Thursday, December 13, 2012

Don't End Up Here

Don't End Up Here

Traditional business cards, bookmarks and fliers are okay to give to customers and potential clients at certain venues; however, giving them a complimentary item that is more of a gift item makes more of a lasting mark.

From my experience, the “other” bookmarks and post cards, made from card stock many authors use, are bent and tossed away pretty much as soon as they are handed out. Those types wear pretty easily. “Gift-marks” by Simply Said Reading Accessories are not throwaway items will be used repeatedly. They are durable, strong and will be a constant reminder of you every time they use them. These keepsakes will last for years.

Our aim is to keep you remembered and retained, long after your fan has finished your book, and patiently awaiting your next book, while providing them with a useful and creative keepsake souvenir from you.

50 Things You Can Do With a Gift-Mark

50 Things You Can Do With a Gift-Mark

The “Gift-mark” is a great little promotional tool that can be used several ways. It’s a little instrument that can sing your song! The gift-mark is durable, creative and different from the predictable types of bookmarks that are commonly used. Let me tell you how versatile useful they are.

Let me tell you a few ways they can be used!

1. As a bookmark

2. As a business card; these stand out more!

3. As an event ticket

4. As a invitation

5. As a party favor

6. As a thank you note

7. As a gift tag

8. As a keepsake

9. As a souvenir

10. It can fit into a note card

11. As a gift

12. As a reminder

13. As a media/press kit insert into you package

14. You can autograph them

15. You can mail them across the world and places you can’t get to

16. As a coupon

17. LTD Edition

18. Make it collectable

19. Post reviews here for a very special gift~”Review mark”

20. Your “private” members only fan club

21. Special invites for joining conversation or tour stops

22. Place them in a book for someone to find and explore

23. Give each character their own

24. Contest prize

25. As a call to action

26. Your tour schedule

27. As a “tip” mark

28. Have a poem printed

29. As a recipe card

30. An excerpt or synopsis

31. As a blog tour gift

32. As a holiday greeting

33. As a place holder at an event

34. As a journal mark

35. Share a favorite quote or a killer line from your story

36. As a audio book insert

37. Scan into computer and use in emails

38. As an incentive

39. Publishers to showcase all your authors

40. Anthology one for each who contributed

41. Literary service provider calling/business card

42. Book clubs pass these out at events you attend and let authors know you review

43. Send them where you can’t be~ Goody bags

44. Introduce your future releases

45. Past works in chronological order

46. Table display

47. You can sell them

48. A birthday greeting

49. Event souvenirs

50. Share your favorite quote

Presentation IS Everything

Presentation IS Everything

Making the most out of your book signings

What is going to make you stand out at a book festival or book event, when everybody is also selling books too?

Creating a table display… Sounds simple right, throw a few books on a table and sit there and you’ll sell out in an hour right?

You are so wrong.

In addition to creating reading accessories for authors, I also create themes and display ideas for them. Creating an eye catching display and layout will do half the work, of trying to get people to your table or booth. When I do book events, I try to have a theme, or find out what the event theme is so everything pulls together.

The object of the game is to draw people in, made you look! If you are a romance author, bring some romance with you and create some ambiance!

Have a suitcase filled with props and tools to make your signing, table or booth extraordinary. Create layout and a theme and all the props you need to create an intimate setting. Is your book romance or erotica? Create a scene from you book. Add rose petals and wineglasses etc.

Create an audio or a podcast recording of you reading the scene your showing. If it’s a part with a male, get a guy with a deep sexy voice to read the scene with you. Add a sound track of music that also helps tell the story. They will hear and feel the passion in your voice and the in the music. The music will set the tone and era of your book.

Add a commercial to your soundtracks, inviting them to your sites and social networks. Have a DVD player, or laptop playing your trailer, soundtrack, and commercial. Take extra batteries, buying electricity is expensive at festivals. This very same recording if done well can be used on your web, as radio commercials, and on your social sites. Do one with only audio and one with audio and trailer. It also makes a wonderful, inexpensive gift with purchase item.

