CREATING A SUCCESSFUL BOOK SIGNING
By Adilah Barnes
One of the most exciting stages of becoming a
published author is when the time comes to meet your readers in person
through book signings. In my case, after six years of taking my time writing
my self-published Essence Magazine bestseller book On My Own Terms: One Actor’s Journey, the time had
finally come to let go and share my work with my readers.
This was both an exciting and nervous time for me
because I did not know how my work would be received. True, there were those
professional family and friends who had read my manuscript and given positive
feedback but now it was time to release my work to those beyond my circle of
had now come to plan my book junket tour of book signings around the country.
Like me, you will have to decide where and for whom
you want to offer book signings. In my case, I juggle a lot of balls and
interface with a number of people from varying walks of life. My longtime
publicist was also very instrumental in getting the word out about my new
release book signings to both those I know and to the general public through
press releases and advance print articles.
To date, I have offered well over 40 book signings
from coast to coast in such settings as my writer’s retreat, bookstores,
theatres, colleges, and personal homes. My supporters have included family,
friends, peers, college presenters, my students, my alumni association and
I have found the following to be useful tips that may
also serve you, particularly if you are about to offer your first book
Presentation is important at book signings.
I have invested in book stands to
display by book on a display table. I have also created posters and display
boards using my book cover to brand my book. My book cover is turquoise,
black and white and I use those same vibrant colors for my book signing table
that usually includes a table cloth, vase, flowers and a candle.
I generally read 3 sections of my book.
This gives the reader a taste of
the book and just enough to hear to
want more. As an actor, I am able to add theatrics to the readings by using
different inflections for the various voices and use of pauses to underscore
dramatic moments. One does not have to be an actor to create these theatrics,
just a desire to bring the book alive through the spoken word by taking one’s
time, enunciating clearly and speaking from the diaphragm. I also conclude
with a question and answer period to hear thoughts from my guests.
Whether it be in a home, a
theatre, or bookstore, it is always nice to have something for the readers to
munch on. Having that table also allows the guests to congregate and speak
over food before and after the reading.
I have found it is best to have
someone assist with set up of the book signing table. I usually have someone
collect the money. Do make sure you have change and a money pouch or box.
Make sure you are at one end of the table to sign books once purchased.
I only use the person’s first
name to make the signing more personal. I also like to use black ink pens
with a nice texture for signing I date my autograph on the author’s page. If
there is a long line, I try to keep the conversation brief so that the line
I keep a nice guest book on my
table for those who purchase a book to sign. Not only does this book document
dates, locations and attendance, the information can also be used in the
future contact, for feedback or additional purchases.
Enjoy this part of becoming an
author. Book signings are a wonderful way to meet and interact with readers
and gain valuable feedback. This is a
precious part of the process of writing!
Adilah Barnes can be reached at www.writersretreat.com (Georgia
location) or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dana Walrath
Gardening is the first
thing that I experienced as an addiction. I gardened obsessively during the
years when I first had young children, sometimes even staying out after
dark to finish getting plants into the earth, the kids calling out the
window for their dinner. At the time, we lived along side railroad tracks
in West Philadelphia, a mother, a father,
and three small sons. A honeysuckle-covered fence separated our garden from
gunshots, prostitutes turning tricks, used condoms, and empty syringes.
Today, I live out in the
country where most of the earth maintains itself in a state of natural
beauty. The few tended areas, the perennial beds I’ve established, tend to
maintain themselves. Vegetables share the earth with a modicum of weeds,
because though I still garden to connect with the natural universe, through
touch and over time, this connection has become calm instead of desperate.
This change wasn’t a simple “geographic cure.” The calm I have now in my
life comes from shifting my obsessions and my sore spots into words rather
than into the earth. Getting the cadence right in a poem or scene satisfies
in ways that a wheelbarrow full of bishop’s weed never could.
With this autobiography,
it is little wonder that, Stanley Kunitz’s beautiful book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a
Century in the Garden, resonates so deeply. Kunitz draws parallels
between writing and tending a garden, in the process conveying important
concepts of craft. Poem can substitute for garden in so many of his phrases
such as, “One reason a garden can speak to you is that it is both its own
reality and a manifestation of the interior life of the mind that imagined
it in the beginning.” Like a good
gardener, Kunitz processes everything that life gave him in his composter,
using all of it, even the pain, to make beauty for us.
Brutal pruning is
essential for the rose to flower just as it is for a poem or story to come
to life. Cycles and seasons mirror for us the time it takes to grow a piece
of work, each season bringing its own feeling: the first flush of creation,
the toil, the rich harvest and finally surrender to the dormancy of winter.
Letting go of an initial visions allows the garden to make its own shape.
