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Authors both love and dread book signings. It is exciting to present your book (or books) to readers at a bookstore or other venue. You can’t wait to smile, sign a few books, shake a few hands, and meet your readers.

But every author (whether they admit it or not) dreads the thought of setting up a table, placing a stack of books and a pen for signing on it, and sitting for an hour with no one in line. Yes, it does happen.

An author tells a few friends, maybe posts to Facebook or some other social media site, and counts on the store to do all the promo. Then, few if any readers show up. Maybe, a reader already in the store will take pity on the author and stop by to chat. Maybe, if you’re really lucky, this reader will buy a copy of the book.

From my experiences, it takes a more personal invitation approach to attract readers to a book signing. In fact, if you can combine a brief, informative presentation with the signing – all the better. Also, it can help to have a signing with another writer so you can (hopefully) double your audience.

For some more great tips, read this recent post by writer friend, Katherine Pickett: What I Know About Book Signings.

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Thanks to Trisha Wooldridge, a fellow member of Broad Unvierse (women who write science fiction, fantasy, and horror), I read this interesting post on whether the same manuscript written by a male versus a female would be considered more seriously. I offer my readers the link, and wonder if this experience is “typical” or a fluke.

I hope this author’s experiences were just a fluke, and the world of agents and publishers is as even-handed as I try to be when editing an anthology.

For your consideration: Homme de Plume What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under A Male Name.

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Readers often ask where I get my ideas from. “Life,” is my usual response.

A perfect example is an article from Discovery Channel Australia on giant crystals which fill an entire cave. Superman jokes aside, this is a fabulous environment to use as the location of a story. I don’t even need to make up the wonder of this cave!

So I leave you science geeks, speculative fiction fans, and interested readers to ponder the amazing Crystal Cave and its ability to inspire.

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“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
– George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Still reading the Game of Thrones books and hoping to see a new book published in the not too distant future. George Martin is a wonderful stroyteller, whether you choose to delve into his world or not. Yes, there’s violence, language, and sex, but his world building is to be admired.

I like this quote, not just because it shows a wonderful relationship between parent and child, but because of its great truth. To pick up a snake when you’re not afraid of snakes is no act of bravery. To kill a copperhead threatening your children when you’re terrified of snakes, is being brave.

For me, it is a fearful thing to put my stories and artwork out in the public eye. I suppose it’s because I fear my work isn’t good enough. I’ve never been part of “the in group,” so I think I’m pretty sure my creative work—and by extension, myself—will be rejected or thought less than acceptable. Whether in science-fiction and fantasy fandom at cons, at writers’ conventions, bookstore signing, or at an art exhibit—I’m always one step away from running out the door. (Though I’ve been told I hide it well!)

So when you see me at public venues, know I face a fear by being there. I’m not sure if I’m brave, but I do know my heart is racing and my hands are shaking—just a bit—as I pry myself from in front of the computer or drawing board and mingle with readers, writers, and fans.

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“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” – Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

This is one of my favorite quotes. It took me many years to embrace the person I am. Being a little different from my peers, and sometimes being teased for those differences, can make it challenging, But now that I accept who I am, I feel stronger. And I say, it’s okay to be a woman who enjoys reading, writing, and painting science-fiction, fantasy, and dark fantasy works!

Plus, since I’m currently reading the Game of Thrones books (in hopes that a new book is close to publication), I wanted to celebrate this fine fantasy series.

To my readers: Take this quote to heart, and embrace the person you are.

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First, let me say I need to work on my blogging. With that said, I’ve been trying to come up with a strategy to write and share interesting content with my blog readers on a more regular basis.

Content is a tricky thing.

As an author, I want to engage my book readers – not only in the hopes they’ll continue to be interested in my writing, but also because they’re the ones who stop by at author events and cons to chat. Still, I don’t want to turn them off by constantly pushing my books.

As a writer, I’m interested in writing tips. When I find an interesting article on some aspect of the writing journey, I like to expand upon it and then, share the link. But I don’t want just writers reading my blog.

As a person, I’m interested in many things, including books, movies, science, gardening, animals, cooking, history, folklore, fairytales… well, you get the idea. In fact, those interests are the very things which inspire my writing and art. But I don’t want to just post recipes and gardening tips.

So ideally, the content of my blog speaks to my readers, helps other writers, reflects my interests, and hopefully proves interesting to many people. Like I said, content is tricky.

But content is only part of the journey to being a better blogger – there’s frequency, appearance, engaging your blog readers, etc. A good summary can be found in a She Writes post by Meghan Ward.

Happy blogging! And if you’re enjoying my posts, please visit my Amazon page and consider buying one of my books.

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I’ll be updating my website in the next few weeks. In order to streamline the site while still offering an opportunity for my readers to check out a few free samples, I’ve turned to Wattpad.

Watt-what” a few of you might ask. Wattpad is a site where many writers, some professional and some beginners, post free excerpts and complete stories. There are even some complete books for readers to enjoy.

I think it’s a great site for readers (free reads – need I say more) and writers. For writers, it’s an opportunity to offer a sample of your work to readers who might become fans of your work. If you decide to only offer excerpts, perhaps readers will be intrigued enough to search out the complete story or book. If you own all rights to a story or book, and are so inclined, you can gift your readers with a complete tale. Again, in the hopes those readers will become fans.

Here’s a link to one of my excerpts (over 12,000 words, so it’s a big excerpt) on Wattpad. You can easily find the other free prose I’m offering (including a complete story). If you like my excerpts and complete story, please Follow me, make a comment, favor the tale, and tell your friends.

Happy reading!

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