Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Little Cabin by the Highway

When we moved into our current house, living on the same road as the school seemed to be a blessing, and I enjoyed getting home in under five minutes. We knew we’d have some school traffic, but that was okay, because I was teaching at the high school, and I would be in that traffic anyway.

Eight years later, there are six subdivisions (maybe more, I haven’t actually counted lately) on this same stretch of pavement. A large shopping center, including the largest Kroger in the entire state of Georgia, is opening soon, and the traffic has gone from sporadic to constant for most of the afternoon and evening. Nowadays takes longer to get out of the driveway in the morning than it used to take to get to school. My daughter’s room faces a new bypass, a four lane highway with a median, which came through about four years ago, and she’s had to use something like a fan for white noise so she can sleep ever since it opened. My son wants to ride a bicycle, as most teenagers do prior to learning how to drive, and while I want him to develop some independence, finding a time when he can venture out is problematic.

Yes, it is indeed time to move, but my daughter thinks we should keep this house as a summer home. “Our little cabin by the highway,” she sang gleefully at lunch. That’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? Most people want a get away near a lake in some mountains, but my kids are developing nostalgia for crowded roadways and the rattle and thunder of trucks passing all night long.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

What happened to the Decatur Book Festival?

The Festival is going to happen, and it is going to be big. Alas, I won’t be attending. My invitation was extended by the good folks at Tut’s Books and ever since they invited me, they’ve been waiting for confirmation regarding their booth. Apparently there is a huge amount of interest in this event and all the spots are now taken, unless someone backs out at the last minute. The proprietor at Tut’s has been quite gracious, and I do think she made every effort to get one of those booths on the old courthouse lawn.

Whether or not it matters is an unknown. I have no idea if any of the book festival attendees would have bought copies of my books. Especially when DragonCon, the big science fiction convention, will be taking place at the same time, but at four large hotels in the downtown area. The good news, as I see it, is that I can quit being concerned about traffic in Decatur, and whether or not my order from Booklocker will make it on time. Now, I will just get ready for a signing at Tut’s in mid-September.

After that, I will have to look for other opportunities, For the most part any promotions I do need to be out-of-towners, in that I’ve done all I can do locally to make people aware of my books. The staff of the Jackson Herald and the publishers of Living Jackson have been especially helpful in that regard.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What a great promo idea!

I’ve struggled with getting my books onto shelves— in homes and in stores. But if any of you has a book on the shelves in a bookstore or other retailer, here is a nifty new promo idea: Shelf Talkers.

Most independent book retailers achieve success because they can “hand sell” books to their clients. However, even small stores have moments when the staff is busy, or the shy clerk is holding down the fort. That’s where shelf talkers come into play. These can be as simple as an index card, or booksellers can download fancy ones from Ingram’s marketing blog, ready for printing. Either way, this little sign can direct traffic to a special book— like mine!

Interested? Take a look and follow the links, and soon your book might just be making the move from store shelves to home shelves.

Check out this promo blog, and this article by romance writer Stephanie Bond.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Bein’ a Groupie

While I was growing up, I would have avoided any activity which resulting in that label. However, nowadays I enjoy participating in some of the internet groups that I’ve found. In particular, Whiskey Creek Press has a author’s group which can be helpful to new authors who are learning that publisher’s system.

My WCP editor, Gina, also has a small group for writers which concentrates on writing, editing, and marketing. I’ve learned a lot hanging out there. On the other hand, there are a few groups I’ve joined to promote my writings, and these have been a mixed bag— some have interesting posts, and one is just plain weird.

It’s my understanding that most groupies are “lurkers”— they read the posts but seldom contribute anything. Sometimes I do that, especially when the groupies have bad manners, and I can think of a couple of folks who should read Ronda Rich’s book on What Southern Women Know That Everyone Should Know. In general, southern women can get their way without being pushy or rude, and Rich has an entire chapter on the subject.

In the past couple of weeks, I began my own, private, group at Yahoo. The reason I am restricting membership is to thwart spam and to protect the privacy of those who do choose to join. To begin, I sent invitations to people who have contacted me about the books I’ve written or about writing in general. Thus far, I have sent 24 invitations and now have three (other) members for my group.

While that’s not much of a fan club, I will try to write some things there that I can’t put on my website or this blog, and maybe those few faithful friends and fans will enjoy visiting enough to encourage a few others to join my group.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

What I Can’t Write About

I generally have no trouble thinking of topics, but I do struggle with what I can blog about and get away with it. I’ve had several ideas occur to me, but I’ve nixed them due to politics. Being politically correct at our house is ridiculously important, due to hubby being in public office, so I can’t write about anything beyond writing and publishing.

Here’s what I didn’t write about this week:

Only in Georgia (a tale hubby told me about buying a church raffle ticket— for a shotgun!)

National Board Certified Teachers (my daughter’s high school hired a counselor with this august designation last year, and this year the middle school counselor and assistant principal spent the first week of school rebuilding all the schedules, while my daughter spent time in her history class coloring. About 90% of the schedules were hopeless, so the teachers are saying that classes start over again next week.)

Why motorists don’t need a cell phone! (a recollection of the day six police cars lined the road on either side in front of our house— prompted by my twelve year old playing “army” in the yard and a motorist who called it in as “a dark haired male with a firearm.” I guess he was going too fast to see the big orange gizmo on the muzzle of his toy gun.)

ROI (explaining why I have decided that I can’t do any more promotions when my royalty check from WCP was $4.96 for three months’ worth of sales. While I’ve enjoyed visiting cons and bookstores, those figures do not cover gas, much less hotel bills.)

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