Investing in a banner and a table cloth with you name on it, is a wise investment. Using your name or company will carry your BRAND through your writing career. Use bright colors, it draws the eyes to you and attracts people. Keep in mind you color choices because they will be used over and over. Also if you have several books keep your name and brand as the banner and tablecloth focus not current book. Have posters created for your books.

Once you get their attention make your pitch, #1 SMILE!!! Greet people

Put the book in their hands!!! I have seen many authors do this and they sell more than those who just point to them or hold it themselves Keep your sales pitch to 2 to 3 minutes at best, because that’s most peoples attention span, especially if you are at a book festival . Bookmark a scene you know will capture their attention.

Don’t sit or stand behind the table, get out there and mingle. If you are shy, the props and setups will draw people to you.

They also can start conversions, about your book. Get a street team Bring a street team to be your cheerleaders, they will help pass out fliers and manage the crowds. Don’t talk to them all day… talk to your guests.

Show enthusiasm I want you to be as happy to see me as I am to see you and my $$$. Atmosphere and attitude is everything.

Wear a TEE-SHIRT with your book title, name and site information

Share with another author team up Erotica, passion party, a cook book, lingerie or a companion product. Share the crowd and the costs. Caution children will be around do not be explicit, you can also offend people, be classy.

Take those extra book covers you have and turn them into booklets with excerpts and contact info and an order sheet.

Have them sign a guest book. This builds your mailing list. Send a Thank You Note, after the event for coming, and what’s coming up from you; add a ½ mark and a book plate. Make notes next to their name so you remember them. EX.. Book club, reader, etc. Run a monthly contest, this is another way of collecting information, and staying in contact after the event. Giveaways are also a great way to encourage readers to stay in contact. Visit other booths and book signings to see what they do take notes, listen to what the fans are saying.

Just perfecting these tips will save you time and money, I have what I call a go box that is ready to go when I am with all the display materials need to set up wherever I am. When you get home re-stock so you’re ready to go at the drop of a hat. Remember to be able to display vertically and horizontally.

Trust me, I started my business to support my book habit, I am first and foremost a bookaholic, and as a fan I know what WE like.

Simply Said Reading Accessories

Authors Don’t Get Lazy

 Authors Don’t Get Lazy

Are you still excited about your book? If your not why should I be?

Authors don’t get lazy. The same thing you did to create the initial buzz about your book, you need to continue, to keep the fire burning.

If you’re burnt out don’t let your fans or future readers see it. I want you as happy as I am to see me as I am happy to see you.

You are our celebrites

It works like a marriage, are you willing to put in the effort that it takes to make it work? What if divorce or no more sales were not an option, just a consequence?

Reaction brings action.

Surely you must realize that the effort you put in is what you’ll get back.

Step back and focus,

Re-group, re-think and find the energy to keep it going.

Figure out what’s good about what your doing and what’s not working. It’s easier to maintain a buzz than to create one.

The hungry mouth gets fed, how hungry are you?

Learn how to fish you’ll eat for life.

Just my 2 cents,

Debra Owsley

Simply Said

What Didn’t You Do?

