How to Hold a Book-Related Event

How to Hold a Book-Related Event

Sometimes when you write a book, you find yourself standing there—holding your beloved masterpiece in your hands—saying “Now what?”

If you want to reach an audience, to inspire or educate, then you can hold an event where you discuss your book. I just held a book-writing workshop this weekend (not related to my books), so here are some of the things I did to plan and get ready for the event. Continue reading

Author Interview: Kathleen Bowers, A Sacred Silence

Author Interview Kathleen Bowers, A Sacred Silence

My neighbor Kathleen Bowers is also an author, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with her and chat about her book. She actually said that she had no intention of writing a book until she knew she had to tell her unique story.

What lead her to discovering that she had a unique story was a unique series of events in itself. One day, she happened to email Oprah about her friend who inspires her because Oprah’s website asked for people to share that with them. The producer of the show contacted her and invited Kathleen and her friend to attend the show, which would be the twenty-fifth and final Favorite Things show.

Everyone who attended the show was gifted a Caribbean cruise! On the cruise, though, Kathleen noticed that several people had issues with their documentation. Even her husband ran into a problem when the image that popped up in the ship’s system for his ID wasn’t him. “When we got home, we started talking about what our next trip would be. I wanted to make sure our travel documents were in order, so we wouldn’t have any issues.”

Kathleen contacted the State’s Department of Vital Records for their original birth certificates. “This is when I found out that my birth record was sealed. I was 55 at the time, and I was surprised.” Phone calls to several other offices yielded the same answer. Even worse, no one was allowed to tell her why it was sealed. This led Kathleen on a journey to discover why the answer. “I had unearthed a buried family secret.” Continue reading

Where Does Your Story Fit In?

Where Does Your Story Fit In

Imagine that every point of light, every star, were a book. It’s not hard to imagine, really. If you go into a book store, you will probably see thousands of books clustered together. And that’s just a slice of what’s available. Remember that many books aren’t available in book stores. They aren’t super popular. They are out of print. They have been lost to the ages. Or they are self-published, and the author opted not to offer them.

With all those book, scattered across the sky, you know that there is only one sliver you can see at a time from any place on Earth. There are only certain ones you can see from our galaxy or from another galaxy. How many do you really think there are? How many are you interested in reading?

Certain books resonate with us; they form a constellation of what we like to read. Your constellation would be different from someone else’s constellation and from another person’s.

Now, where does your story fit in? Continue reading

When You Just Want to Get Your Story Out There

I was talking about the publishing process with a client recently, and we were pinpointing his goals. When I started out talking, I went straight to that “the-sky’s-the-limit” mentality and mentioned some different ways that he can use his book to reach the audience he wants to reach.

I stopped myself partway through this conversation, apologized, and asked him what he really wants to do with his book. Maybe he didn’t want to do speaking gigs and meet with groups of people to help them out.

He took a deep breath. (I think I had overwhelmed him a bit.) He wants to help people who have been through the same difficult situation he’s been through because he didn’t find many books to help him out at the time. Then he said, “Honestly, I’m not looking to write the next great American novel. I just want to get my story out there to help people. After that, I’m not sure. I just want others in this situation to feel like they aren’t alone. Other people have been through it, too.”

I’m sure that plenty of people want to do the same thing. You just want to help others because you felt alone, scared, or like you were the only person going through what you did.

And that’s beautiful. Continue reading

How to Write Stellar Award Applications

How to Write Stellar Award Applications

Many writers submit their novels to award contests to gain credibility for their writing, so it’s important to write a quality application that can catch the committee’s eye.

In my corporate job, I wrote TONS of award applications for our researchers, and many of them won! So here are some of my favorite tips that can tip the scale in your favor when you’re hoping to be lauded. Continue reading

How to Write Press Releases

How to Write Press Releases

Authors and business owners can easily publicize themselves through press releases. When you release a book, reach a major milestone, or hold an event, write a press release to notify the public through your local newspaper or other publications whose audiences would be interested.

Though the writing style is different from writing a book or web material, once you get the hang of what to include in a press release, they are relatively simple to write. You want to keep them short and to the point so they actually get read. You also want to write them in an inverted pyramid style (think about the big part being at the top with the point at the bottom) so people can quickly see what they are about without reading through the whole thing. Continue reading

Using Your Voice to Share Your Story, Instead of Demanding Silence

Using Your Voice to Share Your Story

I encourage people to speak up, to tell their stories, to write their books and share with the world for so many reasons. We need to understand each other, and we can’t possibly have all the experiences that can be had on this planet, good and bad, in one lifetime. Even if two people share an experience, what are the chances that it affected them the same way, anyway?

This is why something I read online over the weekend was so disturbing to me. In a country where we encourage discourse and value our right to speak out, multiple U.S. cities held women’s rallies, which resulted in opinions of such being expressed across the internet. I spotted a post circulating on Facebook that started with “I am not a ‘disgrace to women’ because I don’t support the women’s march.”

Continue reading

Interview with Lillie Leonardi, Author of The White Light of Grace

Interview with Lillie Leonardi, Author of The White Light of Grace

Author Lillie Leonardi has been writing since she was 16, but rather than a piece she intended for publication, a journal she began as part of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) eventually became her first published book.

At the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America, Lillie was a responder for the FBI, Pittsburgh Division, and she was among the first to reach the scene of the Flight 93 plane crash in Shanksville, Pa. When she arrived, she witnessed a legion of angels encircling the site. “You would think seeing that would alleviate the stress from the event,” she said, “but it actually made it worse.” She and many of the other responders became afflicted with PTSD. Continue reading

Stop Feeling like a Fraud so You Can Share Your Story

Stop Feeling Like a Fraud so You Can Share Your StoryIn the fall issue of Inspiring Lives Magazine, my friend Kristie Knights (a therapist in the Pittsburgh, Pa. area) talked about impostor syndrome. I’m sure we’ve all felt it before, though we didn’t necessarily know what it was. Basically, it’s when you feel like you don’t really know what you’re doing, even though you are in a high position or you have earned honors for your work or you have other indicators that should be telling you that you’ve made it. You consider the awards to be flukes. You think that you lucked into your position. You feel like your success wasn’t deserved.

Sound familiar? It’s a feeling that can keep you thinking small. You might be afraid that others will spot you as a fake. How long before they ask the right question and realize that you have no clue what you’re doing? I don’t like to admit that I felt that way for years about my books and my job. Working for myself, though, and finally pushing forward with selling my books this year has helped me regain some confidence and own where I am in my writing journey. Continue reading