Book Signing: Tips I Learned

Hey Dark Dreamers,

Recently I had my first book signing for my debut new adult dark urban fantasy, OF SCIONS AND MEN. It’s a huge milestone in any writer’s lifetime, but it also came with its own set of nerves, concerns and worries. I did some research, talked to fellow authors and prepared. This helped make my special day the success and fun event it was. So here are the top twelve tips I learned on how to have a successful book signing.

  1. A scratch pad is your friend. I can’t express this strongly enough. Riley, Rily, Reily, Reilly, Ryli. Susie, Susi, Suzy, Suzi. Yep, people are pretty particular about their names. Who can blame them? Especially when you are putting this permanently on an object they have paid for and you want them to treasure. Nothing will make your reader squint and frown at your book faster than seeing their name misspelled every time they open it. When I signed, I had paper beside me and no matter who it was, how common their name was or whether I knew them or not, I would write their name first on the scratch paper and okay it. Even if I knew them, I would recheck because your nerves will create mistakes as fast as anything else. Bastardizing an old adage, check twice, sign once.
  2. pen-1215436_1920Your new best friend
  3. Writing tools to last a lifetime. Choosing what to write with is important. These wonderful patrons have come to see you, bought your manifesto, and care enough to want your chicken scratch signature on it, so time to make sure your pen choice doesn’t mess everything up. I ended up choosing a fine tipped Sharpie as others told me ball point pens tend to fade with time and no one wants that. Whatever you decide, make sure it will last the test of time and will not bleed through.
  4. pens-520013_1920And back ups upon back ups
  5. Colorize your theme. This is such a little thing that got so much attention and made the night feel well thought out. I picked a colored theme for the evening based on your material if you can. For me it was red. It holds a special meaning in my book and series, so I put little touches everywhere. It was in my outfit, my pen (red fine tipped Sharpie), my swag, the flyers and marketing materials, the food for the evening (Strawberries and grapes), etc. It doesn’t take much effort, but it does require some forethought. People commented on it repeatedly and enjoyed it.
  6. tomatoes-1220774_1920Which tomato goes with post-apocalypse?
  7. Pick your message and be consistent. I decided what I was going to use as my standard message beforehand, and that let me start off with confidence from the very first one. I chose to use “For” instead of “To” as it felt less like a Christmas gift to me that way and more personal, but you need to fit your style. This is especially important if there are two or more friends or family members who are getting books signed together. You can personalize for the individual, but make that personalization very different from your standard message, which should be decided on before the event, so you can write quickly. But you don’t want two friends looking at your John Hancock and wondering, “Well, why does she get, ‘Very best wishes’, and I only got, ‘Best Wishes’? We don’t need any golden apples thrown into the middle of your signing.
  8. robot-707219_1280Cause that worked out for everyone.
  9. Practice, practice, practice. Yep, even for this pinnacle moment, you need to do prep and practice. Make sure your signature and messages are legible. On top of that, make sure you know where in your book you want to sign and that it will all fit there.
  10. writing-1055085_1920Well, no one can read that one.
  11. Swag extras. We all love handing out our personalized swag, but keep some paper swag around for extras. Not everyone may buy your book immediately, but still want to be a part of the fun. I signed bookmarks and posters for students who weren’t getting the book, and they were so excited. Also, it means they keep your info for potential later sales.
  12. Proof2My actual pens/badges- people loved them
  13. A day that will live in infamy. Okay, I’m going to be honest. I had every intention of doing this one, but failed utterly in the moment, but it is still a good idea. Somewhere around your signature put the date. Having multiple signings, people can get a real kick from this one. Next time I will remember as people asked about it later. Not a requirement, but a good thought.
  14. calendar-159098_1280A time to remember…next time
  15. Get into the trenches of marketing. You want your event to be a success, so stay active and make it so. Work with your publisher to release a press kit or create one on your own, especially for self-pub authors. Work with the signing location to work with their marketing. Don’t skimp on flyers or pictures for these kits and make sure you have both hard and electronic formats to use all available resources. Go out and press the flesh of people around the area to hang up and get the word out personally. Use social media event pages and stay active on them. Also remember most of these marketing teams are very busy, you may need to take the reins a bit to make sure everything is set and done. I had many meetings with coordinators and marketers to make this event the success it was. If you sit back and just hope they will come, they probably won’t.
  16. PosterWho could pass that up?
  17. Introductions and conclusions. Figure out and discuss with the people involved how the event is going to kick off. Is someone going to make an announcement? Is someone going to introduce you? Are you doing a reading to gather people and interest? Will you be answering questions? Who’s going to tell people how to buy the book in the space and where to line up? Don’t stumbled into the start of your event, kick it off and people will get more excited and want to be a part of it.
  18. trumpeters-921709_1280My announcers…next time
  19. Smile! Make sure you have a way for this day to be recorded. Sometimes the event or marketing will send someone to take pictures and record. If not, get someone to do it for you. You will want to remember this and it is great to show people afterward to make them want to be a part of the fun next time.
  20. 20160222_184757If you look closely, you can see a photographer has caught the videographer in the wild.
  21. Remember those who helped make this event a reality! All this work and prep is worth it. But when it’s done, be sure to send thank you notes to everyone who helped make it so.
  22. banner-1186625_1920So many people to thank…the music is definitely going to play me off.
  23. Have fun! Relax and enjoy all it has to offer. You’ve earned it.
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And if you’re like me, this will include margaritas.

