Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ISWG Blog Hop: Insecure About Book Signings, Hoping for a KNOCKOUT at the Write Club Contest

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IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.
Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop! 
Always on the first Wednesday of the month.
What is the Insecure Writer's Support Group?
Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. To find out more, click this link:  Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The purpose of the group is 
* to share and encourage. 
* Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. 
* Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. 
*It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 
You're invited to become a member of this supportive group. Click here to sign-up to join.
I was very insecure on Saturday, the day I had committed to being a part of the Author Jamboree at the Book Nook and Java Shop to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day.
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Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day at


Join more than 550 independent bookstores in 49 states for

parties, author readings, in-store events, and

exclusive day-of merchandise.

The fifth annual National Independent Bookstore Day is sponsored in part by Penguin Random House, Ingram, and The American Booksellers Association. Last year participating bookstores saw an average increase in sales of 200% on Independent Bookstore Day, with some stores up as much as 1000% over their average Saturday sales in April.  In just five years, Independent Bookstore Day has become a book-buying holiday, increasing book sales on a national level. 

Authors will be at the Book Nook from 4-6:30 pm signing books and talking about their writing journeys. Please come and visit!! Enjoy the celebration!!
Click here to locate an independent bookstore in the USA.
Me at the book sales table at the Author Jamboree
Photo courtesy of Nan Pokerwinski
Previous to this event, I had only done one book signing with my print books and that was at a small town festival. I have done others with my writer's group, but I had eBooks to sell. Let me tell you, you CANNOT sell an eBook at a book signing. So I gave up trying to sell them at events.

The gentleman organizing the event tried sending a notification through FB to me, but I never received it. He finally FB messaged me to tell me to come over at 3:30 pm. So I invited my friend Nan to go with me. She has a memoir that will be released in October and was excited for the opportunity to hand out cards to potential readers and meet local authors. She also wanted to attend a workshop at the bookstore about pitching your book at book signings.

Adding to my insecurity was the uncertainty of the weather for that day. The threat of snow forecast for the evening's return home on 30 miles of country roads added to our consternation about actually making a day of it. We were thankful we knew the event was indoors, but Nan, nor I, wanted to stay for the signing if it meant driving on snowy, icy roads that evening. We both watched the weather forecasts on Friday night and in the morning.

I packed my books up and wondered if I needed a chair or a table, but since it was a coffee shop, I figured they'd have tables and chairs.

The MichiganAuthors Facebook website, where I learned of the event, assured authors there was no charge for being a part of the jamboree. The gentleman in charge explained the bookstore was keeping 40% of the book's retail price.
The Upper and Lower Peninsula of  the State of Michigan
So this led to more anxiety about making sure I price the books so I wouldn't lose money on a sale. My newbie's nerves kicked in when I realized how little I knew about the retail brick and mortar business end of selling books.  I have never left books on consignment. Have you?  I also had to decide the number of books to make available for sales.

So many questions and no answers bothered me. I forged on with the plan believing this would be an education and experience I could use for future book signings.

After studying the weather, we decided to take off for the workshop and decide later if the weather was going to be a problem for the drive home. I was pleased to discover warm, welcoming authors at the workshop. And though they knew each other very well, they were open to talking to us newcomers and advising us. We worked together on developing each other's pitches and sales acumen. The leader of the workshop was engaging and full of information. Nan and I felt the workshop was fun. And it was free too.

Piling insecurity on top of insecurity, we learned each author had ten minutes on the stage to do a reading, talk about their books, explain their writing life, their inspiration, and a Q and A, etc. Talk about not being prepared! But as the evening wore on, I became more comfortable knowing the audience was friendly and genuinely interested in each of us and our books. So, I actually looked forward to speaking and sharing with them when I hopped up on the stage.
Me, on stage, blabbering about my books
Photo courtesy of Nan Pokerwinski
Thirteen authors showed up for the jamboree and I only knew Nan. So it was an exciting evening meeting fellow authors. I must add that the bookstore is in a city of about 2500 people and its neighboring town, Whitehall, has a population of about 2500 too. In the summer though, the tourists come for fishing the rivers and lakes, water sports and sightseeing the gorgeous scenery. I was impressed by the distance some of the authors traveled to get to Montague and to this little oasis of book enthusiasts.

What a night. Did I tell you I sold books too? But you know, even if I hadn't sold one, I would declare the night a success. Not only do I feel more secure about book signings and bookselling, the realization there are so many readers in small towns and big cities wherever you go adds fuel to my drive to keep writing and entertaining and informing every one of them.
* * *


I submitted a 500-word writing sample to a crazy contest known as Write Club. 
Its founder, D.L. Hammons explains--"It started off as a modest competition loosely derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB."

This is WRiTE CLUB, the contest where the audience gets clobbered!
"Here’s the ABC’s of how it works. When the submission period opens (Mar 18-Apr 14), you simply send in a 500-word writing sample using a pen name (details on how to do that below). Once the submission period closes, all the entries are read by a panel of twenty volunteers (I call them my slushpile readers). The slushpile readers are a diverse group of avid readers and they each will select their top samples. Their selections narrow down the contestant pool to the thirty writers picked by the most judges. Over the course of the next eight weeks, we’ll hold daily bouts (M-F) right here on this blog – randomly pitting the anonymous 500-word writing samples against each other. The winners of these bouts advance into elimination rounds, and then playoffs, quarter-finals, and then ultimately a face-off between two finalists to determine a single champion. The writing sample can be any genre, any style (even poetry), from a larger piece of work or flash fiction -- the word count being the only restriction. It’s a way to get your writing in front of a lot of readers, receive a ton of feedback, all without having to suffer the agony and embarrassment of exposure. How cool is that?

