Thursday, March 19, 2009

Book Signing, New games, speaking engagements ... oh my!

For the first community event from B&R Books in Honea Path, I think it was a success. More older people coming out to listen to the music, pretty good group from what I heard. I stayed inside a good bit and saw a few people coming in. I wish I had had a sign out front indicating that I was inside doing a book signing but I didn't and it was still a success.

I got there a bit later than I had planned to be but Hailie was there to help me set up. I had walked in with my table and board and map and there was a customer in the store and she bought the two copies that were on the shelf (Bob is consigning my books along with the other children's and young adult/middle grade books that Vivian has available, save Colors and Angeline Jellybean as I don't have those two yet). So as I was putting up the table and the first sale was made and she wasn't even buying for kids; she was buying for herself. I signed and then Hailie and I got set up. Traffic picked up about 6 and I sold two more copies (grandma had the cutest little 4-year-old with her and she bought a copy for her and one for the baby that isn't even born yet (due in August), and she preordered two copies of State of Quarries. Light traffic but good contacts. One mother with her two children, a third grader and a younger (probably kindergarten) stopped by to chat and play my new game "Road Trip" and come to find out she is a teacher and/or on the PTO at the elementary school. She inquired as to me coming and doing a program either for a class or for the PTO. Woohooo - another speaking engagement at the elementary school for me (Already have one scheduled for the after school program kids on April 13).

I sold a couple more books to individuals and the two ladies who work at Curves came in and they were chatting with me as they have kind of adopted Hailie since she started going back to Curves recently. They were checking out my giveaways and all and were talking about me coming to their church and doing a program with the boys' group (the RAs), an interactive program and took all my information and will be getting back in touch.

I did get packed up and headed home and Bob was so nice to go ahead and pay me up front for the sales and I was informed that State of Quarries was sent to the printers today, so I should have it in about three weeks (fingers crossed).

Book signing - success
New Game - success and fun and I think once it catches on, it will be even more successful
and Speaking engagements - oh my!!

Ya'll come back and see us soon and see where the adventure takes you next!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A rainy out of school day but very productive for the JGDS!

Today was a rather stressful day as I had to be out and about running errands. I really didn't want to be out in the rain and cold but I'm glad I was.

First, I had to run to the bank and post office, pay a couple of bills, feed the kids and take Benjamin to his girlfriend's house to spend the day with her. Then Hailie and I went to another town to the grocery store there to find some candy canes and those little rolled candy looking books (that you give to your kids for Christmas) for Vivian to put in one of the OWFI baskets for the conference coming the end of April. I'm a member of OWFI affiliate group Pens & Keyboards, and someone in the group is doing a Christmas themed basket which will contain books that are all Christmas themed and they were wanting to find some Christmas candy to put in the basket. I told her I think I had seen some at this grocery store and would check. Success - I purchased two boxes of candy canes (one blueberry and one regular peppermint flavored) and two of the "candy books". I decided to go check on the aisle behind the candy one and see if they had any left over Christmas ornaments or anything that would be Christmas related and I found this shadowbox that typifies writers from the days of old. I couldn't resist to pick it up for the other basket - the one entitled "Celebration" to celebrate where writers were and where we are now. I think it will make a very nice addition to the basket. So Bargain Foods was a successful trip for OWFI related items that were needed.

We left Pelzer, headed to Anderson and stopped at Dollar Tree first. I had a specific list of items needed from there and wasn't really planning on buying too much there. I needed some little stands to stand my books up on display for the book signing and some more puzzles to supplement my supply. The puzzles I knew I would have no problem picking up (they have cases of 24 each and I just picked up a case). Of course before I got to where the puzzles were, I had looked for the "plate stands" which was the best description I could come up with for what I needed in the picture frame aisle. I really didn't see what I wanted or needed. I moved over to the teachers' supply aisle and I get into some trouble over there; I know not to go over there - lol. I found a wall map that is laminated already, although not quite as big as I would like and Alaska is not shown attached to Canada exactly (it is but it is displaced like most maps are), for my new game - Road Trip. The game goes like this - the kids have to look at the map and figure out the route (there are eight really) they would travel if they were going to drive across the country. The catch is they cannot enter any state twice but they can enter Canada more than once if need be. They will write their answers down and I have an answer key they will get to check and if they are correct, they win a puzzle. I think this will be a very good game because it will get the kids thinking and they should have fun. I also picked up a foam board that is about the same size as the map (the map is a little wider from top to bottom than the board but the same from side to side) that I will mount the map to and have standing on an easel for viewing.

