Man, Saturday at the library was a wonderful day! There’s so much information I want to share with you guys that I’m not exactly sure where to begin. In fact, I’ll have to break this up into two blogs.
So, I guess I’ll do what makes sense and start at the beginning.
First of all, I’d like to say thank you to Sherry Turner, the head librarian, a wonderful woman who has put her time into providing quality programs to benefit the citizens of Clayton County. She makes my local library a wonderful place to be. And she’s doing it all without an ounce of funding. She does this because she loves her job and because she loves providing free educational services to the community. There have been times when she has dug into her pocket to provide these programs and relied on the generosity of others who have donated their time in an effort to help her.Thanks Mrs. Turner and keep the good programs coming!
A good example is the Writer’s Conference that was held on Saturday. It is the second conference held here that I’ve had the opportunity to attend. And like last year, there was a wealth of information shared by local authors, as well as musical entertainment from local musicians, sharing another form of writing.
Last year I had the chance to meet two wonderful authors, Chicki Brown and Chesya Burke, as they spoke about their writing experiences. It was an honor to be able to hear them speak again.
The first portion of the Writer’s Conference featured local authors Chicki Brown, George W. Wilson and Helen Steele. Each author has explored various forms of Self-Publishing and shared their experiences.
Chicki Brown has taken the route of e-publishing. This year, she’s published three books which can be found on Amazon/Kindle and Barnes and Noble/Nook. She’s been writing since 2001 and has gone through the traditional means of submitting her manuscripts, having an agent…and experienced the dreaded rejection letters. After two years, she decided that it wasn’t working for her. She’d taken the advice her agents had given her (she went though two) and made the changes they suggested to get her work accepted by a publisher. Still no success. To quoter Mrs. Brown, “I am a woman of a certain age”, and does not have the time to wait around for years and years to finally get her work accepted. So, she dived into the world of e-publishing. She took the time to explore the options and learn more about the way the publishing industry was going. She knew that she’d put in the time of learning and perfecting her craft (eleven years) and decided to take a chance. She put her first book on Amazon in June of 2010. It took nine months before she began to see a significant increase in her sales. During that time she has published two more books, three in all. In the last two months, she’s sold over 1600 books. The secret? Self-Promotions! Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, joining reading groups geared towards your writing genre to find readers are a wonderful and easy way to find readers. Answering emails and questions posed by readers and being approachable is key. And it takes work. Mrs. Brown is able to do all of this from the comfort of her home, but she puts in twelve-hour days. It’s taken a few months, but she is now gaining name recognition. She is scheduled to release her fourth book on Amazon in August. To learn more about Chicki Brown and her books, click here.
Next up was Mr. George Wilson, a children’s author who has taken another route of self publishing.
Mr. Wilson is a father of five who spent a lot of time reading stories to his children. He realized the stories he read were entertaining, but had no lasting message, something that could educate his kids. So he decided to do it himself. He has a series of books under the the name of A Story Plus. Each book is designed to not only entertain, but teach children the way the world works, no matter how old they are. Traditionally, children’s books are written based on age groups or grade level. His books are not. For example, one book tells the story of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. During the course of the story, the child is educated on the entire process. Why wait until the child is in school taking a science class to learn? Mr. Wilson went the route of finding a reliable publisher who could produce a quality product that could be put in the hands of children and parents. He was investing his money so he wanted to be sure the publisher would not only provide a quality product, he also had to have the product tested to be sure the material used (inks, papers, etc.) would not be harmful to young children. He also emphasized the importance of reserving the name your writing under as well as a web domain name as soon as possible, even if your not ready to publish yet. In the near future, Mr. Wilson is looking to not only have his books available in paper form, he also is looking to sell his books on Amazon. To find his books, click here.
That was part one of the morning. Wednesday, I will wrap up the conference with Marketing Your Book, Writing in General, and Illustrating as well as a highlight of the entertainment.
Have a great day everyone!