Saturday 25 February 2012

Book Signing Event in The Jungle

I live in a very small town but occasionally people do cool things here. Yesterday I had another book signing event at a store called The Jungle. This is one of the nicest stores in St. Paul. The owner, Alice, graciously set this up to promote my new book Sir Princess Petra - The Pen Pieyu Adventures.

Alice made this a very special day by having an old english tea party with antique china, and pastry goodies. She advertised on our local cable T.V. channel, put an add in the local paper and set up a boardwalk sign with enticing, fluttering balloons in -12C weather. There was live, old-time music provided by Anne (my mom) and Jerry, who both play in a band together. Still, people do not flock in to see a local writer.

I sincerely thank Alice, her staff, Allen, Judith, Ellen, Shauna, Sandy, Mrs. Kitt, Linda, Anne, Jerry, Dezi, Kiyah, Izzak and all the other people that showed up to chat with me.

I sold 15 books at this event, which is still higher than the average amount my marketing manager says is the status quo for signing events (their statistics quote 5 - 8 books per event). But these are my local people that know me, so I was expecting more people to show up and just savour the atmosphere of this unique event in a small town. As Suzanne said in her last blog comment: if you expect it, it won't happen--if you don't expect it, bigger things happen. Lesson learned.

Being a writer and trying to promote a book is a hard business. I work full time at a dental office, but I do see my book promotion as a serious business, also. My book is well marketed in the U.S. since the publisher is from Oklahoma, but the publisher doesn't have a lot of ties with the Canadian market anymore (there is a lot of bureaucracy in that issue that I won't get into now). So ultimately, this leaves me with a tremendous amount of work trying to get the word out here.

My strategy is focusing on Alberta first. I am getting the word out there by contacting local schools first (I'll venture further in the future) to do a book reading/signing/sales. I am not charging an appearence fee yet, but rather asking the schools to send out a newletter before the event  to notify parents that books will be for sale at the reading. This worked very well for my first school visit. The schools are receptive to this concept of promoting me since there is no cost to them to have me there.

I have also made friends with a few librarians. These people are treasures to know. They let their other librarian friends know about writers they like and this in turn gets a bigger ball rolling.

I have two more school visits booked in the near future, and I'll let you know how those go and if my strategy is working.

To fellow newly published authors, don't be discouraged at how slowly the marketing process works, but rather, jump in there. Whether you have a marketing manager, as I do, or are on this venture solo, throw yourself into the job full-heartedly and never, never give up.

To those of you still trying to get that first publishing contract, know this, my first book took nine years of researching the market, sending out query letters, waiting for replies, one really close acceptance if I was willing to change this book into a math adventure (which I wasn't) ,and one signed contract before this one that didn't pan out due to the U.S. ecomony downfall in 2009 whereas that publisher had to forfeit  the contract due to lack of funds. So to you, the aspiring authors of the world, my advice to you is, never, never, never give up.

The road is long and hard, but you don't get there if you don't walk it.

Diane Mae Robinson

Monday 20 February 2012

Liebster Award from Sue Morris at KidLit Reviews

Liebster Award from Sue Morris at Kid Lit Reviews


            I received the Liebster Award from Sue, the super smart reviewer, at Kid Lit Reviews

The Liebster Award is given to a blog site with less than 200 followers, that someone (Sue) finds especially interesting and wants others to notice. To accept the award, there are a few things I must do:

* I must publicly thank the giver of the award: THANK YOU SUE! YOU'RE AWESOME!

* Tell five things about myself:
      1. I have mutiple jobs and some days get mixed up where I'm supposed to be. I work full time in a dental office, part-time as an art teacher for children, I do bookkeeping for two businesses from my home, and I am a writer.
     2. I am very klutzy.
     3. I am an environmentalist. Yes, I hug trees daily and recycle almost everything.
     4. I love animals. I have 4 dogs, and aquarium full of fish, and 3 horses: two horses in retirement and one I ride regularly.
     5, I am just learning to ride a motorcycle--refer to #2 and you will understand why this is so scary.

*Nominate five websites I love and want to share:
     1. Bugs and Bunnies This is a book reviewer with wonderful insight and has a author/illustrator spotlight on Fridays.
     2. HipWriterMama Musings about life, writing and children's books. Website at: I like this lady.
     3.Through a Child's Eye Reviews of young adult and children's literature. Nice website called: The Hungry Readers.
     4.Map of Time/A Trip Into The Past Navigating through someplace called history. Very informative and well laid out history site.
     5. Fumbling With Fiction  Great site for tips on writing.
These sites are worthy of the Liebster Award. All are interesting and fun. Again, thank you Sue for the Liebster. It has sent me down a road of a great investigation and fun reading.To those of you receiving the Liebster Award, please check out the other recipients.
Diane Mae Robinson,

Another Major Speaking Event

So I've decided I can't be afraid of speaking in front of a crowd anymore. It seems that publishing a children's book is going to make the author speak to children. I have, although, come a long way in the -public speaking department. They say everything happens for a reason, and I truly believe that.

A few years ago, I would have crumbled speaking in front of even two people I didn't know. But the thing that happened was that I was asked to start teaching watercolor art to children. My first art gig was with about 8 six year old and an teaching evaluator to assess if I was capable of teaching what I said I could.  I was prepared but so nervous I couldn't breath. When I looked at all the notes I'd made to start teaching,and then to all these little eyes waiting for me to begin, first I couldn't speak then I thought I would faint. I knew I had to do something and soon. I took a few deep breaths, walked around the room, then just closed my teaching books and started talking from the heart, teaching them what I know. The more I just concentrated on teaching and interacting, it seemed like my conscious, scared self took a backseat to my confident-in-what I know self. The class went very well.

Many art classes later, I don't feel that extreme nervousness any longer, although there is still a bit of it. The confidence to speak in front of a crowd comes with practice. And I'm so glad that I had that practice.

 A week ago I had to speak to a large crowd of kids and teachers at a local school. Had I been trying to do that a few years ago, it never would have happened. I was still nervous before the school event, but I had to think of ways to settle myself. Herbal tea, deep breathing, eyes closed doing self visualization. It all worked extremely well.

 At the school event, I read some of my book Sir Princess Petra, then the kids asked me alot of questions, which they had prepared before. The kids wanted to know what it was like to be an author (it's something a person is drawn into and you have no choice but to write), did I have another job (yes, 4 other jobs), what inspired me to write about Petra (I wanted a strong girl heroine and mulled over her for months to create her), and why were onions in the story (mostly just because I'm Ukrainian). They wanted to know who my favorite author was (Terry Goodkind).

After all the questions, we still had some time left, so I read another story that I wrote that isn't published yet. The kids and teachers loved it all. They clapped and cheered and my heart soared, knowing I was doing what I was meant to do.

 I wasn't expecting to sell a lot of books here, but to my surprise, people made a long line. Some had already bought the book and wanted it signed, but 20 others bought the book right there. I was surprised, because my marketing manager told me that most of these events sell 5 -8 books, and that's all okay because it's a part of getting your name out there.

 I have another school event booked in March, and this one will be with about twice as many people. So, even as I write this, I get the butterfly thing happening, but I will do my deep breathing and visualization to prepare, and I will succeed. Diane Robinson

Thursday 9 February 2012

This blog is going to be dedicated to talking about children's books, whether you're published or unpublished. I am a newly published children's chapter book author, and the road to get there was hard and incredible. My advice to writers trying to get their foot in the door--work hard, never give up, and always, always follow that spiritual voice that tells you what to do.