And how are the winners of each bout determined? By you and other WRiTE CLUB readers! Anyone who visits my blog during the contest can vote for the writing sample that resonates with them the most in a bout. All I ask is that you leave a brief critique of each piece to help the contestants improve their craft."--DL Hammons,

So do you want to check it out and play along? I don't even know if my sample was selected to be in a bout. I have to check each day to see if it's posted on DL's blog. I love that the contest is NOT a popularity contest, but rather determined by votes for the best writing. I look at it as The VOICE for writers.

Click here  to take you to the Write Club page and you can begin reading the samples chosen by the 20 judges. It's too late to join in this year, but there's always next year. Good luck. I'm sure you can KNOCKOUT the competition with your great story!

What tip do you have about participating in book signings? Do you have a FB group for authors in your state or region? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm glad the event went well! You will get used it and get better over time. (I've done over 300 bookstore/library appearances.) You'll learn what to pack, how to set up your display, and how to boldly talk to people and hand out bookmarks. As for consignment - unless the store is in your town and you know them well, it's a sure way to lose books I'm afraid.

Computer Tutor said...

That is amazing. I'm proud of you. I think I would have a heck of a time doing that.

Juneta key said...

Love seeing you with your books. You made it look fun. You go!

Julia Jhonson said...

That one was really nice... I like this and really enjoyed... Keep it up and I also read your blog posts. can I get a few more information if you have about few things which you shared in the past. I will be thankful to you...

Erika Beebe said...

Book signings make me nervous too. Good for you! It sounds like it was a great experience. Good luck on your submission Janet. Happy IWSG Day.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Diane. I like your assurance I will learn to boldly talk to people. Yes, I feel comfortable about leaving books for sale at this bookstore, but I will take your advice about not doing it willy-nilly.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Jacqui. Actually the experience enriches taking ownership of being an author. Good to meet people.

J.Q. Rose said...

Aw, Juneta. It really was fun. Thanks.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, Julia. Yes, if you have questions, please email me.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you, Erika. You have a happy IWSG Day AND May Day!!

DL Hammons said...

Thank you for the WRiTE CLUB mention JQ! We need all the publicity we can get. I'll cross my fingers for your own piece. :)

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, DL. It may take more than crossing fingers to get my piece in the bouts. LOL Thanks for stopping in.

Joselyn Vaughn said...

I'm so glad the book signing went well.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Sounds like quite the successful event on many fronts! Love those pictures of you with your books :)

Pat Garcia said...

What an experience. You have beaten a dragon of fear and gained confidence.
I am so glad that you participated. I believe you went away with a big smile in your heart.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Jennifer Lane said...

Way to stretch yourself, JQ! I did an Ohio author event on that same day and I was part of a contemporary suspense panel that necessitated talking about myself and my books--also anxiety-provoking but ultimately enjoyable.

Michelle Wallace said...

Write Club is such an exciting contest. Fingers crossed that your piece makes the cut.
You look really comfortable at the book sales table. Congrats!

emaginette said...

You made the whole experience sound wonderful and exciting. Congrats on selling some books too. hehehe

Anna from elements of emaginette

Helena Fairfax said...

I love the idea of a National Independent Bookstore Day, and it's wonderful that it's so successful. We don't have anything like that in the UK. It's time we did! And congratulations on making a success of the day. Thanks for sharing your interesting event!

Jennifer Hawes said...

That sounds like an awesome event. I'd buy some books and by some I mean tons. I've visited the Write Club before. It's an amazing contest! Good luck!

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Joselyn. Mark it on your calendar for next year.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks. Nan took the pics. She also wrote about the day on her blog with more pics. The link to her blog is http://www.nanpokerwinski.com/blog/celebrating-indie-bookstores Check it out. She's a fantastic writer.

J.Q. Rose said...

Yes, Pat, a big smile in my heart indeed. Love that.

J.Q. Rose said...

WTG, Jennifer. Glad you had an enjoyable experience too.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Michelle. I'm enjoying reading the pieces in Write Club. So packed with emotion Wow. Thanks, I guess I was pretty comfortable, but everyone made it easy.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks Anna. Yes, selling books--icing on the cake!! hee hee

J.Q. Rose said...

Yes, Helena. I especially like that all authors were welcome to participate in the jamboree--traditional or self published. Happy to share. Your next project is rounding up all the independent bookstores in the UK.

J.Q. Rose said...

Jennifer, And we love buyers like you to come to these events! hee hee. Glad to know you visited Write Club. Be sure and check it out again this year.

Diane Burton said...

Your insecurities brought back every feeling I have before an author event. I always wonder why I keep signing up for them. lol Once I'm there, my nerves settle down. It's too bad you didn't get all the info that would've made the event more enjoyable. But it sounds like you did fine. So glad you sold books. That always makes things better.

Chrys Fey said...

I didn't even know about National Independent Bookstore Day. I missed it. Darn!

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