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Leap: A Special Year Indeed

Hi Dark Dreamers,

This year is already interesting. A campaign year like no other. Weather shifts giving us all seasons in one week. Huge jumps in science in both the Mars project and cancer research. And last but not least, last week my new adult dark urban fantasy, OF SCIONS AND MEN met the world. Vampires, shifters and mediums, oh my!

And the world greeted it well. In fact the numbers were a lot better than I thought they’d be. In fact, by the end of my first day out my numbers on just Amazon did this:

#240 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror > Occult
#246 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror > Dark Fantasy
#287 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror > Dark Fantasy

Tres excited didn’t being to describe me. But that wasn’t all.

Frederick Community College, one of the colleges I teach for, hosted my book launch in their brand new Learning Commons. This space is amazing. A one stop space for our students’ learning and working needs. All light and glass. In fact, I have taken to going up there and writing when I’m not on duty. Looking out on the grounds and the snow, couldn’t ask for better. But I have let myself get distracted by shiny.

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They catered and marketed the event, and when the night came, we had nearly 60 or so people attending. The bookstore bought 50 books to sell, and they sold them all.

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The evening itself started with me reading from the book and then a question and answer section. Guess what? People really asked questions, and very intelligent ones at that. Their interest and insight humbled me. And I even got a few laughs. All in all, a win.

 

 

Then the moment that every author waits for happened. People actually wanted, and lined up for, me to sign their copies of my book. I was honored and learned so much more by doing this. I signed and personalized books, posters, bookmarks and pictures. Students of mine from both colleges attended, and many that I have never met before but was glad to meet that night.

After the signing, I was lucky enough that my launch fell on National Margarita Day! Thus my mother, sister, husband and I headed off to continue celebrating. These ladies honored me by flying in just for my launch. Their and my eldest sister’s support have made me the woman I am today. I would never have been able to accomplish this without them.

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Even flowers showed up for this day. Thank you everyone who shared this once in a lifetime moment with me. There will be other signings and books, but this one will always be my first.

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Happy Birthday, OF SCIONS AND MEN!

Oh happy day, Dark Dreamers,

It’s release day for OF SCIONS AND MEN, my debut novel! OF SCIONS AND MEN is the first book in the American Scions Series and it’s being published by Curiosity Quills Press. And, most importantly, you can get it now!

If you can’t wait for the rest of this post, here’s where you can order it: Get one in your hands

Now, for the deets:

OF SCIONS AND MEN by Courtney Sloan

Book One of the American Scions series

New Adult, dark urban fantasy

Fantasy elements: Vampires, Shifters, Scions, Mediums

EBOOK STORE COPY

Synopsis:

Geopolitical babysitting while arresting preternatural killers, it’s just the daily grind for Scion Rowan Brady. Brash and sarcastic, Rowan has sold her life, her career and her very blood to the controlling paranormal ruling class of America, all to make sure her kid brother can eat. Now she uses her powers as a scion to kick the ass of any preternatural creature idiotic enough to break the rules and prey upon humanity without a license. All it costs her is her freedom and a pint or two per week to her new Master.

But juggling her job and duties becomes even tougher when she is tasked with keeping a contingency of diplomats from Canada from getting gnawed on. However, negotiations for an International Blood Exchange are interrupted when bodies start showing up.

Now Rowan must rely on her talent and wit to defend the society she despises to save the lives she’s sworn to protect. But as she stumbles into the truth, she chances becoming a target of not only these killers, but of her own government. With shifters, ghosts, vampires and psychics all watching her, can she stop the killings before she is silenced?

Purchase OF SCIONS AND MEN: Amazon / Barnes and Noble


One Week To Go

Alert, alert, Dark Dreamers!

