Monday, March 25, 2013

Time to Move On


Change is a good thing ...right?  In this spirit, I will be making some changes to Book Blather. Instead of weekly postings, I’ll be doing monthly updates. I’ve enjoyed the last two years, sharing my thoughts and those of my guest posters. However, it’s been extremely time-consuming, time I should spend writing my books. Many thanks to all of you who have contributed to and followed Book Blather. My contest will continue to run until the first week in April. Shortly after, I will announce the winners. Until then, keep on reading, writing and blathering about books. I know I will.

Here’s your chance to win some great prizes. Remember, there's a special category for international readers, so if you're not living in the U.S., no problem. 

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Signings: Worth the Time and Effort?

Yes, that's me with the hopeful smile. Looks like folks are more interested in the homemade bread than in buying a book. Win a few. Lose a few. Some authors feel book signings are counterproductive and have given them up entirely. I polled five of my fellow writers and asked their opinion regarding book signings. Between us, we have 56 published books with more on the way. Please meet Elizabeth Sinclair, Sparkle Abbey (writing partners, Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter), K.A. Mitchell, Michele Stegman and Meg Benjamin. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more information about my guests.

!. Do you participate in book signings?

Sparkle Abbey: Yes, we do participate in book signings. Some are local events and others regional and still others are at national conferences. Some are planned for us and some are planned by others.

Elizabeth Sinclair: Yes, but reluctantly. I think unless you're a big name author, they are, for the most part, an exercise in futility. This not entirely due to the author not having hit the NY Times or USA Today list. Often it is more due to the lack of publicity done by the signing's host. for this reason, I prefer group signings to individual signings. The signing host tends to advertise more for a group of authors than a single author.

Meg Benjamin: I do at conferences like Romantic Times or the RWA (Romance Writers of America) annual meetings. I don't do them on my own.

K.A. Mitchell: I choose the locations and opportunities judiciously. Since many of my readers buy digitally, I offer other objects (for free) to sign for them, such as bookmarks, cover flats and postcards. In any promotion I do for the signing, I encourage readers to come and chat, that no purchase is necessary if they want to introduce themselves.

Michele Stegman: Large group signings, yes.

2. Have you been satisfied with the results?

Sparkle Abbey: We've had mixed results. Our first signing was the launch of Desperate Housedogs and we sold more than 100 books. At the Barnes and Noble book signing with both books out, we only sold a handful of books.

Elizabeth: I've been very satisfied with a few book signings. A small, independent bookstore in our area does a large group signing periodically. The owner advertises on TV, in newspapers, in her store and on poster placed around the area for weeks in advance. As a result, the turnout is extremely good, as are sales. the only single book signing I can recall that was hugely successful was at our local Walmart. The store did the same type of advertising as above. In addition, every shopping cart had a flyer announcing the sale. I was set up in the front of the store facing the entrance door and the area I was set up to sign in was nicely presented with silk trees and flowers. This particular Walmart was a huge success, but the best single signings I've had have all been ironically at a Walmart.

Meg: It depends on how you define results. I haven't ever sold many books at signings. On the other hand, I've met some terrific writers who happened to be placed next to me by alphabet (Romantic Times) or whim (RWA) and I've had fun talking to people and watching the spectacle. I've found that it's not particularly great for your ego since you get to see people like J.R. Ward and Susan Elizabeth Phillips with line around the room while you're sitting there by your lonesome. But, it's a decent experience overall.

K.A.: I've been honored to pick up new readers and been able to reward readers with this personal interaction. If I know I'm going to be seeing a super-fan, I try to have something special for that reader. I've also been to disastrous book signings. Usually the failings are due to a lack of promotion or a bad choice of venue. That's why I am selective. A bad book signing isn't necessarily when I don't sell any books, but where I don't even get traffic to expose readers to the genre or my name. Not all readers or writers are hoping to meet face to face. But for those readers who do like that connection, I think a signing can turn a casual fan into a devoted one who hand-sells your work. If she made the trip an stands in line, she deserves some personal interaction even if she doesn't buy a book.

Michele: I haven't sold many books, especially since all my books are now digital only, but I have had fun making contacts, talking to people and handing out my book cards. And, I think anytime you get your name out there, make friends with readers and get your information into their hands, you are helping your cause.

