Friday, December 24, 2010


I hope your holidays are filled with family, good friends and lots of cheer.

I brought my husband home from the hospital after his Tuesday knee replacement. So, our Christmas will be quiet while he exercises, recuperates and watches sports.

I am, however, still working on marketing. I bought cookie cutters - boot, cowboy, cactus and horse. At some presentations I plan to have kids decorate their own cookies. I also found lots of recipes for cowboy cookies - hardy oatmeal cookies. After Laura Resau said she took French pasties to a signing and had lots of people, I began to consider what I might do.

Along with the above, I copied the book cover on 8" x 11" cardstock, cut the picture into large puzzle pieces and plan to hand out as prizes.

The next post will be January 3rd.

Monday, December 20, 2010

No New Ideas

As writers we are told there are no new ideas only old ones rewritten. I discovered that by mistake this weekend.

Turner Classic Movies and AMC showed many old Christmas movies including "In the Good Old Summertime" with Judy Garland and Van Johnson. I love old Christmas movies.

A young woman becomes a pen pal with a man she doesn't know. Then she takes a job in a music store. The two people decide to meet. She carries a book and a flower and waits for a long time. As it turns out, her music store boss is her pen pal and discovers as much when he looks through the window of the restaurant to see her sitting there with a book and a flower. He leaves but returns and sits down. Sound familiar?

I have watched "You've Got Mail" so many times I know it by heart. A scene in the picture duplicates the one in the Christmas movie. As I think about the two movies, I recall more and more duplications.

Further research discovered the first version "The Shop Around the Corner," 1940, starred James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan was set in Budapest. "In the Good Old Summertime" came out in 1949 as a remake set in Chicago. "You've Got Mail," 1998, takes email, AOL, Pride and Prejudice and the old versions to a new level set in New York City. Silly me thought the last to be a "new" movie. Little did I know.

Although not always reliable, Wikipedia gives a good account of the three movies.

The moral of this writing is don't give up on your story just because you discover it has been done before. Give it a new twist - change the setting, tweak the plot, add something new and go for it. If writing non-fiction such as advice, remember today's generation doesn't know all those past ideas.

Happy writing!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Author events

I've been told that if you want to be a hit with your publisher, you should commit yourself to marketing. The School Manager of Pelican Publishing commented how excited she is about all the events I've lined up for the book's release. What can you do?

Perhaps I've listed some things before. Contact as many people as possible. Start a Facebook Fan Page. Network wherever you go. Make business cards and pass them out liberally. Consider making bookmarks. I gave a recipe for that before. Since then I've decided to have them done professionally at a local business. Join social media groups. Work with your publisher. Check out other markets such as, in my case, businesses that deal in cowboy clothing. Join author events. I have access to one but it costs a small fortune to have a booth. I'm thinking about it. Think publicity. Plan now for interview questions. Update your website. These are but a few suggestions. If you have more, please comment.

Things are heating up for the release. News from the publisher indicates the Denver Art Museum has backordered books already. Pelican says response has been great.

Local events include book signings at several locations.

  • February 17th, 506:30 pm, Small Business Development Center Networking Event in Loveland
  • February 26th, 1:00 p.m., Old Firehouse Books 
  • The Loveland Museum/Gallery hosts a signing/presentation on March 19th, 1-3.
  • March 26th, I'll conduct a teacher workshop on how to get children to enjoy, interact, look thoroughly at art, and how to incorporate art into other curriculum subjects.
  • April 13th, Primrose School in Denver
For more information and locations, check my website.

I'll be adding a signing at Reader's Cove soon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Books and Christmas

Sales! Sales! And more sales! Even my book with a release date of February 15th is already listed at a discounted price for pre-orders on and Barnes & Noble website. Last time I looked Borders and Pelican had it at full price.

Books make wonderful Christmas gifts. I've given The Polar Express and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey to all my grandchildren as well as other children I know.

I've written articles on giving books. "Book of the Month Club" gives a book each month in honor of a child's birthday or to extend Christmas throughout the year. Depending on the child's age, Newbery and Caldecott books make great gifts. To make it easier, buy stamps ahead of time and mailing envelops. You can even buy the books early. I once found one in a grocery store sale bin - Click, Clack, Moo which was an honor winner.

Another darling book for younger children is Ellen Javernick's The Birthday Pet. Check for local authors and try to fit their books with the children on your list. Getting an autograph is also a plus. For special children, give the gift of an author visit to their class. In my case, I'm offering free presentations for launch of the book for the remainder of the 2010-2011 school year. I still require reimbursement of travel expenses for out of town.

Series books are always a hit. Libraries have lists of popular series by age. Just ask the resource desk. Think the Bailey School Kids, Magic School Bus, and many others. Check Debbie Dadey's website for several series.

Think books for gifts. Start a child's library at a young age. They'll become avid readers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

End of year

As the end of the year approaches, I begin to analyze what publications printed my works in 2010. Course, my husband gets on my case to print it all out for our taxes.