We are one week from OF SCIONS AND MEN releasing to the world. This new adult’s world of vampires, shifters, mediums and of course, scions, is ready for their close up. So much is still going on. The exciting thing is the book launch event is really shaping up nicely. It is being hosting by Frederick Community College in their brand new Learning Commons Space from 6-8pm. They are catering it and doing all the heavy lifting to make this event a success. If you are close to the Frederick Area, I would really appreciate you dropping by during that time. Come enjoy some food and drink and free stuff!

Also please let me know if you would be willing to be a part of my release day blitz for OF SCIONS AND MEN. If you sign up, I will provide everything you need. Press kit, potential blog post, potential twitter posts, images, etc. Thank you! Here’s a link to sign up:

Click to Join the Fun

Here are the posters for the event. If you have a moment, please spread them around.

Poster

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So excited!


Love is in the Distopian Air: Dark Urban Fantasy Style

Happy Valentines Dark Dreamers,

In honor of love and you know, not so much love, my 2 main characters, Rowan and Devon, sent Valentines to each other over at Once Upon a Bookcase. Go check out their, um, feelings for each other and other Valentine fun. Also enter for a chance to win a huge stash of free stuff.

Characters Sending Valentines with Suzanne Van Rooyen, Courtney Sloan and Amy McNulty on Once Upon a Bookcase.

Val Blo Hop

The Valentine’s Blog Hop is in full swing! Running from February 12-15, the hop features some terrific authors, being hosted by some of my favourite book blogs.

The Valentine’s Blog Hop is in full swing! Running from February 12-15, the hop features some terrific authors, being hosted by some of my favourite book blogs.

Check out each of the posts to learn about new and upcoming releases, the #Wo2016 group and win FABULOUS PRIZES.

More links will be added as the bloggers post them! Still have Sarah Ahiers, Jodie Andrefski and more to come! ❤

February 14

Characters Sending Valentines with Suzanne Van Rooyen, Courtney Sloan and Amy McNulty on Once Upon a Bookcase.

Interview with Suzanne van Rooyen on Reading is My Treasure. 

Excerpts with Jessica Gunn, Julia Ember and Pintip Dunn on It Starts at Midnight. 

Interview with Julia Ember on Ya Book Traveler. 

Interview with Vicki L. Weavil on Read, Write, Love. 

February 13

Interview with Nina Rossing and Pat Esden on Stay Bookish. 

Valentine’s Q&A with Bethany Morrow on Candid Cover.

Interview with Jessica Gunn on Reading is My Treasure.

Interview with Pintip Dunn on Ya Book Traveler.

Character Valentines with Pat Esden and Melissa Giorgio on Read, Write, Love. 

February 12

Interview with Vicki L. Weavil on Candid Cover! 

 


Let’s Talk about LOVE in Urban Fantasy and other Genres

Hey, Dark Dreamers,
Start this weekend off right, let’s talk love…and other emotions in writing. Whether it’s new adult, young adult, adult. Or vampire love, shifter love, ghostly medium love or you know, human love. Urban Fantasy or just everyday kinky fantasy, everyone’s heart needs to beat  faster for the one they love. Join me on twitter at #WO2016 Starts at 5EST.
Love is in the Air

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler

Let the good times roll, Dark Dreamers.

For the displaced New Orleanian, today is a hard day. Back home, everyone is celebrating Mardi Gras. No school, no work, just play. A day to celebrate as a city. I was well into my teens before I realized not everyone had Mardi Gras off. I thought it was like any other holiday. But sadly, no.

Don’t get me wrong. I love living in Maryland. It is beautiful and you don’t have to swim through your basement (another concept that took a long time to get used to). There are seasons. In fact, as my friends and family clamor for beads, there are huge flakes of snow falling quietly outside my window. Later me and my trusty four-wheel drive will get out in it and make our way to work. Something I never thought I’d say in all my growing up years.

But you can take the girl out of New Orleans, but you can’t take the New Orleans out of the girl. As such, bringing Mardi Gras to Maryland has become a hobby of mine. Each year we have given a party with homemade creole cuisine and music and lots of fun, plus king cakes straight from New Orleans. I love bringing this celebration to an area where no one really knew of it first hand. I learned in the first year to put up the story of the king cake so people stopped looking at me like I was trying to kill them when I told them to let me know if they found the baby in the cake.

This year was no exception. Saturday night we had a fun party full of friends and good times.