3. Do you plan to do more signings?

Sparkle Abbey: We do plan to continue book signings. If, for not other reason, than to connect with readers. We also like to work with animal rescue groups when we plan events. I guess the bottom lie for us is that we have two goals with our events: 1) Meeting readers. 2) Bringing attention to pet rescue. As long as these two goals are being met, we'll continue.

Elizabeth: I will if asked, but as I said, I prefer group signings. When I attend RWA Annual Conference, I do take part in the Literacy Signing each year.
An aside: I've found there are two questions an author must be prepared to answer at a signing: 1) How do I get my book about fly fishing, pig slopping, barn painting, etc. published? 2) Were's the bathroom located?

Meg: Oh sure, why not? It doesn't really hurt you--just a little boredom and ego bruising. And, every time you meet a potential reader, there's the possibility of a sale whether they buy your book on site or later.

K.A.: I do, but I always plan to have material other than books available for digital readers. In my opinion, a signing should not be about selling books, but about furthering your career, brand and name recognition through interaction with devoted readers and potential new readers, even if the only chance you get is answering the question, "Where is the bathroom?" or "Is Nora here?"

Michele: Yes.

Many thanks to my guests for their insights on book signings. Please visit their websites to find out more about their books.

Sparkle Abbey:

Elizabeth Sinclair:

Meg Benjamin:

K.A. Mitchell:

Michele Stegman:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday $$$ Madness, Week 7

Yes, it's Monday again and I'd like to give you a leg up for a chance to win some great prizes. Since the contest will be going full blast until April 1st, every Monday (and sometimes longer)  I will post a picture of the prizes along with the entry form. Remember, there's a special category for international readers, so if you're not living in the U.S., no problem. The rest of the week, I will return to guest posts, reviews, etc. Please stop by often.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Great Black Hope

Meet Constance Kluesener Gorman, author of The Great Black Hope. Constance is a private tutor, but also occasionally teaches business, chemistry and mathematic classes at local universities in Greater Cincinnati. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Miami University, an M.B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and a B.S. in Education from the McGregor School at Antioch University. Although Constance has been published as a writer in technical journals and other print media relating to her business career, The Great Black Hope is her first effort in writing a nonfiction novel. She plans to write and publish the remaining fifty-seven or so other stories relating to her spiritual favors and experiences. Welcome to Book Blather, Constance.

People can keep dark secrets or be in the closet about many things. An extra-marital affair, alcoholism or sexual abuse are some of the top secrets kept hidden in the deep recesses of someone’s daily living. However, the most common secret may be the inability to read, or rather, illiteracy. The Great Black Hope is a true-life story that chronicles the life of a high school student with a secret that haunted him for years. His name is Tony Daniels.

Tony, a youth from the inner city, always stood out as a talented football player ever since his years in grade school.  By the time he reached high school, Tony was a standout on the football field racking up substantial sacks of the opposing team’s quarterback as a defensive lineman for his team. In December 2003, he was voted First Team – all districts- by The Cincinnati Enquirer’s All Stars group of football coaches and staff of Greater Cincinnati with 70 tackles, 30 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks and a fumble recovery.

Yet, despite all the accolades given to Tony for his football achievements, Tony suffered from a continual state of sadness. Deep inside him, he kept a secret so painful that he found it hard to share it with anyone. Then, Tony found he faced an obstacle that no street smarts or physical strength could conquer-illiteracy. Tony could read simple three or four letter words. But, words that contained vowel blends or multiple consonants were beyond his reach to comprehend. Tony survived school by cheating his whole way through in order to hide his disability. But, when the state proficiency tests came during 9th grade, and Tony was required to pass them in order to graduate from high school, he knew that his secret had to be told. It had to be told to SOMEBODY.
He couldn’t tell his mother because in his earlier grade school years he was somewhat of a discipline problem for the schools. Tony just didn’t want to disappoint his mother again! Looking back, Tony surmises that his issues at school all stemmed from his inability to read and the frustration he experienced when he couldn’t learn subject matter at the pace of the rest of his classmates. He couldn’t tell his best friend and older brother, Mike, because Mike was also a standout football player and Tony didn’t want to alarm him in any way. All in all, Tony didn’t want to disappoint anyone or be a burden to his family. So, he kept his illiteracy disability a secret until it was impossible to continue any longer.

