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audience-clipart-lecturer-3During the past few months, I’ve been presenting my author talk titled “The Ins and Outs of Writing My Debut Mystery’ to the libraries, garden clubs, and senior centers in my immediate area. And having a blast doing it!

Having exhausted those local venues, I broadened my search for new audiences. Finding the activities director at an active senior complex is not always easy, but persistence pays off. As a result, three have scheduled my presentation during the next few weeks. And there are many more to approach.

It’s quite possible that some of the attendees will have already read my story that they have obtained through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or from one of the local bookstores that carries ‘The Uninvited Guest’. Those readers will no doubt ask questions about the characters, the setting in an old village library, or the plot twists.  This exchange will enhance their experience and encourage others to ask questions as well.

Book signings will wrap up each event. When I ask the reader to choose the ink color for my autograph, a light sparkles in their eyes as they check the array of pens, putting a smile on my face as well.

You go, seniors!

 

 

 

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images…when your next speaking engagement will pop up!

The past few months have been filled with author talks at libraries, senior centers, and retirement communities, both here in Massachusetts, plus my home state of Delaware, nearby Maryland and Pennsylvania.. As the schedule thins out, I’ve pulled out my file of venues contacted, but unresolved, to stir the pot for additional speaking opportunities.

What I’ve found as I’ve been regaling audiences about my journey as a first-time author, is that invariably, one of them approaches me afterwards, and suggests another group that might be interested in hearing about my writing adventure.

Just the other day, after speaking at the senior center one town over, a lady came up to me and mentioned that the Red Hats meet in that same room the last Tuesday of every month, and might be interested in hearing my author talk. This lady was reluctant to actively pursue the idea on my behalf, so I approached one of the COA administrators, and she has agreed to pass along my contact information to the Red Hats leader during their meeting at the end of this month.

To that end, I’ve created a new flyer with an image of my front cover plus author photo, a description of my author talk, plus both email address and cell phone number. I’ve printed off several to carry with me.

When the next person makes a suggestion for a new venue, I will hand her…or him…a copy of this flyer plus my bookmark that teases a potential reader about my story.

Who says marketing has to be a chore?

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audience-clipart-lecturer-3For friends and mystery readers who live in southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, join me next Monday evening, May 9 @7 pm, at the Jacob Sears Memorial Library, 23 Center Street, East Dennis, MA.

I’ll be sharing the ins and outs of writing my debut mystery ‘The Uninvited Guest’ with moderator Elizabeth Moisan during her monthly program ‘A Book in the Hand’.

An autographed copy of ‘The Uninvited Guest’ will be raffled off.

I hope to see you there!

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QuesetHouseFor those of you who live near Easton, Massachusetts, please join me at the Ames Free Library on Thursday, March 31, 4 pm at the stunningly beautiful Queset House. I’ll be sharing my journey of writing my debut mystery “The Uninvited Guest”, and will happily autograph any books that are purchased that day, donating 15% of the sales to the library. Hope to see you there!

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book club at tableAfter the successful author talk and book signing with the local garden club, the Ugly Dog Bookstore, and a private Girls Night Out last month, I dove into chasing down additional events. Friends were anxious to advise their connections of who to ask and where to go to share my story! Most organizations need a speaker for an upcoming meeting, and have been glad that I dropped into their laps!

To entice the program director of non-bookstore organizations to schedule me into her events calendar,  I offered 15% of books sold during her event. Not only will I cost them nothing as a speaker, but they will receive a small donation as a result of their book sales!

Not every contact gets back to me on a timely basis, requiring a follow-up email or phone call. But the results have been quite satisfactory. Here’s a list of interviews/author talks/book signings scheduled for the coming weeks:

Feb 26… ‘Books and the World’ cable interview, Cape Cod, MA

March 16…Allentown Public Library, Allentown, PA

March 19…Brandywine Community Library, Topton, PA

March 22…Kutztown Community Library, Kutztown, PA

March 31…Ames Free Library, Easton, MA

 

Am I supposed to be having this much fun?

 

Happy reading and writing!

Debi

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec 2015 Box of BooksNow that my novel is published — as evidenced by the ten boxes of soft cover books stashed in my closet — I’ve been contacting various organizations to schedule author talk/book signing events. Lots of groups are seeking speakers for their monthly meetings, so this part of the marketing plan has been quite satisfying.

The local garden club scheduled me to speak at their March meeting, but when their January speaker broke her kneecap and had to cancel, the club’s organizer asked if I could step in at the last minute. Of course, I said ‘Of course!’

To prepare, I created a list of points to address and reviewed it with my writers group. With their additional suggestions, I rewrote the topics onto colored index cards, which kept me organized as I moved from one card to the next. I strayed only a few times when a funny anecdotes came to mind.

On that cold and windy night, seventeen club members braved the elements to attend, sitting entranced as I spoke about the reason I decided to write a mystery and the source of my initial idea. I explained the various stages of digging into research, developing the setting, creating the characters, firming up the plot, working with an editor, and the final steps of publishing. Of the 14 softcover books that I brought with me, only three were carried back home. I consider that a success for my first time out!