That said, what is your method of record keeping?

Some record keeping programs make the job easy. However, after trying one, I decided my spreadsheet works fine. I set up a spreadsheet with a submission listing - publication, article title, date, email or snail, what was sent (query, book proposal, whole article, etc.), acceptance/rejection, follow-up, editor, address, promised pay, expense and actual pay. Below all that, I list what expenses I accumulate as they happen.

Unfortunately, I'm a book junky. Instead of borrowing all my resource materials, I tend to purchase them from or wherever I find them. If the books are out of print and expensive, I borrow them. My shelves are loaded. Many books have sticky notes along the edges. I'm not good at note taking but everything is marked in each book.

With the approach of the New Year, I'm considering what writing goals/resolutions I can make. The first will be better note keeping - footnotes particularly. If anyone questions a statement or fact, I'll have instant access to the source rather than spending time going through sticky notes.

What 2011 goals are you setting?

I think I'm pretty much finished with my website. Check it out. Let me know if you have suggestions.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Facebook Fan Page

The teacher, Sean Macready, convinced me I need a Facebook fan page with all the numbers he quoted. Course, getting fans is like getting friends on a blog, takes a long time. In checking my google analytics, I find many more people check the blog but don't become friends. I have to admit, I fit in that category also - read the blog but don't become a friend. Maybe I'll change that.

The Fan Page is much like a profile except it is triggered with keywords, if I understood him correctly. So, more people will eventually read the page rather than your profile which does nothing. You can track readers on the fan page but not the profile. I'll let you know if it works. He also suggested not to over promote yourself on your fan page. Post other things three out of four posts and promote yourself in the fourth.

The teacher offered a free hour consultation, which I will definitely use. I'll get the page up, then, check with him before I send out invitations for fans.

More marketing for my book included:
1. Downloading all school districts in Colorado
2. Downloading all library districts in Colorado

Next I'll check Wyoming schools and libraries, especially Cheyenne and Laramie.

Seems like every time I make some contact, it leads to a marketing event. The SBDC has a networking event in February right after my book is released. Even though I live in Fort Collins and should go through that office, the Loveland office agreed to promote me. I'll register for that soon.

Besides the CCIRA (Colorado Council International Reading Association) convention, I learned of a Mountain and Plains convention which will be held this year in Loveland, Colorado, just 10 miles from me. I've contacted them.

You never know who can offer networking advice. Use every possible connection.

Next week I plan to go to Business Card Factory here in Fort Collins about making cards and bookmarks. I want to get them soon so I can begin passing out bookmarks.

I've updated my website to include fees for presentations and an offer of free presentations until the end of the 2010-2011 school year. I sent one email to a prospective customer and she was delighted and will get back to me with a date. I learned from SBDC not to say "If you'd like......" but, instead, "What date would you like....." It worked!

You can find my book on for pre-orders and on the Barnes & Noble, Borders and Pelican Publishing websites.

Hope you can use a few of these marketing ideas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I admire self-publishers because marketing is time consuming. My publicist does a lot but I'm also helping. Unable to sleep last night, I worked on several marketing ideas at 3:00 a.m. I've spend this whole day at the computer on other marketing projects.

I found a listing of museums that display Charles Russell's art. I emailed each one with a description of the book, a place to order an e-galley (online review copy) or regular review copy and a thank you for considering purchase of the book. We'll see if any museum shops place orders.

As suggested by the counselor at SBDC (Small Business Development Center) I am working or jazzing up my website. Not accomplished at this point but getting there. To demonstrate the care demonstrated by SBDC, I tried to get in a class on making a Facebook fan page. I was too late to fill either of the last two available spots. This morning SBDC called and said they were squeezing me into the class since my book comes out in February and I need the class now not in January. How thoughtful of them! I highly recommend getting their help in marketing your work.

I now have my own domain email address although I've not used it much as yet - My next step in the marketing process is to check contacts for all Colorado and Wyoming school districts. I want to attend district teacher meetings, if possible. Then, perhaps I'll acquire some classroom presentations. I contacted the CCIRA (Colorado Council International Reading Association) 2012 chair and will fill out their information when it becomes available online in March.

The Loveland Museum/Gallery reserved the date of March 19th, 1-3, for my book signing. They also asked me to present a teacher workshop on March 26th. Besides the school districts, I'm working up that presentation. Once I receive a few recommendations for my website, I'm hoping more presentations will come my way.

My website Author Visit section gives an Introductory Offer of free presentations until the end of this school year. Most authors have made such offers for their first books. I am following suit. Then I'm not charging as much as some. That may bite me in the foot, but I'll try it for a while. My next job requires I write a comment form for teachers to fill out with permission to place comments on my website. Those help to build a reputation.

I hope you can apply some of these marketing ideas for your work.