Finding the beauty in the untended corner or the texture of thorns brings
It has always mattered to
me that the person and the artist exist as an integrated whole. Kunitz’s
memoirs, musings, and poems are so seamlessly integrated that when he
referred back to the slap his mother gave him as a child near the end of
the book, I found myself looking back for the exact moment in the prose
sections only to discover that his poem, “The Portrait,” contained all the
details of this formative experience.
Just as one might plant
bright spikes of spiderwort next to the round filigree textures of
Johnson’s blue geranium, Kunitz combines the deeply personal with the place
of creative work in the larger social whole. Gardens not only provide
feasts for bellies and eyes—we could not survive without them. The plants,
the earth, and words connect us to fellow inhabitants from the deepest
distant past and future. He says, “to be an artist, you are a
representative human being— you have to believe that in order to give your
life over to that effort to create something of value. You’re not doing it
only to satisfy your own impulses or needs; there is a social imperative.
If you solve your problems and speak of them truly, you are of help to
others, that’s all. And it becomes a moral obligation.” Thank you, Mr.
You can reach Dana Walrath via
email at email@example.com or
visit The Writer’s Retreat in Cape May, New
WRITING HURDLES – October Writing Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
By Cindy Barrilleaux
“I loved having the time to ponder, to be alone,
and to be surrounded with others who enjoy writing and feel passion around
this form of expression. My favorite
part was feeling validated by the group, encouraged and by my own effort to
take time to make my writing a priority. Creative energy creates
similar energy.” — Maria
Take advantage of the Columbus Day weekend –
Friday, October 7 – Monday, October 10, 2011 - to devote yourself to your
writing in a relaxing, beautiful setting. You'll start each day
uplifted by watching hundreds of hot-air balloons floating overhead as
all of this occurs during the International
Balloon Fiesta. Then you'll enjoy a mix of writing
exercises, solitary time for your own writing and one-on-one consultation
with Cindy Barrilleaux, a veteran writing coach and editor. The focus
will be on tips and techniques for solving a whole host of writing
problems, from not having enough time, to getting stuck, to organization,
to writers block, to polishing final drafts. You’ll be energized,
renewed, and freed up to move forward on your writing.
The comfortable single
bedroom accommodations at the Madonna Retreat Center in Albuquerque,
New Mexico overlook the Rio Grande. One evening we’ll go to the
balloon Fiesta field for one of the most popular event of the Fiesta, the
Glowdeo and fireworks, when the huge, tethered balloons in all shapes and
colors fire up their engines simultaneously, while you walk among them.
That’s followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
Come relax, write with
no distractions, discover solutions for your writing problems, and enjoy
the best New Mexico
has to offer!
writing exercises were great--they helped me to realize that when just let
it flow, the words come naturally.
Recognizing that I can be creative in my writing if I step out of
the way and let it flow was a great lesson for me.” — Gwen Pullen, New Mexico
“I was able to wrap my
mind around subtle aspects of my project during the retreat. My time spent
writing was productive, and the writing exercises were helpful and
enjoyable. I loved the prompts and enjoyed hearing what other's had
written.” — Paula Ray, Nebraska
Cindy Barrilleaux has been coaching and editing writers for
more than 25 years. A former managing editor of the leading magazine for
mental health professionals, she now helps writers around the world
accomplish their writing goals. Although she works with fiction writers,
her specialty is nonfiction. For more information and to register, visit
her website at www.WriteYourBest.com/hurdles or
e-mail Cindy at Cindy@writeyourbest.com
A Step-by-Step Guide to Set Up
and Operate a Writers’ Retreat
I want to give a special thank you to all of you
for sending comments regarding my recently released guidebook A Writers’ Retreat: Starting from
Scratch to Success! I wrote this as a guide to assist you in contemplating
your dream of operating a writers’ retreat business and I am so glad to
hear it is fulfilling its purposes in making you realize that your dream of
operating a retreat business is possible but more importantly that it
inspired you to take action and gave you strength to go further with your
following A Writers’ Retreat:
Starting from Scratch to Success! you will:
Lay the foundation for a solid writer’s retreat
by developing a vision
Understand your value and strengths by
self-evaluating your knowledge, experience, and interests
Confidently frame the business you’ve
dreamed of by analyzing your needs, choosing a location, and a property
Successfully market your retreat business
following Micheline Côté’s expert instruction for defining your territory
and designing a viable program of literary services
Develop a long-term clientele by adapting
and using successful structure tools and system templates.
Visit www.WritersRetreatBizBook.com to peak inside the guidebook. It is available
in print, e-book, and audio formats.
The Writers’ Retreat is stronger than ever. More
than 2,000 subscribers enjoy the benefits of our year-round residential
retreats, their location and services, and their programs. We are excited
by the prospect of serving more writers at more locations. We welcome your
participation in creating a broader choice for our community of writers.
Join now, it will only cost you only $199 per
year, that’s $0.54 per day! Visit our network at www.WritersRetreat.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Writers' Retreat ---- www.WritersRetreat.com ---- email@example.com
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