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Preparing for my May 4th Library Talk

Shelter Rock's Flyer for me

Shelter Rock’s Flyer for me

At 7:00 pm on May 4th I’m going to be doing an author chat at Shelter Rock Library. This will be the third time I’ve been invited back to speak there. One of the reasons is that they have a special writing group with teens and adults interested in publishing and when I speak, I give them a very honest assessment about my journey from being with a small publishing house, to once having a pretty big time agent, to self publishing.

They’ve given me a bunch of questions to discuss, such as:

What inspires you to write?
When did you first start writing?
What advice you would give to young writers?
How you market yourself as a writer?
Trends in writing such as Fan Fiction, e-books etc. Have they helped you as a writer?
Who are your favorite authors?
Your novels seem to be moving into darker territory- do you see yourself writing in a particular genre in the future or mixing genres? What is the theme of Brothers Karov?
Why do you think series are so popular with teens and adults?

I’ve put out an events notice on FB, promoted it on a lot of local FB groups (which I’ll do again just a day or two before), but I never quite know how many people will show up. My first one there had seventeen people, the second one just three teens. When I only had three people, I had them all come to the front of the room and we simply sat near each other on chairs and had a real heart to heart.

If you live in the area and would like to attend, the address is:

Shelter Rock Library
165 Searingtown Road
Albertson, NY
516-248-7363

The back of the bookmark has Douglas Preston's review!

The back of the bookmark has Douglas Preston’s review!

I made some really cool little bookmarks to give away this time and I’ll have all three books in my newest series, along with a bunch of others. I don’t usually sell a lot of books at these events, as it’s more for the experience. But, while I’ll have everything I want to discuss, it’s really going to depend on attendance and the age group of who attends. I love getting asked questions, so hopefully people will come with some (that I can actually answer! LOL!)

Fingers crossed and I’ll post pictures. Now, to figure out what to wear!

My Fascination with Sign Language

When I was a little kid, I was fascinated with sign language. I remember finding a pamphlet with all the letters in ASL (American Sign Language) on it and practicing until I learned the alphabet. I would have loved to have practiced with someone, but I never interacted with a deaf person before. Except for seeing it in the movie with Marlee Matlin aslin “Children of a Lesser God,” I had so little experience with the culture and it wasn’t until I was in college in a sign language class, that I actually met my first deaf person. He was my professor, Larry Forrestal, and he was just awesome.

Professor Forrestal was deaf and didn’t speak. The entire class was conducted in sign language and whatever he felt like writing on the black board. I remember only hearing him speak once. It was later in the year and he called out someone’s name when they were walking away from him and he couldn’t get their attention. Dumbfounded, we all stared at him and signed, “You Can Speak?” He shook his head no, but gave a sly grin. I bet he could speak, but he chose not too.

Another funny story: One day, we met in the evening for a study group and we were walking with our professor through the Student Union to our meeting area. There was a huge party going on and the music was so loud, “I couldn’t hear myself think.” I saw Professor Forrestal “dancing and moving” along to the music and I signed to him “How are you dancing? You hear it?” He rolled his eyes, grabbed my hand and another girl’s hand and pushed us both to the floor. Here were the three of us, our professor and two of his students, sitting on the floor in the middle of this very active building and he’d pressed our hands to the floor so we could feel the pulsations from the bass from the music “loud and clear.” He also pointed to his chest and told us to just “feel it” and of course we could. We sat there for a while, just “listening” with him along to the music. It was a very big wake up call for me.

flying montageSign Language and the deaf culture has fascinated me ever since and when I was writing a YA series, I decided to make my main character deaf. FLYING TO THE LIGHT is about a young deaf boy who knows about the afterlife and now people are after him for the answer. FLYING TO THE FIRE continues the tale seven years later and my main character’s life is suddenly turned upside down yet again. What I think has really appealed to people is that my character’s family primarily uses sign language to communicate with him and at no time is his deafness a disability. It is simply a part of who he is.

I just love that my interest as a little girl morphed into something so amazing and brought me to this spot. Have you had experiences with the culture? I’d love to hear. Please drop me a note on my website and join my e-newsletter. Just click for newsletter updates here and then click “Contact Me.”

What Materials Should You Have for a Book Signing?

Long table display

Long table display

I’ve been to book signings where some authors seemed to bring every single piece of collateral material they own and I’ve been to others where the author had an empty table, no books and a single sign up sheet for their newsletter (I don’t recommend this second option at all).

I’ve compiled a list of what I think makes a really great table. These are just my thoughts and I would love to hear from authors any other ideas that you have that have been successful for you. I’m all ears.

Now, it took me awhile to get all this material because, let’s face it, it’s pricey to get it all at once. But, build your material base slowly and you’ll find you will soon have a nice amount of collateral for your table.

Small table display

Small table display

First, get a nice tablecloth. I have two. One small round one for card tables and one larger, rectangular one. I chose a nice red, with a linen feel, that I got pretty cheaply at Target. I think they cost me $16 each.

Make sure you have copies of your books. In my early days I made the mistake of thinking I’d sell 50 books at my very first little library chat (stop laughing)… I’m still getting through that inventory. I suggest bringing no more than 20 books at a time. If I have an event with more than one novel being presented, I’ll bring that number down to ten or fifteen each.

Business Cards: You can get them cheaply at Vista Print. I made these myself and they cost me hardly anything. I totally manipulated their template and put on it exactly what I wanted. biz card

Poster: I got a nice poster for my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU for under $50 at Staples. It looks great and I plan to get additional posters for my FLYING TO THE LIGHT series when I can. I’d recommend getting an easel or even an old music stand to showcase it.

