Tuesday, May 31, 2011

10 Ways to Help Your Author-Writer Friend

1. Buy her book. Buy at least one book. Also, consider buying the book as gifts for birthdays, Christmas or other events. If you use your public library; request the book. Sometimes that's all it takes for the library to purchase a book.

2. Do not delay. The time to build up buzz is now. Buy it on Amazon.com or directly from the author. My authors make more money when you buy it directly from them. Your friend will be happy to find that people are purchasing her book.

3. Recommend the book. Write a review on Amazon.com. Share a note about it with the link to purchase on Facebook. Tweet about the book.

4. Tell you friend what you liked about the book. Did you learn something? Was it a good read? Did you read it in one night?

5. Suggest speaking engagements. Help them get an introduction to any groups with which you are connected: Rotary, Jaycees, Friends of the Library, etc.

7. Host a book party for your friend. Ask a couple of mutual friend to help with cookies and snacks and host up to 20 people. Your friend can read his book, sell and autograph copies.

8. Recommend your friend's website. If your friend does a blog post; tweet it or link to it.

9. Create a Wikipedia page for your friend. Authors cannot create their own page. The Wikipedia page should have a short bio, a bibliography, a link to the authors website.

10. Ask what else you can do. They may have ideas but did not want to bother you. Let them know that you are honored to help not bothered.

In another post, I'll give more ideas how you can help your author friend.

Monday, May 16, 2011

So you have been invited to speak.

So you have been invited to speak. You are a writer not a speaker. These 10 pointers may help.
1. Introductions should be brief. Thirty seconds is a long time. Most commercials are 30 seconds. Try it. If you are introduced, skip the introduction completely.. Don’t bore your audience.
2. Use the lectern or podium. If there is a podium, lectern or table—use it to hold your materials. Put the papers down. They are a distraction from your talk. You do not want your audience to notice how you crumble, fold or mutilate the papers in your hands.
3. Use the microphone. If there's a microphone, use it. Check it out before the event. People in the back of the room will appreciate it.
4. Encourage audience interaction. When reading material, allow space in your delivery for applause if they choose to do so. Offer a Q &A period. I’ve found the people like the Question and Answer portion of every event more than the rest of the event.
5. Be organized. When giving a presentation have your notes ready to go before the presentation. If you're reading poems, excerpts from your book, have your selections planned out before you hit the stage. Photocopy your selections onto 8½x11 pages. There is nothing worse than watching a presenter find their places in a book. “Oh, not that one. Oh, here it is.”
6. Slow down. Remember to breathe and pause to look at your audience. Remember that what you feel is slow is still a comfortable listening pace for your audience.
7. Make personal connections. With small groups less than 30, I like to have everyone introduce themselves with a little bit of information about their connection to the subject of my talk..
8. Leave them wanting more. Keep to the time allotted. Ask an audience member to be a timer and give you five, three and one minute warnings with predetermined signals..
9. Don’t forget a conclusion or a call to action. Ask them to buy your book, thank the hosts or support the sponsoring organization. Remind them to do something that you explained in your talk. An alternative it to give the audience a quick three point summary of your talk.
10. Give them something free to take away. Anything you hand out——flyer, bookmark, business card should include your name and contact information with website and blog address. Don’t’ forget to tell them about your presence on Facebook, Twitter or other social media.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day after thoughts

I receive via email many lists of things to do to make my life better over the course of the year. Since I really did not work this Mother's Day weekend, I've chosen to use a compilation of these ideas for my blog this week.
When I receive these lists people use the terms, God, Jesus and other labels for a higher being. I believe that all our answers are inside of us and so I've adjusted many of these to conform to my belief system. I'm hoping that these are of some value to you.

A list of 40 things to do to make life better.

1. Meditate
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unhurried.
4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your health—mental, spiritual or physical.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places. Everything takes double the time expected.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what your inner guidance would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it or at least mentally put it on a shelf.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. Do something for the Kid in You every day.
16. Carry an enlightening or intertaining book with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Organized the spaces where you live and work so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts, ideas and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Sit in silence. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try sleep.
24. Make friends with and spend time with like-minded people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite sayings/quotations/scriptures on hand.
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most) or avoid them.
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of five things about which you can be grateful. Then fall asleep. Dreaming has a way of turning things around for you.
37. Love the person with whom you live.
38. Do not let you children go around with a hole in their hearts where you blessing should be.
39. Do a kind deed every time it occurs to you. This will bring a wealth of energy and enthusiasm into your life.
40. Be uncommon, strive for excellence (no average), be extraordinary.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Slow Food and Just Write Books

I met with the Slow Food Seacoast Convivium in Exeter, NH yesterday. They had asked that I talk with them about two of our books. The Books were Tom Seymour’s Wild Plants of Maine: A Useful Guide and we are Sandra Garson’s How to Fix a Leek & other Food from your Farmer’s Market. Last year, Just Write Books released Wild Plants of Maine and we are currently awaiting the final edit of How to Fix a Leek.
Let me talk a little about the Slow Food group.

The Seacoast Convivium is a part of the national Slow Food organization. According to the national group’s website: “Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.” To put it another way, Slow Food is a reaction to “fast food.”

More than just a reaction. I was invited to speak and eat with this group. I can say with no reservations the group that met on May Day 2011 was gracious, enthusiastic and welcoming to this publisher selling her books. Blue Moon Café hosted the event. They do once a year. Kathleen Gallant was gracious in her participation in the group and provided a delightful wild salad and toped off the evening with a rhubarb mousse.

All members of the group brought foods that held to the theme of “Wild plants and flowers.” It was the first potluck that I attended with only one dessert offering. These people truly know how to eat and there was no feeling of lack.

Alison Magill brought stinging nettles plants in brown bags to share. I brought one home. She introduced the term “guerrilla gardening” to me. I had already been guilty but now I had a label to tag my actions of a couple a years ago when as a condo owner and having no garden space I put some rhubarb along a little lane near our condominium. Now, I’ll add stinging nettles to the edge of the lane.
This group could have been composed of people I had selected as friends—from the 16-year restaurant owner, to the couple in their 70s Dick and Ursula Bondi maintaining a healthy life and to Strawbery Banke’s historic landscape curator, John Forti. These people were bright, articulate and passionate about good food and its care and “feeding.”

All of us must take more time with our food—its origin, delivery and preparation—all matter if we wish to be healthy. Health in our homes, our communities and our nation depends on our working to make food local again. Find a group near your home: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/slow_food/.
A large part of my work at Just Write Books is choosing books that matter. Wild Plants of Maine and How to Fix a Leek easily fit this requirement and I shared the genesis of the books with the Slow Food group during our potluck of green things and afterwards during a heated discussion of food and politics. I would like to break bread with these folks any day.