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I’ve written before about the importance of routine and places of comfort to us and thus to our characters. Well, culture and how they celebrate is important too. Not something I really thought about before, but you think I would have given I teach about it in my communication classes. Connection, a sense of belonging not only in the moment but to something bigger and older than ourselves, these things are important. Culture is more than how someone speaks. It reaches deep down into our soul and pulls out a heritage that makes us more than just a momentary blip. Hmm, food for thought. Now, where’s that left over king cake.


GYRE is Released to the World!

Hey Dark Dreamers!

The day has arrived and Jessica Gunn’s Atlantian New Ault urban fantasy book GYRE is out there for you to hold in your hot little hands. To give you an idea, here’s my review of it:

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Romance , oh my. Normally if someone told me they were going to combine all of the above, I’d have been very worried. But this book does it not only handily, but also with a slow burn steam that keeps you rooting for more. The mix of science and powers is intriguing and makes me want to learn more and more about Atlantis and their long time adversaries.

This book not only adds so much new to a very old myth, but also to the NA genre. Beyond NA, I believe many YA readers would like this book if they can handle a bit of strong language.”

Out today!

Seriously, you need to check this one out. The two POVs are handled so well and each so distinct. Can’t wait for the next one from Ms. Gunn. And with that in mind, I recently had the opportunity to interview the lady of the hour.

Me: Sum up your book Twitter style. 140 characters or less.

Gunn: Here’s the pitch I used that eventually led me to signing with Curiosity Quills!
When an archaeology job aboard a Navy sub uncovers Atlantis, 21yo Chelsea must protect
artifacts from time-traveling hijackers.

Me: Atlantis is such a dichotomy: something so old and yet works about it are so few. What drew you to write about Atlantis and add your own twist to it?

Gunn: I think I’ve been intrigued by Atlantis all my life—that’s what it feels like even though I know child-Jess didn’t know what Atlantis was. I’ve also always wanted to write a story about Atlantis. The few fictional books I’ve read that involved Atlantis (and there haven’t been that many, honestly) always involved mermaids and aliens and things like the end of the world—and while I love those things, I wanted Gyre’s use of Atlantis to be different. So I picked time travel and art!

Me: And different it is. Love who much you weave into one story and not let it go off the rails. Brava!

Me:   Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? How does that affect your
writing?

Gunn: I’m definitely an introvert unless I’m around people who have known me for a long time. I’m not sure how that affects my writing, though, because I write characters who are both introverts and extroverts lol.

Me: Pantser or Plotter? What’s your writing

Gunn: I’m a weird hybrid of both. I pants the first 30% of a project with only the beginning and end in mind, then somewhere around the 30% mark I tend to plot out the rest of the book in chunks of 3-5 chapters. So I’ll plot a few chapters, write those chapters, then plot again, just to keep my mind on track. But things change all the time!

Me: I’m a plotting pantzer, or plotzer, as well. The mix is fun and keeps us on our toes. Half the time I think our characters run the asylum anyway 😉 .

Me: What book meant the most to you?

Gunn: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I never liked reading or writing science fiction or realized how human sci-fi stories could be until reading it. That book really changed my perspective on a ton of things, and I don’t think I’d have pursued writing the same way without having read it.

Me: Absolutely, before that, I thought sci-fi had to be all unreachable and only halfway understandable.

Me: What would be Chelsea’s favorite book?

Gunn: I honestly don’t know that Chelsea reads enough to have a favorite book. Most of her free time is spent playing shows with her band, Phoenix and Lobster. But her favorite bands are Good Charlotte and Green Day!

Me: What would be Trevor’s guilty pleasure movie?

Gunn: Jurassic Park. He never quite grew out of his love for dinosaurs, and despite some of the bad science, he loves it anyway.

Me: How would you describe the steam between Chelsea and Trevor?

Gunn: It’s a quick starburst followed by a slow burn. They’re immediately attracted to each other in ways they barely understand, but nothing—nothing—ever goes smoothly for them. If it’s not the world they’re trying to navigate, it’s their own communication issues standing in the way. But I think that’s what makes the wins in their relationship that much more satisfying.

Me: What song would be the main track of GYRE’s soundtrack? Why?

Gunn: Gifts and Curses by Yellowcard 🙂

Me: Good choice!

Me: What do we have to look forward to next?

Gunn: The sequel to GYRE should be out in September 2016! I’ve also got a short story coming out in Curiosity Quills’s next steampunk anthology sometime next year 🙂

Can’t wait for either of those. And no one has to wait for GYRE now. Here’s all the info you need!

vortex in a column of water

Purchase GYRE: Amazon

Synopsis:

Chelsea didn’t try to teleport. All she wanted was to play the Battle of the Bands show. But after accidentally teleporting onto classified Navy vessel SeaSatellite5, all she’s rocking is the boat. Once it’s sorted out that Chelsea’s not a threat, SeaSat5’s top scientist offers Chelsea a position on the crew as an archaeology intern. Dr. Saint studies people with powers, believing them to be descendants of Atlantean refugees, except Chelsea’s powers are beyond anything on previous record.