As I was walking around looking for other things (I know I really wasn't planning to do much more shopping there), of course since school was out, there were lots of people with kids in the store, I thought you know I have bookmarks, why not hand them out. So every aisle I walked on, if there were kids there, I asked them if they liked to read and then handed my bookmarks out and told them about my books and my upcoming book signing Thursday. Several of the kids I spoke with are from my school district and showed a lot of interest in coming up to the book signing. There will be free music and hot dogs and a mini farmer's market available as well, so that was success in and of itself. Getting near the end of me not finding the little stands I wanted for my books, one young man and two father figure types were walking down the food aisle and so I asked him if he liked to read, but he said not really and the one that was probably his father said he did like to read but he was being shy. I gave him my bookmark and told them about the books and the father bought a copy of my book (I had a copy in my pocketbook to show). Told the boy he had to write a two page report on a book since they were out of school for two days and it would be perfect for him to do a report on. By the time we got up to the register and he was paying for his purchases, the boy had started reading the book and had already guessed the state, he was only on clue #5 at that time but he said that clue #4 (which talks about the shape) was where he had figured it out. I hope he enjoyed the book. (I finally had to ask about the stands and did find them so that was successful as well, and I did find some story starter packs in the teachers' section that I think I can do something with in the future and a US flag stamp that can be used on the create your own bookmarks section I do).

We left Dollar Tree, I popped the trunk and put two copies of the book in my pocketbook and headed over to Wal-Mart for some groceries and a couple other things I needed from there and again, every family group or parent with children in tow, I spoke to and asked them if they liked to read and put bookmarks in the kids hands and talked about my books, pulling a copy from my pocketbook so that they would understand what I was talking about, and I sold another copy of the book while in Wal-Mart. I also had the opportunity to speak with a fifth grade teacher and speech therapist from another district in our county and several kids who attend school in the same district as my kids and one of the girls was very enthusiastic and her mother was like - I'll make sure to bring her up there Thursday and all her friends and everyone in the school will know about it.

I left there and went to Staples to replace my ink (which really I shouldn't have had to do since it was purchased at Wal-Mart) and finally made my way home. I was whipped but basking in my success as a not intended to make any sales or do any marketing day turned out to be very successful.

So for all you folks out there who have books, check out my bookmarks below and see why they are one of the best investments so far in my career as an author. For inexpensive advertising, check out - the order I placed was for 2500 and my cost with shipping was only $83 (this comes out to less than 3 cents a bookmark). Trust me if you have children's books, this will come back to you very quickly from your sales. Since getting my bookmarks in February before the SC Book Festival, I have made at least nine sales (two are waiting for the purchasers to get the books). I have sent several batches out and about and have already had to order another batch of 1000. Anyway, if you have nothing else but bookmarks with your covers on them, you will be noticed and maybe make a sale or two. See you all in the postings - E :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Virtual Class Tours - the wave of the future

It seems now that I have been doing my class visits, the trend is for everyone to do them. Elizabeth Dulembo set up a class visit in December using two computers and tech stuff at the school - for more on her setup, you can check out her blog here. Now someone in Canada has been inspired and has blogged about his experience here.

I started a trend but not as extensive as these two. One of these days, maybe I'll have a setup like this and will be able to charge for virutal class visits, but for now, Mr. Hughes' class gets me on a weekly basis as needed to help out during the writing workshop program class and as needed for other writing related projects for free.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bubba and Giganto visit with the Squad

I am behind in posting this. I have been so swamped that it totally slipped my mind. Here I thought Lea was hard to catch up with, but it seems I am the one more difficult to play catchup with. I hosted Lea recently on her personal blog tour and now I am hosting her again for the Virtual Book Tour Yahoo forum.

I recently caught up with Lea Schizas, author of "Bubba and Giganto: Odds Against Us" and asked if the Squad could interview Bubba and Giganto. Following are their answers to some pretty interesting questions:


JGD Squad: Can you tell us your name and the title of the book?
Bubba: I’m Bubba Jacobson but you can call me B, please.