What Didn’t You Do? As some of my followers and readers of this blog know, I do several book festivals, conferences, signings, events etc a year. I am at these events selling and promoting my line of handmade bookmarks and book thongs. I am also there to connect with others who are authors, readers, and industry professionals, like myself. I love doing book events of all types because I am also an avid reader and huge fan of the people I feel blessed to meet. There have been some really great events and some really bad ones. Some I made money at, some I didn’t and some where I barely broke even. In doing so many book events I’ve learned which ones to do and which not to. I’ve also learned how to measure the actual advantages of doing certain one’s that cost a grip and I did not sell a thing. We would all love to sell out of all of our merchandise at these events. The question is how to make the most of any event? I hear a lot of comments and people speak freely around me because I am not an author, but little do they know I coach authors on how to make themselves stand out in a sea of authors. The very things they are bitching and moaning about are the very things that I tell authors not to do. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I recently did a book club conference that had at least 650 attendees. There were many major authors in attendance and readers galore. There were also many self published authors and other venders selling their wares. I had an awesome time. The readers were there ready to buy books and spend money. Several of the readers told me they save all year for this particular conference. I attended this event last year, as a reader and I knew I would be there this year. It really pained me to over hear negative comments from people who did not feel they were doing as well as they could have, for a laundry list of reasons. Some were valid and some was whining. As I listened, the question then became, what are you NOT doing to make this work for you? Instead of complaining, how do YOU turn this around to your advantage? To me the obvious first thing was stop wasting your time and energy complaining. You are letting hundreds of people pass you and you’re sitting behind your table moaning and groaning. Look at the glass as half full and figure out how to fill it. One of the first things I would tell you to do is SMILE. It’s free and welcoming. If you’re pouting and complaining, no one wants to be around you. The readers are your customers. They don’t need to know you’re unhappy. They did not pay to come to this event to see you sulk. They don’t need to know all the politics of what’s going on behind the scenes. They want you to tell them about your book. Smile even if you’re not happy. The next thing is plan. What is your objective in doing this event? Did you plan on what you want to gain from this experience besides sales? Why aren’t you getting sales? Are you sitting behind the table waiting for the readers to come to you, or are you standing in front of your table, with your book in hand introducing yourself to the people passing by? Did you dress you table up? Or do you just have your books on a table, with nothing to grab the attention of passerby’s. Are you collecting the email addresses for contact later, when the competition is not so steep? What did you offer in the way of promotional tools and as giveaways, that they will take home and check you out later? Even if you were not a featured author, did it stop you from coming? Why did you come? Trust me I have felt the same after leaving some of these events at first, and I have bitched and moaned too. But I learned how to turn it around. I figured out what to do before I got there, while I was there and to have plan A B C and D if necessary in place. There are many things you can do prior to get the ball rolling, simple things that you can do now Email all of your fans and let them know your going to be at this venue Offer them a gift for coming Find a way to dress up your table that is eye and attention getting Create your brand and use it Define your mission Have an agenda Build relationships with your social networks Have several plans in place just in case things are not going the way you want them While your there Don’t stand behind the table Smile Get email addresses Read an excerpt Create a scene from your book Where a tee shirt with your book title Pay attention to what others are doing Meet people Talk to other authors Pass out promotional materials that stick These are just a few things that you can do. Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do. The glass is half full what are YOU going to do to fill it up? Don’t just show up, show out. Work these events like a job, because they are. I offer coaching classes on “Novel Approaches” to market your book, and theme scenes for authors on a budget Infectious enthusiasm is an amazing draw

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Divine Intervention

Divine Intervention

by Lutishia Lovely Just as Princess Brooks and Raphael Stevens are about to say ”I Do” Derrick Montgomery collapses to the floor and everything stops. Rafael has patiently waited to bed his bride to be and can’t believe his misfortune. The fact that her beloved Uncle Derrick,(who just so happens to be the love of her life’s father) has a serious medical condition has ruined his dream of this night. The wedding has been stopped and some think it’s divine intervention! Kelvin screwed up when he and Princess were together, and feels like he’s been given a second chance to be the man she needs to marry. When they saw each other again, it was all fate needed. Tai has been a dutiful and faithful wife, but when King goes on a business trip for the church, he gets a little island favor that could ruin everything and lose the love of his life, Tai. Mama Max is ready to get a divorce. she’s tired of waiting on The Reverend Doctor Pastor Bishop Overseer Mister Stanley Obadiah Meshach Brook Jr to make up his lost mind and oversee his own home. He’s shacking up with Dorothea and life is not grand. He misses his Maxie and when he comes home for the wedding to see another man pulling at her skirt and up to his dinner table, things get real to him. He needs to undo what he’s done but someone is going to pay with their life. Lutishia knows how to tell a “Lovely” story, she keeps you wanting for more. This is the 7th installment of her Hallelujah series, and it just keeps getting more and more complicated and divine. 5 stars sister, 5 stars! Biography Lutishia Lovely is an award-winning author of sixteen novels, six of which are romance titles written under her alter-ego pseudo, Zuri Day. In addition to her wildly popular Hallelujah Love Series, Ms. Lovely has a hot new trilogy called "The Business" about a soul food dynasty where delicious drama and sizzling scandal is always on the menu! Prior to becoming a full-time author, Lutishia enjoyed many different careers. They all, however, had one thing in common - they all were linked into a "world of words". From administrative assistant to radio personality to actor to managing editor and senior writer for a holistic magazine,words have always been the magic that made Lutishia's world go 'round. Probably one of the spins that would most surprise readers is the fact that Lutishia was a rapper! That's right, for a short stint in the 90s, Lutishia was billed as "The Rhaptress" (a combination of a rapper and an actress), and toured with other singers and musicians throughout southern CA. She's happy now to beat out a rhythm on her keyboard...songs in the key of "writer" that she hopes will inspire and entertain!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Losing Hope

