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Posts Tagged ‘Deby Fredericks’

My presentation to Idaho Writers League went really well. We filled the room. Okay, it was a small room. But still! I spoke for an hour and a half on Readings, Signings, and Book Parties. They were attentive and asked great questions, and I signed a couple of people up for my newsletter. Plus, I got to catch up on news with an old friend. What could be better?

Before I get back to writing posts for my blog tour, I’d like to share a bit of what I presented. First, I made that case that book tables are not a self-created torture and that you can sell some books while having fun. It all comes down to salesmanship, and salesmanship involves a lot of preparation.

Preparation involves asking the right bookstore at the right time. Book stores are best because you know the people are into books. Look for a local book store that already has a calendar of readings and similar events. For a date, I always liked Christmas, but you can look for times on the calendar that coordinate with your book. For instance, a patriotic book around the Fourth of July. Call about 3 months before your date and ask to talk with the book manager. If you’re self-published, you might have to show them copies of your book so they know your book will look good on their shelves.

Preparation also involves pushing the signing table in the same way you push your books. Put it on arts calendars, create a Facebook event if the store doesn’t, tweet it, post it, blog it. Plan some fun table decorations that have a connection to your book. Check your supply of books and order more if you need them.

Pack everything in advance so you don’t stress on the day of the signing. A cute book bag is better than a cardboard box. Show up early, check in your books, and set up your table. Try to get pictures — I always forget. When you’re ready, ask the store to announce you are there. That’s your cue!

Tempting as it is to huddle at the table with your cel phone, you can’t do that. You have to be friendly and approachable, say hi to everyone who comes near. Basic salesmanship, remember? Have a line you can bring out if anyone seems interested. My basic one is “Do you like to read fantasy?” If they say no, “Okay, thanks.” If they pause, “I’m a local author, and these are my books!”

Ask follow-up questions. “What authors do you like to read?” Always agree with them. You know that elevator pitch where you describe your book in one sentence? If the person picks up one of your books, bring that out.
Another tactic I like is to share my table with a friend so I have someone to talk to and if I need a walking break there will be someone to watch things. Also, it you’re having a fun conversation, that’s something that can draw people in.

This is not a lazy day at the bookstore. I takes energy and focus. I usually make my signings 2 or 3 hours, because after that I can’t keep it up. In that time, I usually sell between 2 and 5 books. A drop at a time fills the bucket, right?

At the end, you pack up everything you brought with you. Leave it looking nice. If the bookstore is keeping your books on consignment, they as if you can put down a few bookmarks, too. If they have computerized inventory, they should know how many books you sold and see if they will pay out then or want you to come back. The next day, go back to their Facebook event page and post how you had such a great time and thank them for the opportunity

There’s more to it, of course. A lot of it is your personal style. You practice, you get better, your develop your confidence. I hope this helps, and that you all make book tables a part of your sales strategy.


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The Tower in the Mist is basically set up as an e-book. The pre-order link is active. But there’s still a mad rush before publication. Currently, I’m writing a handful of blog posts to publicize The Tower in the Mist, making bookmarks, and so forth.

At the same time, I’m preparing for an in-person presentation to Idaho Writers League, which will be tomorrow at 6:30 pm, at the Lutheran Church of the Master in Coeur d’Alene, ID. My topic is “Readings, Signings, and Book Parties.” I’ll cover how to set them up, the planning and preparation. If time allows, people will have a chance to read in front of the group and practice their technique.

Honestly, I didn’t plan to be doing this presentation in the middle of the pre-publication rush. I requested a date in March, but it didn’t work out. At least I’ll have my bookmarks and such to show off at Idaho Writers League. I know that most of you are not near North Idaho, so you can’t attend. But if you want the address in Coeur d’Alene, please drop me a comment!


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Here it is — the cover you all helped me fine-tune! The Tower in the Mist is getting closer to its publication date, on May 1st. There’s even a pre-order link if you are so inclined.

Mages vs. Warriors vs. Giant Badger vs. Tyranny! Zathi’s job is to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into a cursed forest. Together, warrior and mage will face deadly beasts and grapple with decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten magic. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.

Next step? I need to set up publicity and blog visits, and so I once again call on you friends for help. Some of you will soon receive e-mails asking about a visit to your blog, but I’d also love any ideas you have about other blogs I could approach. All suggestions are welcome.

I hope you’re all as excited as I am to visit the deep, dark Hornwood. Here’s that pre-order link again.


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I was lucky enough to be invited for an interview over at Dave Koster’s blog, On Writing Dragons. It’s up there now, so please take a look.


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Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my cover choices! I’m pretty much settled on Option 1, with perhaps the subtitles moved around.

This brings me to the cover copy, and here’s what I have so far: “As a hunter-guard, it’s Zathi’s job to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into the accursed Hornwood. Together, warrior and mage will battle deadly beasts and face decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten power. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.”

This description packs a lot in, but it may go on too long. My question, bluntly put: would you want to read this book? If not, what would tip the balance? As ever, I look forward to your advice.

One of you sharp-eyed readers also noticed that I’m still trying out variations on the series title. The gist is that these people live in a world after the evil overlord, Dar-Gothull, has triumphed. The mages are trying to bring back hope, and this makes them renegades.

Their powers are based around light, hence I’ve been calling them Light-Bringers, but that title has already been used for a couple of recent series. They travel in disguise as a troupe of minstrels. The name of their land is Skaythe. They spend a lot of time in a dark forest called the Hornwood. So I’m boiling it down to Minstrels of Skaythe or Minstrels of the Light.

What do you think? I really like Minstrels of Light, but I have a hunch it’s already been used by a Christian band somewhere. I also like The Hornwood Series, but I understand there is a Hornwood character in Game of Thrones, and I don’t want to create confusion. More searching to follow…


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Option 1

Here I am with a couple of fairly firm concepts for the cover of The Tower in the Mist. I’d love to hear what you think!

Which font style do you like better? Which color works with the art? Should the sub-headers be placed somewhere else?

I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Option 2

In other news, I’m being interviewed! Dave Koster has invited me to visit his blog, On Writing Dragons. I get these invitations from time to time, and it’s always a ton of fun. It should go live within the next weeks, so watch this space for a link to that.


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I mentioned that I’m searching for key words and phrases in The Tower in the Mist and The Bitternut Grove. I was thinking of using something like “light bearers” or “light bringers” as a series title, but it turns out there’s some folklore there. Who knew that Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan) is sometimes called a “light bringer?” Doesn’t that seem like the opposite?

Anyway, those have both already been used. In fact, “Light Bringers” or “lightbringers” has been used a couple of times. So that’s still in progress. I may just call it the “Skaythe” series, after the setting, and leave it at that.

Mostly, I’ve been working on my cover layout using Canva. I usually make between three and five designs, to try and find the perfect image. The Tower in the Mist will be the first of a series, so I hope to come up with something that will readily be adapted. Then each e-book will look like part of a whole.

I’m finding a limitation with Canva, though. I can’t seem to make those really big, dimensional titles that will pop from the cover. I’d love any advice you have about other programs that can make that big title for me. Something I can save and then upload to Canva would be perfect.

Thanks for all your ideas, and thanks for reading my blog!


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