Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book (not) Signing at Barnes & Noble

I had an interesting night at Barnes & Noble in Greenville, NC last night. I have had an even planned for over a month there with the Events Coordinator, or so I thought. I noticed a couple of weeks ago, that my book reading was not on their website. I called and reached the manager who assured me that he would get this changed and get back to me. He didn't. The website did announce my book signing and children's activity. I've been really excited to be able to do this, considering my book is self-published. Henry had done book signings for both of his books there and the staff were exceptionally nice and helpful. I'm very sick this weekend with a cold, but mustered the energy to go anyway. After all, I had committed my time.

My friend, Debbie, went with me bringing props and encouragement. When we got there, I was directed to the manager on duty. She asked me which book I'd like to read. I said, "My book." The other staff asked, "Oh, you wrote a book?" From there, it seemed to go further downhill. The lady in charge of the events had not let them know I was coming. Barnes & Noble corporation didn't approve my poster to go up that I sent them to let people know about the event, although I was told they had been telling people who came into the store.

The books had not been ordered in time and weren't there. Unlike the twenty plus children I had been assured were always there on Friday nights, there were about four or five children with parents that came over after my event was announced. I had a choice - get p'ed off and leave or make the most of the situation. I decided to stay and retrieved the one book I had in my car. My mother and sister had driven in and so had friends of ours.

I read the first chapter. Everyone was very nice and laughed at the funny parts (yes!). The children took bookmarks with my book's cover printed on them and a candy and one even came back for more before I left. So I think it turned out well. My friends said they really liked the book, which made me feel great. I am very grateful, however, to the staff who were working last night. They were very nice and helped me make the most of the situation, even offering sweet treats to the listeners.

I'm learning so much from this publishing "thing," mostly how to make a good impression while I'm standing there representing my book. Out of the children there, one little boy sat in a chair reading another book to himself while I was reading mine. As a teacher, though, I found this a little amusing and thought at least he's found a book that's fascinating to him enough to hold his attention for a while. The older children were very attentive and polite and seemed to enjoy themselves. A toddler stood and cried through the first third of the chapter until his mother finally carried him off. You have to smile. Poor baby probably wondered why he was forced to stand with nothing to do but listen to that strange woman in the cape.

My next stop is the Kenly library on October 31. I'm really looking forward to this because the librarian in charge had gone to so much trouble. She has sent me ongoing emails to update me on her efforts.She's sent a notice to the elementary and middle school, put an ad in the newspaper, had someone from there to interview me. I guess the lesson is, not everyone who sets up these events for you will go to this trouble. You need to follow up with people who are hosting you to see just what they've done for promotion and if they haven't done much, you need to do it yourself.

So, I just thought I'd share my experiences with you. For new authors, when your books are published, be prepared to do a lot of phone time and footwork to promote them. Half the work seems to come after the book comes out.

And, find humor where you can wrestle it out of a bad situation. It might make for good writing later:)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Want To Be a Monster

This is a very cute book by C and M Dixon about a young girl who wants to be a monster for Halloween while her mother wants to dress her up in girly outfits. I enjoyed the timing of the pages with the mother offering numerous ideas for frilly, cutesy outfits and the young girl maintaining that she wants to be a monster. This book is very subtle, but does speak very well about letting kids be themselves. The mother relents in the end and lets her child know she will still love her even if she's a monster. I like the illustrations being done with paper cutouts, but the main weakness in them is the expressions from the mother and daughter. These could have been stronger. I don't think it weakened the theme, though. I would recommend this books to parents of small children as much for the grownups as for the children.

The Jack O'Lantern Tree

The Jack O' Lantern Tree by Lina Stanek is a delightful picture book that tells the story of Jack O' Lantern who calls upon his fellow pumpkins to create a Jack O' Lantern tree. The author's choice of words is lyrical and the rhymes are natural and fun. The language is sophisticated for a picture book, but this is great for vocabulary building. Each illustration shows a group of pumpkins with distinct personalities appropriate for Halloween Jack O' Lanterns. I love the fact that the characters, even Jack, stay true to the Halloween spirit and not cutesy. The jack o' lanterns even learn not to bump each other, but to work together to make the tree come to life. I would definitely recommend this book for a preschool or even first or second grade.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Trick or Treat Street: A Halloween Story

Trick or Treat Street: A Halloween Story by Moira Butterfield and illustrated by Will O'Brien tells the story of a young boy whose last year's Halloween costume has been nibbled on and ruined by an intruding mouse. While all of his other friends are wearing bright costumes and having fun, he is left with nothing to wear until his mother pools her resources and makes him a one-of-a-kind outfit.
This book will appeal to the preschool set with bright photos mixed with artist's drawings. The book has an almost scrapbook look, which should inspire crafty parents to take lots of photos on Halloween and construct their own stories.
I would have loved to see at least one or two more pages with the mother and son searching the house for the materials to make the final costume, rejecting some, keeping others. I could actually see this made into two separate books, one about the kids out trick-or-treating and an entire book dedicated to making a homemade outfit. That in itself can be more fun than buying something ready to wear.
The rhymes in this book are fun and are good for small children learning to read. I would definitely recommend this for a preschooler.

Free Halloween E Books

Who wouldn't want a free download e book to read? As Halloween is my favorite holiday, I was excited to find a new email newsletter from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. They've listed several Halloween e books that are free for a promotional trial. I've downloaded several myself and will review them as I read them. When Maude and Argie heard about this, they insisted on offering Delores Fletcher, Cobweb Catcher for a free trial run. So, from October 7 to October 11, you can download the Kindle version to read. Happy reading to everyone and Happy Halloween!I'm posting the ones I've selected to read. Check out these and others and do us a favor and leave a review.