Dual Postcard for two fantasy novels

Dual Postcard for two fantasy novels

Postcards. This is the newest thing I’ve purchased and I LOVE THEM. Why? This way if I don’t bring the books, I have a postcard to give out with a blurb written up about the novels. One half of the postcard is empty so I can write a note to them and it offers a nice recap of the novel so if someone wants to later download it to Kindle, they can. I got these at Staples too. I purchased them in bulk and got them for about $0.80 or so each. I love the idea of putting two books on at once for a series and plan to do them for my next YA series coming out.

Candy. Seriously, who doesn’t like candy? For one event where I was showcasing my buddhist thriller I tried to keep “to the theme” and purchased individually wrapped asian cookies. I couldn’t give them away, but the chocolates I brought as a back-up were a hit. That’s now my candy of choice. I splurge and get Dove Chocolates and put them in a little glass bowl. If no one comes to your event, at least you have something yummy to snack on.

Other various things for your table. Email sign-up sheet and some photocopies of your book’s reviews. If people coming to your table seem to be waffling about the book, you can simply hand them a sheet of paper that has the reviews downloaded right from amazon and they can take it with them to read.

I thought of having my trailer run on a loop on an IPAD, but I haven’t done that yet. I have seen other authors do it, but it requires people to stand there and watch a video versus talk to you. I still like the idea and it seems to be a nice thing to run in the background for your table.

If anyone has anything else that works, please tell me. I would love to hear.

So, You’ve Been Asked to Do a Reading From Your Book…

Getting ready for my signing

Getting ready for my signing

I am so excited to participate at a Book Signing at the illustrious Dolphin Bookshop on June 7th from 2-4 in Port Washington, NY. I’m part of a multi-authored event where I will be promoting my adult thriller, THE HUNT FOR XANADU.

I’ve been asked to prepare a 90 second reading. Now, I’ve been to author readings before. I won’t lie. I don’t usually like them. In fact, at two library talks I did, the coordinators suggested that I don’t do a reading because they felt that they weren’t interesting enough for attendees. Hmmm. You see, there are some books, when read aloud, just don’t sound good – especially the ones riddled with sentences that end with “he said, she said, they said, Karen said, said Mark…” you get the picture. I was at one recently, and there was so much of it, that it completely broke up the entire flow.

So the question is, what to read that will be exciting, won’t give away any crucial parts of the book, but will sound great read aloud? Pick something action-oriented, something that will grab your audience in their clutches…

I decided to go with the beginning of chapter one of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, not the epilogue, but right into the beginning of the book that starts with this action scene:

……………………………………………………………………………….

Hidden in the security camera’s blind spot, she sucked in her gut, closed her eyes and listened intently. “Come on, already,” she thought, drumming her fingertips rapidly against the brick wall. She heard the dogs panting now. This sound had replaced the earlier frenzy of them tearing into the drugged raw hamburger she had thrown over the fence just twenty minutes before. She’d crushed thirty-six Acepromozin tablets into the ground meat, reckoning it would enough to knock out the four guard dogs, if not kill them outright.

She glanced at her watch and waited. This is taking so long. Five more minutes passed, with nothing sounding except the soft, rotating click of the camera. Abruptly, she yanked down the protective goggles resting on her head and placed them over her eyes. The clicking now echoed loudly, indicating the camera was once more faced in her direction. Brazenly she stood, aimed her laser gun and pointed it directly into the lens. The high tech, silicon-based CCD camera had an impressive wavelength sensitivity. The laser’s high-powered emitter instantly saturated the pixels of the camera’s CCD sensor and burned the chip out instantly.

Ricardo Perez thought he protected himself with the best of everything. He’d under-estimated meeting an assassin so invested in seeing him dead.

Hooking the laser into her belt loop, she flung her knapsack over her shoulders and scaled the wall in a practiced leap. She balanced delicately on the edge to prevent being punctured by the barbed wire and slipped on a pair of leather gloves, grabbed the wire cutters hanging from her backpack and snipped her way through. In less than twenty seconds, she was inside the backyard of the compound. Three of the dogs lay unconscious in the grass nearby, but their twitching feet told her they were still alive. Where is the other one?

A deep, menacing growl came from behind her and she whirled to face the remaining Doberman. She had just enough time to register the bits of bloody hamburger still clinging to its snout before it lunged. Her instincts kicked in and she did the only thing she could remember. She punched the animal savagely in its throat like she’d been taught, and it fell to the ground, dead.

Breathing hard, she turned back to the house where Ricardo had hoped to escape from her. Her body shook and she took a deep breath, trying to keep her anger in check. This man couldn’t expect to destroy her family and get away with it. He was going to pay.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

I might add on (since it’s all of 45-60 seconds), or not. But here’s the kicker… I DON’T HAVE TO READ EVERY SINGLE WORD! That’s right. In the above reading, I might remove the last sentence in the first paragraph entirely and simply move on… this is your reading, your time to shine in the spotlight – heck, you can make everything up if you’d like – it’s like doing a presentation for work. Your audience doesn’t know what you’ve prepared or what you’re presenting, so there’s no reason to ever be worried about making a mistake. Even if you stumble over your words. Just own it and move on. Remember, the attendees don’t want an embarrassing situation either – they want you to do well – that’s why they are AT your signing.

If you can’t make the event but would like to grab your copy of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, please feel free to do so here: http://amzn.to/1jHcYZX I have little postcards that I can sign and mail to you if you’d like. Come to my contact page and join my newsletter – give me your address, let me know you’ve purchased a kindle copy and I’ll mail you a personalized note: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact.html

Want to come get a signed copy of the book? Here are the details!

June 7th 2:00 – 4:00
The Dolphin Bookshop
299 Main St, Port Washington, NY 11050
(516) 767-2650

And, I’ll have Dove Chocolates and Asian treats! Come on down, love to see you. 🙂