On February 18th you can find me at Meow Cafe in Wellington, between 1-4pm (FB Event page here!), where I will officially be launching Serafina’s Flame, along with six other authors and their books at Kiwi Book Feast’s inaugural event.
I’m terribly nervous as it’s my first book launch, but also excited! Serafina’s Flame has been a long time in the making, and with last year being a pretty awful one on the writing front this is the first book I’ve published in… well, let’s not count, huh?
I’ve never done a physical book launch, so it’s a totally new experience for me. If you are in Wellington, why not come along and say ‘Hi!’, there will be some giveaways and nibbles, and I will do my very best not to speak too fast…
Anyway, if you’d like to get your hands on this book early you can sign up to my newsletter (here). I’m giving all my lovely subscribers a digital copy to say thanks for being so patient with me. If you’ve read Burn and wanted to know what happened next, you’ll want in on this as Serafina’s Flame includes, and continues, what Burn started.
Following on from yesterdays post about the trip to Auckland, I thought I’d take the time to do a little break down of the good and the not so good – and a few lessons we learned along the way.
The not so good:
The venue was large, but out of the way, which meant that there was no foot traffic passing by who might decide to pop in for a gander. It was fairly quiet on the Saturday, and I had hopes that Sunday would be busier – it was QUIETER!! If I am going to attend again, it would need to be in a more central location where more people would come to. I sold more books than I expected to, but I know of quite a few stands who sold virtually nothing 😦
Even if you think you’re prepared, something will go wrong, or not work the way you wanted it to. Despite testing out my banner stand at home and having no hassles with it, come Saturday morning it was a nightmare to get sorted! My dad and step-mother decided to take over the task, but even then they had issues, and the banner fell down later that day.
It was kinda cold. With the front doors open to welcome guests, and our location in the second aisle (which had a door at one end) it was pretty chilly at times, especially on the Sunday. The temperature changed between being warm enough and being cold, and it was a real nuisance lol.
The largest group of visitors to the festival would have to have been made up of those supporting exhibitors they knew, and writers/indie authors coming to either check out what other authors were doing, or make new business connections with printers etc. While that’s kind of understandable, it meant that there were not that many there to buy books, and my books are not going to appeal to everyone. A lot of eyes simply slid over our booth as they walked past.
The good: There were lots of awesome exhibitors! We made some good friends, and made a lot of great connections. I will talk more specifically about that tomorrow 😉 It wasn’t just the exhibitors who were great though, I got to meet a bunch of people I’ve only known online, some I knew might be there and others who were a total surprise! But I loved all of it.
Contrary to my belief that I would be completely shattered after the weekend, I’m feeling pretty upbeat. I’ve learned that not only do my anti-depressants help me cope better with tough situations, they also help me to feel more confident in myself. I was able to talk to people with little to no anxiety, and that was awesome!! Someone even commented that I must be the most extroverted out of our group, and I had to laugh. Very much an introvert, but I do like to talk to people, and I geared myself up to do so that weekend – very grateful it hasn’t resulted in any slump. In fact, I miss hanging with everyone!
I sold more books than I expected to. The number was still fairly small, but I’m really pleased with it. Highlights were a twitter friend coming in to meet me for the first time and buying a copy of each of my books – totally unexpected, but SO awesome! And then on Sunday another twitter came by and grabbed a copy of Sun Touched. I felt so special.
We got heaps of compliments on our stand, from the professional look of our books, banners and promo stuff, to the way we presented ourselves and interacted with attendees. Some people even reckon we had the best looking stand, which was a lovely compliment! It felt good to get such positive feedback, and to have the experience of being at a festival like this under my belt, with close friends alongside me.
We learned a lot. Which leads to….
Things we learned:
People don’t like coming into what can be perceived as personal space. We had our two tables on either side of the booth and it was one hell of a mission getting anyone to come IN. The vast majority of people stood at the front, which meant that not everything was being seen, and we didn’t have space for many people to talk to. The lovely Janine from across the way gave us this feedback on the second day, telling us how she had tweaked her own stand on the second day to make better use of the space. While a table across the front might seem like it puts a block between you and potential buyers, it actually allows them to stay in their space and not ‘invade’ yours, which feels safer – really good to know, and I am keen to test this out! lol
Having promotional material that is not directly related to your book is a really worthwhile investment. Keitha Smith, in the booth next to us, had these gorgeous, non specific book marks, with her book information on the back of them. Appealing to anyone, even if they didn’t buy a book. And Janine, across the way from us, had colouring pages packs, and gorgeous cards and butterflies which really drew the eye and meant there were a range of things to buy that weren’t books.
The vast majority of book sales were to people who already knew about us. 100% of Leigh’s sales were to people she knew online, and I would say about 70% of both mine and Tee’s were as well. Some of these were other exhibitors, but also people who had read digital copies and wanted print ones, or who had come across us online and then come looking in person.