Losing Hope Blog CHAPTER ONE (EXCERPT) His ashes came with the morning mail. I had just finished my second cup of mint green tea when the usual pile of bills and store circulars were dumped through the mail slot on my front door. I was not expecting the mail carrier to also knock. Thank goodness I had gone against my norm and dressed for work before eating breakfast. The sight of me in my neon orange head scarf and granny-length floral bathrobe would have been too much for anyone on a Tuesday morning. Guess that’s why I am still single. Did I say single? That’s not totally true. It’s complicated. I looked at the box in the mail carrier’s outstretched hands and sighed. Then again, I thought, guess the title of single is now official. “Ms. . . Sienna St. James?” I wanted to shake my head no, but I nodded, anyway. “Sign here.” The mail carrier pointed to a bright red X on the certified package, acting as if delivering boxes from the Crematório Rodrigues in Almada, Portugal, was part of his normal routine. “Thanks,” I mumbled, taking the large, plain cardboard box from him, then closing the door. It was heavier than I expected, as if a set of stoneware dishes from Walmart was waiting inside. RiChard. “Welcome home, baby.” I bit my lip, waiting to feel the torrent of emotions I had been expecting to feel since last Wednesday, when I got the call. Nothing. Numbness. With the box of ashes still in my hands, I looked around my cramped rancher, searching for a place to put it. To put him. God, help me. The coffee table in the living room was piled high with library books and home-decorating magazines. The side tables had more of the same. No space. And there was no way I was putting that box on my kitchen table. Roman and I had to eat there. Oh, and before anybody asks, my bedroom was way out of the question. Too many memories. No, actually just too creepy. I studied the box, running my fingers down the lines of heavy brown packaging tape, the box itself a weighty reminder that my life had not turned out the way I’d imagined it would when I was eighteen. And in love. Hard to believe that was almost two decades ago. A nearby silver teapot caught enough of my distorted reflection to remove any doubt. Though I still had my grandmother’s heart-shaped face, my father’s almond-shaped eyes, and my mother’s honey maple skin, a few strands of gray blended in with the copper highlights of my retro Halle Berry–styled hair. And a few extra pounds padded my once thin and trim frame. My mother used to tell me that I needed to add a doughnut to my daily routine to catch up to the hip, butt, and boob fullness of the women in my clan. She hasn’t told me that in years. One of my fingernails caught on an edge of the box, and I recoiled at the badly chipped raspberry polish. My fingernails looked like a preschooler’s beloved art project. Sheena Booth, the diva who was my office mate, would call in sick before showing up to work with her nails looking the way mine did at that moment. Work! The digital clock over the microwave read 7:42. The way I-83 got jammed in the morning rush hour, I should have left twelve minutes ago if I was to have any chance of getting to work on time. Although I was her favorite, Ava didn’t play. I looked again at the box in my hands and then up at the kitchen ledge where I kept all my bills and junk mail. I have no choice, I reassured myself as I dropped the unopened box on top of my water, cable, and phone bills. A colorful advertisement for somebody’s family-owned gutter-cleaning business lay to the side. I mean, what else was I supposed to do with it? Seemed appropriate in a way—my long-lost husband’s remains mixed in with my bills. How much had that man cost me? How much more did he owe me? Some losses and debts can’t be measured in dollars and cents. It wasn’t until I was halfway down I-83 that I realized what was wrong with RiChard’s temporary final resting place. Roman did not have basketball practice today. He might get home before me. My fourteen-year-old son knew very little about his father. His last memory of him should not be an unopened cardboard box from a crematorium in