Monday, July 29, 2013

Presenting As An Author

At some point in an authors career there comes the question of presenting. There are various forums at which an author can get involved to present, speak, or otherwise make an appearance: writer conferences, book festivals, bookstore promotions, school visits, national/regional/community events. For most of these occasions, an author needs to submit a presentation idea or outline.

But of course, this process begs the subsequent question: Are you, or will you be, ready to put yourself out there as an expert/one who knows a certain subject well enough to teach it?

The answer must be a resounding yes. Whether or not you consider yourself an "expert," or a fascinating public speaker, or some other kind of special person anyone would like to learn from is beside the point. You must do it! Or at least most of us must do it--some lucky B-words don't have to and still find amazing success. But whatever.

Here are some examples of authors who have built successful author platforms in part because of great presentations:
  • Elana Johnson's Killer Query Workshops - Elana is amazing when it comes to queries and everyone who has ever met her knows it. She is pretty much the query guru on the west coast and is constantly being asked to teach her query class at various events.
  • Dan Well's Story Structure Presentation - This series of presentations on story structure has gone viral and its all because how incredibly helpful it is to authors.
  • J. Scott Savage's Tour Schedule - This guy is an animal when it comes to school visits. He knows his audience and has found great success in presenting to them directly.
Those are just a few examples, but there are a plethora more. So now the challenge is for you and I to find our groundbreaking, super-helpful, amazing presentations. I have already committed to appearing at two events in the near future and am preparing to offer presentation ideas at two more.

Got any ideas for me? Any for yourself that I can steal?

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Summer Slump

You feelin' it too? The heat, the lull, the distractions, etc.?

With the kids out of school, vacations every other week (to escape the Vegas heat), and all the fun things in which a good summer requires (bbqs, pool parties, bowling, movie matinees, cousin sleep overs)...writing seems to be at the bottom of my totem pole these days. :(

The thing is, I'm pretty sure that I am not alone in my Summer Slump Situation. I know many agents, editors, and publishers who are all feeling the summer vibe. Not to mention all my writerly peeps who are vacationing everywhere from Comic Con in San Diego to breathtaking locales in New Zealand.

It's okay. Consider this post like a visit to your local addiction anonymous group! We'll call it the Summer Slumpers (instead of AA it's SS ;). Here we will feel free to confess our ineffectiveness, our laziness, our unproductivity! But like AA, we must commit to doing better. Even if it's only a small amount of progress, it is progress nonetheless.

So here is my confession: I have been watching far too much MAD MEN on Netflix. My addiction to the smoky ad rooms and whiskey laden ad men during the 1960's has been very unproductive. The secret past of the ultra-sexy MC Don Draper has taken over my attention and creative focus.

But alas, now that I've finished all five seasons, I'm ready to get back to work. Never mind that I just found out I can watch three seasons of GAME OF THRONES on HBO GO. I vow to do better. I WILL get back to work tomorrow.

Have any confessions? You wanna join my SS group? Or are you rockin' your writing this summer?

Monday, July 15, 2013

One of the Best Weeks of My Life

When I was thirteen years old, my mom had her fourth baby. The caboose. The golden child. Jeff.

Both me and my little sister (who was 11 at the time) considered him our own. We fought over whose bed he would sleep in, argued over who would change his diapers, debated on who could make him laugh most when he fussed. My mom had to put her foot down quite often to remind both of us she was the actual mother.

As the years went by, all three of us (my mom, sister and I) still vied for his attentions. The lucky kid was swarmed with attention and love that has probably scarred him to this day.

Even after my sister and I began having children of our own, we still very much considered Jeff like the sibling to our kids.

Well, two years ago (when he was eighteen years old) we sent him on a two year voluntary mission for our church. He has been serving in the Lansing, Michigan area. It's been a strange two years without my little bro in my life. Sure we wrote to each other every week, and spoke twice a year on the phone, but it's been very different without his spunk, his humor, his joie de vivre. But he's been really good at sending us pictures of the beautiful Michigan scenery and people:

This Wednesday he's coming home. Which makes it one of the best weeks of my life! I am so excited.

Anything awesome going on for you this hot summer week?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Checking In

Greetings from the 117 degree Las Vegas heat! I hope the rest of you out in the blogosphere are less melty and thoroughly enjoying your summer.

This is what I have been up to lately:
  • Written 60,000 words to the KILLING RUBY ROSE sequel and 30,000 words on a contemporary YA set in France
  • Hired Elana Johnson to be my independent publicist for when KILLING RUBY ROSE releases this Fall (actual date to be released soon)
  • Watched three seasons of MAD MEN on Netflix, SUPERMAN at the movie theater, and Les Miserables from RED BOX.
  • Listened to the audiobook PRODIGY by Marie Lu and dozens of podcasts of THIS AMERICAN LIFE online
  • Read FROST by Marianna Baer, FRACTURE by Megan Miranda, and PIVOT POINT by Kasie West
  • Accumulated over fifty pool hours and honed a decent tan (for white-girl)
  • Went on one date with Mr. Humphries to an excellent Brazilian restaurant
  • Babysat seven adorable children while my BFF, Erin Summerill, donated her kidney to her dad

So what have all of you been up to?