While on some levels this might suggest an online presence really IS important, I’d like to think that it means that building your audience, and being a real person, is. The two twitter friends who came to see me and buy books were both people I think are lovely online (and proved to be just as cool in person!), and I think if I hadn’t been ‘authentic’ with my online presence, that might not have happened. It felt like I was gaining new irl friends, rather than readers.
As well as that, of the two exhibitors who I traded books with, and the one who purchased a copy of my book, I believe it was all down to them liking me as a person – that, combined with an interest in the premise of the book meant an exchange occurred. If they hadn’t met me, and enjoyed interacting with me, I don’t think they would now have my books in their possession.
I think these lessons were valuable, and combined with the ‘good’ things, mean that I feel like the festival was worth the time/money/energy investment I made into it. While I think there are a tonne of things that could have been done differently to make the turn out better for everyone, I’m really pleased I went 🙂
My second, third and fourth order of books arrived over the last week and WOW!!! They look amazing. I’m blown away. My amazing designer has completely out done herself, again!!
Now that the books are all here I can complete several important jobs that have been hanging over me for a bit. Like mailing the deposit copies to the national library, getting a few orders in the post, and last but certainly not least, sending copies down to Writer’s Plot, Readers Read. This new indie book store is opening at the beginning of October, stocking NZ authors by the droves! I’m pretty chuffed that my books will appear on their shelves 🙂
I’m pretty much organized for the New Zealand Independent Book Festival now. Just waiting on the last bit of mail.
Leigh K Hunt and I are excitedly making plans for our weekend in Auckland, gathering bits and pieces to use in our display. It’s fun stuff! Last night I was driving home from a friends house and there was a ‘free 2 u’ sign on the side of the road, with some old school hessian covered room dividers. I could only fit half of it in my car, but it will be put to good use 😉
Anyway, that’s me for now! I’m hoping to have some other stuff to share in the very near future!
Last week a dear friend let me know that there was an error in the digital version of Sun-Touched. My heart stopped beating because I knew I’d generated that from the same file I’d generated the print copy, which meant that the print books I had ordered all had the same error.
A doubled up chapter. Somehow, I had inserted Chapter 21 in its slot, as well as Chapter 27. (the book is there in it’s entirety, I later realized that there was NO chapter 27 in my final proofed doc for some reason! lol)
Much to my amazement, I didn’t cry, I didn’t even feel anxious because it was DONE. No way to change it. The books were printed, the order had shipped. There is very little point ‘crying over spilt milk’ as they say. I was miffed that I had missed it, and initially worriedsick about losing the money I had sunk into those books – I work hard editing to save the funds I need to pay for my publishing, and pride myself on paying for all my business expenses from money I’ve earned – but then I tweeted about it, and Fb’d some friends and you know what? So many people want a copy of the version with the error that I know I’m going to have no trouble selling them. And when people say things like ‘It will be worth heaps when you’re famous!’ it’s a lovely boost.
So, I might have screwed up, but I was reminded of how supportive my friends and fans are, and I got to see that actually, I’m really am a lot better balanced than I thought I was these days. Husband dearest had no worries with me ordering a new lot of books for the NZ Independent Book Festival with his money, and I will be able to pay him back in the very near future.
Feels good! Boom! First massive stuff up made and recovered from!
In other news, I’ve been a tad flat this last week or so as well. I’ve been working my butt off for the last several months, first on my own stuff, and then on a bunch of jobs for others. My slate cleared and it felt AMAZING, and then I slumped. Apparently a Cassie without a project isn’t really a good thing. She kind of just wanders around feeling out of sorts with the world. I had reached the end of my ‘plan’ and failed to make a new one – I’ve rectified that issue now!
Today, I start work on the sequel to Burn. It’s untitled yet, but I have a plan! Really excited to get writing 🙂
Oh and happy September!! WTF?! How did that happen?!
Yesterday I came home to find a box on my doorstep. I wasn’t quite sure what it was when I saw it, and in fact was really surprised to find it was my order of BURN! It’s so early! Not complaining, no way.
I welled up, and confess that I rubbed a copy against my cheek lovingly. Oh, it’s such a sweet thing. A book you wrote. A BOX of books.
I’m sending out a few pre-orders today and will have the pleasure of hand delivering the others. So exciting.
Well, it’s almost ready for release, so I thought it was about time to reveal the cover for my upcoming book. Here it is!
Madea knows the price that must be paid when Diamara’s harsh sun leaves you Touched: you are Hollowed, your inner self stripped away, leaving a mindless shell. As aide to the brilliant Sullivan, Madea has assisted at a few of these procedures, but it’s not until she witnesses the Hollowing of a young woman much like herself that Madea begins to question the ethics of their work.