Portugal sitting next to the gas and electric bill. I had not told Roman anything about the call I’d gotten last week or the delivery I knew was coming. I hadn’t told Roman much of anything. Truth was, I didn’t think I knew much of anything when it came to RiChard Alain St. James. I had to get home before Roman did. I thought that getting home before four thirty would be my most difficult mission of the day, but I should have known better. Anytime anything RiChard St. James showed up, everything in my life collapsed in one way or another. I knew this. Lived it, breathed it. Survived it. And I still wasn’t prepared for what was coming next…. © 2012 by Leslie J. Sherrod All rights reserved. Copying without permission prohibited.
About the Author Leslie J. Sherrod is a wife, mom, writer, and a therapist in Baltimore, Maryland, where she lives with her husband and three children. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland at College Park with a B.S. in Family Studies. She also studied writing at Johns Hopkins University before completing her Masters in Clinical Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she specialized in Child, Adolescent, and Family Health. Leslie is the author of three novels, Losing Hope (coming September 2012); Secret Place (Urban Christian, 2011); and Like Sheep Gone Astray (Grand Central Publishing, 2006), which earned a Starred Review from Booklist and was featured on AOL’s Black Voices. She is also a contributor to a couple of women’s devotionals in the bestselling A Cup of Comfort series (Adams Media). A short story, “The Jericho Band,” is available on Kindle. Through suspenseful and thought-provoking stories, Leslie offers readers hope and encouragement to live out their God-given dreams and purposes. One of her favorite Bible verses is Ephesians 3:20, which states that “[God] is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” It is this message she carries to book signings, bookstores, workshops, and church events both in her neighborhood and across the nation. About the Book From the acclaimed author of Like Sheep Gone Astray and Secret Place comes a riveting new series with twists and turns to the end. Social worker Sienna St. James is a woman with a complicated past and a confusing Tuesday morning. In one single day, every advance Sienna has made in getting over her long lost globe-trotting husband unravels in unexplainable fashion. From a mysterious package that hails from another continent to a new teen client who claims to have a missing sister, Sienna finds herself in the middle of a city-wide scandal, all while sorting out the painful details of her personal life. At the center are two suspicious foster parents, a mega-church ministry leader, and Sienna’s own fragile emotions over a man who changed the direction of her life. It’s a race against time as Sienna seeks closure from a love she never understood and answers about whether a little girl named Hope ever existed. And if she did, where is she now? In this first installment of the suspenseful Sienna St. James Series, finding hope in the midst of questions and chaos becomes essential when life takes an unexpected turn. Purchase the Book Online at: Book Trailer: Embed Code Link Book Review Hope is a metaphor and a missing person, that social worker Sienna St.James is searching for. Hope for her life and Hope., a clients sister that no one thinks is real.If Hope is not real why are people blocking her search and why are strange things happening? "Hope" is also searching for her husband RiChard. A strange call and the arrival of a box, Sienna thought to be the ashes of her dead husband, is a ring with a history and a millon questions that she can't answer for herself nor her son Roman. The search for him sends both mother and son into a difficult place. As Sienna searches for the child and the metaphor a lot of things are uncovered about both. This was an excellent read. Suspenceful and intriging. The characters drew me in as the mystery unfolded. For More Information Visit the author online at: View the blog tour schedule at:

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