With additional author talks in the planning stages, here are a few already written on the calendar:

…end of January, bookstore in Attleboro, MA

…mid March, my sister’s library in Topton, PA [working to schedule other venues that same week while I’m in the area]

…end of March, library in Easton, MA

…early April, library in Mansfield, MA

…end of April, Friends of Senior Center, Norton, MA

In addition, I’m waiting to hear from Women of Today groups, senior centers, other local libraries, the women’s link of my local Chamber of Commerce, and a private book club. Also, the past president of a national mystery book exchange club has suggested me to her local library in Cranberry, NY, which may end up as a summer program. Plus a member of my writers group introduced me to her friend from Schenectady, NY, who has put me in touch with her local bookstore for a possible summer event. And finally, I’m waiting for a response from the director of my hometown library in Smyrna, DE.

As each organization moves from a potential venue to a scheduled author talk, my excitement mounts.

How much fun is this?

 

 

 

 

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Jan 12, 2016 updated to include complete Amazon address.

 

Well, after years of plotting & writing, conferences & writers groups, TUG Front Cover Onlymy story… ‘The Uninvited Guest’… has been published through Riverhaven Books in Whitman, Massachusetts. Such a thrill to see it listed on Amazon as a paperback and e-book!

http://www.amazon.com/Uninvited-Guest-Debi-Graham-Leard/dp/1937588505/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452610802&sr=1-1&keywords=debi+graham-leard

For the purpose of book signing events, I opted to print 400 books locally.  What a thrill to pick up the ten boxes from the print shop! My trunk will hold a box of books at all times for those unplanned opportunities to place my story into the hands of an avid mystery reader, along with a 2-sided bookmark.

And now onto the task of marketing. Area bookstores, local libraries, senior centers, and women’s groups are on my list to contact. Some of them are bound to be interested in a debut local author to speak about writing a mystery with a book-signing event afterwards.

As it happens, my sister is involved with her local library in eastern Pennsylvania, and has already put me in contact with their Friends president, who is excited about planning an event. After we solidify her date in late March, I’ll approach the other libraries in the Berks County system for a possible event at their location while I’m in the area.

In addition, as a member of Sisters in Crime, I have joined their Speakers Bureau, and look forward to participating in author panels around New England during the coming months.

For all of you who have been following my progress over the past few years, I hope you’re as thrilled as I am!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Debi

 

 

 

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female-hand-writing-red-pen-white-background-35404047Well, the proof of my novel arrived, and for the past week, I’ve been combing through the pages to spot details that needed adjusting. Marked in red ink with the top corner of the page folded for easy locating, I noted missing punctuation, single-word changes, reversal of publisher line-editing efforts, and the return of several paragraphs dropped somewhere along the way.

This past Sunday morning, I drove the proof to my publisher’s home and we reviewed my editing requests, plus font size and format, possible reduction of pages by removing the space between lines, bookmark design, and adjustment of back cover blurb that currently gives away too much of the mystery.

So many details before making the commitment to print a supply of books for my personal sales at a local print shop! At some point in the near future, my novel will also be registered with Amazon as both an e-book and their print-on-demand version.  When that happens, I’ll provide the link for those of you who are interested in reading my story!

The road to first-novel publication has been long and educational, but eminently interesting along the way!

 

 

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A_Woman_Reading_Papers_At_Her_DeskIt’s no surprise that the lady helping me self-publish my first novel has gotten sidetracked with other projects and life itself.

We lost about three weeks in our timeline, but are now back on track. She provided me with the formatted manuscript, and included her own edits for the first half.

When I re-read my story, I found about a dozen places that needed to be returned to my own voice. She agreed to make the adjustments with very little resistance, but brought up two scenes that didn’t sit right with her. I saw her point, and have provided a revamp to take care of her concerns.

And so I’m waiting for her to get back to me with her second half edits, which I will then review and make further adjustments if needed.

In the meantime, I approached a recently-opened bookstore in a nearby town to ask about scheduling my book launch in their upstairs space. Before they will discuss that possibility, their buyer needs a ‘readers copy’ of my novel to determine if they will stock my novel in the local author section. If that decision is positive, then the events lady will discuss a possible book launch.

So many details, but I’m getting close!

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red send buttonWell, a few minutes ago, I pulled on my big girl panties and hit the ‘send’ button.

After months of working with my editor to fine-tune the writing, firm up the plot, and deepen the characters, I’ve sent my story along for the final phase of preparation before publication.

Nothing to do now but watch for the galley proof to arrive. My final opportunity to make sure everything is in its proper place. That nothing has been dropped. That nothing has been added or duplicated. That all eyes are dotted. That all tees are crossed. Forgive my bastardization of those two letters.

While I wait, I guess I’ll turn my attentions to my next story…sigh.

 

 

 

 

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