Caught in a struggle she didn’t know existed, Madea finds herself pregnant, and over-exposed. She doesn’t know how long until the madness sets in, but she does know what it will mean for her and her unborn child. No life at all.
Madea must turn from those who would Hollow her—friends, family, lover—as well as the protective rules she has clung to her whole life, to the enigmatic stranger, Garrett. He is the only one who can help her now, but he might also be the one who made her Touched to begin with.
Apparently I am now that person who posts sporadically and can’t even remember when Monday is. Maybe it’s just that things have been so busy and I have SO many balls in the air right now that I just can’t keep track of where I am. The list is large.
It feels a little ridiculous actually, that I am feeling this stress. The NZ Independent Book Festival isn’t until the first weekend of October – AGES away – and yet in order to make sure I have print books for it, I need to be organized way in advance of that (or spend a fortune getting books here with faster shipping). I’m opting for being organized. I am on track (which never ceases to amaze me), and yet there is this fear that the books won’t be here on time. I hope that after I have done this once, I will feel a little less anxious about the whole thing.
Which brings me to the status updates. I’m just going to list things, because there are a few!!
Burn is just about ready to order. The print proof arrived with a friend and it looks beautiful ❤ Can’t wait to get my hands on copies.
Sun-Touched is FINISHED. I literally just need to write the blurb, format the thing and get the cover sorted and then I’ll pick a release date. YAY!
I now have a spiffy new imprint name, and a gorgeous logo to go with it (designed by an amazing friend), which I will unveil in the very near future.
I have banners and stuff being designed by the eternally wonderful Kate over at Dwell Design and Press, and they are beautiful!
I finished all the editing and proofing jobs in my queue! This has never happened before. I am enjoying a few days off, as there was a lull in my personal workload as well. I’ll have my next job incoming on Friday and I am (strangely) looking forward to getting to work on a new project. I will also really like getting paid as it means I can order the next lot of books 🙂
Which reminds me, the print formatting for The Way the Sky Curves is also nearing completion! I’m just waiting on that cover as well (working Kate VERY hard right now, poor thing. I owe her a nice bottle of wine or something after this).
It’s ALL on right now. I can barely keep track of what needs doing, but I *think* I’m managing to get everything done. I just hope something doesn’t smack me upside the head that I’ve failed to think of… And, well, with different projects coming to the end of various stages, it is pretty exciting in general 🙂
It’s been a week since I declared that it was time to get serious. Part of that process was figuring out what my week generally looks like, which days are the ‘good’ ones for working, and which ones the not so good. Mondays are pretty busy with home school activities, so it seemed like a good day to peg for a blog post and other administrative kind of tasks. I figured I’d make Monday a check in day, and then if anything else crops up that seems interesting or relevant, I can post that when it happens!
So, how am I doing? Pretty good actually! I enjoyed the task of getting organized more than I thought I would, and after freaking out about how little time I have I did something I should have to begin with*. Counted the chapters in Sun-Touched. The number is 25. When I looked at it like that I realized if I edit 5 chapters a week, I can stay on track. I achieved this within the first three days of last week – that said, those chapters had been pretty heavily edited in the past. The more in-depth edits happen a little further into the book. This works well for me though because it’s started me off feeling successful and like I can do this! I CAN do this.
I also finished the last round of edits on Catherine Mede’s next novel, started working on M.W. Griffith‘s next novel, and made some progress on a crit that I am doing at the moment. As well as, you know, house stuff and kid stuff and wife stuff. So much stuff.
A couple of weeks ago I did an interview which was posted up over at SONZA, and which I completely neglected to mention. So, if you want to give that a read, you can find the link here. I’m waiting on a guest post to go up at another site as well, but will post when that happens 🙂
All in all, I’m feeling pretty good about where I am at. Things are happening. I’m making progress. I’m still wasting an awful lot of time though and am going to work on cutting those things out.
And now I must prep for the day! So I will leave you with a pic of my coffee this morning. My coffee loves me.
*I really need to make a list of these ‘things that work’ because I seem to forget!! *adds it to the to-do list*
Well, I’ve done it again… Published a book that is. The Way the Sky Curves is now available on Amazon. I’ll be working on getting it up at other distributors in the near future, but this feels like enough for one day 🙂
I’m so thrilled that it’s finally out there! And now I can move onto the next project.
As I mentioned in April, now that it’s out there, I’ll be doing a draw for one lucky person to win a guest role in one of the K’Bay books. There are only three entries at the moment, so head on over and comment on THIS POST if you want to go into the draw.
And finally, this happened on twitter the other night:
Why yes, I’m writing and drinking. If you can guess which scene when you read it, I’ll give you the next ebook free! pic.twitter.com/mtDIpvvFun
It was the last scene I worked on for the book, but was NOT the last scene in the book. If you read the book and want to take a guess, drop me an email. If you get it right, I will gift you a copy of the next book in the series.