Giganto: David Montana and I’m the only one Bubba allows to call him by his first name without clubbering me. GRIN

JGDS: Describe to our readers what your role in the book is.
B: Some might call me a tough guy but I’m actually there to show folks that Giganto is really a nice guy and doesn’t deserve to be picked on. Guess you can say I’m the role model on how to back up your best bud.

G: Wow, thanks, Bubba. I really want to play soccer and because of my weight, well, I’m picked on. Also, there was some trouble in school last year and one of the bullies has it in for me.

JGDS: How did you convince your author to put you in this book? For example, did you visit a dream or make yourself known some other way?
B: Nope. In my case, Lea, our author, said I was the type of student she hoped her kids would have had when they were in elementary school. She says her kids now are exactly like me so I feel real proud to be modeled after them.

G: The same goes for me. I represent the author’s children when young and how bullying affected them.

JGDS: Is your author easy to work with or controlling?
B: Naw, she let’s us do what we want, right, Giganto?

G: That’s right, Bubba. She needs us to tell her where to go in our stories.

JGDS: Would you tell us about one of your favorite friends from this book?
B: That’s easy, David aka Giganto to me.

G: Bubba, all the way but also Johnny. He helped Bubba during our soccer scrimmages so that made him my automatic friend.

JGDS: What would you like our readers to know about you?
B: I hate my name but learned to live with it. Still no clue why parents would name their baby Bubba. Anyway…I act tough but really I’m a softie inside. I riled up when I saw all the bullying aimed at Giganto and that just fired me up to stand up and defend the dude.

G: I hate fighting. Find there’s no purpose in them. That’s why many call me a chicken but it’s just I don’t see the logic behind a fight. One purpose gets hurt and the other one gets to gloat. Where’s the logic? I also hide my feelings a lot. I take the name calling because there’s nothing else for me to do. That is not until Bubba came to school and helped me see a few things that saved my life.

JGDS: Did you learn anything during your adventure in this book?
B: Yes, not to include friends in a challenge without first consulting them. I felt bad seeing Giganto’s reaction about the after school soccer scrimmage I involved him in.

G: I realized that keeping secrets ends up to no good at the end. If it wasn’t for several people on the field contacted 911 I’m not sure if I’d be around for Book 2

JGDS: Can you tell us what you think is the most exciting thing that happened to you in your book?
B: I realized that my name is a part of who I am and not to let it bother me. There were worse things that I came across during my first initial days at school that helped me see this.

G: I made the soccer team!

JGDS: Is there anything in your story you wish you had not done? Why?
B: I would say not to have involved Giganto in the after school scrimmage but I’m not sure anymore. If it wasn’t for that event Giganto’s secret would never have been revealed to me and who knows what may have happened further down the road.

G: I wish I would have stood up to the bullies and not been so “Here, take a shot at me” type of a guy.

JGDS: What was your main motivation?
B: I hate to see other students picked on. I know it’s none of my business cos I don’t know what’s happened between those two but when you see a bunch of guys ganging up on one person, that’s just not right. I call them cowards.

G: I really wanted to play soccer and when Bubba befriended me there was a surge of “I can do it” that took over my body. Nothing was going to stop me from playing…only my secret which almost caused me my life.

JGDS: Introduce us to your main adversary?
B: For me it was Jason, the bully picking on Giganto.

G: Honestly? It was me. Looking back now I realize there were many things I could have done differently.

JGDS: Here’s your chance to speak your mind. What do you want to tell everybody?
B: I want to tell bullies around the world to stop harassing people. Get a life! You’re hurting them more than you realize and might end up killing one of them without even laying a finger on them. Is that what you want, huh?

G: Don’t hold secrets that mean risking your life. I held something back because I was afraid to admit it to anyone in case it added more fuel for their name calling. I see now that was stupid but at the time when you’re bullied, you can’t see straight. I wish I would have confided in my parents, or teachers, or even Bubba.

Please tell everyone where to find out more about the story and where it can be purchased.

Lea: You can go to my publisher’s page set up for me to read the blurb, reviews, and the purchase link:

Thank you for having my boys over today, Elysabeth. And sure glad they behaved.

Thanks for stopping by guys and glad you behaved for us too. I appreciate you taking the time to have some fun with us.

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