At the time, I was a chemistry teacher at his high school. I had also taught Tony's brother, Mike, a year ahead of him at the same school. Mike was slightly academically challenged and never hesitated to get help from a teacher after school. He was on track for a college football scholarship and didn’t want to compromise his chances by getting a poor grade in any subject. I tutored him occasionally after school, along with many of my other students. With these tutoring sessions, Mike learned I was the type of teacher who would put in the time to help out one of her students. So, when Tony started having trouble in school the following year, Mike pointed him in my direction.

Tony shared his secret with me and, together, we embarked on an adventure to rid him of illiteracy, as well as his continual bouts with depression and a life threatening heart ailment.  Once Tony became an avid reader, I continued mentoring him and helped him pursue his dreams of college football and the NFL. Along the way, Tony picked up other mentors, such as Levi Jones of the Cincinnati Bengals, Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants and NFL Hall of Fame, and a consortium of heart surgeons at Ohio Heart.

The Great Black Hope is an inspirational story of hope for readers who may have a dark secret, suffer from depression or despair about one of the many bumps in the road of life. The book is currently being considered for a book-to-film project by the film industry.

The Great Black Hope can be purchased at, Barnes and Noble, Apple Stores, Sony, Kobo, Baker and Taylor and all other retail outlets in print and e-book format.

The Great Black Hope website:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday $$$ Madness, Week 6

Yes, it's Monday again which means another opportunity to win some great prizes. Since the contest will be going full blast until April 1st, every Monday (and sometimes longer)  I will post a picture of the prizes along with the entry form. Remember, there's a special category for international readers, so if you're not living in the U.S., no problem. The rest of the week, I will return to guest posts, reviews, etc. Please stop by often.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Meet Gabe Delgado

Those of you who follow my writing career, know I’m embarking on a new journey, namely a book called The Blue Rose. I think it’s time you met the main character, Gabriel Delgado. Gabe, the son of a Hispanic Boeing engineer and Caucasian mother, is a senior in high school and a star basketball player. Should be one of the best times of his life. Right? Well, maybe not. Here’s Gabe to tell you about it.

*Warning* This book is for older teens. The content is a bit edgier.

Q. You just started your senior year, Gabe. How’s it going?

Gabe: Pretty good until I got my little surprise.

Q. Let’s back up a little and ease into the whole surprise thing. Tell us about your family.

Gabe: Well, there’s me and my two brothers, Simon and Henry. And my dad, of course. His name’s Ernesto but we’re old school and call him Papi. Our mom took off when I was ten. She’s now married to an orthodontist in Scottsdale.

Q. So, it’s an all male household.

Gabe: Was an all male household.

Q. Oh, yeah, the surprise. How did that happen?

Gabe: Really? You don’t know?”

Q. What I meant to say was, describe the circumstances around the, um, precipitating event.

Gabe: (laughing) Precipitating event? Okay, I plead the fifth. I was messed up last year. Hanging out with a bunch of guys who like to party. I did a lot of bad things that I'm truly sorry for. Let’s just say I don’t remember much about the night it happened.

Q. Do you still hang with the same crowd?

Gabe: No way. My dad got fed up and sent me to Mexico for the summer. I lived with my Tia Lorena. No TV. No Internet. Had to ride a girl’s bike into the village to buy corn meal. Extremely humbling.

Q. So you came back a new man.

Gabe: Absolutely. Party time is over. I have responsibilities.

Q. Looks like there were consequences for last year’s behavior. Or should I say …misbehavior.

Gabe: Yes, there were consequences. You’ve heard the term “baby daddy?”

Q. I’m familiar with the term. I noticed the tats and have to ask. Who’s Gracie? Mother of baby?

Gabe: Remember what I said before? About being messed up?

Q. Do you even know a Gracie?

Gabe: Apparently I did at one time, ‘cause there she is, tattooed on my chest.

Q. Okay, Gabe, thanks. Is it okay if we check in with you from time to time to see how you’re handling the parenting bit?

Gabe: Sure, drop in anytime. I'll be here, changing diapers and covered in baby drool.

 Author Note: The Blue Rose will be available late 2013, published by Bell Bridge Books.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday $$ Madness - Week 5

What a difference a "R" makes.

 And so do I! Here's what I want to do: give people a chance to win some great prizes!

Since the contest will be going full blast until April 1st, every Monday (and sometimes longer)  I will post the picture of the prizes along with the entry form. Remember, there's a special category for international readers, so if you're not living in the U.S., no problem. The rest of the week, I will return to guest posts, reviews, etc. Please stop by often.

a Rafflecopter giveaway