Monday, November 26, 2012

Where are you selling your books?

My writer friend, Linda, and I decided to offer out books for sale at the Kountze Big Thicket Days Trade Fair last weekend.  Although not as classy as a book signing in a book store, we met some terrific people, learned a lot and sold some books. 

.Linda enjoyed sharing her writing projects and her "elevator pitch" with passers-by.

We enjoyed visiting with some of the 250 other venders, by taking turns to walk the paved pathways. I had to wait until the traffic cleared a little so I could take a photo of our booth and the path. We are on the left past the shaded booth.

Yes, there was competition, but no other authors were signing there books. The large tent housed a jobber who bought returned books (mostly children's) from the distributor. The books were priced at reduced wholesale prices and were selling well.  We met a family who was selling a large collection of old cookbooks for $1,00.
And food. There are many food vendors. This one across from our booth hand tempting fried pickles, fired cheesecake and boudin balls and the regular fare.
And the people you meet!  The Big Thicket Outlaws, have gang will travel, set up a camp and shot off black powder guns. Their wives call them ROMEOS, retired old men eating out and shooting.

With pictures and notes, I plan to write an article for a yet un-selected magazine. So selling books at a trade fair will (hopefully) pay off in more writing.

December 7-8, Linda and I will be setting up our booth at Larry's Trade Days in Winnie, and we'll be back in Kountze on Dec. 14-15.  Come by and see us!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Are Writing Conferences a Place to Dabble?

You betcha!  Figure in the conference fees, travel expense and time involved to attend a writer's conference and balance that with what you will learn.
Bayou Writers Group of Lake Charles, LA, hosted another well attended conference last Saturday. 
BWG's mission statement "to educate, encourage, and inspite" both new and expert writers said it all in a nutshell for their ninth annual conference. The 2012 theme, "A Bridge to Publication," presented an opportunity for writers to dabble in diverse aspects of writing.
There were motivational speakers for all. Jessica Ferguson spoke on "The power of the made up mind". She challenged us to know we are writers, that we must write and we will write. 
Stella Nesanovich spoke using person and local in poetry.
 Mona Lisa Saloy discussed folktelling ahd poetry.
Brooks Sherman from New York talked about how to get and keep and agent, while linda Yezak discussed the importance of editing.
C. Hope Clark encouraged us all when she spoke on how writers make money. Do I have your interest?
A challenge to writers is the "On the Wall" first page contest. All attendees are encouraged to submit their very best first page of fiction or non-fiction (without names)  to be judged by popular vote. What a great way to dabble in your favorite genre.
As a final educational event, everyone was encouraged to ask the speakers questions. At this time writers had the opportunity to ask each or all speakers to answer questions as varied as "Who is your favorite author?" and "What is your advice for a beginning writer?" The questions were varied and the answers encouraged us.

An added event was a book rrom where the speakers and writers displayed their works for sale. Writers met speakers and made new friends who have become readers as well as writers.

We left the full day of dabbling in the art of writing with handouts, primed with inspiration to get to work on our personal writing course.

I challenge my writing readers to find a conference that speaks to them and to evaluate the cost plus time to see that this equals inspriation to write.

Stimulate those brain cells. Connect dendrites and synalpses to engage your mind and hand. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Are you a Dabbler?

I'm not just a writer, I'm a Jill of all trades and master on none, but I'm happy! I like to write, speak, create handmade paper and book covers, draw, paint, make quilts, jewelry, baskets, travel, take photos, spin dog hair, cook, garden and READ.
I confess my struggle with patience and perseverance to finish what I start to encourage you, fellow writers, to explore your creativity to enhance your writing.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, I had the honor of speaking for the Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, LA. My topic was "Dare to Dabble".  Remember the  axiom:
How do you know what you know? Through exploring your experiences, interests and through research.
Here are suggestions:

Brainstorm your interests regardless of your talent or expertise. Free-write a list of the things you like to do, ie. cook, garden, deer hunt, read. Add what you're involved in, ie. kids, grand kids, sports, pets. Randomly write down those things you'd like to explore and learn more about, ie. quilting, bird identification, canoeing.
Now think like a rubber band. Start with a general topic form your list and expand (also called webbing).
Combine your interests keeping in mind "How could this be turned into a writing project? Choose an interest and define yourself as an expert. Learn more. Can you see the potential for an article? A book?

I was traveling  with my two Shelties and met a woman training a puppy for a seeing-eye service, then met another lady who relied on a hearing alert dog. A couple with two standard poodles trained for pet therapy prompted me to get out my camera and recorder. I interviewed each dog owner and photographed the dogs. The resulting article was published. Dabbling with dogs paid off.
Another way to collect your Dabbling interests is by writing each idea on a sticky note. Stick each note to a page in a spiral notebook. As you collect different ideas or notes of your interests transfer those that  relate to a separate page. In what area could you become an expert? What magazines could you write for? How would your expertise liven up your novel?

Expanding your creativity will help with publishing your writing. My novel, Venture in Faith; Texas to Alaska, is set in an RV and involves a road trip similar to the ones I've driven to Alaska. My heroine's adventures are some of mine. Beneath the Surface, a novel, has an frustrated housewife, art teacher as heroine. Quilts, kids and  pets are also incorporated into the plot. 

The creative artist within you demands self-expression, but when all your energy goes toward a writing project  and "writer's block" follows, becomes boring or is no longer fun take a break and dabble.
Nourish your creativity.

I challenge you to dare to dabble, dare to dream. remember no dream comes true until you wake up and go to work on it.