Saturday, December 5, 2015

A craft fair and a book club...and me, basking in the glow.

Good morning!

It's been far too long since I've greeted you, but November wound up being wildly busy and then I got sick and then I traveled to research my next book.

But I'm here now and I have to share with you a highlight in my writing career.  See, I've never been one to do things in a normal way.  I decided at 13 I was going to be a world famous novelist.  Back in in a time when most kids wanted to be in a rock band or a professional Pac-Man player, I was sitting at my manual typewriter (Yep. no computers back then.  No spell check.  No delete button. Just a manual typewriter, a ream of paper, and a bucket of white-out.) tapping out what would eventually become my second novel, Lies in Chance. (Available in print or kindle on Amazon or for other e-reading formats at Smashwords.com)  I don't know about world famous, but since that beautiful day in 2010
when my first novel, Dream in Color, (also available in print and kindle format or for any e-reader platform at Smashwords.com) was published by the Wild Rose Press, I've managed to put out four romance novels, three novellas, two creative nonfiction humor books (under my pen name Sarah Jayne Brewester), and now, my newest, an inspirational cozy mystery, Missing in Manitowoc. (And you know where you can find it!)  

That brings my total publications to ten since 2010.  And what's in store for 2016?  At least one more Nora Hill Mystery (Superhero in Superior) and I may, I MAY start work on another Rock Harbor novel...we'll see.

The point I'm making is that in the last five or so years I've been busy doing what I always thought I'd do.  I don't know how world famous I've become, my fantasy of book signings around the world hasn't exactly happened, but I'm finding none of that matters. My stories are in print, people are reading them and the people who are reading them are enjoying them. For an author who does everything for her book, including cover art, that's a big thing to know.  

What it comes to marketing my work, however, I've found I'm taking a bit of a different road.  This past summer my mother and I worked Farmer's Markets with some success.  And this winter, a couple weeks ago, I had a booth at a craft fair. Most fellow writers and authors, when I tell them I'm doing a marker or craft fair, look at me with some disdain, as if this is the wrong way to go.  Well, when you're a self published author and you're doing your own promotion, there is no wrong way to go if where you're going is to a place where people are.  I may not have made a profit this summer, but I got my name out there and not just to people in my community, but to people all over the place.  My books are now in the suitcases and purses of people all over the US.  Isn't that what we writers want, is for our stories to be in the world?  (If you're doing it for the money and the awards, you may want to considered a job in another line of work. Sure, we all want to be J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, for the money, or some great literary person who wins the National Book Award every year, but honestly, a writer is a storyteller and we're poor story tellers if we aren't willing to share our stories with everyone in every way.)

So a couple weeks ago I was working a craft fair because they let

me have a table.  And it was the first time "Missing in Manitowoc"  was available for purchase.  I was excited. There's nothing like talking about your books to someone and there's really nothing like talking about a new book.  The first woman who came to our table listened to me talk about Nora Hill and the book and tell her everything I could about why she should buy and read this book.  She was quite excited and she told me she was the head of her church's book club. She then sent over four other members of the club to purchase "Missing" and, at the end of the day, she told me she'd be contacting me to speak at their club in September.  Now, I know September is a long time away, but I am stoked. I am jazzed, I am beyond the moon excited about this new opportunity.  I've never spoken to a book club before, and I would love to do so.  Thus, taking an unconventional route to marketing brought me to a big gold star most authors recognize as a good thing:  Book clubs, big or small, can help to make a book. Even the most skeptical of my fellow author friends had to admit, this was a big positive.

Truly, a high in my career in terms of marketing.

Anyway, now is the time of year when people go out and buy gifts for each other. No matter what you are celebrating this holiday season, chances are you have a long shopping list and you are clueless about where to start. Let me help you:  Books.  Especially books by local authors.  Especially books by authors who are willing to meet you at a coffee shop and autograph books for everyone on your gift list.  

I won't be doing any more shows this year, but I have a website which will take you where you need to go for book purchases.  And also, yes, if you contact me I would be thrilled to meet you someplace and autograph your gifts. (Provided you want to meet someplace in SE Wisconsin.)  Also, if you want to bypass the website just type my name into the search on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much any other place that sells books. You'll find me.

Oh and yes, if you are in a book club, contact me.  I'd love to speak to your group!

One more time:  Books make great gifts!  

Happy Holidays all!  Let's be safe this season, and let's make 2016 joyful and bright!