While great for everyone else onboard, the miracle of Chelsea is Trevor’s worst nightmare. The same girl who’d given him a brief lifeline to sanity three months ago literally fell from the sky, under a mile of ocean, and onto the very station where he’s employed. Making matters worse, Trevor’s family are Lemurians, Atlantis’s enemy, and Chelsea’s presence is unpredicted—a wrench in an already unstable situation. But Trevor wants no part of his family’s war. The only thing he wants is Chelsea, Atlantean or not.

Days into Chelsea’s sudden appearance, SeaSatellite5 uncovers Atlantean ruins and a massive artifact cache, placing its entire, hundred-man crew in the crosshairs of an ancient war. There are those who want the Atlantean relics inside the ruins destroyed, and only Trevor knows the treasures for what they really are: Link Pieces, tools used by the ancient civilizations for their time-travel war.

With lies and shifting alliances abound, Chelsea and Trevor will have to think fast in order to save the station. If they don’t, the Lemurians will seize the artifacts and Atlantis will be destroyed forever.


About the Author:

Jessica Gunn

Jessica Gunn is a New Adult author and avid science-fiction and fantasy fan. Her favorite stories are those that transport the reader to other, more exciting worlds. When not working or writing, she can be found binge-watching Firefly and Stargate, or feeding her fascination of the ancient world’s many mysteries. Jessica also holds a degree in Anthropology.

To catch up with Jessica, follow her on Twitter (@JessGunnAuthor) or on her website, www.jessicagunn.com.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads |Website | Blog | Pinterest

Also check out her giveaway for free stuff!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Only a Month to Go & the Interviews Continue

Hey there, Dark Dreamers,

The last few weeks have been busy with writing on book 2 of the American Scions series, teaching and interviews. With the January term coming to a close and the start of spring semester upon us (this snowmageddon aside) life has been crazy busy. But there have been some bright and shareable moments in this new adult author’s world..

The groups for my January term small group dynamics class were amazing. They supported each other and went the extra distances. They made it a pleasure to teach and have renewed my faith in the future of humanity with these people at the helm. This is a great start to teaching for 2016.

Speaking of 2016, today makes it exactly a month to go until Of Scions and Men releases. The launch is shaping up to be an event in itself. We plan to give all these vampires, shifters, mediums and scions and proper ringing in. More to come on that in the next week.

But 2016 also seems to be the year of the interviews, and not just on the book front.

The school at which I work asked me recently to represent the college for the local newspaper. This was an article to help students get back into the swing of the new semester. No urban fantasy, but plenty of real world information. Here’s a link to the article: School Notes.

Today another exciting interview went up on my book front. The amazing and talented asked me for all sorts of tidbits about my debut new adult dark urban fantasy novel, OF SCIONS AND MEN as well about me personally. It was a fun interview. Check it out!

Now I must go get the dogs harnessed to the sled as the snow has begun falling and we will soon see the end of civilization as we now it (until they plow for Monday).

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But this author will play.


Holiday Presents: Reviews and Interviews

Happy Holidays, Dark Dreamers!

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe holiday season. Mine has been magical (even without vampires), but I’ll tell you more about that in a different post. In the mean time, I have exciting updates to share.

February 22, 2016 is getting closer and closer and with it the official release of my debut new adult dark urban fantasy, OF SCIONS AND MEN. So the marketing holiday fairy has been zipping around sending out eARCs to people. The first reviews have been coming in, and I’m happy to say they make me very excited. So I’d like to share a bit with you.

First, the most recent response to someone reading OF SCIONS AND MEN:

“This book was beyond words amazing. It held me from the first page. Sadly, I did have to put down my tablet to wrap presents. The idea of scions for vampires is great. The characters were so well written that they were beyond imagination . I Loved Rowan, Devon, Carson, Nadia, Will, I hope that their story will continue.”

Couldn’t be happier! The best present ever and pushing me to get the second one out even faster!

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Next, the wonderfully talented Jodie Anderfski recently interviewed me. It was a whole lot of fun. Take a look at the interview and sign up to win books at the #HolidayBookBash.

With all that, I hope this season of giving and humanity helping and relying on one another treats you well. I wish you smiles and to those of you who are journeying, safe travels.