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Ahh!  The world of self-publishing.  Take a look at this picture.  As authors and illustrators creativity is in our nature.  If you decide to walk into the world of self-publishing, then be prepared to handle the business side as well.  Little things like setting up your tables and planning events to promote your work must be done.  Stay goal oriented and enjoy the first breath after going days with sleep to finish your own novel.  Setting deadlines fall on your shoulders. I must have lost my mind because I finished my first illustrated children’s book in one month.  A second of month of editing at all hours of the night completed the my project.  Why would I stay up until 2:00 in the morning after a full day’s work and try to cram everything the shortest amount of time possible?  I have no idea 🙂  Just kidding.  Call it the burning desire all writers feel to see their words in print.  I also know the other side of myself – called procrastination.  How do I beat it?  I set unattainable goals and then spend every hour I’m supposed to be sleeping obsessing over it.  So, be prepared!  Your work doesn’t end once you receive your printed copy.  It’s just begun unless you want to see it sit on the shelf with all the other books that go unnoticed.   – Mahieu